Poor weather has played havoc with all of baseball this spring, as postponements and hostile conditions have had their effect, even in the minor leagues. The conditions aren’t the only thing that was hostile this week, as tempers flared in Daytona, resulting in an ejections and suspensions. Kane County can’t seem to do things easy as they played their fourth extra inning game of the season. Tennessee ended a four game losing streak with excellent back-to-back pitching performances by Eric Jokisch and Kyle Hendricks. Iowa finally posted their first victories of the season thanks to a record setting night by Blake Parker.
All this, and more in today’s Down on the Farm Report … and please check the special announcement at the end of this report.
Editor’s Note: Monday’s report will cover games from Wednesday to Saturday. Thursday’s report covers games Sunday through Tuesday.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (3-6)
Kane County had a chance to improve their record to 3-4 and sweep Clinton on Wednesday, but were unable to seal the deal as they lost 10-4. After a good first outing, Tayler Scott couldn’t find the plate as he walked five and allowed four earned runs in two innings. Nathan Dorris tried to pick up the slack, tossing four scoreless innings and striking out five batters. But Steve Perakslis fell to the same fate as Scott and gave up five earned runs while recording three strikeouts. To save the bullpen, outfielder Bijan Rademacher (1-for-2, outfield assist) pitched the ninth inning and was charged with an unearned run. The Cougars scored their first run in the fifth inning as Wes Darvill (1-for-5) tripled and came home on a sacrifice fly by Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3 with a RBI). In the sixth, an RBI double by Trey Martin (1-for-3 with two RBI) scored Chadd Krist (1-for-4) and Rademacher. In the eighth inning, Rademacher walked, and after an error and a balk moved to third base. A sacrifice fly by Gioskar Amaya brought in Rademacher for the Cougars’ final run.
Inclement weather in Appleton, Wisconsin led to the postponement of games on Thursday and Friday, so Saturday saw the first of two doubleheaders. In game one, Kane County pulled out to a 4-0 lead but wound up losing 7-6 to Wisconsin. Making his first start of the season, Ian Dickson sailed through the first two innings but then seemed to lose concentration, leaving his pitches up in the zone and getting hammered for seven earned runs while striking out three in five innings. Brian Smith held the Timber Rattlers scoreless in the sixth. The Cougars started the scoring in the second inning as Willson Contreras led off with a walk and came home on an Oliver Zapata sacrifice fly. Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4) began the third with a single and both Dan Vogelbach (1-for-2) and Jeimer Candelario (1-for-2, double) walked to load the bases. Rock Shoulders (1-for-3) then delivered a two-run double plating Amaya and Vogelbach. A Marco Hernandez (1-for-1) sacrifice fly scored Candelario. The Cougars chipped away again in the sixth as three straight singles by Hernandez, Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4), and Trey Martin (1-for-3) loaded the bases. Oliver Zapata struck out, but reached first on a passed ball that scored Hernandez. Dan Vogelbach closed out the scoring in the seventh by hitting his first home run of the season.
Game two saw Kane County going to extra innings for the fourth time this season as they beat Wisconsin 3-1 in 11 innings. Felix Pena was given his first start of the season and struck out three in six innings while giving up an unearned run. The Cougars tied the game in the sixth inning as Gioskar Amaya scored on a passed ball. Justin Amlung took over for Pena and tossed four innings of shutout baseball as he struck out one and picked up the victory. In the eleventh, Jeimer Candelario (2-for-3) singled, and one out later, was aboard as Willson Contreras (2-for-2) went deep for the first time this season to put Kane County ahead for good. Eddie Orozco pitched a scoreless eleventh and nailed down his first save of the season.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (4-5)
The Daytona bullpen appeared reliable through five games. But they, and others, imploded on Wednesday night as they lost to Clearwater 14-9 in 11 innings. Ben Wells didn’t help himself much with four walks and two wild pitches as he allowed four runs (three earned) in four innings. The D-Cubs clawed their way back into things as Dustin Geiger (1-for-5 with two RBI) and Zeke DeVoss (2-for-6 with a RBI) belted solo home runs in consecutive innings. A six-run fourth inning was capped by a Taiwan Easterling (2-for-5 with four RBI) three-run blast that made the score 8-4 Daytona. But the Threshers pinned three earned runs on Austin Reed in 0.1 innings in the top of the fifth. Ryan Searle came in and restored order by striking out four in 3.2 scoreless innings. Tempers flared in the bottom of the seventh as a confrontation and bench-clearing brawl led to the ejection of Jorge Soler (1-for-3 with a double). Daytona added what they thought was an insurance run in the eighth as Chad Noble reached second on a throwing error and scored on a Taiwan Easterling single. Luis Liria entered in the ninth and allowed two earned runs that tied the score, and he ended up letting in five more earned runs for a total of seven in 2.2 innings with three strikeouts. Frank Del Valle came in to get the final out in the eleventh inning. Florida State League leading hitter John Andreoli was 3-for-6 with a double in the game.
A day after all the drama with Clearwater, OF Jorge Soler was suspended for five games and fined an undisclosed amount of money. Daytona then went out and played their first stinker of the season on Thursday … and lost 12-2 to the Threshers. Starling Peralta carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning during his last start, but was touched up for six earned runs, while striking out seven, in six innings. Yeiper Castillo fanned the flames as he allowed five earned runs in the ninth … a total of six earned runs and a strikeout in three innings. The offense could only muster two runs as Chad Noble (2-for-4) singled and was doubled home by Micah Gibbs (1-for-4 with a RBI) in the fourth inning. The same scenario happened in the fifth, this time Stephen Bruno (2-for-4 with a double) singled and Dustin Geiger (2-for-4 with a RBI) doubled.
Daytona hit the road for the first time this season and seemed to be able to put their troubles behind them. The D-Cubs concentrated on baseball and they topped Tampa 5-0 on Friday. Starting pitcher Austin Kirk had some control issues as he walked four in five innings with a pair of strikeouts, but was able to escape unscored upon. Yao-Lin Wang followed in relief and simple dazed the Yankees. Wang fanned five and allowed only one hit in four innings for the save.
The D-Cubs didn’t get on the board until the third inning, when Chad Noble (1-for-3) led off with a double. He was later erased in a play at home plate, but Zeke DeVoss (0-for-3 with a walk and a RBI) was able to move into scoring position. Taiwan Easterling (2-for-5 with three RBI) brought DeVoss home with double, and then touched the dish himself on a Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a RBI) single. Stephen Bruno (1-for-4) doubled to start the fourth. Noble was hit by a pitch and Ben Carhart walked to load the bases with two out. DeVoss was then hit by a pitch that plated in Bruno, and Easterling singled in both Noble and Carhart to cap the scoring.
Things were pretty much over almost as soon as the game started on Saturday as Daytona fell to Tampa 9-4. P.J. Francescon got into trouble early as he served up a three-run homer in the first inning in route to a five-inning, five-strikeout, and six earned run performance. Eduardo Figueroa came in and tried to keep the D-Cubs in the game, but some sloppy fielding in the eighth resulted in three unearned runs. Daytona tried to crawl back into it on the fourth inning as John Andreoli (1-for-3 with two stolen bases and an outfield assist) singled and stole second base. Stephen Bruno (2-for-4 with two RBI) singled in Andreoli. In the sixth inning, Javier Baez (2-for-4 with a double and a triple) led off with a triple and touched home after a Dustin Geiger (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) single. Baez, Bruno, and Geiger combined for two more runs in the eighth to finish the scoring for Daytona. Trouble continued to follow the D-Cubs as Taiwan Easterling was ejected in the first inning for arguing balls-and-strikes. Easterling was replaced in left field by catcher Micah Gibbs.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (4-5)
Tennessee’s home opener didn’t go the way they planned it as they lost to Chattanooga 6-2. Dallas Beeler kept the ball down in his second start. Beeler struck out three and allowed two earned runs in six innings. Kevin Rhoderick couldn’t say the same as he gave up four earned runs in 1.1 innings. Frank Batista tried to keep the Smokies in the game and tosses 1.2 scoreless innings while striking out a batter. The Smokies scored their first run in the fourth inning as Justin Bour (1-for-2) smacked a solo shot for his first home run of the season. Tennessee also scored a consolation run in the ninth as pinch-hitter Jae-Hoon Ha walked and later scored on a throwing error. Rubi Silva was 2-for-4 for the evening with a double and a stolen base.
The Smokies followed up the home opener with a Thursday matinee that produced nearly an identical result. Tennessee dropped its second game in a row to Chattanooga, this time 6-3. Alberto Cabrera dazzled batters in his last start that included nine strikeouts. But this time out, Cabrera was a little more hittable. Cabrera surrendered eight hits and four earned runs in six innings while still striking out five batters. Marcus Hatley pitched two innings and gave up two earned runs while recoding three strikeouts. Brian Schlitter also notched a strikeout as he threw a scoreless ninth. The Smokies got on the board first as Justin Bour (0-for-2 with a RBI) walked and came in on a Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with a RBI) double. Tennessee may have scored another run had Villanueva not been thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. In the fourth, Johermyn Chavez (1-for-3) singled and scored, as a Jair Fernandez (2-for-4 with a RBI) single drove him in. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-3 with a stolen base) scored on a Justin Bour sac fly in the eighth.
Just call him “the Stopper” as Eric Jokisch put a halt to Tennessee’s four-game skid on Friday as the Smokies beat Chattanooga 2-1. For the second straight outing, Jokisch simply mesmerized hitters … the only hiccup was a solo homer to Dodgers’ top prospect Joc Pederson. The crafty lefty struck out three batters in six innings. Fireballer Tony Zych followed and worked around a hit and kept the Lookouts off the board. Zac Rosscup extended his scoreless streak to four innings by going through the eighth with issuing only a walk. Trey McNutt seemed to be fighting himself all through his appearance, but was able to put things together in order to record his first save.
The Smokies received all the offense they would need in the first two innings, as Matt Szczur (1-for-3 with a RBI and two stolen bases) led off the game with a walk and moved to second on a groundout by Arismendy Alcantara. Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-3) brought Szczur in with an RBI single. In the second inning, Rubi Silva started things with a single and one out later, moved to second on a bunt from Jokisch that resulted in an error. Szczur then rapped a single to plate Silva, but Jokisch was thrown out at third by Lookouts’ OF Yasiel Puig. Alcantara walked, and Ha was hit by a pitch, but Justin Bour struck out to end any further threat.
Tennessee put up a big lead on Saturday then had to hang on as they defeated Chattanooga 8-6. The scoring started in the third inning, oddly enough, with a leadoff walk to pitcher Kyle Hendricks. Ronald Torreyes (2-for-3), making his first Double-A start, was hit by a pitch and Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI) singled to load the bases. A one out single by Justin Bour (1-for-4 with three RBI) scored Hendricks and Torreyes. After Bour was out on a stolen base attempt, Christian Villanueva walked and stole second. Alcantara and Villanueva scored on a Rubi Silva (3-for-4 with a double, a triple and two RBI) triple. Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4) singled, stole second and scored on a double by Silva in the fifth. A Rafael Lopez (1-for-4 with a double) double started off the sixth, and Torreyes singled to put two on for Alcantara, who went yard to increase the lead to 8-1.
Kyle Hendricks was more on top of his game in his second start. Hendricks scattered five hits and allowed an unearned run while striking out a batter in six innings. However, A.J. Morris didn’t fare as well. Morris gave up five earned runs in 1.1 innings and let the Lookouts back into the game. Frank Batista came on to get the five out save and he struck out a batter in his 1.2 scoreless innings.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (2-8)
A night after they set a dubious record for being the first Iowa team to go 0-6 to start a season, the I-Cubs had another record-setter as they defeated Round Rock 3-2. After a rough first start, things were better the second time around for Drew Carpenter. Carpenter held the dangerous Express attack to just two earned runs while striking out four in five innings. Yoanner Negrin held Round Rock in check while recording two strikeouts in 2.2 scoreless innings. Blake Parker then came in and recorded the final four outs, two via strikeouts. Parker collected his first save of the season and 35th of his I-Cubs career, the new all-time mark for the Iowa Cubs’ franchise.
Down 2-0 after the second inning, Iowa put themselves in the lead with a three runs fifth inning. Luis Flores (1-for-4 with a RBI) started things out by pounding his first Triple-A home run. Edwin Maysonet (2-for-3 with a stolen base) singled, while Logan Watkins (1-for-4) and Brett Jackson (0-for-3 with a stolen base) walked. Donnie Murphy (1-for-3 with a RBI and a stolen base) hit a sacrifice fly that closed out the scoring. Ryan Sweeney was also 2-for-5 in the game.
The I-Cubs received an excellent pitching performance out of Brooks Raley on Thursday, but the offense couldn’t support him as they lost 2-0 to Round Rock. The left-hander pitched seven innings and struck out seven … with single earned runs in the first and third as his only blemish. Jensen Lewis was touched for a hit, but had an otherwise had an uneventful eight inning. The only real threat Iowa had was in the sixth inning after Brett Jackson (1-for-3) walked and stole second, but was stranded. Ty Wright was also 1-for-3 in the game, while Ryan Sweeney went 1-for-4.
The home opener for Iowa seemed to serve as batting practice for Albuquerque as the I-Cubs lost 15-5 on Friday. Nick Struck started and was okay with three strikeouts while allowing two earned runs in four innings. Iowa was actually able to take the lead at one point as they answered a first inning run in the second with a Brian Bogusevic (2-for-3 with a stolen base) single and sac fly by Edwin Maysonet (1-for-3 with a RBI) two batters later. Bogusevic began things again in the fourth with a two-out single and a stolen base. J.C. Boscan (2-for-3 with a RBI) doubled in Bogusevic then scored a single by Maysonet. Tim Torres hit for Struck and flied out to end the threat. Esmailin Caridad was activated from the DL and took over for Struck in the fifth. Caridad didn’t seem ready as he gave up five runs (four earned), that included a grand slam, in an inning of work. Jaye Chapman also struggled and served up two gopher balls while surrendering five earned runs in 0.2 innings. Cory Wade ate up some innings by pitching three, but also gave up another two earned runs while striking out five batters. Jensen Lewis got the games’ final out, but not before adding to the Isotopes’ home run total by giving up a solo blast.
A familiar face help bode spirits and lift the Iowa Cubs past Albuquerque on Saturday 6-1. Darwin Barney made and appearance in a rehab assignment and the 2012 Golden Glove winner flashed some of that leather while going 1-for-4 at the plate. Iowa’s scoring began in the second inning as Ryan Sweeney (1-for-3) doubled and went to third on a wild pitch. Sweeney scored on a single by J.C. Boscan (2-for-4). Logan Watkins (1-for-3) walked to lead off the third and scored on a Brad Nelson (2-for-4) single. After a Tim Torres (1-for-4) single and stolen base in the fourth inning, Watkins launched his second home run of the season. Barney singled, and then Brett Jackson (1-for-4) tripled him home to make it 5-1. The I-Cubs added an insurance run as a Brian Bogusevic (2-for-2 with a stolen base) double plated Boscan.
Barret Loux had an embarrassing first start. Loux gave up six earned runs and only lasted an inning. Things were different for Loux in his second start. Loux struck out five and allowed only one earned run in five innings. The most effective pitcher in Iowa this season has been Yoanner Negrin. Negrin replaced Loux and fanned eight Isotopes in three scoreless innings. Blake Parker had a strikeout and set down the side in order in the ninth.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs sent 2B Darwin Barney to Iowa on a rehab assignment and recalled RHP Rafael Dolis. The Iowa Cubs placed RHP Casey Coleman and 3B Josh Vitters on the 7-day disabled list and activated RHP Esmailin Caridad. IF Tim Torres was assigned to Iowa from Tennessee. The Tennessee Smokies placed IF Elliot Soto on the 7-day disabled list; recalled IF Anthony Giansanti from the 7-day disabled list and 2B Ronald Torreyes was assigned to Tennessee from Extended Spring Training. Daytona Cubs OF Jorge Soler was suspended by the Florida State League for five games; IF David Bote was assigned to Daytona from Extended Spring Training. The Kane County Cougars placed C Yaniel Cabezas on the 7-day disabled list.
Ian Stewart was assigned to the Iowa Cubs and the Cubs optioned RHP Rafael Dolis to Triple-A Iowa on Sunday.
Top Prospect Watch
- Javier Baez (SS) – .184/.238/.421/.659 with two doubles, two triples, one home run and one stolen base (Daytona Cubs)
- Stephen Bruno (IF/OF) – .371/.436/.486/.922 with four doubles, four RBI and two stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
- Jeimer Candelario (3B) – .278/.409/.333/.742 with two doubles (Kane County Cougars)
- Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 0-1, 8.59 ERA and 2.05 WHIP (7.1 IP, 7 ER, 8 K, 3 BB) (Kane County Cougars)
- Barret Loux (RHP) – 1-1, 10.50 ERA and 2.14 WHIP (6.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 K, 5 BB) (Iowa Cubs)
- Tim Saunders (IF/OF) – .211/.348/.263/.611 with a double, a RBI and two stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
- Jorge Soler (OF) – .435/.519/.739/1.258 with a double, two home runs and four RBI (Daytona Cubs)
- Christian Villanueva (3B) – .212/.257/.273/.530 with two doubles, six RBI and a stolen base (Tennessee Smokies)
- Dan Vogelbach (1B) - .282/.318/.385/.703 with a home run and five RBI (Kane County Cougars)
- Logan Watkins (2B) – .250/.413/.500/.913 with a double, a triple, two home runs and three RBI (Iowa Cubs)
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