Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 04/18/13

The horrid Midwest weather has played havoc with the schedule for Kane County, as it was only dry enough for them to split a doubleheader. Daytona evened their record thanks to the bats of John Andreoli and Stephen Bruno. The two hottest players in the Cubs’ minor leagues are Jae-Hoon Ha and Rubi Silva, with Tennessee also at .500. Meanwhile, Iowa was able to add two wins to their total on strong pitching performances from Chris Rusin and Brooks Raley.

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 (4-7)

Weather ended up cancelling a doubleheader on Sunday and Monday’s contest with Beloit. The elements cooperated on Tuesday as Kane County came from behind to beat Beloit 4-3 in game one. Jose Arias started after the long layoff and the rest of his team looked a little rusty. The Cougars committed three errors in the first inning that led to three unearned runs. Arias was able to keep his cool, and he ended up going four innings with three strikeouts. Jeffry Antigua replaced Arias in the fifth and held the Snappers at bay for three innings. Antigua struck out three and picked up the win. The Cougars weren’t able to get on the board until the sixth inning when Gioskar Amaya (2-for-3) walked and Dan Vogelbach (2-for-4 with a RBI) singled. Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with two RBI) delivered a double that plated Amaya, and a Marco Hernandez (1-for-3 with a RBI and a stolen base) double brought home Vogelbach.  Trey Martin (1-for-2) was hit by a pitch to start the seventh and promptly stole second base. Oliver Zapata (1-for-4) reached on a sacrifice attempt that moved Martin to third. Martin then came home on a single from Vogelbach. Jeimer Candelario drove in the winning runs with a sac fly that plated Oliver Zapata.

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Game two was a different story as Beloit used a seven-run second inning to beat Kane County 8-3. Lefty Michael Heesch started and, like his game one counterpart Jose Arias, Heesch suffered from the lax Cougar defense. An error by Marco Hernandez (2-for-4 with a stolen base) led to four unearned runs, as Heesch exited after surrendering six runs, two earned, with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings. Brian Smith had his first rough outing, as he allowed two earned runs while striking out two over two innings. Steve Perakslis and Nathan Dorris each set down the side in order in the inning that they worked. Kane County actually led 1-0 in the second as Hernandez doubled, stole third, and came home on a throwing error. The Cougars tried to chip their way back in as Hernandez singled with two out in the fourth inning and advanced to second on another throwing error. An RBI single by Chadd Krist (1-for-3) plated Hernandez, with Krist reaching second on a fielding error. Wes Darvill (2-for-3) then singled home Krist, and Bijan Rademacher (2-for-2) followed with another single. But the rally was snuffed out as Oliver Zapata was called out on strikes.

High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (6-6)

Daytona took the rubber game of the series with Tampa with a come-from-behind win on Sunday. Zach Cates made his second start of the season and held the Yankees scoreless through the first three innings. A pair of singles scored the first run of the game in the fourth inning. Zeke DeVoss helped Cates out of the fourth by cutting down a runner trying to stretch a hit into a double. Cates went six innings and struck out four while allowing an earned run. After a shaky previous outing, Austin Reed tossed two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Frank Del Valle is emerging as one of the D-Cubs’ closers and came in and struck out the side in the ninth to preserve the victory.

All of Daytona’s thunder happened in the seventh, as the inning began with singles by Stephen Bruno (2-for-4) and Dustin Geiger (2-for-4). Ben Carhart (1-for-4 with two RBI) followed with a double that plated both Bruno and Geiger. A Micah Gibbs (2-for-4 with a RBI) double plated Carhart to complete the scoring.

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Daytona took out some of their frustrations on Monday night as they traveled to Clearwater and took it to them 8-1. This was the first meeting between the teams since a melee resulted in Jorge Soler being suspended for five games. John Andreoli (2-for-5) and Stephen Bruno (2-for-4) singled to start the second inning. Dustin Geiger (1-for-4 with two RBI) singled in Andreoli. A double by Ben Carhart (3-for-4 with a RBI) put runners on second and third base, and David Bote (2-for-3 with two RBI) drove both runs in with a double, his first hit in a D-Cubs’ uniform. Carhart and Bote were on base again in the fourth when Zeke DeVoss (2-for-4 with three RBI and a stolen base) stroked a two-run triple. The D-Cubs put the game away in the eight after a one-out single by Andreoli and a double by Bruno put runners in scoring position. Geiger plated Andreoli with a groundout and Carhart singled in Bruno.

Ben Wells was on the hill for the D-Cubs and had his heavy fastball working for him. Wells struck out four over six scoreless innings. Yeiper Castillo came on in the seventh and tossed two scoreless innings while striking out two batters. Sheldon McDonald was called on in the ninth for his first action in a week and looked rusty. McDonald gave up three hits and an earned run while recording a strikeout.

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It is becoming clear that these two teams don’t like each other as Clearwater struck back on Tuesday after being embarrassed the previous day, and stomped Daytona 15-6. The Threshers pounded out 27 hits in eight innings and thoroughly took apart Florida State Pitcher of the Week Ryan Searle. Searle received the honor prior to the game, and was rewarded with a start in place of Starling Peralta. However, Searle may not have been prepared as he allowed seven earned runs while striking out five in 4.2 innings. Recently recalled lefty Hunter Cervenka was thrown into the fire. Cervenka struck out two but was tagged for two earned runs in two innings. Luis Liria was then lit up for four earned runs in 0.1 innings. Catcher Taylor Davis came on to pitch the eighth and yielded an additional earned run. The D-Cubs at one time sported a 5-2 lead on Clearwater, as Javier Baez (1-for-5) reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second, and touched home on a John Andreoli (2-for-3) single in the first inning. Stephen Bruno (2-for-2) doubled to lead off the second. Dustin Geiger (2-for-3) was hit by a pitch and a single by Ben Carhart (1-for-4) loaded the bases. Consecutive groundouts scored Bruno and Geiger. Daytona increased their lead in the third as Javier Baez led off with a solo home run. Andreoli walked and stole both second and third before scoring on a single by Geiger.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (6-6)

A tense game broke wide open for Tennessee on Sunday, but they would have to hold on as they defeated Chattanooga 7-3. Dae-Eun Rhee took a perfect game into the fifth inning in his second start, but it was broken up with a one-out double. That ended up be the only hit Rhee allowed over six innings. Rhee also struck out three batters. Zac Rosscup followed and was tagged with his first earned run of the season. Rosscup ended up striking out the side … eleven strikeouts for Rosscup in his first five innings of the season. Kevin Rhoderick was a little wobbly as he let the Lookouts back into the game with two earned runs before getting a strikeout to get out of the inning. Brian Schlitter mopped up with a scoreless ninth.

The Smokies got on the bard in the first as Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with a RBI) lead off with a single. Ronald Torreyes (2-for-3 with a RBI) walked, and Szczur stole third. Szczur would score on a throwing error, with Torreyes moving to third.  A Justin Bour sacrifice fly brought home Torreyes. The speed of Jae-Hoon Ha (3-for-3 with a double and a RBI) was on display in the fourth inning as he beat out an infield hit, took second on a wild pitch, distracted the shortstop into committing an error while advancing to third Ha walked home on a single by Jonathan Mota (2-for-4 with a RBI). Mota singled to start the seventh, while pinch-hitter Johermyn Chavez (1-for-2) doubled. Mota scored on a Matt Szczur sacrifice fly, and a Torreyes single scored Chavez. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4) singled, and a fielder’s choice by Bour plated Torreyes. Consecutive singles by Ha and Rubi Silva (2-for-4) loaded the bases, and Bour touched home on a wild pitch.

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Tennessee relied on their highly rated pitchers to close the deal against Huntsville on Monday, but ended up regretting it as they lost 9-7. Tony Zych and Trey McNutt are ranked among the top 20 prospects in the Cubs’ system by most national services. However, each is off to a rocky start to 2013 and their struggles cost starter Dallas Beeler. The 23-year old Beeler had his best outing of the season. Beeler allowed three earned runs and struck out four in six innings. Beeler left with a 7-3 lead. Zych replaced Beeler and really struggled. Zych gave up two earned runs, in 1.1 innings. McNutt was even worse, as he had no command during his 1.1 innings. McNutt walked two while allowing three hits, which led to three earned runs. The relief pitching spoiled excellent offensive efforts by Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-3 with a RBI) and Rubi Silva (3-for-4 with four RBI). Ha remained one of the hottest Smokies as he drove in the first run with a ground rule double that plated Matt Szczur (1-for-4).  Silva led off the fifth with a double and eventually scored on a Jonathan Mota (2-for-4) groundout. One inning later, singles by Ha and Justin Bour (1-for-5), and a walk to Christian Villanueva (0-for-1, three walks) after Ha was thrown out a third brought up Silva. The Cuban left-hander deposited the ball over the outfield fence for his second homer of the season. The Smokies received a gift run in the seventh inning. Matt Szczur walked, advanced to third on two errors then scored on a wild pitch. Silva later singled in Ha, who had walked, for Tennessee’s final run.

Lightening struck three times in Huntsville on Tuesday as Tennessee used three solo home runs to defeat the Stars 4-3. The blasts came from (in order) Justin Bour (2-for-4), Matt Szczur (2-for-4), and the Southern League’s new home run leader Rubi Silva (2-for-4). An insurance run added in the seventh proved to be beneficial, as Silva singled and took second on a throwing error. Christian Villanueva (1-for-3 with a RBI) doubled Silva home.

Alberto Cabrera gave a performance more characteristic of his career than of this season, as he allowed two earned runs but struck out five in six innings. A.J. Morris appears to be settling in more in his middle relief role. Morris struck out three batters in two scoreless innings. Frank Batista gave up an uncharacteristic earned run in the ninth, but still collected his second save of the season.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (4-9)

In his third start of the season, Chris Rusin took command and led the I-Cubs to a 4-1 victory over Albuquerque on Sunday. Rusin was at the top of his form. Rusin struck out four over seven innings while allowing only four hits and an earned run. Zach Putnam struck out three batters in two scoreless innings and picked up his first save of the season.

The offense had two rehabbing veterans, as Darwin Barney (0-for-1 with three walks and a stolen base) and Ian Stewart lined up at second and third. However, it was Chris Rusin (1-for-3) who helped himself out by leading off the fifth inning with a single. The bases were loaded as Brian Bogusevic (2-for-4) reached on an error and Barney walked. Stewart then walked to force in Rusin, and a Brad Nelson (1-for-4 with two RBI) single scored Bogusevic and Barney. Luis Flores (2-for-4) provided insurance with a solo home run in the sixth inning.

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A matinee on Monday saw Iowa return more to this season’s form against Albuquerque, losing 11-5. Drew Carpenter had another rough outing as he allowed five earned runs in 4.1 innings. Esmailin Caridad didn’t help the I-Cubs’ cause as he struck out three but gave up an earned run in 1.2 innings. Jensen Lewis continued to scuffle as he let in two earned runs in an inning, while Jaye Chapman isn’t fooling anyone as he allowed three earned runs in two innings. Brett Jackson (1-for-3) singled to start the second inning and stole second, moving to third on a Brian Bogusevic (1-for-4) single. Jackson came home on a fielder’s choice by Luis Flores. Darwin Barney (4-for-5) and Brad Nelson (1-for-4) were on board in the third when Ryan Sweeney (2-for-4 with three RBI) belted his third home run of the season. Barney doubled to lead off the seventh an eventually scored on a groundout by Nelson.

Tuesday’s game saw Iowa not only start out ahead, but maintain a lead for a 4-1 victory over Nashville.  The scoring began in the bottom of the first as walks to Logan Watkins, Ryan Sweeney (1-for-3 with a RBI), and Brad Nelson loaded the bases. Donnie Murphy hit into a fielder’s choice that brought home Watkins for the first run of the game. The fourth started with Darnell McDonald reaching on a fielder’s choice. With runners on first and second as a result of Edwin Maysonet being hit by a pitch, J.C. Boscan (1-for-3 with two RBI) then delivered a one-out double that plated both McDonald and Maysonet. A single by Ty Wright (1-for-4) and a triple by Sweeney accounted for the I-Cubs’ final run.

Brooks Raley was sharp in his third start. Raley struck out seven while holding the Sounds without a run for six innings. Yoanner Negrin kept his 0.00 ERA intact with two scoreless innings. The only blemish was from Cory Wade, as he allowed an earned run while striking out two in an inning of work.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs sent 3B Ian Stewart to Iowa on a rehab assignment, RHP Matt Garza to Kane County on a rehab assignment and selected the contract of RHP Kevin Gregg.  The Tennessee Smokies placed RHP Dae-Eun Rhee on the 7-day disabled list and RHP Matt Loosen was assigned to Tennessee from extended spring training. Daytona Cubs placed IF Tim Saunders on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to April 11, placed RHP Starling Peralta on the 7-day disabled list and LHP Hunter Cervenka was assigned to Daytona from extended spring training. OF Jorge Soler was reinstated from suspension by the Florida State League.

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