Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 04/25/13

Iowa and Daytona continued their season long struggles this week in Memphis and against Dunedin respectively. But both teams saw glimmers of hope from pitcher Brooks Raley and infielder Tim Saunders. Kane County evened their record by splitting a pair with Peoria. Pin-Cheih Chen started to heat up and Dan Vogelbach has remained steady. However, Tennessee was stung a couple of times as some of their top rated talent failed to produce. All this, and more, in today’s addition of Down on the Farm.

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 (8-8)

On Sunday, some of the Cougars’ players were able to bite the hand that once fed them as they came from behind to beat Peoria 7-6. Early on, it looked like it would be all Kane County as they took a 4-0 lead. Trey Martin (3-for-4 with a RBI) led off the bottom of the third with a single and scored on a triple by Oliver Zapata (1-for-4 with a RBI). A Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-4 with two RBI) double brought home Zapata. An inning later, Rock Shoulders (2-for-4) started things with a double and a base hit from Chadd Krist (2-for-4 with a RBI) drove him in. The fifth inning saw Dan Vogelbach draw a two-out walk and steal second base. Vogelbach scored on a Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with a RBI) double.

Felix Pena cruised through five innings before the wheels came off. Pena then allowed five earned runs while recording only two outs in the sixth. Ian Dickson replaced Pena and let in another earned run, but was able to shut down the Chiefs the rest of the way. Dickson went 3.1 innings and struck out three batters. The offense bailed out Pena after his meltdown in the top of the sixth. Krist singled to start the bottom of the sixth, and scored one out late on a double by Trey Martin. Chen knocked in Martin, and advanced to second on the throw. Chen then gave the Cougars the lead for good as he scored on a single by Marco Hernandez (1-for-4 with a RBI).

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Defense and the bullpen betrayed Kane County on Monday as they lost 9-6 to Peoria. The Cougars jumped out to a lead, as one out singles by Gioskar Amaya (2-for-5) and Dan Vogelbach, (2-for-4 with two RBI) a force out by Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3), and a walk to Rock Shoulders loaded the bases. Chadd Krist walked and forced in a run. Marco Hernandez (2-for-4 with two RBI) doubled in two more runs. Oliver Zapata (1-for-3) led off the second inning with a single, stole second, and moved to third on a single from Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-4). A base hit by Amaya and sacrifice fly by Vogelbach plated two more runs. However, Kane County couldn’t come back after a big inning seventh inning by the Chiefs despite Vogelbach blasting a solo home run. Lefty Michael Heesch started for the Cougars and allowed two earned runs while striking out five in six innings. But errors by Amaya and Candelario contributed to five runs (one earned) being charged to Brian Smith in 0.2 innings. Matt Iannazzo saw his first action for Kane County as he went 2.1 innings while allowing two earned runs

High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (8-11)

It was all Dunedin on Sunday as Daytona was two-hit in route to a 9-1 loss. One of the hits was by Tim Saunders (1-for-4) in the fourth, as he moved to third on a couple of groundouts and score the D-Cubs’ only run on a wild pitch. Jorge Soler (1-for-4) led off the second with a single, the D-Cubs only other hit. Ryan Searle had another rocky start as he went four innings and gave up five earned runs while striking out four batters. Austin Reed also continued to be shaky, as he allowed four runs (two earned) and struck out two in two innings. On the comeback trail, David Cales was sharp as he had three strikeouts in two scoreless innings.

Things were a little different on Monday as Daytona jumped out to a big lead and held on for a 7-4 victory over Dunedin. After spending most of Sunday on the bench, Javier Baez (3-for-5 with a RBI) kick started the offense with a two-out single in the first inning. A fielding error on a ball by Jorge Soler and a walk to John Andreoli (1-for-4) loaded the bases. Dustin Geiger (3-for-5 with three RBI) then delivered a two-run single. The second inning saw the D-Cubs load the bases again, as Taiwan Easterling (1-for-4) and Tim Saunders (1-for-4 with a RBI) sandwiched singles around a walk to Zeke DeVoss. A wild pitch plated Easterling, and then Baez stroked an RBI base hit that scored DeVoss. Saunders came home a groundout by Soler. A sacrifice fly by Saunders in the fourth plated DeVoss. DeVoss reached and went all the way to third on a throwing error. Daytona closed out their scoring in the seventh as Baez doubled and came around on a single by Geiger.

Austin Kirk looked in control until the fourth inning when he gave up two earned runs. He also allowed two earned runs in the sixth, as he couldn’t record an out as he would end his day with five innings pitched, four earned runs, and eight strikeouts. Zach Cates made his first relief appearance, and held the Blue Jays scoreless for 1.1 innings. Hunter Cervenka throttled Dunedin for 2.2 more innings while striking out two and picking up his first save.

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Daytona ran into a buzzsaw on Tuesday as they managed only four hits in a 3-0 loss to Dunedin. Ben Carhart was the only D-Cub to reach scoring position. Carhart was 2-for-3 with a double. Zeke DeVoss was 1-for-4, while John Andreoli went 1-for-3. P.J. Francescon pitched well enough to win, as he went five innings while allowing an earned run and striking out four batters. Yao-Lin Wang was touched up for two earned runs in 1.1 innings, while Frank Del Valle had four strikeouts in 1.2 scoreless innings.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (11-8)

The Smokies had plenty of opportunities to put the game away on Sunday, but allowed Montgomery to chip away as Tennessee would end up losing 9-6 in eleven innings. Tennessee but four on the board in the second inning, as Jae-Hoon Ha was hit by a pitch, Rubi Silva (2-for-5 with a RBI) doubled, and Johermyn Chavez (1-for-4 with a double) walked to load the bases. A wild pitch scored Ha, and a walk to Anthony Giansanti (2-for-2) re-loaded the bases. A two–run single by Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with two RBI) drove in Silva and Chavez, while a base hit from Jonathan Mota (1-for-5 with a RBI) plated Giansanti. The Smokies squandered a chance in the fourth but added a run in the fifth as Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-6) reached on a single and eventually came around on a base hit by Silva. Their final run came in the sixth as a force-out by Alcantara brought home Szczur, who had walked earlier in the inning.

Alberto Cabrera failed to capitalize on the large cushion that his offense gave him, and may have eased up some as he allowed four earned runs on five hits and four walks in 5.1 innings. Marcus Hatley kept the Biscuits in check for 1.2 innings, but the momentum seemed to turn as Kevin Rhoderick gave up two earned runs in an inning that tied the score. Trey McNutt held Montgomery scoreless for two innings and struck out a batter in the process. But Tony Zych was victimized by a throwing error from Ronald Torreyes … which led to three unearned runs and cost Tennessee the ballgame.

A tight game on Monday broke wide open in the sixth, as Tennessee sent their best to the mound and won 8-3 over Montgomery. Eric Jokisch wasn’t as sharp as he had previously been, but battled his way to keep the Biscuits off the board for three innings. After giving up a double, two runs scored after an error by Christian Villanueva. Jokisch kept on chugging but ran out of gas in the seventh. For the day, he allowed three runs (one earned) and struck out three batters. Brian Schlitter was asked to take the Smokies the rest of the way and he responded with 2.2 scoreless innings.

Tennessee drew first blood in the second inning as Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-3) stroked a one-out double. After a walk to Rafael Lopez (1-for-3 with a RBI), Elliot Soto (1-for-3 with a RBI) singled home Ha. Soto then got in a rundown on a steal attempt, and Lopez made it home before Soto was tagged for the second run. The offense then exploded for five runs in the sixth as Matt Szczur (1-for-4) led off with a double and was bunted over to third. Szczur trotted home on a single by Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and two stolen bases), who then stole second base. An RBI single by Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with a RBI) plated Alcantara. A double from Rubi Silva (1-for-4) and a walk to Ha loaded the bases. A groundout brought in Villanueva, and a Jonathan Mota (1-for-4 with two RBI) single drove in Silva and Ha. The Smokies added a run in the seven as Alcantara blasted a solo home run.

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Tennessee experienced another meltdown from Trey McNutt on Tuesday as the Smokies lost a heartbreaker 4-3 to Montgomery. McNutt came in to pitch the ninth with Tennessee leading 3-1. Two walks, three hits, and three earned runs later, the Smokies walked away losers. The performance of McNutt spoiled a masterful outing by starter Kyle Hendricks, who allowed an earned run and struck out nine in seven innings. Although he gave up a two-out double, Zac Rosscup was equally impressive as he struck out the side to improve his season total to 16 strikeouts in nine innings. With the announcement that Justin Bour has a broken wrist, it looks like it will be Jonathan Mota (2-for-4 with two RBI) for a while at first base. Mota cracked a solo home run in the second and doubled home Johermyn Chavez (2-for-3) in the seventh. Tennessee picked up what they thought was an insurance run in the eighth as Arismendy Alcantara, who reached on a force, scored on a single by Christian Villanueva (2-for-4 with a RBI).

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (6-12)

The pitching staff did well enough to win on Sunday, but received no run support as Iowa lost to Memphis 1-0. Drew Carpenter had his best outing as a member of the organization. Carpenter threw 5.2 scoreless innings while striking out six batters. Recently down from the parent club, Hisanori Takahashi kept the Redbirds at bay with 1.1 scoreless innings. Yoanner Negrin picked an unfortunate time to give up his first earned run as he also struck out two in his 1.2 innings. There was not much to say about the offense, as they managed only six hits. Darnell McDonald went 1-for-3 and stole second base.

Iowa jumped out ahead on Monday and held on for a 4-2 victory over Memphis. Logan Watkins (1-for-3) led off the game with a double, and scored the first run on an Ian Stewart (1-for-3, two RBI) double. A single by Brian Bogusevic (2-for-4 with two RBI) scored Stewart. It stayed 2-0 until the fifth inning as pitcher Brooks Raley (1-for-3) singled and Watkins walked. The runners moved up ninety feet as Raley advanced on a fly out and Watkins stole second. A sacrifice fly by Stewart finally brought in Raley. As they moved to the sixth, Bogusevic doubled to start things off then trotted home on Brad Nelson’s (2-for-4 with two RBI) third homer of the season.

Brooks Raley wasn’t as sharp as he was in his last outing, but was good enough. Raley allowed two earned runs and struck out three in 5.2 innings. Zach Putnam has seemed to settle down recently. Putnam struck out three in 1.2 scoreless innings. Rafael Dolis and Blake Parker shut the Redbirds out the rest of the way. Parker struck out two and picked up his second save.

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Iowa finished their set in Memphis with a 4-1 loss on Tuesday. Nick Struck had a decent, but not notable, outing. Struck allowed two earned in six innings, which is usually enough to win most ballgames. Casey Coleman struck out the side in his only inning of work. Yoanner Negrin has come back to earth a little, as he gave up two earned runs in the eighth inning. The I-Cubs scratched out a consolation run in the seventh as Brian Bogusevic (1-for-4) doubled with two outs and came home on a Brad Nelson (1-for-3 with a RBI) single.

News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs sent IF Alberto Gonzalez outright to Iowa; assigned OF Ty Wright to Tennessee.  The Tennessee Smokies placed 1B Justin Bour on the 7-day disabled list; activated IF Elliot Soto from the 7-day disabled list; assigned IF Anthony Giansanti to Daytona. Matt Loosen was assigned to Tennessee from Extended Spring Training. The Daytona Cubs placed C Taylor Davis on the 7-day disabled list; activated IF Tim Saunders from the 7-day disabled list; RHP David Cales was assigned to Daytona from Extended Spring Training; assigned IF David Bote to Extended Spring Training.

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