Arrivals seem to be the big story to start this week as pitchers Jose Rosario and Kyler Burke returned to Kane County and Daytona respectively. Albert Almora made his Kane County debut on Wednesday night and went 3-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a RBI. Meanwhile, Tennessee suffered two last minute losses and Iowa rode the mighty bat of Brian Bogusevic to a doubleheader sweep. These stories, along with a recap of the first week of the Venezuelan Summer League, are inside 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 (20-22)
In a see-saw battle on Sunday, Kane County came out on the short end of a 7-6 loss to Cedar Rapids. Jose Rosario made his first start of the season after spending the spring in extended spring training. Rosario pitched well in his first outing. Rosario allowed two runs (one earned) in four innings. Ian Dickson drew the long assignment and struck out four but was batted around for six earned runs over four innings. Eddie Orozco started the ninth in hopes of drawing extra innings, but Orozco issued a pair of walks and a sacrifice fly plated the winning run.
The Cougars took the lead in the third inning as Bijan Rademacher (2-for-4) singled and scored on a double from Carlos Escobar (1-for-4 with a RBI). Escobar moved to third on a groundout, and scored on a fielder’s choice from Oliver Zapata (1-for-5 with a RBI). Zapata then stole second and was able to score on a triple by Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4 with a RBI). Kane County re-tied the game in the sixth as Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4) was on board with a double when Rock Shoulders (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) clobbered his tenth home run of the season. Down two runs in the ninth, the stage was set for dramatics as Rademacher reached with a one out single and David Bote (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) launched his first home run of the season.
Monday’s game with Cedar Rapids was delayed an hour and thirty minutes due to wet playing conditions. When the field was ready, Kane County built two different three-run leads only to end up losing 8-7. Tayler Scott got the starting call and allowed five runs (four earned) while striking out four in 5.1 innings. Nathan Dorris, who had only allowed three earned runs in his previous 15 innings, gave up three earned runs in 1.2 innings. Steve Perakslis pitched a scoreless ninth, but the damage had already been done.
The Cougars started their scoring in the second inning as Jeimer Candelario (4-for-5 with two RBI) singled and Rock Shoulders walked. A base hit from Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with a RBI) scored Candelario, and a sacrifice fly plated Shoulders. Marco Hernandez (1-for-4) singled to put runners on the corners, and Contreras came home on a force play. The Cougars added three more in the fourth as Bijan Rademacher was hit by a pitch, Oliver Zapata (1-for-4 with a RBI) doubled, and Gioskar Amaya (2-for-4) walked to load the bases. A single by Dan Vogelbach (2-for-5 with two RBI) scored Rademacher and Zapata, while a base hit from Candelario plated Amaya. A comeback attempt in the ninth fell short as Amaya doubled and scored on a single from Candelario.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (22-21)
Daytona put on a late surge to pull away from Lakeland 5-4 on Sunday. The D-Cubs took their first lead in the third inning as Tim Saunders (1-for-4 with a RBI) led off with a double and stole third base. A groundout allowed Saunders to score before Taylor Davis (2-for-4) restarted things with a single. Wes Darvill (1-for-4) smashed a ground-rule double, and Davis later scampered home on a wild pitch. Daytona tied the score up in the sixth as a walk to Darvill and a single by Javier Baez (1-for-3), and a wild pitch put runners on second and third. An intentional walk to Dustin Geiger (1-for-3 with a RBI) loaded the bases, and Ben Carhart was hit by a pitch that forced in Darvill. A force out by Saunders drove in Baez. But Dustin Geiger stayed hot and launched a solo home run leading off the eighth inning that would end up being the difference in the game.
Sinkerballer Ben Wells did not keep the ball down on Sunday. Wells was hit hard over his five innings of work. Wells struck out three batters but gave up four runs (three earned) that included a solo home run. Jeffrey Lorick took over in the sixth and helped slam the door on any hopes the Flying Tigers had of coming back. Lorick struck out one in two shutout innings. Luis Liria than came in and added two more scoreless innings to raise his scoreless streak to five as he earned his first save.
Monday saw the debut of another starter and a late inning collapse as Daytona lost 4-1 to Jupiter. The D-Cubs welcomed the return of Kyler Burke, who had been at extended spring training. Burke showed no signs of rust as he held the Hammerheads to an earned run while striking out five in five innings. Eduardo Figueroa got himself in trouble in the eighth inning and couldn’t get out of it. Figueroa ended up allowing three earned runs in 2.1 innings. Sheldon McDonald had to mop up and struck out a batter in the final 0.2 innings.
Daytona’s run came in the fifth as John Andreoli reached on an error, stole second base and scored on a double by Javier Baez (2-for-4 with a RBI).
Daytona had the tables turn on Tuesday, and was able to see the other team’s bullpen implode as it took ten innings for the D-Cubs to beat Jupiter 7-2. The D-Cubs scored the first run in the fifth inning as Ben Carhart (3-for-5) belted a one out double and eventually scored on a single from John Andreoli (1-for-4 with a RBI). Daytona added a run in the seventh as Javier Baez (2-for-4) led off with a single, stole second base, and scored after two groundouts. The score remained tied 2-2 in the top of the tenth when successive singles by Chad Noble (2-for-4), Chadd Krist (2-for-4), and Zeke DeVoss (1-for-5 with a RBI) loaded the bases. A fielder’s choice off the bat of Wes Darvill (0-for-5 with a RBI) scored pinch-runner Tim Saunders. Baez re-loaded the bases with a single, and Jorge Soler drove in DeVoss and Darvill with a base hit. Baez scored later in the inning on a double-play ball.
P.J. Francescon started the game and put together a solid effort. Francesco struck out three while allowing an earned run in five innings. Austin Reed saw his scoreless streak end at 10.2 innings as he gave up an earned run in two innings of work. Frank Del Valle stretched himself a little and was able to toss two innings of shutout ball to earn his second victory.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (23-21)
Rain on Sunday forced the Smokies to play a doubleheader on Monday, and one big inning and one big pitching performance put away Chattanooga 9-2 in game one. The extra day of rest seemed to suit Alberto Cabrera just fine as he went the distance for Tennessee. Cabrera struck out six while allowing two earned runs in seven innings. Cabrera also contributed with his bat, as his double in the third inning drove in Jonathan Mota (1-for-2). The fourth inning began with a single by Arismendy Alcantara (3-for-4 with two RBI), and he trotted home on a Christian Villanueva (1-for-4, two RBI) home run, his third longball of the season. Singles by Rafael Lopez (2-for-4) and Tim Torres (1-for-3 with a RBI) followed, and Lopez scored on a double from Rubi Silva (2-for-4 with a RBI). Mota was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and double by Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with two RBI) plated Torres and Silva. A ground rule double by Alcantara brought home Mota and Szczur. Tennessee tacked on a bonus run in the seventh as Alcantara hit another ground rule double, moved to third on a single by Lopez and scored on a sacrifice fly from Torres.
A bizarre end wasted another great pitching effort as Tennessee lost to Chattanooga 1-0 in game two. Eric Jokisch has rediscovered his early season form and he baffled the Lookouts for six shutout innings that included five strikeouts. Marcus Hatley took over and gave up a one out double. A wild pitch moved the runner to third, and two intentional walks were issued to set up a force at any base. Hatley then struck out the next batter, but the third strike was a wild pitch, which allowed the runner to score. Christian Villanueva went 2-for-3 for the Smokies in the game.
Tennessee lost another heartbreaker on Tuesday as a late rally came up short in a 5-4, 11-inning loss to Chattanooga. Tennessee took the early lead as Matt Szczur (1-for-6) led off with a double. A sac bunt and a groundout brought him home. Matt Loosen started for the Smokies and allowed three earned runs while striking out three in four innings. A.J. Morris followed and gave up another earned run in an inning of work. Tony Zych, Zac Rosscup, and Trey McNutt each held the Lookouts scoreless for an inning while Tennessee mounted a comeback.
Elliot Soto (2-for-5) started the comeback in the seventh with a single and scored on successive two-out base hits by Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-5) and Rubi Silva (2-for-5 with a RBI). Tennessee tied things in the eighth as singles by Tim Torres (2-for-5) and Soto were sandwiched around a walk to Jonathan Mota to load the bases. A wild pitch scored Torres and moved everyone up ninety feet. A groundout from pinch-hitter Ronald Torreyes drove in Mota. Frank Batista was called on to finish the game out for an over-stretched bullpen and tossed two scoreless innings. But Batista gave up a lead-off single in the 11th that would come around and score on a wild pitch and a throwing error.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (18-24)
Two big innings and two good pitching performances lead Iowa to a 7-3 win over Tucson on Sunday. Starter Nick Struck went six innings and allowed two earned runs while striking out four batters. Yoanner Negrin earned a save the hard way as he delivered three shutout innings with four strikeouts.
The I-Cubs would only need the fourth and fifth innings, as Brad Nelson (2-for-4 with five RBI) homered with Dave Sappelt (2-for-4) aboard. Donnie Murphy (2-for-4 with a RBI) followed that with a solo shot of his own. The fifth inning saw consecutive singles by Brian Bogusevic (1-for-3), Brett Jackson (1-for-3), and Sappelt to open things up. Nelson then wiped the bases clean with a double. A single by Murphy and a groundout plated Nelson.
Inclement weather on Monday meant a doubleheader on Tuesday as Iowa used some last inning heroic to beat Las Vegas 2-1 in game one. Brooks Raley got the start and allowed an earned run while striking out four in three innings. Raley left with a headache (reported as a migraine) after throwing only 45 pitches. Esmailin Caridad took over and was on top of his game. Caridad limited the 51’s to only one hit and a walk as he struck out two in three innings of work. Rafael Dolis was credited the victory after he struck out the side in the seventh. Brian Bogusevic (1-for-3 with a home run) led off the bottom half of the seventh with a solo home run to tie the game. After a one out walk to Brad Nelson (1-for-2), Ian Stewart singled to put runners on the corners. Donnie Murphy (1-for-3, RBI) then laced a single to score pinch-runner Edwin Maysonet with the game-winner.
Iowa almost let one slip away in game two as the hero of the day helped preserve a great pitching performance as the I-Cubs held on to win 6-5 against Las Vegas. Starter Barret Loux pitched his best game to date. Loux was perfect through four innings and had a no-hitter broken up with one out in the sixth. Loux ended up allowing four runs (two earned) while striking out five in 5.1 innings. Zach Putnam replaced Loux and got the I-Cubs out of the sixth inning while giving up another earned run. Blake Parker issued a walk but was able to finish off the 51’s for his sixth save.
Singles by Brent Lillibridge (1-for-3) and Brian Bogusevic (2-for-3 with a RBI) put runners on first and third to lead off the game. A sacrifice fly from Dave Sappelt (2-for-3 with two RBI) scored Lillibridge with the first run. The I-Cubs added two more in the third as Bogusevic worked a one out walk and went to third on a throwing error. Sappelt singled in Bogusevic. A two out double from Darnell McDonald (2-for-4 with two RBI) plated Sappelt. It was Sappelt again in the fifth inning as he singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. A base hit by Brad Nelson (1-for-3) put runners on the corners, and McDonald’s second double allowed Sappelt to score. An intentional walk to Edwin Maysonet loaded the bases, and Loux was able to coax a walk to force in Nelson. With the score tied at five in the sixth, it was up to Bogusevic to provide the dramatics. Bogusevic hit his second home run of the day … and it turned out to be the winning run.
Venezuelan Summer League
After dropping their first four games of the season, the VSL Cubs have won three straight to run their record to 3-4, two games out of first place. Outfielder Arnaldo Calero is fifth in the league in hitting with a .385 average that includes a home run and five RBI. Right behind Calero is outfielder Roney Alcala. Alcala is hitting .570 with a home run and seven RBI. First baseman Delbis Arcilia is also fifth in the league with eight RBI to go along with two home runs and a .333 average. In the week since opening, RHP Greyfer Eregua is leading the league with a 0.75 WHIP, as well as posting a 0.00 ERA that includes six strikeouts in seven innings. Right-hander Francisco Carrillo also has six strikeouts in 7.1 innings to go along with a 2.45 ERA.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs released RHP David Cales from Daytona; assigned LHP Kyler Burke to Daytona from extended spring training; assigned RHP Jose Rosario to Kane County from extended spring training; optioned RHP Eduardo Sanchez to Iowa.