The longball was the center of attention at the start of the week, as Iowa ended up getting them from unexpected sources in Edwin Maysonet and Donnie Murphy. Arismendy Alcantara continues to amaze in Tennessee as he hit his seventh longball of the season. Meanwhile, Kane County’s Dan Vogelbach got himself back on track by launching two big flies of his own. None may have been more important than one by Javier Baez, who helped Daytona win in walk-off fashion. To get the details, see what’s inside of this version of Down on the Farm.
Editor’s Note: Monday’s report covers games from Wednesday to Saturday. Thursday’s report covers games Sunday through Tuesday.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (24-26)
On Sunday, it looked as if Kane County would cruise and even their season record. However, the bullpen fell apart and the Cougars wound up losing 6-5 to Beloit. Tayler Scott gave up two earned runs in the first inning and escaped jams all night until he was lifted with two out in the sixth after allowing two more earned runs. Eddie Orozco allowed back-to-back doubles and two singles to let the Snappers take the lead. Orozco went 2.1 innings and gave up two earned runs while striking out three batters. Jeffry Antigua pitched a scoreless ninth.
The Cougars manufactured their first run as Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-4) led off with a walk, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice fly, and scored on a groundout. Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4 with a home run) tied the score in the third with his first home run of the season. One out singles by Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4) and Willson Contreras (1-for-3) in the fourth set up Marco Hernandez (2-for-4 with two RBI), who singled in in both runners. Chen and Albert Almora (2-for-5) singled to start the fifth and Chen once again scored on a groundout.
Kane County survived a scare to one of its top prospects on Monday as they came from behind to defeat Beloit 8-4. Outfielder Albert Almora had to leave the game in the third inning after hurting his leg on a defensive play. Reports are that Almora suffered a hamstring injury. The Cougars spent the early innings trying to match the Snappers run for run. Rock Shoulders (1-for-5) led off the second with a single and advanced to third on a throwing error. Shoulders scampered home on a wild pitch. Down by two runs in the third, David Bote (1-for-4), in for Almora, singled and Dan Vogelbach (3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) followed with a base hit of his own. Bote scored on a double from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with a RBI), while Vogelbach came in on a groundout. The Cougars broke the game open in the eighth as Marco Hernandez (1-for-4 with a RBI) and Gioskar Amaya (1-for-3) led off with singles. A sacrifice moved them up ninety feet, and Hernandez scored on a fielder’s choice and an error on a hit from Oliver Zapata (2-for-4). Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4 with two RBI) laced a single that scored Amaya and Zapata, and then Chen trotted home when Vogelbach clobbered his sixth home run.
Starter Michael Heesch was able to get through six innings while allowing three earned runs and striking out four batters. Steve Perakslis was almost a goat as his throwing error let in another run, but he was able to compose himself and strike out three in three innings for the win.
A rain shortened game on Tuesday did not allow Kane County enough time to come back as they lost to Quad Cities 7-5 in 5 1/2 innings. Once again, Dillon Maples had a rough time as he allowed seven earned runs in three innings while walking five and striking out five batters. Piggy-back starter Lendy Castillo took over in the fourth and struck out two in two scoreless innings. The Cougars tied the score in the third inning as David Bote walked and Oliver Zapata (2-for-3) singled. Bote and Zapata scored on a triple by Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-3 with two RBI). Kane County closed the gap in the fifth as Zapata and Gioskar Amaya (1-for-1) were on board when Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) belted his seventh home run of the season.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (25-24)
It seemed as if Daytona could not get things together on Sunday as they lost 5-3 to Lakeland. P.J. Francescon was not able to keep the ball down in the zone and he allowed four earned runs, while striking out six in six innings. Yao-Lin Wang saw action fresh off the disabled list and gave up an earned run while striking out two in 1.2 innings. Jeffrey Lorick finished things up with two strikeouts in 1.1 scoreless innings. The D-Cubs could not muster any offense until the fourth inning when Jorge Soler (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) clubbed his seventh home run with Javier Baez (1-for-3) on base. Another run scored in the eighth as Tim Saunders was hit by a pitch and stole second. Saunders moved to third on a single by Zeke DeVoss (3-for-4), and scored on a John Andreoli (1-for-4 with a RBI) base hit.
Dramatics were in store on Tuesday as Daytona came back in the late innings to defeat Tampa 6-4 in 11 innings. Down 2-0 early, the D-Cubs started chipping away in the third inning as Wes Darvill (1-for-3) led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly. In the fourth inning, a walk to Ben Carhart (1-for-3) and an RBI double from Chadd Krist (1-for-4 with a RBI) cut the lead to 3-2. Daytona kept the Yankees’ lead to one run in the sixth as Carhart and Darvill were hit by pitches, moved up ninety feet on a sacrifice fly and Carhart scored on a wild pitch. The D-Cubs tied the game in the ninth on a wild series as Dustin Geiger reached first base on a dropped third strike. Geiger was replaced by pinch-runner Taiwan Easterling, who moved to third on a throwing error on a hit from Carhart. Another throwing error allowed Easterling to scamper home and tie the score. The game remained tied until the 11th as John Andreoli (2-for-6) singled and came in on a Javier Baez (2-for-6 with a home run and two RBI) walk-off home run.
Starter Austin Kirk was unable to hold the Tampa attack as he allowed three earned runs and struck out three in five innings. Austin Reed followed and gave up another earned run in two innings. Eduardo Figueroa and the recently activated Larry Suarez each tossed a scoreless inning. Frank Del Valle picked up the victory by shutting out the Yankees for two innings.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (27-23)
Tennessee was able to answer the call on Sunday and ended up cruising to a 5-2 victory over Huntsville. Starter Eric Jokisch blanked the Stars for five innings before giving up a pair of earned runs in the sixth as he finished with six strikeouts over 5.2 innings. Trey McNutt was at his best and ended up striking out the side in his inning of work. Zac Rosscup also had his strikeout pitch working as he fanned two in 1.1 innings. Old reliable Frank Batista pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his sixth save.
The Smokies drew first blood in the second as Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with a RBI) reached on a one out double and Tim Torres (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) brought him home with his second home run. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-3) walked in the fourth and took third on a single from Ty Wright (1-for-4). Wright advanced to second on the throw. Alcantara scored on a fielder’s choice from Villanueva. Back-to-back one out doubles by pinch-hitter Jonathan Mota and Matt Szczur (2-for-4 with a RBI) in the seventh scored another run, with Szczur moving to third on a wild pitch and scoring on a sacrifice fly.
The fans in Eastern Tennessee got their money’s worth on Monday as the Smokies beat Huntsville 8-6. Matt Loosen set the tone for the game with the first batter by serving up a solo home run. Loosen gave up two more home run balls while allowing four earned runs to go along with three strikeouts in six innings. Hunter Cervenka saw his first Double-A action and was greeted rudely. Cervenka allowed two earned runs in one inning. Tony Zych was able to stem the tide by blanking the Stars for two innings while earning his first win of the season.
The Smokies matched Huntsville in the first inning as Matt Szczur (1-for-3 with a RBI) singled and moved to third on an errant pick-off attempt. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a RBI) knocked Szczur in with a base hit of his own. Tennessee took the lead in the fourth as Ty Wright singled, Rubi Silva (1-for-3 with a RBI) was hit by a pitch, and Christian Villanueva (1-for-3) walked to load the bases. A sacrifice fly scored Wright, and a walk to Chad Noble (2-for-3) re-filled the sacks. Matt Loosen drew a walk to force in Silva, while Szczur also got the easy RBI on a walk to score Villanueva. The Smokies tied the game by scoring single runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Pinch-hitter Anthony Giansanti singled and came home on a single from Ronald Torreyes (2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI) and back to back doubles by Wright and Silva produced another run. With Noble on, Torreyes launched his first home run of the season to give Tennessee the winning margin.
Tennessee received a sparkling effort from their pitching staff on Tuesday and held Birmingham at bay 3-2. Kyle Hendricks is emerging as the ace of the staff as he allowed two earned runs in 6.2 innings while striking out six batters. Kevin Rhoderick held the Barons scoreless for two innings, while Frank Batista earned his seventh save as he shut down Birmingham for the final 1.1 innings. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a home run) started out the scoring for the Smokies when he launched his seventh home run of the season in the fourth inning. Consecutive singles by Anthony Giansanti (1-for-4), Chad Noble (1-for-3) and Elliot Soto (1-for-3 with a RBI) scored Giansanti in the fifth inning. Christian Villanueva (2-for-4) tripled with one out in the sixth and scored on a single from Jonathan Mota (1-for-4 with a RBI).
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (24-26)
Sunday saw a doubleheader for Iowa as their pitching outlasted Oklahoma City’s pitching for a 2-1 victory in game one. Barret Loux was having an uneven season but finally was able to show why he has so much promise. Loux struck out six and scattered three hits while allowing an earned run in six innings. Blake Parker set down the side in order in the seventh to collect his seventh save. It was all Edwin Maysonet (2-for-2 with a home run) for the I-Cubs as he doubled to lead off the third inning. Maysonet ended up a third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly. Maysonet took things in his own hands in the fifth as he cracked his fourth home run.
Game two saw Iowa’s most consistent pitcher in an emergency start as they swept Oklahoma City 4-3. The I-Cubs usually turn to Esmailin Caridad to help with the back end of doubleheaders. But with Caridad on the disabled list, Yoanner Negrin stepped up and struck out five in 4.1 innings while allowing two earned runs. Fresh up from Tennessee, Marcus Hatley tossed 1.2 innings and gave up and earned run while striking out two to collect his first victory. Zach Putnam took over the closer chores and went 1-2-3 for his fourth save. Iowa jumped out to an early lead as Logan Watkins (1-for-3 with a home run) started the game off with a home run. A single and stolen base from Brian Bogusevic (1-for-2), a walk to Dave Sappelt, and a single from Brad Nelson loaded the bases. Both Donnie Murphy (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) and Edwin Maysonet drove in runs after both players were hit by a pitch. With the game tied in the sixth, Murphy launched his fourth home run that gave Iowa the lead.
Iowa wasn’t quite able to complete the five-game sweep of Oklahoma City on Monday as they lost 4-3. Guillermo Moscoso has not been as effective as he had been in his first three starts. Moscoso was tagged for four runs (three earned) to go along with six strikeouts in five innings. Hisanori Takahashi walked three in his two scoreless innings, but didn’t give up a hit. In his first appearance for Iowa since 2010, Brian Schlitter shut out the Red Hawks for two innings while striking out three batters. The I-Cubs got on the board in the fourth inning as Brian Bogusevic (1-for-2) doubled and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Brent Lillibridge (1-for-4 with a home run) socked his third home run of the season. Walks to Bogusevic and Darnell McDonald sandwiched around a single from Brett Jackson (1-for-4) loaded the bases in the sixth. Once again, Bogusevic came home on a sacrifice fly.
Tuesday saw a dominant pitching performance as Iowa defeated Nashville 6-2. Chris Rusin gave up an earned run in the first inning, and then cruised through the next seven as he ended up with eight strikeouts in eight innings. Eduardo Sanchez gave up an earned run in his inning of work. The I-Cubs never looked back after the second inning as Dave Sappelt reached on a throwing error and Donnie Murphy (2-for-4) doubled. Both Sappelt and Murphy scored on sacrifice flies. Luis Flores led off the fifth with a walk and Brent Lillibridge (2-for-4 with a home run) singled him the third. Lillibridge ended up getting picked off of first. Rusin helped his cause with a single that plated Flores. Brett Jackson (1-for-3) was aboard with a walk in the sixth when Edwin Maysonet (1-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) cracked his fifth home run. Lillibridge added a solo shot in the seventh.
Venezuelan Summer League
The VSL Cubs have moved into sole possession of second place by going 4-2 over the last week to run their season record to 7-6. Infielder/outfielder Roney Alcala and outfielder Arnaldo Calero are seventh and eighth in the league respectively in hitting. Alcala is now sporting a .346 average that includes a home run and nine RBI. Calero is right behind Alcala with a .345 average that also includes a home run and nine RBI. The team RBI leader is first baseman Delbis Arcilia, who is also fourth in the league with 12 runs driven in to go along with four home runs and a .307 average. Third baseman Miguel Rico is tied for the league lead with five home runs, while hitting .214 with 10 RBI. Right-handed pitcher Greyfer Eregua continues to lead the league with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP to go along with 11 strikeouts in 12 innings. Right-hander Francisco Carrillo is right behind Eregua with a 0.91 WHIP to go along with a 2-0 record, a 1.26 ERA, and a league leading 16 strikeouts.
Note: Saturday marks the beginning of The Dominican Summer League.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned RHP Brian Schlitter to Iowa from Tennessee; assigned LHP Hunter Cervenka and C Chad Noble to Tennessee from Daytona; assigned C Lance Rymel to Tennessee from extended spring training; assigned RHP Larry Suarez to Daytona from extended spring training
The Iowa Cubs placed RHP Esmailin Caridad and IF Josh Vitters on the 7-Day disabled list. The Daytona Cubs activated RHP Yao-Lin Wang from the 7-Day disabled list.