It was reported that sportswriter Ring Lardner would sing “I’m forever blowing ballgames” to the “Black Sox” during the storied World Series. That seemed to be an appropriate tune with the way the week ended down on the farm as losing leads ran rampant through the organization.
Boise was powered by Yasiel Balaguert and Kevin Encarnacion as they went 2-2 to close out the week. Kane County continued to have a hard time with Quad Cities as they began their second half of the season by losing three straight. Javier Baez and a surging Tim Saunders propelled Daytona to a good start to the second half, while Tennessee said both hello and goodbye to Jae-Hoon Ha. Meanwhile, Iowa took over first place with help from Logan Watkins and Brian Bogusevic.
For more details, check out today’s Down on the Farm.
Editor’s Note: Monday’s report covers games from Wednesday to Saturday. Thursday’s report covers games Sunday through Tuesday.
Short-Season A – Boise Hawks (4-5)
It was another fine effort from Boise’s starting pitching as they beat Salem-Keizer on Wednesday 5-1. James Pugliese made his second start and was just as dominating as he was in the opener. Pugliese allowed his first earned run (a misplayed fly ball that turned into an inside the park home run) while striking out four in five innings. Corbin Hoffner also continued his strong showing in the bullpen as he struck out four in three scoreless innings. Michael Hamann nailed down the victory by going 1-2-3 and striking out a batter in the ninth.
Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-3) once again proved to be the catalyst as his he led off the fourth with a walk. Carlos Penalver (1-for-4) reached on an error while Jacob Rogers walked to load the bases. The Northwest League’s leader in RBI, Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4 with two RBI) singled to plate both Dunston and Penalver and raised his early season total to nine RBI. A sacrifice fly by Jose Dore (1-for-3 with two RBI) drove in Rogers. Dore delivered again in the sixth inning with a double that plated Penalver, who had singled earlier. An insurance run was added in the seventh as Lance Rymel drew a one out walk and scored on a double by David Bote (1-for-3 with a RBI).
Boise experienced a rainout on Thursday, so their series with Spokane started on Friday and the Hawks used the long ball to defeat the Indians 4-1. Kevin Encarnacion (2-for-4 with a home run) tied the score for Boise with a solo home run in the sixth inning. Encarnacion singled to start a two-out rally in the eighth. Jacob Rogers walked and Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) hit a long homer to center field that cleared the bases.
Paul Blackburn started and apart from an unearned run on his own throwing error, he was just as dominant as his first start. Blackburn struck out four in five innings. Carlos Marinez-Pumarino blanked Spokane over three innings while striking out three batters. Michael Hamann pitched the ninth and worked around a single with a strikeout and a fly out to earn his second save.
The rules were against Boise on Saturday as they ran out of innings in game one of a doubleheader by losing 3-2 to Spokane. The Hawks could not figure out the Indians’ pitching until the fifth inning when catcher Justin Marra (2-for-3 with a home run) hit his first professional home run. Trevor Gretzky (1-for-3) and Danny Lockhart (2-for-3) singled to put runners on the corners to start the seventh. Gretzky ended up scoring on a wild pitch.
Starter Loiger Padron allowed three earned runs and struck out three in four innings. Ethan Elias pitched two scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts.
Game two was somewhat of a repeat of game one as Boise could not come back from a deficit and lost 4-3 to Spokane. Veteran Orbandy Rodriguez was given the start and surrendered four runs (three earned) while striking out four in three innings. Jasvir Rakkar had a strong performance and held the Indians scoreless for three innings. The Hawks cut the lead to one in the third inning as David Bote led off with a walk and then he trotted around the bases when Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) went yard for the first time this season. And the Hawks went yard again in the sixth when Kevin Encarnacion (1-for-2 with a home run) cranked his second of the year.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (0-3) (30–39)
Kane County began the second half of the season the same way they began the first with a loss Quad Cities as the Cougars lost 5-3 on Thursday. Brian Smith got the call to start the second half and allowed four runs (three earned) while striking out four in five innings. Jose Rosario pitched the final three innings and gave up an earned run while recording two strikeouts. Kane County took the lead in the second as Rock Shoulders (2-for-3) walked and Marco Hernandez (2-for-5) doubled. Oliver Zapata (3-for-4 with two RBI) delivered a two out triple that plated Shoulders and Hernandez. A one out base hit by Zapata in the sixth gave an opportunity to Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4 with a RBI) and he drove in Zapata with a double.
Kane County wasted a decent pitching effort on Friday as they could not get their offense going and they lost 4-2 to Quad Cities. Tayler Scott went five innings and allowed two earned runs while striking out two batters. Lendy Castillo went the rest of the way and gave up two runs (one earned) with three strikeouts in three innings.
The only runs for the Cougars came in the fifth inning after Marco Hernandez worked a one out walk. Singles by Reggie Golden (1-for-4) and Carlos Escobar (2-for-4 with a RBI) scored Hernandez while a double by Gioskar Amaya (2-for-4 with a RBI) plated Golden.
The Cougars allowed a five run lead to slip away on Saturday as Kane County lost 6-5 to Quad Cities in 11 innings. The offense put up the first runs of the game in the fifth inning as Jeimer Candelario walked and Rock Shoulders (2-for-4 with a home run) doubled. A one out single by Reggie Golden (1-for-4 with two RBI) scored both Candelario and Shoulders. In the sixth, Gioskar Amaya walked and stole second then scored when Albert Almora (1-for-5 with two RBI) hit his second home run. Shoulders led off the seventh with his league leading 14th home run.
Starter Michael Heesch scattered six hits and struck out six through six scoreless innings. Armando Rivero made his professional debut and was rocked for four earned runs in 0.2 innings. Lefty Sheldon McDonald returned to Single-A and gave up an unearned run in his 2.1 innings. Steve Perakslis worked through a scoreless tenth but allowed an earned run to score with one out in the eleventh.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (2-1) (37-32)
Daytona came back from two runs down and beat Clearwater 4-3 in a Wednesday matinee. The rally started with a one out walk to Javier Baez in the fourth inning. Dustin Geiger reached on a fielding error and Ben Carhart (3-for-3 with a home run) was hit by a pitch. Baez scored on a groundout. The scoring started again in the fifth with one out as Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-4 with a RBI) singled and scored on a double by John Andreoli (1-for-5 with a RBI). Carhart whacked a solo home run to start the sixth inning. Tim Saunders (1-for-4 with RBI) followed Carhart with a single and scored on a single by Chen.
P.J. Francescon had a solid but not spectacular effort. Francescon allowed three earned runs while striking out four in six innings. Luis Liria had one of his better outings and held the Threshers scoreless over two innings. Eduardo Figueroa earned his second save after he worked around a hit in the ninth inning.
The D-Cubs kicked-off the second half by extending their winning streak to three games as they defeated Dunedin 4-0. Matt Loosen displayed some of the form that helped him lead the team in victories last season. Loosen struck out eight in six scoreless innings. Jeffry Lorick preserved the shutout as he tallied four strikeouts in three innings. Daytona got all the runs they would need in the first two innings. John Andreoli (1-for-4) and Zeke DeVoss (1-for-4) led off the game with singles and Andreoli scored on a groundout. DeVoss moved to third on the throw and Ben Carhart (2-for-3) worked a walk. Chadd Krist (1-for-4 with a RBI) singled in DeVoss, and a walk to Wes Darvill (1-for-2) reloaded the bases. Tim Saunders was then hit by a pitch to force in Carhart.
Javier Baez (2-for-4 with a home run) launched his 15th home run of the year in the second.
Daytona ended up on the short end of a pitcher’s duel on Friday as they lost 3-1 to Dunedin. Ben Wells had his sinker working recorded nine groundouts while allowing two earned runs with three strikeouts. Back from a short stint at Triple-A Iowa, Larry Suarez gave up a solo home run over his three innings of work.
The D-Cubs scored their only run in the fourth inning. Javier Baez was hit by a pitch and scored on a double by Dustin Geiger (1-for-4 with a RBI).
Another great pitching performance limited Dunedin to a single run as Daytona won 2-1 on Saturday. Zack Cates out-dueled the rehabbing Kyle Drabek as he struck out four and allowed only one earned run in 6.2 innings. Yao-Lin Wang went the rest of the way and earned his third save with three strikeouts over 2.1 scoreless innings.
The D-Cubs scored single runs in the first and third innings as Javier Baez (2-for-4 with a home run two RBI) belted a two out solo home run. Tim Saunders (1-for-4) lined a one out double to left in the third and scored on a single from Javier Baez.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (2-2) (36-37)
Tennessee welcomed back first baseman Justin Bour (1-for-5 with a home run) and outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-5) Wednesday from the disabled list and the offense received a boost from their arrival as the Smokies beat Chattanooga 7-2. Starter Alberto Cabrera benefitted from the extra offense as he allowed an earned run and struck out six over six innings. Zac Rosscup wasn’t at his best and gave up an earned run in an inning of work. Kevin Rhoderick and Hunter Cervenka took the Smokies the rest of the way and each reliever tossed a scoreless inning.
Tennessee tied the score at one in the third inning on back-to-back doubles by Rafael Lopez (2-for-4 with a RBI) and Ronald Torreyes (3-for-4 with two RBI). The Smokes followed with a five-run fourth. Christian Villanueva cracked a two out home run. Anthony Giansanti (1-for-3) singled and advanced to third on a double from Lopez. Torreyes singled in Giansanti and both Lopez and Torreyes scored on a double from pitcher Alberto Cabrera (1-for-3 with two RBI). Matt Szczur (1-for-5 with a RBI) followed with a double that plated Cabrera. Bour added a solo home run in the fifth to complete the scoring.
The Smokies are playing like a team that has gotten their confidence back and they defeated Chattanooga 3-2 on Thursday. Austin Kirk pitched his best game for Tennessee on Thursday. Kirk struck out eight and gave up only one hit in 5.2 scoreless innings. Tony Zych held the Lookouts for another 1.1 innings with a strikeout. Trey McNutt flirted with trouble, but got out of it with only an earned run scoring in his inning of work. Frank Batista earned his tenth save, but not before he caused some concern by allowing an earned run while striking out two batters.
The Smokies never trailed as Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-3) tripled with one out in the first and scored on a wild pitch. Chad Noble (1-for-4) led off the fifth with a double and moved to third on a groundout. Austin Kirk (1-for-2 with a RBI) then helped his own cause by driving a single into center that plated Noble. Ronald Torreyes (1-for-3) walked to start the seventh and a single by Ty Wright (1-for-2 with a RBI) and a walk to Matt Szczur loaded the bases. A force out by Jae-Hoon Ha drove in Torreyes.
Tennessee was on the short end on Friday in a game that saw the lead change five times and the Smokies lost to Chattanooga 8-7. It was the first poor outing of the season for Kyle Hendricks as he allowed five runs (four earned) in five innings. Yeiper Castillo replaced Hendricks and didn’t have any help, as two errors led to three runs (one earned). Castillo struck out two in two innings. Zac Rosscup struck out the side in the eighth.
The Smokies took the lead in the fourth inning after Christian Villanueva (1-for-5) led off with a single. Anthony Giansanti (1-for-3 with two RBI) and Ronald Torreyes (1-for-3) were hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kyle Hendricks (1-for-2 with two RBI) helped himself with a single that scored both Villanueva and Giansanti. A double from Matt Szczur (2-for-5 with a RBI) drove in Torreyes. Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with a home run) led off the fifth with his tenth home run. Tennessee tied it up in the seventh after Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4) was hit by a pitch with two outs and swiped second base. Justin Bour (1-for-5) advanced Ha to third with a single and Ha scored on a wild pitch. With Villanueva at first, Anthony Giansanti doubled in both Bour and Villanueva.
The bullpen shouldered all the blame for a collapse from a 5-1 lead on Saturday as Tennessee lost 11-8 to Chattanooga. A.J. Morris had another quality outing, Morris allowed three earned runs and struck out four in five innings. Hunter Cervenka took over and surrendered two earned runs in an inning, while Tony Zych allowed three earned runs in only 0.2 innings. Kevin Rhoderick completed the downfall as he gave up three earned runs in 1.1 innings.
The Smokies jumped out to a big lead in the second inning as Jonathan Mota (2-for-5) singled and walks by Ty Wright (2-for-3 with a RBI) and Rafael Lopez (1-for-4 with a RBI) loaded the bases. Mota scored on a sacrifice fly, and a single from Matt Szczur (4-for-5 with three RBI) plated both Wright and Lopez. A walk by A.J. Morris and a double from Szczur brought in another run in the fourth inning. Justin Bour (1-for-4) walked to lead off the fifth and advanced to second on a wild pitch then scored on single by Wright. Wright stole second and scored on a triple by Ronald Torreyes (1-for-3 with two RBI). Szczur led off the sixth with a single, stole second, went to third on a throwing error, and scored on a groundout. The Smokies tried to make a comeback in the ninth after Justin Bour led off the inning with a ground rule double. Rafael Lopez delivered a two-out RBI double that plated Bour.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs 38-39
Iowa played a doubleheader on Wednesday and dropped the opener 5-4 to Nashville. Brooks Raley was the starter in game one and allowed five earned runs in six innings while striking out five batters. Michael Bowden pitched a scoreless seventh inning.
The I-Cubs cut the lead in half in the first inning as Logan Watkins (3-for-4) led off the game with a triple and scored on a groundout. Donnie Murphy (1-for-3 with two RBI) led off the sixth with a single. Brian Bogusevic walked and Dave Sappelt reached on an error. A sacrifice fly plated Murphy and a single by Junior Lake (1-for-3 with a RBI) drove in Bogusevic. Watkins tripled for the second time in the game and scored in the seventh.
The I-Cubs managed a split as they beat Nashville 1-0 in game two. Barret Loux put on a show as he went five innings and allowed one hit while striking out five batters. Hisanori Takahashi pitched a 1-2-3 sixth, while Brian Schlitter picked up his fourth save with a perfect seventh. The only run scored in the sixth as Logan Watkins (2-for-3) singled, Steve Clevenger (1-for-2) reached on an error, and Brad Nelson (1-for-2) walked. Watkins then scored on a wild pitch.
Iowa took over first place in their division on Thursday as they survived a scare and pulled away from Nashville with a 6-4 victory. The I-Cubs jumped out ahead in the first inning as Brian Bogusevic (4-for-4 with a RBI) reached a one out single and Steve Clevenger walked. Junior Lake (3-for-4 with two RBI) knocked in Bogusevic and Donnie Murphy (3-for-3 with two RBI) doubled in both Clevenger and Lake. Iowa added to their lead in the fourth as Luis Flores walked and scored on a double from Bogusevic. Bogusevic completed a 4-for-4 night with a leadoff single in the seventh. Dave Sappelt (1-for-4 with a RBI) tripled in Bogusevic. Junior Lake singled in Sappelt.
Yoanner Negrin has made the successful conversion to starter and he allowed four earned runs with seven strikeouts in eight innings. Brian Schlitter nailed down his fifth save by working around a single in the ninth.
The I-Cubs played another doubleheader on Friday and Iowa beat Nashville 5-4 in game one. Guillermo Moscoso went six innings and gave up four earned runs while striking out five batters. Michael Bowden notched his second save as he went 1-2-3 in the ninth with a strikeout. Logan Watkins (2-for-3 with a home run) led off the game with his sixth longball the season. Iowa cut the Sounds’ lead to one in the third after Watkins reached on a one out double and scored on a triple by Dave Sappelt (2-for-3 with a RBI). The I-Cubs took the lead in the fourth as Junior Lake (1-for-3 with a home run) hit his first Triple-A home run. Donnie Murphy restarted the inning with a walk and he scored on a double by Brett Jackson (2-for-3 with a RBI). Brad Nelson (1-for-3 with a home run) put Iowa ahead for good in the sixth with his 13th home run.
Iowa swept the doubleheader with an 8-6 victory in game two. Jeffry Antigua made his first start of the season and he struck out five while allowing four earned runs in 3.2 innings. Marcus Hatley picked up his second win as he gave up two earned runs in 1.1 innings. Casey Coleman earned his third save by striking out two in two scoreless innings.
The I-Cubs were swinging from the heels as they used four home runs to bolster the offense. A single by Brian Bogusevic (2-for-4 with a home run), a walk by Steve Clevenger, and Brad Nelson reached on an error to start the game. Junior Lake (3-for-4 with three RBI) singled in both Bogusevic and Clevenger and Nelson scored on a sacrifice fly. Base hits by Darnell McDonald (1-for-3) and Tim Torres (3-for-3 with a RBI) drove in Lake. Iowa then went deep in four consecutive innings … Donnie Murphy (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) in the third, and inside-the-park homer by Brian Bogusevic in the fourth, Junior Lake went yard in the fifth, and Logan Watkins (2-for-4 with a home run) launched one in the sixth.
Iowa’s stay at .500 was short-lived as they lost 6-2 to Memphis on Saturday. Starter Chris Rusin had his first poor outing in three weeks. Rusin gave up six earned runs while striking out two in six innings. Eduardo Sanchez completed the game by tossing two scoreless innings. A walk to Brian Bogusevic and a double by Brad Nelson in the first inning scored the first run of the game. Bogusevic led off the sixth with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly.
Rookie League – AZL Cubs (1-2)
Note: With increased interest in the Rookie League, the CCO will offer a mini-recap of each game (along with winning box scores).
Erick Leal gave up a home run to the first batter he faced in Thursday’s opener, and then allowed three other hits while striking out five in five innings as the Cubs lost 1-0 to the Angels. Designated Hitter Zak Blair and shortstop Giuseppe Papaccio each had their first professional hit.
Daury Torrez survived allowing three earned runs in his first inning stateside by going on to pitch three scoreless innings while striking out four as the Cubs beat the Diamondbacks 6-4. Erick Castillo went 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Mark Malave also went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple.
The Cubs blew a two-run lead in the eighth and lost 7-5 to the Diamondbacks in ten innings on Saturday. Alexander Santana started and allowed three earned runs while striking out four in 4.2 innings. Outfielder Kevin Brown was 1-for-4 with a triple, while first baseman Kelvin Freeman made his professional debut and went 0-for-4 with a walk.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned OF Jae-Hoon Ha to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned RHP Pierce Johnson to the Daytona Cubs from the Kane County Cougars; assigned LHP Sheldon McDonald to the Kane County Cougars from the Daytona Cubs; assigned OF Jacob Hannemann and C Cael Brockmeyer to the Boise Hawks. The Iowa Cubs sent RHP Carlos Gutierrez on a rehab assignment to the AZL Cubs; placed OF Brett Jackson on the 7-Day disabled list.
Top Prospect Watch
- Albert Almora (OF) – .375/.402/.529/.931 with eight doubles, one triple, two home runs, 14 RBI, three stolen bases (Kane County Cougars)
- Javier Baez (SS) – .276/.338/.556/.893 with 17 doubles, four triples, 16 home runs, 52 RBI, seven stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
- Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 5-5 with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP, 69.2 innings pitched, 24 earned runs, 74 strikeouts, 22 walks (Kane County Cougars)
- Dillon Maples (RHP) – 0-2 with a 8.51 ERA and a 1.89 WHIP, 24.1 innings pitched, 24 earned runs, 23 strikeouts, 24 walks (Kane County Cougars)
- Juan Carlos Paniagua (RHP) – 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP, 4.1 innings pitched, no earned runs, five strikeouts, two walks (DSL Cubs)
- Tim Saunders (IF/OF) – .219/.312/.302/.614 with six doubles, two triples, two home runs, 21 RBI, 20 stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
- Jorge Soler (OF) – .281/.343/.467/.810 with 13 doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 35 RBI, five stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
- Duane Underwood (RHP) – 0-0 with a 7.36 ERA and a 2.18 WHIP, 3.2 innings pitched, three earned runs, three strikeouts, two walks (Boise Hawks)
- Christian Villanueva (3B) – .259/.324/.426/.750 with 20 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 33 RBI, four stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Dan Vogelbach (1B) - .262/.332/.435/.768 with 14 doubles, 11 home runs, 45 RBI, three stolen bases (Kane County Cougars)
Note: RHP Duane Underwood replaces 2B Logan Watkins in this week’s Top Prospect Watch.