From top to bottom, the Cubs’ affiliates experienced an interesting end to the week. Not only did Junior Lake make his Triple-A debut on Thursday but Iowa split their four games thanks to a three-home run game from Ian Stewart. Tennessee went into a tailspin and lost four straight. Daytona was limited to one game due to a tropical storm, and Kane County took three out of four as the bats of Jeimer Candelario and Albert Almora led the way. To find out more, check 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.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (28-31)
The offense was able to bail Kane County out in a see-saw game on Wednesday as the Cougars topped Burlington 8-6. Pierce Johnson had a so-so outing as he allowed four runs (two earned) in five innings. Johnson struck out five batters and moved into sole possession of second place in the Midwest League in strikeouts with 65. Eddie Orozco gave up a two-run home run in the sixth, but struck out two in two innings. Fresh off the disabled list, All-Star Felix Pena had three strikeouts in two scoreless innings to collect his first save.
The game started out fast for the Cougars, as they constantly had to answer the persistent Bees’ attack. Albert Almora (1-for-5) singled with one out in the first inning and scored on Dan Vogelbach’s (2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) ninth home run. In the third inning, Oliver Zapata (2-for-5 with a RBI) led off with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. That prompted an intentional walk to Vogelbach. But Jeimer Candelario (2-for-5 with a RBI) upset that strategy by lacing a single to right that plated Zapata and moved Vogelbach to third. A base hit by Rock Shoulders (2-for-3 with a RBI) loaded the bags for Reggie Golden (3-for-4 with two RBI). Golden singled in both Vogelbach and Candelario. Kane County added two more in the sixth with extra base hits as Carlos Escobar (1-for-4) doubled, Marco Hernandez (1-for-4 with a RBI) tripled in Escobar, and Zapata doubled in Hernandez. The Cougars added an insurance run in the ninth as Vogelbach led off with a double, moved to third on a single by Candelario, and scored on a double play.
Kane County was simply flattened by Burlington on Thursday, losing 9-0. The Bees took advantage of the Cougars’ mistakes as Jose Rosario started and surrendered five runs, one earned, while striking out two in five innings. Brian Smith was asked to take Kane County the rest of the way as he allowed four earned runs and struck out three in three innings. Since the Cougars were not able to score, the only offensive highlights were Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4) and Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4) who also stole his fifth base.
Friday saw Kane County turn the page as they put an embarrassing loss behind them and beat Burlington 3-2. The star of the game was All-Star Tayler Scott. Scott went seven innings and limited the Bees to two runs (one earned). Steve Perakslis extended his scoreless streak to 14.1 innings as he struck out two and shut down Burlington for two innings in route to his first save. The lead changed hands five times and the Cougars tied the game in the fourth as Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with a home run) slugged his second home run of the season. Kane County took the lead in the fifth when Bijan Rademacher (2-for-4) led off with a double, was sacrificed to third, and came home on a single from Carlos Escobar (2-for-4 with two RBI). The Cougars broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh as Marco Hernandez (1-for-3) reached on a two out single and scored on a Carlos Escobar triple.
The Cougars went on a roll Saturday as their offense heated up and Kane County pounded Cedar Rapids 15-1. Lefty Michael Heesch was the beneficiary of the offensive outburst. Heesch scattered eight hits over 6.1 innings while striking out three and allowing an earned run. Ian Dickson pitched 1.2 scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Lendy Castillo struck out the side in the ninth.
Everyone in Kane County’s lineup walked away with at least one hit. The scoring started in the second inning with Jeimer Candelario (3-for-4 with a home run) blasting his third home run, making it two straight nights he has left the ballpark. The third inning was a big one for the Cougars as Gioskar Amaya (1-for-5 with a home run) led off with his second home run. Albert Almora (4-for-5 with a home run and four RBI) restarted things with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Candelario and Rock Shoulders (1-for-5 with two RBI) walked. Almora and Candelario scored on a double by Willson Contreras (2-for-6 with two RBI). Oliver Zapata (2-for-4 with two RBI) followed with a double of his own and plated both Shoulders and Contreras. A single by Marco Hernandez (2-for-3 with two RBI) drove in Zapata. Dan Vogelbach (1-for-6 with a home run) decided to join the home run parade in the fourth, as he launched his tenth of the season. The Cougars continued their relentless attack in the fifth as Zapata drew a one out walk and Reggie Golden (2-for-4) singled. Hernandez doubled in Zapata. One out later, Almora bashed his first homer of the season to clear the bases. Not done, Kane County started the ninth with three straight walks to Golden, Hernandez, and Amaya. A sacrifice fly scored Golden, and one out later, Candelario walked to reload the bases. A double by Shoulders plated Hernandez and Amaya.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (29-28)
Tropical Storm Andrea forced the cancellation of a doubleheader on Thursday that will not be made up. With the weather clear on Friday, Daytona came home and lost to Brevard County 7-6. Matt Loosen was making his first start of the season for the D-Cubs after being demoted from Tennessee. But it appeared to be more of the same for Loosen as he struggled to get batters out. Loosen allowed six earned runs in five innings while striking out four batters. Jeffrey Lorick gave up an earned run while he worked two innings, but Austin Reed held the Manatees scoreless for two more.
Daytona was continually working from behind as they cut the lead to one in the third inning. Chadd Krist walked to start the third and Zeke DeVoss (3-for-3) followed with a single. A groundout moved them up and a sacrifice fly scored Krist. Tim Saunders (2-for-4 with three RBI) delivered a two out single that plated DeVoss. Two more runs came in the fifth as DeVoss was hit by a pitch and stole second. A single by Wes Darvill (2-for-4 with a RBI) scored DeVoss and he took second on a play at the plate. Darvill moved to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly. In the eighth, Javier Baez (2-for-5) singled with one out, moved to second on a groundout, and scored on a single by Dustin Geiger (1-for-5 with a RBI). Base hits by DeVoss and Darvill started a rally in the ninth and DeVoss scored on a single by Saunders. Baez followed with another single, but the big guys in the middle of the line-up were not able to drive anyone else in.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (31-30)
Tennessee finished up their series against Jackson with a doubleheader on Thursday and dropped game one 5-0. It was a poor start for Alberto Cabrera, who was battered for ten hits and five earned runs in five innings. Trey McNutt and Zac Rosscup each contributed a scoreless inning, and Rosscup picked up two more strikeouts. The Smokies’ offense managed only four hits, with Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with a double) and Chad Noble (1-for-3 with a double) collecting the only extra base hits.
It was a closer contest in game two, but the Smokies still ended up falling to the Generals 2-1. Eric Jokisch went the distance for Tennessee and allowed two runs (one earned) while striking out six in seven innings. The Smokies scored their only run in the sixth inning as Ronald Torreyes (2-for-3) led off with a double and moved to third on a single by Ty Wright (1-for-3). A single by Rafael Lopez (2-for-3 with a RBI) scored Torreyes before the rally fizzled out.
The offensive miseries continued for Tennessee on Friday as the Smokies lost 6-1 to Mobile. Matt Szczur continues to lead the team as he went 3-for-4, but received no support behind him. Jonathan Mota (2-for-4 with a home run) cracked his third home run of the season in the fifth inning for the Smokies only run. Austin Kirk returned to Double-A after spending the first two months with Daytona and was hit hard. Kirk gave up six earned runs on ten hits while striking out four batters in six innings. Tony Zych and Hunter Cervenka each tossed a scoreless inning.
The losing streak for Tennessee increased to four games as they let on slip away from them on Saturday by losing 3-2 in ten innings to Mobile. The Smokies’ attack remained relatively toothless as it has over the streak. The only two runs Tennessee was able to manage came in the seventh inning as a home run from Rafael Lopez (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) scored Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4), who had doubled earlier. That set things up well for Kyle Hendricks, who did his part by limiting the BayBears to an earned run while striking out six in six innings. The good Trey McNutt showed up as he struck out two in a scoreless inning. But Zac Rosscup allowed Mobile to tie the score. Rosscup let in an earned run while striking out two in two innings. Kevin Rhoderick took over in the tenth and recorded one out, but hit a batter with the bases loaded to bring in the winning run.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (27-34)
A scoreless tie on Thursday was broken wide open by Round Rock in the late innings, as the Express defeated Iowa 6-0. Starter Guillermo Moscoso was doing well until the sixth inning, when he allowed three earned runs. Michael Bowden replaced him and the onslaught continued. Bowden gave up three earned runs while striking out four in 1.2 innings. Eduardo Sanchez finished out the game with a scoreless 1.1 innings. The only offensive players of note were rehabbing Steve Clevenger, who went 1-for-3 with a double, and Junior Lake. Lake collected his first Triple-A hit in route to a 1-for-4 debut at the Triple-A level.
Iowa pitched well enough to win on Friday, but just couldn’t muster any offense as they lost 3-1 to Round Rock. Chris Rusin continues to make a strong bid for promotion to the majors. Rusin went eight innings and struck out seven while allowing two earned runs. Brian Schlitter gave up an insurance earned run in the ninth. The I-Cubs scored their only run on back-to-back doubles by Steve Clevenger (1-for-4) and Junior Lake (2-for-3 with a RBI).
Game one of a day/night doubleheader on Saturday was a huge coming out party for Ian Stewart (3-for-4 with three home runs and eight RBI), as Iowa defeated Round Rock 8-5. The much maligned infielder had probably his best game as a pro. Stewart belted three home runs and drove in eight runners. Stewart hit his first round-tripper in the second inning as Steve Clevenger walked and Junior Lake was hit by a pitch ahead of him. In the fourth, Lake walked and was on board as Stewart went yard again. Stewart put the I-Cubs ahead for good in the eighth as Clevenger walked again and Dave Sappelt (1-for-3) singled before Stewart hit his third homer of the game. Nick Struck started and went 6.2 innings and allowed four earned runs while striking out two batters. Alex Burnett replaced Struck and gave up an earned run in 1.1 innings. Casey Coleman picked up his second save as he set down the Express in the ninth.
In the nightcap of the split doubleheader, Iowa jumped out ahead and hung on for a 5-4 victory to complete the sweep of Round Rock on Saturday. The first inning saw Logan Watkins (1-for-3) lead off with a single and then trot home on a Brent Lillibridge (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) home run. The I-Cubs added a run in the second as Junior Lake (3-for-4) started things off with a double and scored on a single by Darnell McDonald (2-for-4 with two RBI). Lake was in the middle of the scoring in the fourth inning with a lead off bunt single. A base hit by Donnie Murphy (1-for-4) moved Lake to third and McDonald drove him in with another single. J.C. Boscan (1-for-4) followed with a bunt single of his own, and a two out base hit from Brett Jackson (1-for-4 with a RBI). Barret Loux was activated from the disabled list and pitched well in his return. Loux allowed an earned run while striking out two in three innings. Jeffry Antigua is still getting his feet wet in the PCL as he ate up some innings by pitching 2.2 innings while giving up two earned runs as he struck out three batters. Marcus Hatley relieved and held the Express scoreless for 1.1 innings with two strikeouts. Veteran Hisanori Takahashi also struck out two as he shut down Round Rock for 1.2 innings. Brian Schlitter picked up his first save for Iowa as he recorded the final out.
News and Notes
The Iowa Cubs placed SS Edwin Maysonet on the 7-Day disabled list retroactive to June 4; activated RHP Barret Loux from the 7-Day disabled list. The Kane County Cougars activated RHP Felix Pena from the 7-Day disabled list; activated C Willson Contreras from the temporary inactive list; assigned C Neftali Rosario to extended spring training.
Top Prospect Watch
- Albert Almora (OF) – .435/.471/.581/1.051 with six doubles, one home run, eight RBI, a stolen base (Kane County Cougars)
- Javier Baez (SS) – .281/.325/.511/.836 with 16 doubles, four triples, nine home runs, 36 RBI, four stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
- Jeimer Candelario (3B) – .275/.359/.394/.753 with 17 doubles, three home runs, 21 RBI (Kane County Cougars)
- Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 4-4 with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP, 58.0 innings pitched, 19 earned runs, 65 strikeouts, 17 walks (Kane County Cougars)
- Dillon Maples (RHP) – 0-1 with a 7.07 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP, 21.2 innings pitched, 17 earned runs, 23 strikeouts, 12 walks (Kane County Cougars)
- Tim Saunders (IF/OF) – .199/.291/.256/.547 with two doubles, two triples, one home run, 13 RBI, 17 stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
- Jorge Soler (OF) – .283/.352/.481/.833 with 11 doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 32 RBI, five stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
- Christian Villanueva (3B) – .257/.326/.438/.764 with 19 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 31 RBI, four stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Dan Vogelbach (1B) – .272/.341/.453/.794 with 12 doubles, 10 home runs, 40 RBI, three stolen bases (Kane County Cougars)
- Logan Watkins (2B) – .233/.347/.386/.732 with nine doubles, four triples, five home runs, 15 RBI, five stolen bases (Iowa Cubs)
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