Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/04/13

Happy 4th of July from the CCO!

First place has a nice ring to it as five of the Cubs’ eight affiliates are currently at the top of their division.

The I-Cubs rode the strong pitching of Barret Loux and the hot hitting of Brad Nelson earlier in the week. Boise’s Yasiel Balaguert was named Northwest League Player of the Week. While down in the Dominican Republic, strong pitching has moved the DSL Cubs firmly into first.

The Cubs named Javier Baez and Chris Rusin the organization’s pitcher and player of the month for June. Rusin was named as the I-Cubs’ lone representative in the upcoming All-Star game. And speaking of All-Stars, the Smokies will have a large contingent in the Southern League All-Star game as Arismendy Alcantara, Christian Villanueva, Rafael Lopez, Matt Szczur, Kyle Hendricks and Alberto Cabrera were named to the team.

For more information, 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.

Short-Season A – Boise Hawks (11-8)

The Eugene Emeralds might be glad they left Boise as the Hawks used a late rally for the third straight day and came out on top 6-5. Spearheading the attack for Boise was Northwest League Player of the Week Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4 with three RBI). Jose Dore (2-for-4) led off the third with a double and David Bote was hit by a pitch. Balaguert stepped in and connected with his league leading fourth home run. The three-run shot increased his league leading RBI total to 22. Balaguert then started the rally in the eighth with a single. Jacob Rogers followed with a walk, and Rony Rodriguez (1-for-4 with a RBI) doubled in Balaguert. Jordan Hankins (1-for-2, two RBI) singled in Rogers and Rodriguez with his first hit in a Hawks’ uniform.

Carlos Martinez-Pumarino made the most of a spot start by allowing two unearned runs while striking out two in three innings. Jasvir Rakkar drew the long assignment and gave up three runs (two earned) with a strikeout in three innings. Andrew McKirahan got in some work as he went two scoreless innings with a strikeout. Scott Frazier made his professional debut in the ninth and appeared to get squeezed by the home plate umpire. Frazier struck out a batter in 0.2 innings. Matt Iannazzo got the final out for his first save.

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Boise faced division leader Salem-Keizer on Monday and beat them 3-2. The Hawks jumped ahead early after Jacob Hannemann (2-for-5 with a RBI) singled but was forced on a groundout by Shawon Dunston Jr. Yasiel Balaguert drew a walk and both runners moved up a base on a balk. A double by Jacob Rogers (1-for-4 with two RBI) brought both home. That’s how things would stay until the ninth when Danny Lockhart (3-for-4) hit a one out single and went to second on a passed ball. A single by Hannemann scored Lockhart.

James Pugliese continued to show how much he has improved. Pugliese allowed an earned run over six innings of work. Ethan Elias tossed two innings and gave up an earned run while striking out two batters. Matt Iannazzo picked up his second save in as many nights as he struck out two batters in a scoreless inning.

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Boise made it six wins in a row on Tuesday as they beat Salem-Keizer 10-5. The Hawks got out to a fast start as Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4) led off the game with a single and both David Bote (1-for-4 with a home run) and Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4) walked to load the bases. Rony Rodriguez (1-for-5 with a RBI) hit a groundout that forced Hannemann at home. Lance Rymel (1-for-3 with two RBI) picked up Rodriguez and delivered a two-run single that plated both Bote and Balaguert. A walk to Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-3 with a RBI) reloaded the bases. Danny Lockhart (2-for-5 with two RBI) lined a double to right that scored Rodriguez and Rymel. Bote led off the fifth inning with a solo home run. Boise scored two more in the eighth as Rodriguez singled and Rymel walked. Brockmeyer singled in Rodriguez and Rymel advanced to third. A two out single by Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-4 with a RBI) plated Rymel. The Hawks added on in the ninth after Balaguert singled and Rymel walked. Jacob Rogers (1-for-1 with a home run and three RBI) stepped in and blasted his second home run, a three-run shot that cleared the bases.

It was the first outing of the season that Paul Blackburn did not look dominant. Blackburn allowed three runs (two earned) in three innings. Orbandy Rodriguez was called on to take up as many innings as he could. The big right-hander struck out two in two scoreless innings. Trey Masek was a little wobbly in his second appearance. Masek gave up an earned run in an inning while Tyler Skulina blanked the Volcanoes for a frame in his professional debut. Tyler Bremer earned his second save as he surrendered an earned run and struck out a batter in two innings.

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Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (2-10) (32 – 46)

It was the new kids on Sunday that helped Kane County to a 4-3 victory over Wisconsin. Kevin Encarnacion (3-for-5) led off the game with a single and scored after a stolen base, a sacrifice fly, and a fielding error. In the third, Jeimer Candelario reached base and singles by Marco Hernandez (2-for-4) and Willson Contreras loaded the bases. Oliver Zapata (2-for-4 with a RBI) then lined a base hit into center to score Candelario. Encarnacion led off the seventh with a single, Gioskar Amaya (1-for-5) singled and Hernandez was hit by a pitch. A base hit by Contreras drove in Encarnacion. Reggie Golden (1-for-3 with a home run) broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth when he clobbered his third home run of the season.

Brian Smith bounced back from a sub-par outing and allowed three earned runs in 4.1 innings while striking out three batters. Armando Rivero showed some improvement as he struck out three in 1.2 scoreless innings. It wasn’t pretty for Lendy Castillo as he walked three but otherwise shut out the Timber Rattlers for 1.2 innings. Newcomer Michael Hamann was brought in to do what many Cougars’ pitchers have struggled with this year, close out the ballgame. Hamann picked up a strikeout as he slammed the door on Wisconsin for his first save.

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Kane County’s pitching and defense let them down on Monday as the Cougars lost 4-3 to Wisconsin. Starter Jose Rosario was probably left in the game too long, as two of the three earned runs he allowed came in the seventh, his final inning of work. Justin Amlung walked three in the eighth, but it was an error by Gioskar Amaya that led to an unearned run. The Cougars grabbed the lead in the second inning after Marco Hernandez (2-for-4 with a RBI) singled and Willson Contreras reached on a throwing error. Two outs later, Oliver Zapata (1-for-3 with two RBI) tripled in both Hernandez and Contreras. Albert Almora (2-for-4) led off the third with a double and moved to third on a groundout. Hernandez singled in Almora.

The Cougars played a matinee game on getaway day and errors were Kane County’s undoing again on Tuesday in a 5-3 loss to Wisconsin. Errors by Marco Hernandez (1-for-3 with a RBI) and starter Tayler Scott led to two unearned runs. Scott gave up five runs and struck out two in 6.1 innings. Sheldon McDonald scattered four hits and struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings.

Kevin Encarnacion (1-for-4) singled and advanced to third on a single by Albert Almora (1-for-4) but Almora was thrown out at second trying to stretch the basehit into a double. Encarnacion was wiped out on a fielder’s choice that allowed Dan Vogelbach to reach.  Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) came through with a two-run homer. Candelario reached on a fielder’s choice in the ninth, stole second and scored on a Marco Hernandez single.

High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (5-1) (40-32)

Poor weather postponed games for Daytona on Sunday and Monday, and Tuesday was a scheduled day off for the D-Cubs. Daytona got back on the field on Wednesday and lost 5-1 to Brevard County.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (7-5) (41-40)

Tennessee allowed one to slip away on Sunday as they lost 4-3 in ten innings to Montgomery. The Smokies tried to keep the upper hand as Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a home run) reached on a fielding error, moved to third on a single from Rubi Silva (2-for-4), and scored on a sacrifice fly. Matt Szczur (1-for-5) led off the third with a triple and scored on a wild pitch. Alcantara put Tennessee ahead in the sixth with his 11th home run. Alberto Cabrera started and allowed two earned runs while striking out three in 6.1 innings. Zac Rosscup finished out the seventh by striking out the two batters he faced. Frank Batista labored through the eighth and issued three walks but escaped the inning without allowing any runs. Kevin Rhoderick not only gave up the tying run in the ninth, but also the winning run in the tenth.

A scoreless game on Monday broke bad for Tennessee as they lost 7-2 to Montgomery. Austin Kirk shut out the Biscuits for four innings but allowed two earned runs in the fifth and four in the sixth. Kirk struck out four batters in 5.2 innings. P.J. Francescon followed and gave up an earned run in 1.1 innings. Hunter Cervenka tossed a scoreless eighth inning. The two runs the Smokies scored in the eighth were more consolation types, as Chad Noble (2-for-4) singled and Elliot Soto (1-for-4) reached on a fielder’s choice. Matt Szczur (2-for-5 with a RBI) doubled in Nobel. Soto advanced to third and scored on a single by Rubi Silva (1-for-4 with a RBI).

The Smokies simply would not quit on Tuesday as Tennessee took 13 innings to beat Montgomery 4-3. The Smokies broke open a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth as Christian Villanueva (2-for-6 with a home run and two RBI) slammed his ninth home run of the season. A one out walk to Jonathan Mota brought up Rafael Lopez (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI). Lopez hit his fifth home run of 2013. That’s that way the score remained until the top of the 13th inning, when John Andreoli (1-for-6) and Justin Bour (1-for-6) reached on one out singles. Villanueva then lined a double into center that plated Andreoli.

Kyle Hendricks had an outing which is becoming typical for him. Hendricks struck out five over five scoreless innings. Jeffry Antigua recorded four strikeouts, but allowed two earned runs in 2.2 innings. Tony Zych got the final out in the eighth. Frank Batista issued a walk in the ninth, but a wild pitch and a throwing error allowed an unearned run to score. Batista struck out four in two innings. Yeiper Castillo really picked up the slack for the Smokies as he held the Biscuits scoreless over three innings while striking out two batters.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (44-42)

The stay for Iowa over .500 was short lived as Omaha shut them out on Sunday 3-0. Brooks Raley would have done okay if he had run support. Raley allowed three earned runs while striking out two in six innings. Marcus Hatley and Michael Bowden each pitched a scoreless innings with a strikeout. Five of the I-Cubs each picked up a hit, including Junior Lake, Brad Nelson, Dave Sappelt, Ty Wright, and Luis Flores.

A late inning explosion on Monday brought Iowa back up above even as they defeated Memphis 4-2. The I-Cubs scored all four of their runs in the eighth inning after Tim Torres started the inning by reaching on a missed catch and stole second base. J.C. Boscan (1-for-3) singled to move Torres to third. In his first Triple-A appearance, pinch-hitter Anthony Giansanti (1-for-2 with two RBI) doubled in both runners. Logan Watkins sacrificed Giansanti to third, and one out later Donnie Murphy was hit by a pitch. Brad Nelson (1-for-3 with two RBI) scorched a double to left that scored both Giansanti and Murphy.

Barret Loux had a start that many were looking for since he was acquired from the Rangers. Loux allowed an earned run while striking out six in five innings. Esmailin Caridad ate some innings by tossing two and giving up an earned run with a strikeout. Eduardo Sanchez threw a scoreless inning, and Brian Schlitter nailed down his eighth save with two strikeouts in the ninth.

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Iowa kept up the offensive pressure all Tuesday night as they beat Memphis 6-2. Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4) had a one out double and got the free ride home on Donnie Murphy’s (2-for-4, two RBI) ninth home run. Junior Lake (3-for-4) led off the fourth with a triple to lead off and trotted home on a double from Ty Wright (2-for-4 with two RBI). Lake tripled again to start out the sixth and scored on a single from Wright. It was Murphy’s turn to have a free walk in the seventh as he was on with a double when Brad Nelson (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) hit his 14th home run of the season. Guillermo Moscoso continues to turn out consistent performances. Moscoso allowed two earned runs with five strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Casey Coleman recorded two strikeouts in 1.2 scoreless innings, while Marcus Hatley closed out the game with two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 ninth.

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Rookie League – AZL Cubs (6-5)

Francisco Sanchez doubled and scored on a wild pitch, while Garrett Schlecht tripled in Mark Malave in the eighth to give the Cubs their winning margin as they beat the Indians 6-4 on Sunday. Rehabbing pitched Marcos Mateo struck out a batter in a scoreless inning, and Carlos Rodriguez allowed two earned runs while striking out three in 4.1 innings.

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It was a night for rehabbing pitchers as Chang-Yong Lim tossed a scoreless inning while Dayan Diaz struck out three over two shutout innings against the Dodgers as the Cubs won 10-2. Francisco Sanchez went 2-for-4 with a triple and four RBI while first baseman Kelvin Freeman was 1-for-3 with two RBI.

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Shortstop Giuseppe Papaccio was 2-for-4 with three RBI and outfielder Kevin Brown went 2-for-4 with a RBI as the Cubs beat the Brewers 10-5 on Tuesday. A parade of rehabbing pitchers including Dae-Eun Rhee, Starling Peralta, and Marcos Mateo saw action while Zack Godley and Michael Wagner made their professional debuts.

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Dominican Summer League

The DSL Cubs went 4-1 this past week and increased their lead in the division to 2.5 games with a 17-9 record in the Boca Chica South Division. Outfielder Jenner Emeterio is the only offensive player to rank among the league leaders. Emeterio is second in the DSL with 19 stolen bases. Second baseman Dalfis Otiz remains the team leader with a .315 average to go with a home run, 11 RBI, and nine stolen bases. Right-hander Jose Zapata remains the league leader with a 0.00 ERA and is tied for sixth with a 0.77 WHIP. Zapata is 2-0 with 18 strikeouts in 22 innings. Twenty-year old reliever Gilberto Abreu is tied for sixth in the league with four saves. Abreu has a 1-0 record with a 0.84 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP that includes seven strikeouts in 10.2 innings. Prospect Juan Carlos Paniagua remains unscored upon in 12.1 innings with 13 strikeouts. Paniagua is pitching in the Dominican while he awaits approval of his visa.

Venezuelan Summer League

The VSL Cubs continue to hover around the .500 mark as they went 2-3 record over the past week to run their season record 20-21, good for fourth place. Infielder/outfielder Roney Alcala is now leading the league in hitting (.383) to go along with six homers, and his 30 RBI are good for second place. Outfielder Delbis Arcila is tied with Alcala for third in the league with six home runs, as he improved his average to .304 with 25 RBI (seventh in the league). Outfielder Arnaldo Calero remained in ninth place with 22 RBI, as he is hitting .259 with three home runs and eight stolen bases. Shortstop/second baseman Bryant Flete moved back up to third place this week with 12 stolen bases, and is now hitting .298 while driving in 16 runs. Right-handed pitcher Greyfer Eregua is now one percentage point for second in the league with a 0.87 WHIP, and his improved 1.66 ERA ranks second. Eregua has 36 strikeouts in 38 innings.

News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs traded 2B Ronald Torreyes of the Tennessee Smokies to Houston for International slot money; recalled LHP Chris Rusin from the Iowa Cubs; optioned RHP Jake Arrieta and LHP Chris Rusin to the Iowa Cubs; assigned OF Anthony Giansanti to Iowa from Tennessee; assigned RHP Tyler Skulina to the Boise Hawks.

The Daytona Cubs placed LHP Kyler Burke on the 7-Day disabled list; activated RHP Dayan Diaz from the 7-Day disabled list; assigned RHP Starling Peralta to the AZL Cubs on a rehab assignment.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver