The minor league season is coming down to the wire as Tennessee had a winning streak snapped but reduced their magic number in the Southern League. Daytona continues to maintain a five game lead in the Florida State League with fourteen games left to play. Boise and the AZL Cubs are fighting for their playoff lives, as they are two and three games out of first place respectively. The DSL Cubs are clinging to a two game lead with four games on the schedule, while Iowa can only play out the string.
To see all of these playoff ramifications, along with an update from the Dominican Summer League, take a look at what’s inside this version of the Down on the Farm Report.
Note: Monday’s report will cover games from Wednesday to Saturday. Thursday’s report covers games Sunday through Tuesday.
Short-Season A – Boise Hawks (14-11) (35-28)
(L) Things kept going from bad to worse on Sunday for Boise as they lost 10-2 to Tri-City. Paul Blackburn continued his struggles. Blackburn allowed four earned runs while striking out three in three innings. Loiger Padron pitched a shutout inning, but Trey Masek was touched for two earned runs in 1.2 innings. Carlos Martinez-Pumarino was roughed up for four earned runs in an inning. Eddie Orozco was solid as he struck out three in 1.1 scoreless innings. The Hawks tried to make a game of things in the fourth after Rony Rodriguez (1-for-3) doubled and scored following by Danny Lockhart (1-for-4) and David Bote (1-for-4 with a RBI). Carlos Penalver (1-for-3) led off the seventh with a double and scored on a single by Kevin Encarnacion (1-for-5 with a RBI).
(L) Boise failed to hold the lead in the middle innings and the Hawks lost 6-3 to Tri-City on Monday. Duane Underwood was given the emergency start after scheduled starter James Pugliese was promoted to Kane County. Underwood was hung with three unearned runs in 4.1 innings. Zach Godley struck out three in 2.2 scoreless innings. But Scott Frazier had a tough time. Frazier allowed three earned runs while only recording an out. Jasvir Rakkar recorded the final two outs of the eighth. The Hawks got on the board first after Jacob Rogers (1-for-2 with a RBI) walked to lead off the second. Rony Rodriguez (1-for-4) singled and both runners moved up ninety feet on a sacrifice. Rogers scored on a groundout. Singles by Carlos Penalver (1-for-3) and Kevin Encarnacion (1-for-4) started out the third, and both runners moved up again on a sacrifice. A groundout plated Penalver, while Encarnacion scored on a single by Rogers.
(L) The losses are coming at the wrong time for Boise. The Hawks’ starting pitching dug a hole on Tuesday that they couldn’t get out of and Boise lost 5-4 to Tri-City. Dillon Maples displayed the lack of control on Tuesday that got him demoted to Boise from Kane County earlier in the season. Maples walked four and gave up five earned runs on six hits in four innings. Corbin Hoffner tried to keep the Hawks in the game. Hoffner tossed three scoreless innings and struck out five batters. Tyler Bremer recorded two strikeouts in the ninth. Boise took the lead on the first pitch of the game, after Kevin Encarnacion (1-for-4 with a home run) hammered it for his fourth home run of the season. The Hawks inched closer in the fifth after Carlos Penalver (1-for-3 and a RBI) reached on a one out double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-5) then singled and a double by Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4 with two RBI) drove in both runners. Boise tried to rally in the ninth after Danny Lockhart (1-for-3) and David Bote (1-for-4) singled. Lockhart scored on a sacrifice.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (20-36) (50–72)
(L) Kane County faded in the idle and failed to make up ground in the stretch as they lost 4-2 to Clinton on Sunday. Starter Tayler Scott deserved better as he held the Lumber Kings to only one earned run while striking out three in five innings. Sheldon McDonald allowed three runs (two earned) in two innings. Nathan Dorris tossed two perfect innings to finish the game. The Cougars tried to make a game of it in the ninth after Carlos Escobar led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Willson Contreras reached on an error and a double by Jose Dore (3-for-4 with two RBI) scored both runners.
(L) Kane County had their heads handed to them on Monday as Clinton scored seven runs in the first three innings in route to a 9-2 victory over the Cougars. Starling Peralta was left in for 4.1 innings and gave up nine earned runs. Justin Amlung pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, while Al Yevoli recorded two strikeouts in two innings. The Cougars cut into Clinton’s lead in the fourth, after Gioskar Amaya reached on an error and moved to third on a double by Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4). A single by Rock Shoulders (1-for-4 with two RBI) scored both runners.
(L) Kane County should have been happy to see Clinton leave town. Clinton completed the four-game sweep on Tuesday by beating the Cougars 7-4. The Lumber Kings were all over Tyler Skulina, and he allowed five earned runs in 2.1 innings. Rob Zastryzny fared a little better. Zastryzny gave up an earned run and struck out a batter in 3.2 innings. Andrew McKirahan fanned three in two scoreless innings, while Steve Perakslis surrendered an earned run in the ninth. The Cougars answered a run by Clinton in the first after Gioskar Amaya (2-for-4) doubled. A single by Oliver Zapata (1-for-5) and a force out plated Amaya. Giuseppe Papaccio (2-for-3) led off the fifth with a walk. After a single by Jose Dore (1-for-4), Papaccio scored after two wild pitches and Dore scored on a groundout. In the ninth, Papaccio singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, scored on a base hit from Reggie Golden (1-for-4 with two RBI).
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (30-19-1) (65-50-1)
(W) Daytona used a five-run seventh inning and held off a rally in the eighth and brought home a 5-3 victory over Brevard County on Sunday. Scott Baker reported back to Daytona for another rehab start and allowed an earned run through three innings. Regularly scheduled starter Pierce Johnson was on fire. Johnson struck out six in four innings but ran into trouble in the top of the eighth and gave up two earned runs. Jeffrey Lorick bailed Johnson out with a scoreless inning, while Austin Reed slammed the door in the ninth for his fourth save.
All the runs for the D-Cubs came in the seventh after Elliot Soto (1-for-4) led off with a single and moved to second on an error. A base hit from Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Soto. Singles by Zeke DeVoss (2-for-4) and Wes Darvill (-for-4) loaded the bases. A double play scored Chen, and Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) followed with a two run blast. Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a home run) made back-to-back jacks, as he walloped a solo home run.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (35-22) (69-57)
(W) Tennessee scored four runs in the top of the ninth and was able to hold off Birmingham for a 5-2 win on Sunday. The star of the game was Eduardo Figueroa, who shut out the Barons for six innings while striking out five batters. Tony Zych gave up an unearned run in two innings. Frank Batista survived a rocky ninth in which he allowed an earned run but struck out two.
The only run for six innings came in the second after Justin Bour (1-for-4) led off with a base hit and scored following a pair of two out singles by John Andreoli (1-for-3) and Rafael Lopez (2-for-4 with four RBI). It all started with two outs in the ninth after walks by Christian Villanueva and Andreoli were sandwiched around a single by Brett Jackson (1-for-4). A double by Lopez cleared the bases, and a double from Jonathan Mota (2-for-4 with a RBI) plated Lopez.
(W) It was a romp for Tennessee on Monday as the Smokies beat Birmingham 9-2. Starter Dae-Eun Rhee was in control as he allowed two earned runs and struck out three in seven innings. A.J. Morris finished out the game with a strikeout in two scoreless innings.
The Smokies kept the offensive pressure up the entire game. Justin Bour (2-for-4) led off the second with a double and scored on a triple by Rubi Silva (3-for-3 with two RBI). Matt Szczur (2-for-6) reached with a two out single in the third and scored on a double from Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI). Alcantara later scored on an error. Singles by Silva and John Andreoli (2-for-5) started the fourth inning, and Silva scored on another Barons’ error. A base hit by Brett Jackson (1-for-4 with a RBI) plated Andreoli. Christian Villanueva (1-for-5) reached on a single in the fifth and scored on a double by Silva. Szczur doubled with two outs in the sixth and scored when Arismendy Alcantara hit his 14th home run of the season. For good measure, Silva and Jackson walked in the ninth and Silva scored on a single by Rafael Lopez (1-for-5 with a RBI).
(L) Tennessee had their winning streak snapped on Tuesday as they lost a close game 2-1 to Birmingham … but the Smokies still moved their magic number to seven games. Nick Struck probably pitched his best ballgame of the year. Struck gave up an unearned run and struck out three in 5.2 innings. Hunter Cervenka allowed a walk but retired the other four men he faced without a run over 1.1 innings. Armando Rivero was touched for an earned run in 1.1 innings. The only run for Tennessee came in the sixth when Matt Szczur (1-for-4) and Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a RBI) hit back-to-back doubles.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (58-69)
(L) It was marathon baseball on Sunday as Iowa came out on the short end of a 4-3 loss to New Orleans in 16 innings. The I-Cubs were never behind in the game until the final inning. Julio Borbon (3-for-6) reached on a force, stole second, eventually scored on Brad Nelson’s (1-for-7 with a home run and two RBI) 18th home run. Iowa edged ahead in the sixth when Edwin Maysonet (3-for-7) double and scored on a single from Tim Torres (1-for-7 with a RBI). The third Triple-A start for Kyle Hendricks wasn’t a bad one. Hendricks allowed three earned runs and struck out seven in seven innings. Marcos Mateo followed with a scoreless inning, while Brian Schlitter and Eduardo Sanchez each tossed two innings of shutout ball. Marcus Hatley struck out two in three scoreless innings. Jeffry Antigua ended up surrendering the winning run.
(L) In another tight ballgame, Iowa faded in the stretch on Monday and lost 3-2 to New Orleans. Casey Coleman was back in a starting role and allowed an earned run while striking out three in six innings. Alberto Cabrera gave up an earned run in his inning of work. Zac Rosscup was charged with an unearned run, while Marcos Mateo finished up the eighth inning. Once again, the I-Cubs had the early lead as Jae-Hoon Ha reached on a dropped third strike and eventually scored on a single by Dave Sappelt (1-for-4 with a RBI). Iowa regained the lead in the sixth after Edgar Gonzalez (1-for-4) singled, moved to second on a groundout, stole third, and scored on a sacrifice fly.
(W) Iowa received a gem from Brooks Raley on Tuesday and the I-Cubs squeaked past New Orleans 3-0. The southpaw limited the Zephyrs to only three hits in his eight innings of work and struck out six batters. Brian Schlitter earned his 18th save with two strikeouts in the ninth.
All the scoring came in the ninth inning after Julio Borbon (1-for-3) walked and came all the way around on a throwing error on Edwin Maysonet’s (1-for-3) sacrifice attempt. With Maysonet on second, Brad Nelson (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) launched his 19th homer of the season … and the 200th of his career.
Rookie League – AZL Cubs (11-10) (24-25)
(L) A comeback bid in the ninth fell short on Monday as the Cubs lost 5-4 to the A’s. Pitching was not able to hold on to a one run lead after Daury Torrez went four innings and allowed three earned runs with three strikeouts. Trevor Clifton picked up two strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Kevin Brown (1-for-3) drove in three of the runs, while Charcer Burks and Jeffrey Baez were each 2-for-4 with a double.
(L) The Cubs weren’t able to survive a rough first inning on Tuesday and they lost 6-4 to the Giants. David Garner was lit up for five runs (four earned) in only 0.1 innings. Tyler Ihrig settled things down with three strikeouts in 3.2 scoreless innings. Charcer Burks and Kelvin Freeman each went 2-for-5 with an RBI, while Rashad Crawford was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Dominican Summer League
The DSL Cubs hold on first place has shrunk to two games in the Boca Chica South Division with four games left to play with a record of 45-21. Second baseman Dalfis Otiz leads the league with a .347 average that includes a home run, 26 RBI, and 14 stolen bases. Outfielder Shamil Ubiera dropped to second in the league with 50 RBI, and is hitting .295 with four home runs and 13 stolen bases. Third baseman Adonis Paula is tied for fourth in the league with 46 RBI to go along with a .267 average and two home runs. Outfielder Jenner Emeterio remains in third in the DSL with 34 stolen bases and improved his average to .254 with a home run and 21 RBI. The Cubs remain fourth in the DSL with a team ERA of 2.62. Jose Paulino improved to eighth in the league with 65 strikeouts, to go along with 4-3 record, a 2.55 ERA, and a 1.06 WHIP in 53 innings. Jose Zapata moved up to second in the league with a 0.82 WHIP, and has an ERA of 1.96 with a 4-0 record that includes 47 strikeouts in 55 innings.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned RHP James Pugliese to the Kane County Cougars from the Boise Hawks; assigned C Neftali Rosario to the Boise Hawks from the Kane County Cougars; assigned IF Alex Sanchez to the AZL Cubs.
Tennessee Smokies placed C Chad Noble on the 7-Day disabled list, activated C Taylor Davis from the 7-Day disabled list. The Kane County Cougars placed LHP Michael Heesch on the 7-Day disabled list, activated RHP Eddie Orozco from the 7-Day disabled list. The Boise Hawks placed C Cael Brockmeyer on the 7-Day disabled list.