Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 04/14/14

Week two saw some fancy pitching in Iowa as Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada helped the I-Cubs to a winning record. Tennessee even their record thanks to clutch hitting by Stephen Bruno and Wes Darvill. But times remain tough in Daytona as Saturday’s 7-1 romp was their only bright spot. Kane County took advantage of some sloppy play and the hot hitting of Carlos Penalver to move their record to 7-3.

PrintDuane Underwood made his Kane County debut on Sunday while Kris Bryant and Albert Almora each went yard on Saturday.

Here’s the latest from Down on the Farm.

Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (7-3)

Kane County was able to push their record over .500 as they closed out their series with Fort Wayne on Thursday with a 7-5 victory.  Danny Lockhart (2-for-5) and Carlos Penalver (2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base) started the game off right with a pair of singles. Penalver stole second and a fielding error allowed both Lockhart and Penalver to score. The Cougars speed also helped in the second inning after Shawon Dunston Jr. (0-for-3 with a stolen base) reached on an error and Will Remillard (0-for-2) was hit by a pitch. A base knock by Trey Martin (1-for-3 with a RBI) plated Dunston. A single by Lockhart loaded the bases. After a ground out and a force, Martin trotted home on a wild pitch. Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4 with three RBI) stepped in and singled in Lockhart and Penalver. The Cougars added an insurance run in the eighth after Penalver doubled and scored on a single by Jacob Rogers (1-for-5 with a RBI).

Tyler Skulina began the night for Kane County and while it wasn’t pretty, he ended up with the win after he allowed five earned runs and struck out six in 5.2 innings. Justin Amlung held the Tin Caps for 2.1 innings and struck out a batter. Tyler Bremer earned his first save with a strikeout in a scoreless ninth.

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The Cougars followed the same script on Friday night as they received enough pitching and early runs to beat the Lake County Captains 6-4. Young Daury Torrez drew the starting assignment and gave up four earned runs while striking out two in 5.1 innings. Lefty Nathan Dorris provided the bridge as he struck out three in 2.2 scoreless innings. Zach Godley struck out the side in the ninth to collect his first save.

Moved up to second in the line-up the previous evening, the hot-hitting Carlos Penalver (3-for-5) started the offense with a single and later scored on a base hit by Yasiel Balaguert (3-for-5 with a triple and two RBI). A walk by Jacob Rogers and an error plated Balaguert. Jordan Hankins (2-for-3 with a RBI) started the second inning with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Shawon Dunston Jr. (0-for-3) walked, with another wild pitch moving Hankins to third. A groundout scored Hankins, and a double by Ben Carhart (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) plated Dunston. Carhart strolled home on a triple from Balaguert. Kane County upped their lead in the sixth inning after Penalver reached on a bunt single and reached third on a throwing error. A sacrifice fly by Carhart drove in Penalver.

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Cougars’ pitching ran hot and cold on Saturday, but thankfully their offense was able to bail them out as Kane County defeated Lake County 9-8. Juan Carlos Paniagua was in top form as he struck out six and allowed an earned run in four innings. Gerardo Concepcion labored a little, but was also good for two scoreless innings and two strikeouts. However, Scott Frazier still has yet to figure things out. Frazier gave up three earned runs while failing to record an out. Just up from extended spring training, Josh Davis let in an earned run in two innings but qualified for his first Low-A victory. On in a supposed mop-up role in the ninth, Tyler Bremer nearly gave the game away as he allowed three earned runs, but struck out two to end the game.

Inserted into the lead-off spot, Carlos Penalver (1-for-4 with a stolen base) started the game by reaching on an error and stealing second base. Penalver scored on a double by Ben Carhart (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI). Carhart moved to third on a single from Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4 with a RBI) and scored on a groundout. Kane County increased their lead to 5-1 in the fifth inning when Will Remillard (0-for-2) was hit by a pitch and Penalver singled. A base hit by Balaguert and a throwing error plated Remillard and Penalver. A double by Jacob Rogers (2-for-4 with a double, a home run and four RBI) drove in Balaguert. Remillard and Penalver stared the seventh with walks and moved up a base on a wild pitch. Rogers then belted his second homer of the season, and David Bote (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) followed with a solo jack of his own.

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Kane County completed a successful homestand by dodging the raindrops on Sunday and beating Lake County 6-1 in seven innings. Sunday was also the Low-A debut of 2012 second round draft pick Duane Underwood. The 19-year old allowed an earned run in his first inning, but then settled down and struck out five batters in three innings. Justin Amlung had the call for long relief, and was equally untouchable as he also struck out five in four scoreless innings.

The Cougars didn’t start their answer to the Captain’s first inning run until there were two outs in their half of the opening set. Ben Carhart (1-for-2) singled and Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-3 with a double) reached on an error. A passed ball scored Carhart. Jacob Rogers (0-for-1) walked and two wild pitches and a passed ball later, both he and Balaguert scored. In the fourth inning, Danny Lockhart (1-for-3 with a RBI) reached on an error and made it all the way to second base. A groundout and a single by Trey Martin (1-for-3 with a RBI) plated Lockhart with the Cougars’ fourth run. The fifth inning saw Carhart walk and Balaguert single to start things out. A base hit by Danny Canela (1-for-3 with a RBI) allowed Carhart to score, and a single from Lockhart drove in Balaguert.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (2-8)

It was an embarrassing loss for Daytona on Thursday night as Dunedin pounded the D-Cubs 12-2. After dominating in his first start, Tayler Scott was both the victim of poor defense and his own worst enemy as he allowed eight runs (four earned) with two strikeouts in three innings. Both Austin Kirk (3.1 innings) and Austin Reed (1.2 innings) did not fare much better as each pitcher gave up two earned runs. Arodys Vizcaino got in some work as he recorded a strikeout in the final inning. The D-Cubs scored two runs in the third as Bijan Rademacher (3-for-3) led off with a single and advanced to third on an error. A base hit from Oliver Zapata (1-for-3 with a RBI) brought Rademacher home, and a single by Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-5) put runners on the corners. Zapata scored on an error.

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Daytona was never in the game on Friday night as they were handled by the Tampa Yankees 5-1. The only run for the D-Cubs came in the ninth after Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4) reached on an error and moved to third on a single by Bijan Rademacher (2-for-3). A base hit by Marco Hernandez (1-for-4 with a RBI) plated Candelario. Yao-Lin Wang got the start for Daytona and pitched well enough to win. Wang allowed two earned runs while striking out six in five innings. The defense kicked the ball around a little for Starling Peralta as he gave up three runs (one earned) and struck out three in three innings.

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A sigh of relief was heard in Central Florida on Saturday as Daytona won their second game of the season by defeating Tampa 7-1. Starter Rob Zastryzny worked out of jams all night. Zastryzny gave up seven hits but allowed only one earned run as he struck out five in 5.2 innings. Zach Cates picked up two strikeouts in his 2.1 shutout innings. Steve Perakslis saw his first action of the season and he only yielded a walk in the final inning.

The D-Cubs were able to get on the board in the first inning after Albert Almora (2-for-5 with a double, a home run, three RBI and a stolen base) hit his first homer of the season with Bijan Rademacher (1-for-5) on board to put Daytona 2-0. They increased their lead in the fifth after Marco Hernandez (3-for-4 with a RBI) reached on a one out single and Tim Saunders (1-for-4) was hit by a pitch. A base hit by Rademacher loaded the bases, and a wild pitch scored Hernandez. A throwing error allowed Almora to reach and Saunders to score, with another wild pitch moving Almora to second. A double from Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) drove in Rademacher and Almora. Daytona tacked on a run in the eight after Willson Contreras (1-for-4) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Rock Shoulders (1-for-3) singled, and a wild pitch moved the runners up a base. Contreras scored on a base hit by Hernandez.

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Daytona saw the Yankees’ super prospect Manuel Banuelos on Sunday and he set the tone as the D-Cubs fell 7-3 to Tampa on Sunday. Daytona couldn’t manage a hit and struck out six times in Banuelos’ three innings. Daytona was not able to scratch out any runs until they got into Tampa’s bullpen. Tim Saunders (2-for-5 with a double and a RBI) led off the fourth with a single and moved to second on a passed ball. A double by Bijan Rademacher (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) brought Saunders around. The D-Cubs cut the lead in half in the eighth after Oliver Zapata (1-for-4) and Marco Hernandez (1-for-4) started the inning with singles. A double from Saunders plated Zapata, and a base hit by Rademacher drove in Hernandez. Ben Wells was activated from extended spring training and allowed two earned runs and struck out two in four innings. Michael Jensen had a rough outing. Jensen gave up four earned runs in 0.2 innings. Andrew McKirahan kept the Yankees at bay by striking out three in 2.1 scoreless innings. Arodys Vizcaino picked up a strikeout but let in an earned run in the final inning.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (5-5)

It was a heartbreaking loss for Tennessee on Thursday as the Smokies allowed only one run, and that came in the ninth inning as Tennessee lost 1-0 to Chattanooga. Jake Arrieta made another rehab start and pitched 3.2 scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Lendy Castillo retired the only batter he faced, and regularly scheduled starter Dae-Eun Rhee entered the game. Rhee pitched well until the ninth inning when he allowed a one out single and the runner to steal second. A sacrifice fly and a hit batter put runners on the corners. Rhee was replaced by Tony Zych and Zych yielded a single, and the game’s only run, to the first batter he faced. For the game, Rhee went 4.2 innings with an earned run and three strikeouts. The Smokies were held to four hits as Zeke DeVoss (1-for-4), Stephen Bruno (1-for-3 with a double), Dustin Geiger (1-for-3), and John Andreoli (1-for-4 with a stolen base) each had a hit.

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A struggling player delivered in walk-off fashion on Friday as Tennessee beat Chattanooga 6-5.  The Smokies never trailed after Kris Bryant (1-for-3) led off the second with a walk and scored on a Dustin Geiger (2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) home run. Tennessee added three in the seventh after Geiger led off with a single. A walk to Rafael Lopez (0-for-3) and a passed ball put runners on second and third. Jeudy Valdez (1-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) stroked a three run homer that gave the Smokies a 5-0 lead. Tied at five in the bottom of the ninth, John Andreoli (1-for-4 with a RBI) led off with a double and was bunted over to third. Wes Darvill and Zeke DeVoss (0-for-2) were intentionally walked to bring up Stephen Bruno (1-for-5 with a RBI). The struggling Bruno laced a single to right that plated Andreoli with the winning run.

Corey Black was masterful in his second start. Black did not allow a hit while striking out two in five scoreless innings. Frank Batista and Hunter Cervenka each held the Lookouts for an inning, but P.J. Francescon was nicked for three unearned runs in his inning of work. Armando Rivero was brought in to close out the game, but ended up surrendering two earned runs as he struck out two in the ninth.

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Tennessee received a gem from their pitching staff as the Smokies throttled Chattanooga 5-1 on Saturday. Ivan Pineyro continued his strong start to the season by giving up only one earned run while striking out four in five innings. Ryan Searle has also looked good in his comeback as he blanked the Lookouts for two innings and struck out three to collect the win. Frank Batista retired two batters, while Jeffrey Lorick had three strikeouts in 1.1 innings to close out the game.

The Smokies were able to tie the game at one in the fourth inning when Kris Bryant (2-for-4 with a double and a home run) cracked a solo home run. Tennessee put the game out of reach in the seventh after Rafael Lopez (2-for-3 with two doubles) led off with a double and scored on a single by Wes Darvill (1-for-4 with a RBI). Pinch-hitter Anthony Giansanti (1-for-1) singled and took second on the throw to third in an unsuccessful attempt to cut down Darvill. Zeke DeVoss (1-for-3 with a triple and two RBI) tripled in Darvill and Giansanti. A base hit from Stephen Bruno (2-for-4 with a RBI) drove in DeVoss.

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A big inning by Tennessee on Sunday helped bring their record to 5-5 as the Smokies defeated Chattanooga 8-2. Tennessee batted around in the second inning, which started out with Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a double and a stolen) walking and stealing second two outs later. John Andreoli (0-for-2 with a RBI) also drew a walk, and a double by Wes Darvill (3-for-3 with a double and three RBI) plated Bryant and Andreoli. Pitcher Matt Loosen (1-for-2 with a RBI) helped his cause by singling in Darvill. Zeke DeVoss (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) then cracked his first Double-A home run. Stephen Bruno (1-for-4 with a home run) followed with a solo shot of his own. The Smokies added two more runs in the seventh after Bryant singled with two out. A double By Dustin Geiger (1-for-4 with a double) and a walk to Charles Cutler (0-for-2) loaded the bases. Andreoli drew a walk to score Bryant, and a single by Darvill plated Geiger.

Matt Loosen kept the Lookouts under control as he allowed two earned runs while striking out five in five innings. Lendy Castillo was locked in as he fanned three in 1.2 scoreless innings. Hunter Cervenka struck out the only batter he faced, and Armando Rivero punched out three in two scoreless innings.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (6-5)

The Iowa bats finally awoke late on Thursday and gave the I-Cubs a 5-1 victory over Nashville. Trailing 1-0 in the sixth, Matt Szczur (2-for-4 with a stolen base) led off with a single and scored on a Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) homer, his second home run of the season. Josh Vitters (1-for-2) drew a walk and scored on a double by Chris Valaika (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI). Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-4 with a double) doubled and Vitters walked to start the eighth inning. A single by Valaika drove in Alcantara, while Vitters scored on a sacrifice fly.

Kyle Hendricks was better in his second start as he showed the control he is known for in striking out five and allowing an earned run in seven innings. Neil Ramirez and Blake Parker each tossed a scoreless inning. Ramirez struck out one while Parker fanned two batters.

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Iowa could not overcome a deficit on Friday and bowed to Memphis 8-5. Eric Jokisch was unable to sustain the success of his previous start as he allowed seven earned runs and struck out two in five innings. Yoanner Negrin gave up another earned run as he worked two innings, while Marcos Mateo struck out two in a scoreless eighth.

The I-Cubs had the lead in the third after Luis Flores (1-for-1) drew a one out walk. Flores was bunted over to second and scored on a single by Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with a RBI). Szczur took second on the throw home and scored on a base hit by Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 and a RBI). Iowa pulled within two runs in the sixth after Chris Coghlan (0-for-3) drew a one out walk and Josh Vitters (1-for-4) singled. A home run by Chris Valaika (2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) cleared the bases.

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Pitching was the key to Saturday night’s victory over Memphis as Iowa shut out the Redbirds 5-0. Tsuyoshi Wada had his second impressive start as he struck out 10 in 6.2 scoreless innings. Marcus Hatley labored a little but was able to keep his composure as he picked up a strikeout in 1.1 innings. Just returning from the parent club, Brian Schlitter recorded a strikeout in a scoreless ninth.

The I-Cubs manufactured a run in the top of the sixth after Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-3 with a RBI and a stolen base) led off with a single and stole second base. Alcantara moved to third on a fielder’s choice that allowed Chris Coghlan (0-for-3) to reach. Alcantara scored on a ground out. Logan Watkins (1-for-3) began the seventh inning with a single and went to second on a sacrifice. Brett Jackson (1-for-3 with a RBI) drove Watkins home with a base hit. Iowa added insurance in the ninth after Watkins reached on an error and Eli Whiteside (0-for-3) was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch advanced the runners a base and Matt Szczur (1-for-1 with two RBI) singled in Watkins and Whiteside.

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Iowa made a “bullpen day” work for them as they pushed their record over .500 with a 6-3 win over Memphis on Sunday. Eduardo Figueroa was called up from extended spring training and in his Triple-A debut went two innings and allowed an earned run. Alberto Cabrera had his best outing as he recorded a strikeout in three scoreless innings. Zac Rosscup continued to stymie the Redbirds as he picked up a strikeout in 2.1 scoreless innings. The ride was a little bumpier for Neil Ramirez. Ramirez made the ninth interesting by giving up two earned runs while striking out a batter in 1.2 innings. Marcos Mateo recorded the final out for his first save.

The I-Cubs weren’t able to get on the board until the sixth inning when Luis Flores (1-for-3 with a RBI) and pinch-hitter Edgar Gonzalez (1-for-3 with a RBI) singled. Flores then scored on a double by Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-3 with a RBI), and Gonzalez touched home on a sacrifice fly. Christian Villanueva (1-for-3 with a RBI) led off the seventh with a walk and Flores singled. A base hit by Zac Rosscup (1-for-3 with two RBI), the first of his career, drove in Villanueva and Flores. Rosscup then walked home on Matt Szczur’s (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) first Triple-A home run.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs optioned RHP Brian Schlitter and LHP Chris Rusin to the Iowa Cubs; recalled RHP Blake Parker from the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Eduardo Figueroa to the Iowa Cubs from extended spring training; assigned OF Jae-Hoon Ha to the Iowa Cubs from extended spring training, transferred Ha to the Tennessee Smokies; assigned LHP Austin Kirk to the Tennessee Smokies from Daytona Cubs; assigned RHP Frank Batista to extended spring training from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned RHP Ben Wells to the Daytona Cubs from extended spring training; assigned RHP Josh Davis to the Kane County Cougars from the AZL Cubs; assigned RHP Duane Underwood to the Kane County Cougars from extended spring training; assigned RHP Scott Frazier to extended spring training from the Kane County Cougars.

The Iowa Cubs placed LHP Jonathan Sanchez on the 7 day disabled list, left shoulder tendonitis. The Tennessee Smokies placed IF Jonathan Mota on the inactive list.

Top Prospect Watch
  • Arismendy Alcantara (IF) – .278/.300/.417/.717 with five doubles, four RBI and three stolen bases (Iowa Cubs)
  • Albert Almora (OF) – .300/.333/.475/.808 with four doubles, one home run, six RBI and one stolen base (Daytona Cubs)
  • Corey Black (RHP) – . 0-0, 7 IP, 2.57 ERA, 2 ER, 5 K, 1.29 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Paul Blackburn (RHP) – 0-0, 9 IP, 6.00 ERA, 6 ER, 7 K, 1.44 WHIP (Kane County Cougars)
  • C.J. Edwards (RHP) – 0-0, 9.2 IP, 0.93 ERA, an earned run, 9 K, 1.14 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Jacob Hannemann (OF) – .233/.281/.400/.681 with one triple, one home run, two RBI and four stolen bases, (Kane County Cougars)
  • Kyle Hendricks (RHP) – 1-1, 11.2 IP, 5.40 ER, 7 ER, 10 K, 1.29 WHIP (Iowa Cubs)
  • Christian Villanueva (3B) – .212/.289/.364/.653 with two doubles, one home run and four RBI (Iowa Cubs)
  • Dan Vogelbach (1B) – .147/.216/.235/.452 with one home run and five RBI (Daytona Cubs)
  • Rob Zastryzny (LHP) – 1-0, 9.2 IP, 4.66 ERA, 5 ER, 11 K, 1.66 WHIP (Daytona Cubs) 
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"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney