Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 04/17/14

Welcome to The CCO’s Thursday addition of Down on the Farm. In today’s article, Arismendy Alcantara comes close to hitting for the cycle, Carlos Penalver keeps on hitting, and Dustin Geiger leads all Cubs minor leaguers with four home runs. There were excellent pitching performances from Paul Blackburn, Jen-Ho Tseng, Jake Arrieta, and Kyle Hendricks.

PrintThe Kane County Cougars have posted seven straight victories, while the Iowa Cubs have won five out of seven. So sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy the Down on the Farm Report.

Editor’s Note: Monday’s report covers games from Thursday to Sunday. Thursday’s report covers games Monday through Wednesday.

Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (10-3)

Bad weather led to a doubleheader on Tuesday as Kane County traveled to Bowling Green and defeated the Hot Rods 2-0. Jen-Ho Tseng scattered six hits over 5.1 innings while striking out six batters. Zach Godley added four more strikeouts as he allowed a hit in 1.2 innings for his second save. The Cougars made the most out of their two hits as Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-2 with a RBI) singled with two outs in the fourth. Jacob Rogers (0-for-2) walked, and a passed ball and a throwing error allowed Balaguert to score. Kane County added a run in the fourth after Danny Lockhart (0-for-3) reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to third on a wild pitch and passed ball, and scored on a sacrifice fly.

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Starting pitcher Paul Blackburn was dealing in game two as Kane County swept the doubleheader over the Hot Rods 1-0. Blackburn went six innings and allowed only one hit while striking out six batters. Jose Arias was a little rocky but was able to work around a walk and a wild pitch. Arias struck out four batters and collected his first save. The only run for the Cougars came in the third inning after Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4 with a stolen base) singled with two out and Carlos Penalver (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI) laced a double to score Hannemann.

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Kane County ran their winning streak to seven games on Wednesday as the Cougars used a big ninth inning to get past Bowling Green 6-2. Starter Tyler Skulina shut out the Hot Rods for five innings and left in the sixth after giving up back-to-back singles to start the inning. Gerardo Concepcion allowed the runners to score on a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch, with both runs being charged to Skulina. For the game, Skulina went five-plus innings and was charged with two earned runs and four strikeouts while Concepcion pitched 2.1 innings with a strikeout.  Tyler Bremer tossed the last 1.2 innings and struck out two while not allowing a run to pick up the victory.

Kane County started the game of well after Jacob Hannemann (1-for-3 with a double and two stolen bases) doubled and moved to third on a throwing error. Carlos Penalver (1-for-3 with a RBI and a stolen base) walked and stole second, with Hannemann stealing home on the play. That would be all for the Cougars’ offense until the ninth inning when Ben Carhart (1-for-5) and Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4) led off with singles. A base hit by David Bote (1-for-4 with a RBI) tied the game as Carhart scored. Singles by Danny Lockhart (1-for-4 with a RBI) and Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Balaguert and Bote. A double from Trey Martin (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) plated Lockhart, and Hannemann was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Penalver walked to force in the final run.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (2-11)

Daytona starter Felix Pena can’t seem to buy a break as he lost for the third straight time this season 1-0 when Dunedin topped the D-Cubs on Monday. Pena has allowed only three earned runs in 20 innings this season, but his offense hasn’t scored a run for him. Pena went the distance and tossed eight innings while allowing an earned run and striking out a batter. The top hitters for the D-Cubs were Tim Saunders (3-for-5 with a double and a stolen base) and Dan Vogelbach (2-for-4).

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The D-Cubs were down 5-0 before they could score their first run on Tuesday and wound up losing to Dunedin 10-3. Jose Rosario was rattled by a fielding error from Marco Hernandez (0-for-3) on the first batter, which led to a double and a two-run home run. All-in-all, Rosario allowed eight runs (six earned) and struck out two in 4.1 innings. Starling Peralta halted the onslaught by striking out three in 2.2 scoreless innings. But Steve Perakslis was lit up for two earned runs in the final inning. Daytona got on the board in the fifth inning after Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3 with a double) led off with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice fly. A single by Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-4 with a RBI) plated Rademacher. The D-Cubs’ seventh inning also started out with a double. Rock Shoulders (2-for-4, double, home run, RBI) led off the seventh with a double and scored on a pair of ground outs. Shoulders capped the scoring for the D-Cubs by launching his first home run of the season in the ninth.

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Daytona continued to be in a rut on Wednesday as they were defeated by Dunedin 5-1. The anemic D-Cubs offense is third from the bottom of the Florida State League with 39 runs, while the leading the league with 108 strikeouts. Daytona’s only run came in the first inning after Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-3 with a double) led off with a double and scored on a single by Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3 with a RBI). Tayler Scott wasn’t too bad. Scott allowed four earned runs in 4.2 innings while striking out a batter. Michael Jensen put a bad outing behind him and held the Blue Jays without a hit for 1.1 innings. Austin Reed was tagged for an unearned run while striking out two batters in his two innings of work.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (6-6)

Tennessee threw one away on Monday as the Smokies lost 6-4 to Jackson. C.J. Edwards started and showed he was human. Edwards allowed three earned runs but struck out seven in five innings. Austin Kirk held the Generals in check for 2.1 scoreless innings. But after getting the final out of the eighth inning, Tony Zych imploded in the ninth. Zych gave up three earned runs. The Smokies’ offense played catch-up all evening. Tennessee tied the score in the second when Dustin Geiger (2-for-4 with a double, a home run and a RBI) launched his fourth home run of the season. The Smokies moved to within one run of the lead in the fifth when Rafael Lopez (2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) cracked a solo shot, his first home run of the season. The Smokies took the lead in the seventh inning after Rubi Silva (1-for-4) led off with a single and Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) doubled in Silva. A single by Lopez scored Bryant.

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After having a day to stew about Monday’s loss due to a rainout, Tennessee took control on Wednesday and defeated Jackson 7-2.  It was actually a close game after three innings, with the Smokies taking a 1-0 lead after Rafael Lopez (1-for-2) led off with a single and reached third on a throwing error on a Jonathan Mota (0-for-2 with a RBI) bunt attempt. A sacrifice fly by John Andreoli (1-for-4 with three RBI) plated Lopez. Tennessee broke the game open in the fourth after Rubi Silva (1-for-4 with a RBI) began the frame with a single and Kris Bryant (1-for-2 with a double) walked. Dustin Geiger (0-for-3) loaded the bases with a walk, and Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4 with two RBI) delivered a single that scored Silva and Bryant. A walk by Lopez re-loaded the bases and Geiger scored on a sacrifice fly. Andreoli stepped up and laced a single that plated Ha and Lopez. The Smokies added a run in the sixth after Wes Darvill (1-for-4) singled and stole second base. Stephen Bruno (2-for-4) reached with a base hit and moved Darvill to third. Darvill scored on a sacrifice fly.

Rehabbing starter Jake Arrieta was in total command. Arrieta threw 82 pitches (50 strikes) over 5.2 innings while allowing an earned run and striking out two batters. P.J. Francescon blanked the Generals for two innings while recording four strikeouts. Jeffrey Lorick threw the last 1.1 innings and picked up a strikeout while surrendering an earned run.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (7-6)

After poor weather postponed Monday’s game, Iowa didn’t seem ready on Tuesday as they lost 8-4 to New Orleans. Carlos Pimentel had his start pushed back a day and seemed out of sync. Pimentel allowed seven earned runs while striking out five batters in five innings. Yoanner Negrin replaced Pimentel and put together a typical performance. Negrin struck out three and giving up an earned run in 3.1 innings. Marcus Hatley remains unscored upon for the season as he struck out the final two batters.  All of the I-Cubs’ runs came in the second inning after Chris Coghlan (1-for-3) and Chris Valaika (2-for-3 with a double) both singled to start the frame, with Christian Villanueva (0-for-3) walking to load the bases. A base hit from Logan Watkins (1-for-3 with two RBI) plated Coghlan and Valaika. One out later, Pimentel helped his cause by singling in Villanueva. Watkins later scored on a fielder’s choice.

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Iowa is on somewhat of a roll as they have won five out of their last seven games including a 6-3 victory over New Orleans on Wednesday. Although Kyle Hendricks had a rough second inning in which he allowed three earned runs, he was very good on the afternoon. Hendricks went seven innings and struck out nine to earn his second win. Marcos Mateo pitched a scoreless eighth inning while Brian Schlitter collected his first Iowa save of the season after he worked around two hits with a strikeout in the ninth.

The I-Cubs jumped out to the lead in the first inning after Arismendy Alcantara (3-for-5 with a double a triple and two RBI) doubled and scored on a single by Chris Coghlan (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI). Coghlan stole second and scored on a double by Josh Vitters (2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI). Iowa tied the score in the bottom of the second on a solo home run by Logan Watkins (1-for-2 with a home run). The score remained tied until the seventh inning as Hendricks was lifted for pinch-hitter Edgar Gonzalez (1-for-1). Gonzalez singled and moved to third on a throwing error from Matt Szczur’s (0-for-4) bunt attempt. With runners on the corners, Alcantara tripled in Gonzalez and Szczur and scored when Vitters crushed his second double of the game.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs recalled LHP Zac Rosscup from the Iowa Cubs. The Iowa Cubs activated INF Edgar Gonzalez from the 7-day disabled list. The Tennessee Smokies activated INF Jonathan Mota from the inactive list; placed RHP Lendy Castillo on the 7-day disabled list.

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax