Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 04/21/14

Pitching was on center stage as Kane County’s Daury Torrez flirted with a perfect game while teammate Duane Underwood allowed only an unearned run in his second start.  Daytona’s tough-lock pitcher Felix Pena finally got some run support, but Ivan Pineyro could not say the same for Tennessee. C.J. Edwards picked up his first Double-A win, and Tsuyoshi Wada continued to impress in Iowa.

PrintAll of this, and more in the Down on the Farm report.

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

Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (11-5)

Kane County pushed their winning streak to eight games on Thursday as they thoroughly destroyed Dayton 13-1. Starter Daury Torrez carried a perfect game into the sixth inning before allowing an earned run in that frame. For the evening, Torrez went eight innings and struck out four batters. Nathan Dorris mopped up with a perfect ninth.

The Cougars jumped all over the Dragons’ pitching early. With two outs in the first inning, Ben Carhart (2-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI) doubled and scored on a single by Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-5 with a RBI). Kane County drove Dayton starter Amir Garrett from the game in the second inning after David Bote (1-for-4) and Will Remillard (4-for-5 with two doubles and five RBI) sandwiched singles around a walk to Danny Lockhart (2-for-3) that scored Bote. A base hit from Trey Martin (1-for-5 with two RBI) drove in Lockhart, and a bunt single by Jacob Hannemann (2-for-6 with a RBI and a stolen base) loaded the bases. Carlos Penalver (2-for-5 with a RBI and a stolen base) kept the line moving with a single to plate Remillard, while a double play scored Martin. Lockhart started the offense in the third with a one out single and he scored on a double from Remillard. A ground out and a base hit by Hannemann brought in Remillard, with Hannemann advancing to second on a wild pitch. Penalver was hit by a pitch, and then pulled off a double steal with Hannemann. A double by Carhart scored both runners. Jacob Rogers (3-for-6 with two doubles) doubled to lead off the fourth. Bote followed with a walk. After a double play, Rogers scored on a single by Remillard. The Cougars weren’t through as Rogers led things off again with a single to start the sixth inning. One out later, Lockhart walked. Rogers and Lockhart scored on a double by Remillard. Kane County put a stamp on it in the eighth inning after Lockhart reached with a one out single, moved to third on an error, and scored on a ground out.

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The Cougars winning streak came to an end on Friday as Kane County was shut out 9-0 by Dayton. Juan Carlos Paniagua wasn’t as bad as his line would indicate. Paniagua scattered five earned runs over five innings while striking out a batter. Justin Amlung was a different story as he was lit up for four earned runs in 1.2 innings. Josh Davis tried to pick up the pieces by striking out a batter in 1.1 scoreless innings. Jacob Hannemann, Carlos Penalver, Danny Canela, Danny Lockhart, and Shawon Dunston Jr. each collected a hit in the loss.

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So far this season the Kane County offense has provided enough for their pitching to secure a win, but Saturday was not the case as the Cougars came up short in a 3-2 loss to Dayton. Duane Underwood was very good in his second start. Underwood limited the Dragons to an unearned run while striking out four batters in five innings. Gerardo Concepcion had a hard time locating his pitches. Concepcion only worked 0.2 innings and gave up an earned run. Zach Godley put things back together as he fanned four in 2.1 scoreless innings. But Nathan Dorris was unable to secure the victory. Dorris recorded only one out in the ninth and let in the winning run. The Cougars’ offense squandered chances all evening but capitalized in the second inning after Jacob Rogers (0-for-2) drew a one out walk. Singles by David Bote (1-for-3), Danny Lockhart (3-for-4 with a RBI), Will Remillard (1-for-3), and Trey Martin (2-for-3 with a double and a RBI) scored Rogers and Lockhart. Bote was thrown out at the plate trying to score.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (3-13)

The misery continued for Daytona on Thursday as they couldn’t complete the comeback and lost 6-5 to Tampa in 10 innings. Rob Zastryzny had another rough game. Zastryzny allowed four earned runs while striking out a batter in four innings. Zach Cates came on and ate a few innings. Cates struck out batters and gave up an earned run in four innings. Arodys Vizcaino struck out the side in the ninth, but Andrew McKirahan let in the winning run in the tenth. One of the bright spots for the D-Cubs’ offense has been Tim Saunders (2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and a stolen base). Saunders led off the third inning with a solo home run. Daytona cut the lead to one in the sixth inning after Albert Almora (1-for-5) singled, Jeimer Candelario (0-for-2) walked, and Dan Vogelbach (0-for-4) loaded the bases on an error. Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4 with a RBI) drew a one out walk that forced in Almora. A base hit by Rock Shoulders (3-for-4 with a RBI) plated Candelario and kept the sacks jammed. Vogelbach scored on a passed ball. Daytona tied the score in the eighth after Rademacher and Shoulders started the inning with singles and moved up ninety feet on a passed ball. Rademacher scored on a sacrifice fly from Saunders.

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A Friday rainout meant a Saturday doubleheader and after a promising start, Daytona fell apart and lost 10-4 to Tampa in game one. The D-Cubs faced Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos for the second time in a week and were ready for him. Responding to a run in the top of the first, Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-2), Albert Almora (1-for-3), Bijan Rademacher (1-for-2), and Chadd Krist (1-for-3 with two RBI) all singled with one out that plated two runs for the D-Cubs. After Rademacher scored on a groundout, Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI) doubled in Krist. That would be all for the Daytona offense as Yao-Lin Wang made a spot start. Wang simply didn’t have it as he allowed six runs, five earned, in 1.1 innings. Ben Wells came out of the pen and labored for 1.1 innings while striking out two and not allowing a run. Starling Peralta followed and also had trouble. Peralta gave up three runs, two earned, and struck out four in 2.1 innings. Steve Perakslis finished up the final two innings and allowed an earned run while striking out two batters.

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In game two, starter Felix Pena finally received some run support as Daytona beat Tampa 9-1. Pena had lost his last three previous starts, each by a 1-0 score. On Saturday, Pena continued his dominance as he struck out eight batters and allowed only an earned run on three hits in six innings. Michael Jensen bounced back from a drubbing in his last outing to strike out a batter in a scoreless seventh inning.

It was the Bijan Rademacher (2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) show on offense as he started the second inning with a single. Willson Contreras (0-for-3) reached on a force attempt. A double from Dan Vogelbach (1-for-2 with a double and a RBI) plated Rademacher and put runners on second and third. Contreras scored on a fielder’s choice and Vogelbach scored on a sacrifice fly. Rademacher struck again in the third inning when belted his first home of the season with Marco Hernandez (1-for-3 with a RBI) and Albert Almora (2-for-4 with a RBI) on board.  A walk to Vogelbach and a single by Rock Shoulders (1-for-3 with a RBI) put runners on the corners. Vogelbach touched home on a ground out. The speed of Tim Saunders (1-for-4) was evidenced in the fourth inning after he led off with a single and went all the way to third on an error on the play. Saunders then walked home on a base hit by Hernandez. Giuseppe Papaccio (1-for-3 with a double) got into the fun by doubling to lead off the sixth. Papaccio scored on a single from Almora.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (8-9)

Thursday saw a doubleheader for Tennessee as they dropped game one 4-0 to Jackson. Dustin Geiger was the only player to get a hit for the Smokies. Starter Corey Black tossed four innings and gave up three earned runs while striking out three batters. Austin Kirk relieved and allowed an earned run and recorded a strikeout. Tony Zych somehow managed to get through the seventh without allowing any runs. Zych walked two and gave up a pair of hits with one strikeout.

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The Smokies’ offense perked up a little in game two as they were able to eke out a 3-2 victory over Jackson. Dae-Eun Rhee was steady as he picked up four strikeouts in four innings while allowing two earned runs. Hunter Cervenka held the Generals in check with three strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Armando Rivero struck out the side in the seventh to collect his third save. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the third, John Andreoli (1-for-3 with a stolen base) manufactured a run as he reached on an error, took second on a foul fly, stole third, and scored on a sacrifice fly. Charles Cutler (1-for-2 with a double) and Jeudy Valdez (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI) hit back-to-back doubles with one out in the fourth that tied the game. Valdez scored what would be the winning run on a single by Taylor Davis (1-for-3 with a RBI).

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Tennessee spoiled a great effort by their starting pitcher on Friday as the Smokies lost 5-2 to Jackson in the series finale. Ivan Pineyro was at the top of his game. Pineyro walked a batter and allowed two hits over 6.2 innings while striking out eight batters. Ryan Searle then came in and held the Generals for 1.1 innings. But manager Buddy Bailey may have left Searle in too long as he simply fell apart in the ninth. Searle gave up five earned runs, and the ballgame. The anemic Smokies offense could have helped by providing more runs. John Andreoli (1-for-4 with a double and a stolen base) once again tried to ignite Tennessee as he doubled in the fifth but Jeudy Valdez (2-for-4), who singled earlier, was thrown out at home. Andreoli took third on the play and two batters later stole home for the game’s first run. Kris Bryant (2-for-4 with a home run) then doubled Tennessee’s total in the sixth by hitting a solo home run.

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It was a familiar combination on Saturday for Tennessee as the offense didn’t provide enough runs and the bullpen could not hold a lead as the Smokies lost 5-4 to Birmingham. Once again, the Smokies jumped out to a lead in the second inning when Dustin Geiger (1-for-4) reached on an error and Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-3 with a stolen base) walked. Charles Cutler (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) delivered a double that plated Geiger. Ha scored on a groundout.  Tennessee was down 3-2 in the fifth when Kris Bryant (1-for-5 with a double) led off the inning with a double and Geiger followed with a walk. A groundout and an error eventually allowed Bryant to score. And a single by Jeudy Valdez (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) plated Ha. Matt Loosen labored through his third start. Loosen walked seven batters while striking out five and allowing three earned runs in 3.2 innings. Jeffrey Lorick was nicked for two unearned runs in 1.1 innings. Both P.J. Francescon (two innings) and Tony Zych (one inning) blanked the Barons the rest of the way.

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Tennessee’s offense finally provided some run support on Sunday as the Smokies defeated Birmingham 8-3. C.J. Edwards recorded his first victory of the season as he went six innings while allowing two earned runs and striking out four batters. Hunter Cervenka relieved and gave up another earned run but struck out two in two innings. Armando Rivero pitched in a non-save situation and picked up a strikeout in the final inning.

It looked as though the story would repeat for the Smokies after they scored in the first inning before their bats went silent for four innings. John Andreoli (1-for-3 with a stolen base) led off the game with a single and stole second. Stephen Bruno (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI) was hit by a pitch. After a double-play, Kris Bryant (2-for-4 with three RBI) knocked in Andreoli. Tennessee then exploded for five runs in the fifth after Charles Cutler (1-for-4) and Jeudy Valdez (1-for-4) reached on one out singles and Andreoli walked to load the bases. A base hit by Bruno moved everyone up ninety feet and plated Cutler. A single by Rubi Silva (2-for-5 with two RBI) plated Valdez and Andreoli. Bryant drove in Bruno and Silva with a single to center through the drawn-in infield. The Smokies added two more runs in the seventh after Bruno doubled and scored as Silva reached on an error. A base hit by Dustin Geiger (1-for-4 with a RBI) plated Silva.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (8-9)

Iowa was able to hang on in a back-and-forth affair on Thursday as the I-Cubs beat New Orleans 5-4. Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with a stolen base) led off the third inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-5 with a triple and a RBI) tripled in Szczur, and a double from Chris Valaika (2-for-3 with a double and a RBI) plated Alcantara. Two batters later, Logan Watkins (2-for-2 with a RBI) knocked in in Valaika. The score remained tied at three into the bottom of the seventh. Christian Villanueva (1-for-2 with a double) and Watkins drew two out walks. A single by Eli Whiteside (2-for-3 with a RBI) plated Villanueva and Watkins later scored on a passed ball.

Eric Jokisch made another quality start. Jokisch struck out five while allowing three unearned runs in 5.2 innings. Alberto Cabrera picked up the win after he struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings. Neil Ramirez was untouchable as he struck out the side in the eighth. Brian Schlitter gave up an earned run in the ninth but still picked up a save.

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It was a pitcher’s duel on Friday as New Orleans made a first inning run stand up and beat the I-Cubs 1-0. Tsuyoshi Wada continued to impress as he allowed an earned run and struck out five batters in eight innings. Marcus Hatley also was impressive as he worked his seventh scoreless inning of the season. The I-Cubs only managed two hits in the game … one by Chris Valaika and the other by pinch-hitter Logan Watkins.

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Iowa went from one extreme on Friday to another on Saturday as they were thrashed by Round Rock 12-2. Chris Rusin was the first course for the Express’ bats. Rusin served up four earned runs while striking out five batters in six innings. The I-Cubs defense failed Eduardo Figueroa as he was tagged for three unearned runs with three strikeouts in 1.2 innings. But Round Rock simply teed off on Marcos Mateo. Mateo surrendered four earned runs in only 0.1 innings. Even Marcus Hatley, who had not given up a run all year, was not immune as he was touched for an earned run while striking out three in the final inning. The only runs for the I-Cubs came in the third inning after Jonathan Mota (1-for-4 with a double) led off with a double and Matt Szczur (0-for-3) walked. Arismendy Alcantara (0-for-3) sacrificed the runners up a base. Mota scored on a groundout and Josh Vitters (1-for-4, RBI) singled in Szczur.

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Things went from bad to worse for the I-Cubs as they were shut out 6-0 by Round Rock on Sunday. Matt Szczur and Logan Watkins each went 2-for-4, with Watkins hitting a double. Starter Carlos Pimentel had five strikeouts through six innings, but gave up three earned runs. Zac Rosscup was hit hard, allowing three earned runs in 0.2 innings. Alberto Cabrera and Neil Ramirez shut out the Express the rest of the way, each with two strikeouts.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs optioned LHP Zac Rosscup to the Iowa Cubs; assigned INF Jonathan Mota to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned INF Giuseppe Papaccio to the Daytona Cubs from extended spring training

The Iowa Cubs placed OF Brett Jackson and INF Edgar Gonzalez on the 7-day disabled list; activated INF Javier Baez from the 7-day disabled list.

Top Prospect Watch
  • Arismendy Alcantara (INF) – .246/.262/.410/.671 with six doubles, two triples, seven RBI, five stolen bases (Iowa Cubs)
  • Albert Almora (OF) – .291/.316/.418/.734 with four doubles, one home run, seven RBI, one stolen base (Daytona Cubs)
  • Corey Black (RHP) – 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP (five runs, eight strikeouts, 11 innings pitched) (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Paul Blackburn (RHP) – 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP (six runs, 13 strikeouts, 15 innings pitched) (Kane County Cougars)
  • C.J. Edwards (RHP) – 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP (six runs, 20 strikeouts, 20.2 innings pitched) (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Jacob Hannemann (OF) – .226/.293/.340/.633 with one double, one triple, one home run, four RBI, eight stolen bases (Kane County Cougars)
  • Kyle Hendricks (RHP) – 2-1 with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP (10 runs, 19 strikeouts, 18.2 innings) (Iowa Cubs)
  • Christian Villanueva (INF) – .204/.310/.367/.678 with five doubles, one home run, four RBI (Iowa Cubs)
  • Dan Vogelbach (1B) - .155/.234/.224/.459 with one double, one home run, eight RBI (Daytona Cubs)
  • Rob Zastryzny (LHP) – 1-0 with a 5.93 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP (nine runs, 12 strikeouts, 13.2 innings) (Daytona Cubs)
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  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Looks like some of the erratic pitching from the first few weeks is settling down. Good to see.

    Wondering if and when Bryant will begin to see time at another position? At this rate they may keep him at 3rd. Olt hasn’t exactly even had the opportunity to show he’s the everyday 3rd baseman. Just another reason you’d think Renteria would need to play Olt everyday. What to do with Bryant? As Neil’s previous piece mentioned I didn’t realize Valbuena had a .400 OBP. But with the way our offense is overall what good is a guy taking a bunch of walks?

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I mention Bryant playing another position because he seems to be showing he’s outclassed the competition at AA. I know they won’t promote him yet but if Villanueva continues to struggle by say June, why not?

    • Denver Mike

      I was thinking yesterday while watching the game that getting on base hasn’t really been a problem so far this year, but it doesn’t do any good when there aren’t any mashers to bring them home. A solid power bat or two in the middle of the lineup could change this offense completely, but as they are currently constructed with slap hitters and guys taking walks, all it does is clog the bases.

  • cc002600

    As I was watching Wrigley 100 special last night I couldn’t help but think how “soooooo Cub” it would be if the cubs lost 100 games this year to commemorate the milestone. :-)

    Looking at this team so far, I think we have a real shot.

  • cc002600

    One other thing that popped into my head as I watching the game last week. When they have Patrick Mooney (CSN writer) on for an inning, could you possibly find 3 more boring, bland personalities than him, Kaspar, and Deshais on TV ? My God.

    I thought that when you hire people to be on TV, the idea was to be entertaining ?? What the heck am I missing ? Talk about putting you to sleep. They have ZERO personality.

    And when you hear all those old wonderful highlights of the calls made by Jack, Harry, Vince, Lou, etc, again you again realize how boring these current TV guys are, and how much I miss those old time announcers who made the game sound exciting. There is so much dead air on the games today, I can’t figure what Kaspar is going all game.

    • Larry Healy

      I agree. No passion in the booth. It doesn’t sound like they really care if the Cubs win or lose.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Just this one question, Larry: have you watched this team play in 2012, 2013 and 2014? I mean, Theo has been setting new records for the most losses by a Cubs’ team in consecutive years. If you have seen this, even Superman would have trouble getting excited about some of the stuff that these men have to watch and report on everyday.

        • cc002600

          I knew someone would say that, and I get it, But I remember when the cubs were good in 2007 & 2008, and I thought Kasper was a bore back then too.

          And oh, call me crazy, but isn’t providing entertainment as a broadcaster, and adding excitement supposed to be his job, regardless of the how good or bad the team is ?

          I listen to Pat on the radio and there’s no comparison. I hear plenty of excitement coming out of that booth for some pretty horrible teams. Just saying.

          Do you honestly like Kasper and Deshaies ?

          • Ripsnorter1

            I do not like Kasper and Desaies very much. Honestly.

            Yes, I agree: it’s their job to make excitement where none exists. They are not doing their jobs well.

            Still, how exciting is it when Darwin Barney comes to the plate? And how I love seeing Olt ride the bench. Again. And RR running Valbuena and Sweening out there. Again. And again.

            So I have some sympathy for Kasper & Company.

        • Larry Healy

          That’s true Rip but Harry and Ronny suffered through many losing seasons and always made us feel that they were one of us die-hard Cub fans and lived and died with every pitch. I miss that.