Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 05/08/14

The future looked a little brighter in the Cubs’ minor league system to start the week as Kris Bryant had a two-homer game. Unsung heroes John Andreoli and Bijan Rademacher continued to impress, while Josh Vitters homered in four straight games. Arodys Vizcaino made is Double-A debut in a blowout win for the Smokies on Wednesday night.

And, by the way, Chris Rusin pitched the first No-Hitter for Iowa in thirty years.

For all the details, take a look at Down on the Farm.

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 (23-10)

Almost everyone got into the act for Kane County on Monday as the Cougars beat Wisconsin 8-4. Tyler Skulina took the mound for the Cougars and was only nicked for an unearned run while he struck out four in four innings. Nathan Dorris, who has become a reliable innings-eater, continued in that role as he allowed two runs (one earned) with three strikeouts in three innings. In what would be his last outing for Kane County before being promoted, Zack Godley went two innings, and gave up an earned run while recording a strikeout to earn his seventh save.

The offense for Kane County didn’t pick up the tempo until the third inning when David Bote (1-for-3 with a double) led off with a double. A bunt single from Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI) moved Bote to third. Bote scored on a base hit by Jacob Hannemann (2-for-5 with two RBI). A ground out moved the runners up a base, and a double by Ben Carhart (1-for-4with a double and two RBI) scored both Dunston and Hannemann. In the fourth, singles from Cael Brockmeyer (3-for-3 with a double) and Danny Lockhart (2-for-4), along with a walk by Bote loaded the bases. A one out single by Hannemann plated Brockmeyer, and a force play scored Lockhart. The Cougars took a break for two innings and struck again in the seventh, when Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-3 with a home run) drilled his first home run of the season. Kane County completed their scoring in the eighth inning after Brockmeyer started things off with a walk. Lockhart followed with a single, and a triple from Dunston drove both Brockmeyer and Lockhart in.

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Kane County appeared to be toying with Wisconsin on Tuesday as the Cougars beat the Timber Rattlers 8-2. Starter Daury Torrez allowed two earned runs while striking out two in six innings. Jose Arias picked up three strikeouts as he worked two scoreless innings. James Pugliese worked a scoreless ninth with a strikeout.

PrintThe Cougars traded run for run with Wisconsin in the first four innings. Kane County tied the score in the bottom of the second after Jacob Rogers (1-for-2 with a double) doubled, Will Remillard (3-for-3 with two doubles and four RBI) walked, and Jordan Hankins (1-for-4) singled to load the bases. Rogers scored on a ground out. Remillard led off the fourth with a double, moved to third on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly. The Cougars pulled ahead in the sixth after Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-3) led off the inning with a single and advanced to third base on two wild pitches. A walk to Rogers and a single by Remillard score Balaguert, with Rogers coming around on an error. Ben Carhart (1-for-5) reached on a one out single in the seventh followed by walks to Balaguert and Rogers. A double from Remillard cleared the bases. Kane County added a run in the eighth after Jacob Hannemann (0-for-4) walked. Hannemann ended up scoring on an error.

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On a get-away day matinee, Kane County could not close out the Timber Rattlers and lost 5-3 to Wisconsin.  Justin Amlung drew the start after scheduled starter Juan Carlos Paniagua had to return to the Dominican Republic for personal reasons. Amlung did not pitch poorly despite being out of his element and allowed three earned runs while striking out five in six innings. Newly recalled from extended Spring Training, Michael Wagner may have been stretched too far as he gave up two earned runs with two outs in the ninth. Wagner pitched 2.2 innings. Tyler Bremer replaced Wagner and struck out the final batter in the ninth. The Cougars took the early lead in the bottom of the first after Ben Carhart (0-for-3) drew a two out walk and Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) doubled him home. Kane County tied the game at two in the second inning when Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4) singled, moved to second on a passed ball, and scored on a base hit by Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-3 with an RBI). Jacob Hannemann (1-for-5 with a triple) led off the fifth inning with a triple and scored on a wild pitch.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (10-20)

Daytona could not make a big lead hold up on Monday as they lost 8-6 to Lakeland. The D-Cubs started the home half of the first with a walk from Pin-Chieh Chen (0-for-3). A balk and a fielding error put Jeimer Candelario (0-for-5) on base for Albert Almora (1-for-4 with an RBI). Almora singled in Chen. Bijan Rademacher (2-for-2 with a home run, three RBI, and a stolen base) launched his third homer of the season. Rademacher was plunked with two out in the third inning, but gained some measure of revenge by stealing second base. After Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3) drew a walk, Chadd Krist (1-for-4 with RBI) delivered a single that scored Rademacher. Down 8-5 in the eighth inning, Daytona tried to mount a comeback after Rademacher and Vogelbach singled. A double play moved Rademacher to third and he walked home on a single by Rock Shoulders (1-for-4 with an RBI).

Starting pitcher Jose Rosario didn’t perform that badly. Rosario allowed three runs (two earned) with six strikeouts in five innings. However Zach Cates let the game get away from Daytona as he gave up four runs (three earned) with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings. Even Andrew McKirahan could not escape the shoddy defense as he was touched for an unearned run in 1.2 innings.

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In a Tuesday matinee, the D-Cubs didn’t seem to get the wake-up call as they lost 5-1 to Lakeland. Daytona managed only four hits and didn’t score until the seventh inning when Albert Almora (1-for-3 with a double) led off with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly. Command is something Tayler Scott did not have as he walked five and struck out three while allowing five earned runs in 4.2 innings. Starling Peralta had his strikeout pitch working as he fanned six in 3.1 innings. Austin Reed pitched a scoreless ninth with a strikeout.

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The D-Cubs hosted Brevard County on Wednesday, but the results were the same as they lost 5-1. Rob Zastryzny continues to struggle along as he allowed four earned runs and struck out five in 4.2 innings. Steve Perakslis did his job and kept the Manatees at bay for 2.1 innings while striking out two batters. Michael Jensen finished up the final two innings with a strikeout while giving up an earned run. Daytona tied the game in the first inning after Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-3) led off with a single and scored two outs later on a double from Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI).

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (19-14)

Tennessee got their offense cranked up on Monday and the Smokies outlasted Birmingham 11-7. Things started off modestly enough in the second inning after Rafael Lopez (3-for-5 with a double and an RBI) hit a ground rule double and made it to third on a single by Charles Cutler (4-for-4 with an RBI). A force out plated Cutler. The third inning began with consecutive singles by Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4), Wes Darvill (2-for-4), and John Andreoli (1-for-5) to load the bases. Stephen Bruno (2-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI) laced a double that score Ha and Darvill. Kris Bryant (2-for-5 with two RBI) kept the line moving with a base hit to bring in Andreoli. Another single by Lopez scored Bruno, and Bryant came home on a base hit from Cutler. After a ground out, Rubi Silva (1-for-3 with a home run and four RBI) launched a three-run bomb to cap the scoring for the inning at eight runs. The Smokies made it hurt with one out in the fourth inning after Lopez and Cutler singled. Lopez scored on a ground out. Tennessee added another  run in the sixth when Bruno doubled and scored on a single from Bryant.

The offensive explosion benefitted starter Ivan Pineyro as he gave up five runs (one earned) and struck out five in 4.2 innings. P.J. Francescon continued his stellar middle relief work and he held the Barons scoreless for 2.1 innings with a pair of strikeouts. But the struggles remained for Jeffrey Lorick as he allowed two earned runs while striking out two in an inning of work. Armando Rivero struck out the side in the ninth inning.

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On Tuesday morning, the Smokies pulled away from Birmingham in the late innings and won 4-1. Matt Loosen got the starting nod and fanned seven Barons in five innings while allowing an earned run. Jose Veras, on a rehab assignment from the parent club, had a strikeout in a scoreless innings. Trying to turn his fortunes around, Ryan Searle recorded a strikeout in two scoreless innings. Tony Zych started the ninth and picked up a strikeout as he faced two batters, while Hunter Cervenka struck the last batter out to earn his first save.

Tennessee tied the game at 1-1 in the sixth inning when Stephen Bruno (3-for-3 with a double) led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. One out later, a single by Charles Cutler (2-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Bruno. The Smokies took the lead in the seventh when Anthony Giansanti (1-for-2 with a home run) led off the inning with a solo home run. Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-4 with an RBI) followed with a single. One out later, a base hit from John Andreoli (1-for-5) and a walk by Bruno loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly scored Ha. Tennessee added a run in the eighth after Dustin Geiger (1-for-4 with a double) scorched a double to left and scored on a single by Ha.

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On Wednesday night, the Tennessee team that most thought they would see this season showed up as the Smokies pummeled Birmingham 12-1. Dae-Eun Rhee benefitted from the outburst as he tossed seven innings and allowed an earned run while striking out two batters. Jeffrey Lorick pitched a perfect inning, and Arodys Vizcaino had two strikeouts in his first inning with the Smokies.

Several Tennessee players had outstanding nights at the plate, which started out with John Andreoli (2-for-2 with two stolen bases) leading off the game with a single. A balk moved Andreoli to second, and he stole third base. Stephen Bruno (3-for-4 with three doubles and two RBI) coaxed a walk to set up Kris Bryant (3-for-4 with a double, two home run, and six RBI), who blasted a three-run homer. Jeudy Valdez (1-for-4) led off the second with a single and Andreoli walked. A double by Bruno drove in Valdez and Andreoli. Bryant increased the lead to 6-1 in the fifth inning with a solo home run, his first multi-homer game of the season. It was the top of the order again in the seventh inning when Andreoli singled and scored on a double from Bruno. Bryant walked, and one out later Bruno scored on a base hit by Charles Cutler (1-for-4 with an RBI). Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-5 with two RBI) singled in Bryant. The eighth began with a walk to Andreoli. Bruno doubled, and both scored on a double from Bryant. After a groundout moved him to third, Bryant scored in a single by Ha.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (18-13)

Iowa took out some of their frustrations on Monday as they crushed Nashville 12-3. The I-Cubs jumped ahead in the first inning and never looked back after Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) reached on a one out single and stole second base. Lars Anderson (1-for-4 with two RBI) walked and Chris Valaika (2-for-5 with a double, a home run, and three RBI) crushed a home run, with Alcantara and Anderson on board. In the third inning, Valaika doubled with two outs and Josh Vitters (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) went yard with his fourth homer of the season. Iowa then really put the wood to the horsehide in the ninth when Brett Jackson (2-for-5 with a double, a home run, and two RBI) hit a home run and Luis Flores (2-for-4 with a double) doubled. Singles by pinch-hitter Logan Watkins (1-for-1) and Jonathan Mota (1-for-5 with an RBI) and a double from Alcantara scored Flores and Watkins. A sharp base hit by Anderson brought in Mota and Alcantara. Pitcher Blake Parker drew a one out walk and Christian Villanueva (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) doubled in Anderson. Parker later scored on a groundout.

Recently recalled starter Dallas Beeler had his sinker working in his first appearance of the season. Beeler struck out three and allowed an earned run through six innings. Marcus Hatley had an unusual poor showing. Hatley gave up two earned runs in 1.2 innings. Blake Parker picked up his fifth save as he struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings.

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A see-saw game on Tuesday had Iowa taking down New Orleans 5-4 in 11 innings. Tsuyoshi Wada was not on top of his game as he allowed three earned runs with only one strikeout in six innings. Carlos Pimentel made his first relief appearance of the season and gave up an earned run while striking out three in three innings. Zac Rosscup notched a strikeout in a scoreless inning, while Marcos Mateo held the Zephyrs for the final inning to pick up his second save.

It was the Josh Vitters (2-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI) show on offense beginning in the second inning as he belted a two-run home run with Chris Valaika (2-for-5) on board. Valaika and Vitters combined again in the fourth inning. Valaika singled and Vitters went deep with his sixth home run of the season. It would stay that way until the 11th inning when Logan Watkins (2-for-5) and Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-5) reached with one out singles and Watkins scored on a wild pitch.

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On Wednesday afternoon, Chris Rusin pitched the first No Hitter for the Iowa Cubs since 1984. Rusin needed 118 pitched to dispose of New Orleans as the I-Cubs won 3-0. The lefty had his sinker working and he recorded 15 ground outs while striking out three batters. Centerfielder Matt Szczur made a sensational diving catch for the final out to preserve the no-no.

Iowa scored all the runs they needed in the second inning after Josh Vitters (2-for-4) and Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with a stolen base) reached with one out singles. Villanueva then stole second, and a passed ball scored Vitters. Brett Jackson (0-for-3) and Luis Flores (1-for-2) walked. Chris Rusin (2-for-4 with two RBI) helped his own cause by singling in Villanueva and Jackson.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs recalled LHP Zac Rosscup for the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Dallas Beeler to the Iowa Cubs from extended Spring Training; assigned RHP Arodys Vizcaino to the Tennessee Smokies from the Daytona Cubs; assigned RHP Zack Godley to the Daytona Cubs from the Kane County Cougars; assigned RHP Michael Wagner to the Kane County Cougars from extended spring training; assigned OF Zeke DeVoss to the Boise Hawks from the Tennessee Smokies; released RHP Ryan Searle.

The Iowa Cubs placed INF Edgar Gonzalez on the 7-day disabled list. The Tennessee Smokies activated OF Jorge Soler from the 7-day disabled list. The Kane County Cougars placed 1B/DH Danny Canela on the 7-day disabled list.

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  • Andy Turner

    I wonder if the organization has given any thought to promoting Almora out of Daytona if for nothing else to get him out of that culture of losing?

  • John_CC

    I really wish Valaika would get a call. He’s a classic quad-A player at this point, but he certainly deserves one more chance. He is raking! He could replace Olt or Barney on the roster and we would be no worse off, that is for sure.

  • John_CC

    Here is a different Chicago sports “personality’s” analysis of the Rizzo vs Abreu debate that lived on a game thread here a couple nights ago. If you ever listen to Boars and Bernstein you know that Dan Bernstein has never been mistaken for kool aid drinking Cubs fan.

    http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/05/07/bernstein-abreu-story-obscuring-truth/#.U2pZijY5WMM.facebook