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

The Cubs minor league teams just keep winning ballgames as the countdown to the end of the regular season down on the farm has begun. Boise won three straight before dropping a game in the 10th inning Wednesday night. Kane County keeps rolling along as innings limits are pushing the starters in and out of the rotation.

Daytona split a doubleheader before Wednesday’s off day and Albert Almora delivered a pinch-hit double in the bottom of the ninth that sent the Smokies home winners.

Dan Straily put together his third straight solid start but Iowa dropped two in row despite a big Tuesday night from Kris Bryant in Felix Doubront’s organizational debut. Mike Olt stayed hot in Iowa and launched his sixth Triple-A home run in a losing effort Wednesday night.

Editor’s Note: Monday’s report will cover games from Thursday to Sunday. Thursday’s report covers games Monday through Wednesday. Late Games by the Boise Hawks and the AZL Cubs will be carried on the following report.

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (31–27)

It was simply a whitewash Sunday night as Boise trounced Eugene 17-3. Erick Leal was the fortunate starter as he allowed two earned runs and struck out three in six innings. Rehabbing Corbin Hoffner had a strikeout as he pitched a perfect inning. James Farris worked the final two innings and gave up an earned run while striking out three batters.

It was almost over before the fans got settled in their seats after Rashad Crawford (2-for-4) led off with a single and Charcer Burks (2-for-2) walked. A one out single from Danny Canela (2-for-5 with two RBI) scored Crawford, and Justin Marra (1-for-4) drew a two out walk. Jesse Hodges (4-for-5 with a double, home run, and seven RBI) doubled in Burks, Canela, and Marra. A base hit by Mark Malave (1-for-4 with an RBI) brought in Hodges. It was the same combination to begin the second inning as Crawford singled and Burks walked. A force play wiped out Burks at second and allowed Mark Zagunis (2-for-5 with a double and three RBI) to reach. Zagunis stole second, and both Crawford and Zagunis scored on a throwing error. Burks led off the fourth with a single and scored on a double by Zagunis. That set up a nine-run fifth inning. Marra and Hodges began the fifth with singles. Two wild pitches scored Marra and moved Hodges to third. Malave walked. A sacrifice fly scored Hodges, and a base hit by Burks loaded the sacks. Malave and Crawford scored on a single from Zagunis, and a base hit by Canela plated Burks. David Bote (1-for-4 with a double) reloaded the bases with a walk, and Hodges delivered a two-out Grand Slam.

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PrintAnother big offensive explosion was featured in Monday night’s game as Boise defeated Eugene 11-6. Once again, the Hawks put away the Emeralds early. Bryant Flete (3-for-4 with a double) led off the third with a single and scored on a triple from Calvin Graves (2-for-4 with a triple and three RBI). Graves scored on a groundout. Charcer Burks (1-for-1 with an RBI and a stolen base) drew a one out walk and stole second. Mark Zagunis (2-for-4) walked and Danny Canela (3-for-3 with a home run and four RBI) belted a three-run home run. It was Flete again in the fourth inning as he doubled and scored on a two out single from Burks. The fifth saw Zagunis lead off with a single and Canela walk. A base hit from David Bote (2-for-5 with an RBI) drove in Zagunis while a single by Jesse Hodges (1-for-5 with an RBI) plated Canela. A wild pitch advanced the runners a base, and a two out single by Graves scored Bore and Hodges. Boise added a run in the sixth after Burks walked and scored after singles by Zagunis and Canela.

James Norwood made his second start and struck out two while allowing an earned run in four innings. Brad Markey relieved and gave up an earned run with two strikeouts in two innings. Trey Lang had a rough time and yielded four runs (three earned) while striking out two in two innings. Daniel Lewis had two strikeouts in a scoreless ninth.

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While it would take ten innings, Boise won its third in a row Tuesday night as the Hawks beat Eugene 9-8. The Hawks overcame a poor pitching performance by Trevor Clifton as he allowed five runs (three earned) and committed an error while striking out two in only 1.2 innings. Yomar Morel picked up the slack and tossed 4.1 innings while allowing an earned run. Alberto Diaz also gave up an earned run as he pitched two innings with two strikeouts. While Sam Wilson surrendered the tying run, he struck out four in two innings for the victory.

It was Boise coming from behind this time as they tied the score at two in the first when Rashad Crawford (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) and Charcer Burks (2-for-5 with an RBI) singled and Crawford scored on a throwing error. Another throwing error allowed Mark Zagunis (1-for-4 with an RBI) to reach and Burks to score. Calvin Graves (1-for-5 with a stolen base) singled with two outs in the second inning and stole second base. A double from Crawford brought in Graves. The Hawks took the lead in the fifth inning after Zagunis singled and scored on a base hit from Danny Canela (2-for-5 with a double and two RBI). Two wild pitches advanced Canela to third, and David Bote (0-for-3) drew a walk. A two out double by Jesse Hodges (2-for-5 with a double and two RBI) drove in Canela and Bote. Hodges scored on a single from Bryant Flete (2-for-4 with an RBI). Boise added a run in the sixth after Zagunis walked with two outs and scored on a double from Canela. With the game tied at eight in the 10th inning, Flete and Crawford coaxed walks, and Burks singled in Flete with the game-winner.

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Boise dropped Wednesday’s game in 10 innings to Hillsboro 1-0 after being no-hit for nine innings. David Bote broke up the no-hit bid with a one out double in the top of the 10th.

Corbin Hoffner pitched the 10th and gave up the winning run when he issued a bases loaded walk to Taylor Ratliff. Boise pitching surrendered two hits with 13 strikeouts and five walks.

Josh Conway started the game and pitched three scoreless innings without allowing a hit. Conway issued a walk and struck out three. Ryan Williams struck out six batters in four innings and James Farris added two shutout innings with four strikeouts.

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Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (76-45)

It was a comeback almost epic in nature as Kane County scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Quad Cities 4-3 on Tuesday night. Jen-Ho Tseng got the start for the Cougars and allowed two earned runs with five strikeouts in 5.2 innings. Michael Wagner followed and gave up an earned run with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings. David Garner pitched a perfect ninth to keep Kane County’s hopes alive.

The ninth inning began with Victor Caratini (0-for-4) reaching on an error and scoring on a home run from Jacob Rogers (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI). Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4) singled and Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with a triple) reached on an error. Chesny Young (1-for-3) sacrificed the runners over a base. A wild pitch scored Brockmeyer. Jeffrey Baez (2-for-3 with a double) and Trey Martin (0-for-3) were intentionally walked to load the bases. Danny Lockhart (1-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base) then hit a ball the two outfielders allowed to drop between them for a single, and Candelario scored the winning run.

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Kane County jumped out to an early lead Wednesday, but Quad Cities went ahead in the top of the third just to see the Cougars put up four runs in the bottom of the third as Kane County beat Quad Cities 6-3.

Paul Blackburn made his first start in seven days and gave up three runs, all in the second inning, on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Blackburn handed the ball over to Michael Heesch and he completed three shutout innings with four strikeouts. Francisco Carrillo notched his second save with two scoreless frames. Heesch and Carrillo retired 19 of last 20 batters they faced to close out the win.

Kane County scored a pair of runs in the first inning after Danny Lockhart (1-for-3 with a triple, a walk and two runs scored) tripled and Ben Carhart (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) followed with a two-run homer. After Quad Cities scored three runs in the top of the third to take a 3-2 lead, Trey Martin (0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored) led off the home half with a walk. Lockhart walked with two batters later and Victor Caratini (1-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored) delivered a two-out single that plated Martin and tied the game. Walks to Jacob Rogers and Jeimer Candelario forced in Lockhart with the go ahead run. Jeffrey Baez (1-for-4 with two RBI) singled in Caratini and Rogers.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (55-62)

There was rain again Monday in Florida, which meant a doubleheader Tuesday and Daytona lost the first game 5-1 to Brevard County. Juan Carlos Paniagua continues to struggle to find his way in the FSL. Paniagua allowed five runs (three earned) and struck out three in 3.2 innings. Nathan Dorris relieved and had three strikeouts in 2.1 scoreless innings. Michael Jensen struck out a batter in an inning of work. The D-Cubs had a brief lead after Gioskar Amaya (2-for-3) led off the third with a single and scored on a double from Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI).

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In the second game, Daytona scratched out three runs in the final innings to claim a 3-2 victory over Brevard County. Tayler Scott pitched well enough to win as he allowed two earned runs with five strikeouts in six innings Yao-Lin Wang struck out a batter in a perfect seventh to be awarded the win. The D-Cubs were down 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth when Billy McKinney (1-for-3with a double) led off with a double and scored on a single from Chadd Krist (2-for-3). Daytona tied the game in the sixth after Kyle Schwarber (1-for-3) and Dan Vogelbach (1-for-2 with an RBI) singled. Schwarber scored on a sacrifice fly. Dramatics marked the seventh as Krist opened the inning with a walk and Bijan Rademacher (2-for-3 with a double) singled. Gioskar Amaya (0-for-2) laid down a bunt that the pitcher threw away and allowed Krist to cross the plate with the winning run.

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Wednesday was a scheduled off day for the D-Cubs. Jose Rosario will start the opener Thursday night at Brevard County.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (59-62)

After an off-day on Monday, Tennessee returned to action on Tuesday and saw its pitchers fail to hold a lead as the Smokies lost 5-2 to Huntsville. Tennessee took the lead in the fourth inning after Addison Russell (1-for-3) had a one out walk and Lars Anderson (1-for-4) singled. A double by Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) drove in both Russell and Anderson. Felix Pena started and allowed three earned runs in 4.1 innings while striking out five batters. Andrew McKirahan gave up two earned runs with a strikeout in 1.2 innings. Hunter Cervenka, Lendy Castillo and Tony Zych each tossed a scoreless innings.

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The Smokies beat Huntsville 6-5 in walk-off fashion Wednesday night when pinch-hitter Albert Almora (1-for-1 with a double and a RBI) doubled in Stephen Bruno with the game winner in the bottom of the ninth.

The Smokies scored four runs in the first two innings as Corey Black limited the Stars to one run on three hits in five innings with six strikeouts. Black dealt with command issues as he walked six batters but he was able to limit the damage. Zach Cates surrendered four runs on three hits with two walks in 0.2 innings and allowed the Stars to tie the game. Jeffrey Lorick and P.J. Francescon kept Huntsville from scoring over the last 3 1/3 innings of the game.

Stephen Bruno (1-for-4 with a double and two runs scored) reached with one out in the first inning when he was hit by a pitch. Addison Russell (1-for-5 with a run scored) followed with a single and Lars Anderson (2-for-3 with a double, a RBI, a walk and a run scored) singled in Bruno. Charles Cutler (1-for-3 with a double and two RBI) delivered a two-out, two-run double that plated Russell and Anderson before he was thrown out at third to end the inning. The Smokies added on in the second after Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-3 with a double, a walk and two runs scored) worked a one-out walk, moved to second on a Corey Black sac bunt and scored on a Jae-Hoon Ha (3-for-5 with a double and two RBI) single to center.

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Triple-A  – Iowa Cubs (66–60)

There wasn’t a lot of scoring, but a lot of excitement as Iowa beat Oklahoma City 3-0 on Monday. Dan Straily had another impressive start and may be aspiring for a promotion as he struck out four in six scoreless innings. Zac Rosscup had a strikeout in an inning of work. Armando Rivero struck out the side as he worked an inning. Blake Parker made it save number 23 with a strikeout in the ninth.

The I-Cubs scored all the runs they would need in the first inning. Matt Szczur (2-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases) led off with a single and promptly stole second and third base. A single from Logan Watkins (1-for-4 with an RBI) scored Szczur, and a one out double by Jorge Soler (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) drove in Watkins. Iowa added an insurance run in the ninth after Josh Vitters (2-for-4) had a one out single and Eli Whiteside (1-for-1) walked. A two out single by Szczur plated Vitters.

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In a see-saw game Tuesday, Iowa came out on the short end as they lost to 6-5 to Las Vegas. Rehabbing left-hander Felix Doubront started for the I-Cubs and struck out seven while allowing three earned runs in four innings. Carlos Pimentel was the long man and pitched three innings while giving up two earned runs and striking out three batters. Marcos Mateo struck out the side in his only inning, but Marcus Hatley surrendered what would be the winning run in the ninth. Iowa tied the game at two in the third after Doubront was hit by a pitch with one out. Matt Szczur (1-for-5) singled, and a two out base hit from Kris Bryant (3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) scored Doubront. A base hit by Mike Olt (1-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Szczur. The I-Cubs took the lead in the fourth after Rafael Lopez (2-for-3 with a double) led off with a double and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly. Iowa tied the game once again in the eighth after Bryant led off the inning with a solo home run. Consecutive one out singles by Brett Jackson (1-for-5), Lopez, and Ryan Kalish (1-for-4 with an RBI) plated Jackson.

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Chris Rusin had a rough night in his return to Iowa’s rotation and the I-Cubs offense could not cash in several opportunities as Iowa lost 6-4 to Las Vegas.

John Lannan made the pitches he needed to Wednesday night to Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler with runners on base. Bryant and Soler were a combined 0-for-9 with a RBI. Matt Szczur (2-for-5 with a RBI) and Josh Vitters (2-for-3 with a walk) set the table but did not score a single run despite reaching base five times.

Chris Rusin completed seven innings but the southpaw allowed five runs on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Alberto Cabrera surrendered a run in his inning of work and Arodys Vizcaino pitched out trouble after he walked and hit a batter. Vizcaino struck out two in a scoreless inning.

Mike Olt (2-for-3 with a home run and a walk) led off the third with a solo home run to left, his sixth longball with Iowa. Rafael Lopez (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) reached with a one-out single and scored on a double from Elliot Soto (1-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) after a wild pitch advanced him to second base. Chris Rusin (1-for-2) singled Soto to third and Soto scored when Szczur grounded into a force out. Iowa cut the deficit to 5-4 in the seventh after Ryan Kalish hit for Rusin and singled. Szczur followed with a single and Vitters bunted both runners up 90 feet. Kris Bryant just missed his 40th longball of the season with a deep fly out to center that allowed Kalish to tag and score from third.

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Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (18–21)

Pitching was dominant for the AZL Cubs Monday as they beat the Rangers 8-1. Only an unearned run was allowed as Jose Paulino had six strikeouts in six innings, while Pedro Araujo fanned two in an inning. Second baseman Ho-Young Son went 2-for-5 with a triple and three RBI, and centerfielder Kevonte Mitchell was 2-for-5 with a double, a triple, and two RBI.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs sent LHP Felix Doubront to the Iowa Cubs on a rehab assignment; sent OF Yasiel Balaguert to the AZL Cubs on a rehab assignment; assigned RHP Yoanner Negrin to the Boise Hawks form the Iowa Cubs. OF Kevin Brown was sent to Boise from Kane County. OF Calvin Graves was moved from Boise to the AZL Cubs. Ben Carhart was promoted from Kane County to Daytona.

The Iowa Cubs placed Dae-Eun Rhee on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to August 10; activated INF/OF Jonathan Mota from the 7-day disabled list.

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  • Tom U

    Manny thanks to Neil, who completed this report while I was moving my son to college.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Tom, you are more than welcome and thank you for all the work you put into these reports and the minor league updates

  • Jeff Wilson

    So, is Mike Olt finding his swing or is AAA pitching making him look good?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Jeff, Olt is squaring up the baseball. I did not have a chance to watch as many of the games last year as I should have after the trade. The Iowa play-by-play guys, which do a tremendous job, have said on more than one occasion that he looks like an entirely different hitter than the one that showed up last year.

      • Jeff Wilson

        Thanks Neil, for taking the time to answer my question. I really hope that Mike gets his confidence back! Love your site!

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          You’re more than welcome. I am trying to do more, like I should. I appreciate it. Have a great day.

    • CaptainAmerica

      Theo, Jed and Renteria screwed up with this kid. He was the hottest hitter coming out of spring training – and Renteria has him in a platoon with Valbuena. Louis Valbuena has absolutely ZERO upside.

      In 3 years with the Cubs, he has hit .219, .218, 236. In 385 PA he has 10 homers and 38 RBI. What is the thinking behind hindering Mike Olt progression, for a guy like Valbuena?

      In 212 PA, Olt has 12 homers and 30 RBI. They never gave Mike Olt the opportunities they seem willing to just hand a .220 hitter like Valbuena.

      Drives me insane.