It was a busy weekend and the pitching staff of Eugene led by Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, and Manuel Rondon dominated. South Bend’s starters Preston Morrison, Casey Bloomquist, and Kyle Miller were also in top form. Erick Leal and Jake Stinnett pitched well for Myrtle Beach, and Jen-Ho Tseng and Paul Blackburn lead the way for Tennessee. However in Iowa, it was the bats of Jeimer Candelario and Dan Vogelbach in the forefront.
With some impressive pitching in both the Arizona Rookie League and the Dominican Leagues, the Down on the Farm Report brings you all of the happy details.
Short Season Class-A – Eugene Emeralds (7- 3)
Eugene returned home on Thursday and opened a series with Spokane, losing 11-9. Starter Dylan Cease was the main story as he struck out seven in four scoreless innings, and consistently hit 98 mph on the radar gun. Middle relief was another story as Enrique De Los Rio allowed four earned runs in 0.2 innings, Mark Malave four runs (two earned) in 1.1 innings, and MT Minacci two earned runs in an inning. Scott Frazier mopped up with four strikeouts in two scoreless innings.
Andruw Monasterio (3-for-5 with two RBI) scored on a double from Kevonte Mitchell (1-for-5 with a double and an RBI), who then came home on a single by Chris Pieters (1-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases) in the fourth inning. Monasterio drove in Yeiler Peguero (3-for-4) and D.J. Wilson (1-for-5) with a base hit in the fifth inning, and then came home on a double from Matt Rose (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI). Robert Garcia (2-for-5 with a triple and two RBI) singled in Marcus Mastrobuoni (1-for-5 with a double) and Juan Paniagua (1-for-1 with a double and two RBI) had a base hit to plate Peguero and Garcia in the eighth.
The Emeralds bounced back on Friday to shut out Spokane 6-0. Lefty Bryan Hudson allowed only three base runners on two walks and a hit while striking out four in five innings. Michael Knighton and Tommy Nance each tossed two innings.
Robert Garcia (0-for-1) started a four run third inning by getting hit by a pitch. Singles by D.J. Wilson (2-for-5 with a stolen base) and Andruw Monasterio (2-for-5 with two RBI) brought in Garcia and Wilson. A double by Chris Pieters (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) and a base hit from Wladimir Galindo (1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base) scored two more runs. Yeiler Peguero (1-for-4) scored on an error in the fourth inning, and Kevonte Mitchell (1-for-3 with two stolen bases) came home on a wild pitch in the seventh.
On Saturday, the offense bailed out the bullpen as Eugene rallied to beat Spokane 5-4. The Ems got another good start, this time from Jose Paulino as he struck out five and was tagged for an unearned run in five innings. Enrique De Los Rio continues to be hit hard as he gave up three runs (one earned) in 0.2 innings. Alex Santana righted the ship as he had three strikeouts in 2.1 scoreless innings. Jared Cheek had two strikeouts in the ninth for his first save.
Errors led to Kevonte Mitchell (1-for-4) and Chris Pieters (1-for-3 with a stolen base) scoring in the fourth inning. Andruw Monasterio (3-for-4 with a double and an RBI) came home on a Jose Paniagua (2-for-4 with an RBI) single in the fifth. After stealing second, D.J. Wilson (o-for-3 with a stolen base) came around on a double from Monasterio in the seventh inning. Monasterio later scored on a wild pitch.
Eugene kept on rolling on Sunday as they defeated Spokane 4-1. Manuel Rondon continued the fine starting pitching of the Emeralds as he allowed an earned run and struck out four in five innings. MT Minacci fanned five in 2.1 innings, while Mark Malave picked up his first save with 1.2 perfect innings.
Robert Garcia (1-for-4) led off the game with a single and was driven in on a base hit from Matt Rose (1-for-4 with an RBI). In the third, a two-run home run from Kevonte Mitchell (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) brought in Andruw Monasterio (1-for-3). Eugene added a run in the seventh after Ricardo Marcano (1-for-3 with an RBI) singled in Wladimir Galindo (1-for-3).
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (45-28)
South Bend continued their impressive second half start by shutting out Dayton 4-0 on Friday. Preston Morrison upped his record to 7-3 by limiting the Dragons to three hits and a walk while striking out six in seven innings. Scott Effross and Craig Brooks each tossed a perfect inning.
The S-Cubs broke things open in the fifth inning after Bryant Flete (1-for-3 with a triple and an RBI) tripled in Tyler Alamo (1-for-4) and the scored on a double play. Force outs brought in Carlos Sepulveda (1-for-4) and P.J. Higgins (2-for-3) in the eighth inning.
Pitching was once again the story for South Bend as the staff threw another shutout in defeating Dayton 5-0. Casey Bloomquist was the starter and struck out seven as he scattered three hits through seven innings. John Williamson and Pedro Araujo each add a scoreless inning.
The Cubs broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning after Donnie Dewees (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) doubled in Roberto Caro (0-for-3). Eddy Julio Martinez (0-for-4) scored in the seventh on a double from Josh Silver (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI). Eloy Jimenez (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) capped off the scoring with a three-run homer with Carlos Sepulveda (2-for-4) and P.J. Higgins (1-for-4) aboard.
The roll continued on Sunday as South Bend stormed past Dayton 11-1. Kyle Miller remained impressive in a starting role as he allowed an earned run and struck out six in five innings. Kyle Twomey had four strikeouts in two innings, while Tyler Peitzmeier pitched two innings.
The S-Cubs piled on 14 hits as P.J. Higgins led the attack by going 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI. Tyler Alamo (1-for-4) also drove in three as he launched a two run homer in the seventh inning. Carlos Sepulveda (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI), Donnie Dewees (2-for-6 with a double and an RBI), Eloy Jimenez (2-for-2 with two RBI and a stolen base), and Eddy Julio Martinez (2-for-5 with a double) also had multi-hit games.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (38-36)
The Pelicans were able to do enough on Friday to beat Carolina 4-3. Starter Erick Leal had another quality outing as he allowed three earned runs and struck out six in six innings. Daury Torrez and Tommy Thorpe held things down for an inning and 1.1 innings respectively. Ryan McNeil struck out the last two batters for his seventh save.
Consecutive doubles by Gleyber Torres (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) and Jason Vosler (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) in the third inning brought in Rashad Crawford (1-for-4 with a stolen base) and Torres. Myrtle Beach tied the game in the sixth inning when Charcer Burks (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) scampered home on a wild pitch. Burks doubled in David Bote (1-for-1) in the eighth for the game winner.
Disappointing is the word that best describes Myrtle Beach’s performance on Saturday, as the Pelicans lost 8-1 to Carolina. Jeremy Null was simply appalling as he allowed seven earned runs in three innings. James Pugliese got the early call and gave up an earned run in 3.2 innings. Dillon Maples struck out two in 1.1 innings. Jordan Minch finished up by striking out the side in the ninth.
Newly promoted Ian Rice (3-for-4 with a double) scored the only run in the ninth after he doubled and came in on a sacrifice fly.
In a real pitcher’s duel Sunday, Myrtle Beach edged out Carolina 2-1. Jake Stinnett, fresh off his All-Star appearance, was outstanding as he went eight innings, striking out five and being charged with an unearned run. Ryan McNeil made it save number eight with a scoreless ninth. Both of the Pelicans’ runs came via the long ball as Charcer Burks (1-for-3 with a home run) went yard in the third inning and Ian Rice (2-for-4 with a home run) homered in the eighth.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (30-44)
The Tennessee squad had a “throwback” win on Friday, beating Pensacola 4-1. The core of the Smokies roster won two straight league championships with great pitching, airtight defense, and opportunistic hitting. Jen-Ho Tseng brought back some of that magic as he struck out four and allowed an earned run in six innings. R.J. Alvarez, Josh Conway, and Jose Rosario each tossed a scoreless inning. Rosario picked up his second save.
A single by Billy McKinney (1-for-3 with an RBI) drove in Ian Happ (2-for-4) and a base hit by Ben Carhart (1-fof-3 with an RBI) scored Victor Caratini (1-for-4) in the first inning. Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4 with a triple) tripled and came home on a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Kelly Dugan (1-for-3 with a home run) smacked a solo home run in the eighth inning.
After an encouraging game the previous night, the Smokies regressed back to the norm on Saturday, losing 6-4 to Pensacola. Duane Underwood Jr. is simply not getting it done as he allowed four earned runs and had two strikeouts in four innings. Stephen Perakslis came in and pitched two scoreless innings, but both Joe Nathan and David Garner gave up earned runs as each worked an inning. David Berg tossed the final inning.
Tennessee actually had the lead in the first inning after Victor Caratini (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) doubled in Ian Happ (3-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI). The Smokies regained the lead in the third inning after a home run from Happ brought in Chesny Young (0-for-3). Happ was also involved in the final run as he doubled and came in on a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
On Sunday, it was refreshing to see Tennessee return to form as they shutout Pensacola 3-0. Paul Blackburn regained some of his early season form as he struck out five in six innings. James Farris bounced back from a rough outing to strikeout four in two innings. Juan Paniagua posted save number four with a scoreless ninth.
In the third inning, Ian Happ (3-for-4 with a double and an RBI) singled to bring in Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4 with a stolen base). Trey Martin (0-for-1 with an RBI) sacrificed in Billy McKinney (2-for-3) in the fourth inning. A base hit by Danny Lockhart (1-for-4 with an RBI) scored Victor Caratini (0-for-3) in the sixth.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (36-38)
It was a see-saw affair on Friday until Iowa pulled away from Nashville, winning 7-4. Drew Rucinski remained uneven as he allowed four runs (three earned) and struck out three in five innings. Armando Rivero provided quality middle inning work as he fanned four in three scoreless innings. Joel Peralta set down the side in order in the ninth for his second save.
Building on Juan Perez (2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI) scoring on a wild pitch in the first inning, a sacrifice fly brought David Freitas (1-for-5) in, along with Logan Watkins (4-for-4 with a stolen base) and Munenori Kawasaki (2-for-5 with two RBI) coming home on a throwing error in the second inning. A base hit by Kawasaki plated Watkins and Perez in the fourth inning, and a double from Jeimer Candelario (2-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI) scored pinch-runner John Andreoli in the seventh.
Despite getting their big sticks out, Iowa could not get past Oklahoma City on Saturday, losing 6-5. John Andreoli (2-for-4 with a triple) led off the game with a triple and scored on a single from Munenori Kawasaki (1-for-4 with an RBI). Mark Zagunis (2-for-5 with a home run) and Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with a home run) belted solo home runs in the third and fourth innings. In the seventh, Andreoli came home on a double play and Dan Vogelbach (2-for-4 with a home run) added a solo home run.
Major League veteran Adam Warren made his first start and allowed two earned runs, striking out three in 3.2 innings. Felix Pena followed and gave up three earned runs and struck out four in two innings. Corey Black yielded an earned run as he went 1.1 innings, while Dallas Beeler pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
It was a doubleheader on Sunday as Iowa took game one against Oklahoma City 6-5 in eight innings. Rob Zastryzny had what can be a typical effort as he allowed five runs (three earned) and struck out three in seven innings. C.J. Riefenhauser collected his first save with a scoreless eighth inning.
Three runs scored in the second inning after Dan Vogelbach (2-for-3 with a home run) led off with a solo home run, and David Freitas (1-for-2 with a double and two RBI) doubled in Vimael Machin (2-for-3 with an RBI). Mack Zagunis (2-for-5) was forced home in the sixth inning as Machin drew a walk, and a sac fly brought in Vogelbach. Machin scored the game-winner on a double from Juan Perez (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) in the eighth.
Game two was postponed due to rain.
Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (3-2)
The AZL Cubs survived a late inning scare on Friday to beat the AZL Angels 4-3. Starter Javier Assad allowed six base runners, three hits and three walks, while striking out four in five scoreless innings. An opportunistic offense took advantage of the Angels as third baseman Rafael Mejia was 2-for-4 with a double.
The A-Cubs took the opportunity on Saturday to give a lot of pitchers some work in a 6-1 loss to the AZL Angels. Coming back from a torn labrum, Jordan Brink pitched 1.2 innings while Tanner Griggs went 1.1 innings after serving a suspension. Rehabbing vets Aaron Crow and Jack Leathersich each tossed a scoreless inning.
Dominican Summer League – DSL-1 Cubs (9-10)
On Friday, D-1 got their record back up to .500 with a 5-4 win over the DSL Indians. Brailyn Marquez had another goof outing as he fanned six in five scoreless innings. Outfielder Jose Jules went 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
Dominican Summer League – DSL-2 Cubs (13-6)
D-2 maintained their first place standing on Friday with a rare 3-0 shutout of Dodgers-1. Hector Garcia allowed only two hits and no walks in six innings, striking out six batters. Outfielder Luis Ubiera came off the bench for go 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI.
On Saturday, D-2 continued their winning ways as they defeated the DSL Rojos 4-3. Tony Rijo (1-for-3) had the big blow as his double drove in two runs. Alfredo Colorado was dominant again, fanning seven in five scoreless innings.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned C Gioskar Amaya to the Tennessee Smokies from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans; assigned C Ian Rice to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans from the South Bend Cubs; assigned OF Alex Bautista to the Eugene Emeralds from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned LHP CJ Riefenhauser to the AZL Cubs from extended spring training; assigned INF Henrry Pedra to DSL-1 Cubs from DSL-2 Cubs, assigned 1B Richard Nunez to DSL-2 Cubs from DSL-1 Cubs.