If you wondered whether the entire Smokies’ team would make the Southern League All-Stars, you’d be half right. Weather, roster shuffling, and just poor play contributed to losing streaks in Iowa, Daytona, and Peoria while Tennessee continued to roll.
All of this, and more, in this week’s Down on the Farm Report.
Peoria started the week again with a three game losing streak, but came back strong against South Bend on Friday night. The Chiefs put up five runs in the first inning, as they cruised to a 6-3 victory over the Silver Hawks. Friday marked the season debut of Angel Guzman, who had been rehabbing from injury. Guzman tossed two innings of scoreless ball, striking out two batters, piggyback starter Eric Jokish came on for 5.1 innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out five to post his seventh victory. Larry Suarez finished with a scoreless 1.2 innings, striking out three of the five batters he faced, for his first save.
The Peoria offense was a machine, pounding out twelve hits and having everyone in the line-up hitting safely. Anthony Giansanti led the way, going 2-for-4 and driving in two runs. Kyung-Min Na was also 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Micah Gibbs was 2-for-3.
After spotting South Bend five runs in the second inning, Peoria went on an eleven run tear for the next three innings as they defeated the Silver Hawks 11-6 on Saturday. Brandon May paced the attack, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI. Pierre LePage was 3-for-5 with a stolen base and Greg Rohan was 3-for-4, while Anthony Giansanti stroked a three run triple. Matt Szczur added a 2-for-5 night while hitting his fourth home run. Richard Jones clubbed his tenth homer.
The five run second came at the expense of starter Hayden Simpson, who then settled down and pitched two more innings of scoreless ball. Su-Min Jung allowed to only other run in his inning of work. In his longest stint since his last start, Robinson Lopez pitched 2.2 shutout innings for his fourth win. Bryce Shafer mopped up.
On Sunday, Peoria brought out their ace, as Austin Kirk took the hill. Kirk didn’t disappoint, scattering four hits over six scoreless innings while striking out seven, as the Chiefs bested South Bend 5-1. Alvaro Sosa kept the Silver Hawks scoreless through his two innings of work, striking out two batters, Casey Harman finished up, allowing an unearned run on Arismendy Alcantara’s 23rd error (fifteenth at shortstop).
Peoria had a “lean and mean” attack, producing five runs on only seven hits. Greg Rohan led the way, going 2-for-3 with two RBI. Richard Jones also had a two-run double, but had to be pulled for a pinch runner with an unspecified injury.
High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (44-19)
It was “Swing from the Heels” night at Daytona on Monday, as the D-Cubs and Brevard County combined for 22 hits, ten of which went for extra bases, as they outlasted the Manatees 10-9. Jae-Hoon Ha, trying to re-establish his hitting stroke, led the way for Daytona. Ha was 2-for-5, bashing his seventh home run and driving in two runs. Justin Bour (1-for-4) hit his fifteenth homer of the season. Evan Crawford, Jake Opitz, and Rubi Silva all doubled-up on their hit totals to contribute to Daytona’s thirteen hits.
None of Daytona’s pitchers had a particularly good night. Starter Jeffrey Lorick was knocked around for four earned runs in his five innings. Juan Serrano yielded two earned runs in two innings. And usually reliable Frank Batista surrendered three earned runs in two innings, blowing the save but getting credit for the win.
After being swept by Lakeland in three games, the D-Cubs looked like they were in trouble on Saturday, down 6-0 to Clearwater in the third inning. Daytona would cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the third, then explode for six-run in the sixth inning to defeat the Threshers 9-6.
Logan Watkins started the scoring by belting his first homer of the season, a two-run shot, while Justin Bour capped the scoring with a three-run blast of his own. Jae-Hoon Ha was 3-for-4 with a double, and four other D-Cubs had multi-hit games.
For the second consecutive start, Jeffrey Lorick just didn’t have “it”, allowing all six of Clearwater’s runs in two innings. Juan Serrano replaced Lorick with no outs in the third, and would pitch four innings of scoreless ball for his fourth win. Oswaldo Martinez and Marcus Hatley held the Threshers in check, Martinez earning a hold while Hatley picked up his second save.
Daytona finished the week on a positive note, beating Clearwater on Sunday 6-1. Brett Wallach returned from a short stint on the disabled list to toss three innings of one-run baseball, striking out three batters. Eduardo Figueroa followed with four scoreless innings to earn his second victory. Frank Batista, rebounding from a rare poor outing three days earlier, held the Threshers scoreless for the final two innings.
Matt Cerda was tops for the D-Cub offense, going 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Evan Crawford and Logan Watkins were each 2-for-4, while Jae-Hoon Ha, Justin Bour, Michael Burgess, and David Macias each drove in a run.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (40-24)
After a Monday loss, Dallas Beeler took the mound for the first time in Double-A on Tuesday, and didn’t disappoint. Beeler tossed six innings in his debut, striking out four batters while allowing no runs. Ty’Relle Harris and Rafael Dolis blanked Jackson the rest of the way to bring home a 6-0 victory for Tennessee.
The Smokies’ offense still hasn’t found its rhythm, but they’re getting better. Nelson Perez was the big stick, going 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, and two RBI. Ryan Flaherty continued his impressive season by having a 2-for-4 night with a triple. Josh Vitters had a great night, going 2-for-3 with a double, stolen base, and two RBI. Brett Jackson also added a two run homer.
After a tough 1-0 series ending loss to Jackson, the Smokies looked to fatten up against the Carolina Mudcats on Thursday. The worst team in the Southern League was the tonic that Tennessee was looking for, as they defeated Carolina 9-3. The Smokies’ leaders took the forefront, as Ryan Flaherty was 3-for-4 with two doubles and Blake Lalli smashed a two-run homer in a 2-for-5 night. Steve Clevenger was 2-for-4 with a triple. Junior Lake had his first multi-hit game in Double-A, including his first home run. Josh Vitters, who has been quietly raising his batting average, was 2-for-4 with his sixth home run and two RBI. However, Vitters and Lake continue to struggle defensively; Vitters committed his fifteenth error while Lake made his fourth, giving him eighteen errors between Daytona and Tennessee.
Starter Brooks Raley had one of his “on” nights, as he allowed three runs (two earned) and struck out four over 6.2 innings. Ryan Searle and Kyle Smit threw up zeroes to complete the game.
Rain shortened the Smokies’ game against Carolina on Friday. Nick Stuck pitched all five innings, blanking the Mudcats on four hits while striking out six batters as Tennessee won 2-0. Struck was also one of the offensive stars, going 2-for-2 with an RBI. Marwin Gonzalez, lining up in center while Brett Jackson nursed a sore foot, was 2-for-3. Josh Vitters continues to hit, going 1-for-2 with his second stolen base.
In what has become typical Smokies’ fashion, Tennessee pounded out twelve hits and relied on their lock down bullpen as they defeated Carolina 5-2 on Saturday. On a ten game hitting streak in which he has batted .455, Josh Vitters led the way, going 3-for4 with two doubles. Steve Clevenger and Matt Spencer joined Vitters in stroking two doubles each, as all of Tennessee’s starters hit safely.
Starter Chris Rusin had a good outing, allowing two earned runs and striking out three in five innings. Kevin Rhoderick and Chris Carpenter earned holds for three innings of scoreless work, while Rafael Dolis picked up his sixth save.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (28-34)
After posting a winning record last week, Iowa began a new week with a four game losing streak. Their first win wasn’t until Saturday, as the I-Cubs topped Round Rock 3-2 in a seven-inning affair. The game was shortened because of the need to complete a suspended game earlier in the week. Marco Carrillo earned his first Triple-A start, and allowed two earned runs in 4.2 innings, striking out three batters. John Gaub and Esmailin Caridad derailed the Express the rest of the way, with Caridad picking up the victory.
The game was marred when Reed Johnson, on rehab assignment, was hit in the head by Round Rock pitcher Neil Ramirez in the fifth inning. With the game tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Jeff Baker, also on rehab assignment, led off with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Bobby Scales lined a single to bring in the game winner.
Dominican Summer League
This week in the Dominican Summer League, the Cubs 1 team has a record of 5-5 and the Cubs 2 team is currently 6-4.
Outfielder- 1B Xavier Batista is currently leading Cubs 1 with a .333 batting average, with two home runs and three RBI. Shortstop Francisco Sanchez has slumped to .256, but shares the team lead with two homers and seven RBI. Right-handed pitcher Alexander Santana is currently the pitching leader. Santana is 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and five strikeouts in 13.2 innings of work.
On Cubs 2, 3B Jeimer Candelario has taken over team leadership in hitting, with a .370 average, while C Wilfredo Petit is hitting .321. Right-handed pitcher Jose Arias continues to impress, with a1.93 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 12 strikeouts in fourteen innings.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs optioned LHP Scott Maine, recalled RHP Casey Coleman, and designated OF Brad Snyder for assignment; assigned OF Reed Johnson, OF Alfonso Soriano, and IF Jeff Baker to Iowa. Right-handed pitcher Ty’Relle Harris was assigned to Iowa from Tennessee. Daytona placed RHP Brett Wallach on the 7 day disabled list on 6/6/11, and recalled him on 6/12/11. Utility Player David Macias was assigned to Daytona from Peoria. Right-handed pitcher Angel Guzman and 3B Brandon May were assigned to Peoria from Extended Spring Training. Peoria Chiefs activated 2B Pierre LePage and SS Elliot Soto from the 7-Day disabled list. Outfielder D.J. Fitzgerald was assigned to Boise from Peoria.
Twelve members of the 2011 Tennessee Smokies were named by the Southern League to the 2011 Southern League All-Star Game.
Position players: Steve Clevenger, Ryan Flaherty, Marwin Gonzalez, Brett Jackson, Blake Lalli, D.J. LeMahieu, Rebel Ridling and Matt Spencer will join teammates Marco Carrillo, Rafael Dolis, Trey McNutt and Robert Whitenack on the North Division roster at Pringles Park in Jackson, Tennessee for the June 21 game.
Top Prospect Watch
- Michael Burgess (OF) – .193, .300 OBP, .682 OPS, 12 Doubles, 9 HR, 38 RBI, 8 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
- Chris Carpenter (RHP) – 1-1, 4.38 ERA, 12.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 K, 4 BB, 2 Holds, Save, 1.14 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
- Micah Gibbs (C) – .291, .438 OBP, .784 OPS, 4 Doubles, HR, 10 RBI, Stolen Base (Peoria Chiefs)
- Reggie Golden (OF) is in extended Spring Training
- Jae-Hoon Ha (OF) – .302, .335 OBP, .825 OPS, 12 Doubles, 2 Triples, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 6 Stolen Bases, 7 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
- Brett Jackson (OF) – .258, .379 OBP, .843 OPS, 7 Doubles, 3 Triples, 6 HR, 23 RBI, 13 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Tennessee Smokies)
- D.J. LeMahieu (IF) – .358, .386 OBP, .878 OPS, 15 Doubles, 2 Triples, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 4 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies) 1-for-9 (Chicago Cubs)
- Trey McNutt (RHP) – 1-2, 2.70 ERA, 36.2 IP, 11 ER, 22 K, 9 BB, 1.25 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
- Hayden Simpson (RHP) – 1-3, 5.47 ERA, 49.1 IP, 30 ER, 42 K, 21 BB 1.56 WHIP (Peoria Chiefs)
- Matt Szczur (OF) – .335, .391 OBP, .854 OPS, 12 Doubles, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 14 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Peoria Chiefs)
- Josh Vitters (3B) -.290, .329 OBP, .784 OPS, 15 Doubles, 6 HR, 30 RBI, 2 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies)
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