Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/26/13
The intensity has ramped up as we move into the final week of the minor league regular season. Tennessee moved closer to clinching a playoff spot as Javier Baez continued to wreak havoc in the Southern League. Daytona looked like an unstoppable force once the weather let up and Kris Bryant was unleashed. Kevin Encarnacion and Justin Marra have helped move Boise into a first place tie, while Kane County and Iowa also experienced some successes.
For further information, check out today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Note: Monday’s report covers games from Wednesday to Saturday. Thursday’s report covers games Sunday through Tuesday.
Short-Season A – Boise Hawks (17-12) (38-29)
(W) Boise broke a four game losing streak and moved to within a game of first place on Wednesday with a 5-2 win over Salem-Keizer. The Hawks staked themselves to a 3-0 lead in the third after Danny Lockhart (2-for-4) and Lance Rymel (2-for-3 with two RBI) started the inning with singles. A base hit by the hot-hitting Carlos Penalver (1-for-4 with a RBI) brought in Lockhart, and a single by Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4 with two RBI) plated both Rymel and Penalver. Boise got some breathing room in the seventh after David Bote (1-for-3) led off with a walk and promptly stole second base. A single by Lockhart moved Bote to third, and he scored on a sacrifice. The Hawks then added an insurance run in the ninth after Rony Rodriguez (1-for-4) and Bote ended up on second and third after a pair of singles and a throwing error. Lance Rymel drove in Rodriguez with the final tally.
Jose Rosario took the bump and struck out five in five innings while allowing two earned runs. Jose Arias followed with four strikeouts in 3.2 scoreless innings, while Eddie Orozco fanned the last batter.
(W) In turned out to be a wild game, the Boise players picked-up a teammate and beat Salem Keizer 16-11. Starter Juan Carlos Paniagua was hammered for nine runs (six earned) in 1.2 innings. The Hawks’ pitching staff then held the Volcanoes to two more runs the rest of the game. Michael Wagner came in and struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings. Sam Wilson then held Salem-Keizer in check for two more innings with three strikeouts. Jasvir Rakkar allowed two earned runs and with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings. Tyler Bremer earned his seventh save as he shut out the Volcanoes for the last 1.1 innings.
The comeback for Boise started in the second inning after Jordan Hankins (2-for-4), Justin Marra (4-for-5 with two home run and four RBI) singled, and Lance Rymel (2-for-6 with a RBI) drove in Hankins. Kevin Encarnacion (3-for-5 with a RBI) doubled in the third and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Marra then slugged a solo home run in the fourth inning. The dramatics began in the fifth inning after Danny Lockhart (1-for-4 with a RBI) and Encarnacion lead off with walks. Jacob Rogers (2-for-6 with a home run and four RBI) then blasted a three run homer to move Boise to within three runs of tying the game. Still in the sixth inning, Yasiel Balaguert walked and Hankins singled, setting up Marra with a chance to tie the game. Marra tied the game at nine with his second longball of the game. The Hawks broke the deadlock in the eighth when Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-6) singled and stole second base. Lockhart walked, and a double by Rogers scored Dunston. Lockhart and Rogers scored on a single by Rony Rodriguez (1-for-1 with two RBI). After the Volcanoes pulled to within one run in the bottom of the eighth, Boise put the game out of reach in the ninth after Carlos Penalver walked and scored following singles by Dunston and Lockhart. A base hit by Encarnacion plated Dunston, while a double steal put the runners in scoring position. A sacrifice fly drove home Lockhart, and a single by David Bote (1-for-1 with a RBI) plated Encarnacion.
(W) Boise completed a three-game sweep of Salem-Keizer on Friday with an 8-1 victory. Two players swinging hot bats are Justin Marra (1-for-2 with a home run and three RBI) and Kevin Encarnacion (5-for-5 with a home run and two RBI), and both contributed to a five-run first inning. After a one out single by Danny Lockhart (1-for-2), Encarnacion doubled him in. Jacob Rogers (1-for-4) followed with a walk, and Encarnacion scored on a single by Rony Rodriguez (2-for-5 with two RBI). Marra then blasted his third home run in two days. Encarnacion went deep with a solo homer in the third inning. Lockhart was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth and was replaced by Jordan Hankins. A single by Encarnacion and a passed ball scored Hankins. On a night in which it seemed he could do no wrong, Encarnacion reached on the first of consecutive two out singles. Rogers followed with a single and Rodriguez singled in Encarnacion with the final run in the ninth.
Paul Blackburn had a solid effort as he held the Volcanoes scoreless for five innings while striking out six batters. Loiger Padron tossed two innings and allowed the only earned run. Scott Frazier picked up a strikeout as he held Salem-Keizer in the final two innings.
(W) Make it four in a row for the Hawks as a 2-1 victory over Hillsboro on Saturday pulled Boise into a first place tie. Fans are seeing the rapid maturation of 18-year old starter Duane Underwood as he struck out three and allowed an earned run in five innings. Zach Godley took over in the sixth and picked up three strikeouts in two innings. Jasvir Rakkar continued the trend of Hawks’ pitcher dazzling the Hops as he struck out two in an inning of work. Eddie Orozco struck out a batter while closing out the game.
It was truly a “grind it out” performance by the Boise offense after Jacob Rogers (3-for-4 with a RBI) and Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4) singled to start the second inning, with Rogers eventually scoring on a wild pitch. Carlos Penalver walked in the fourth and base hits from Kevin Encarnacion (2-for-4) and Rogers plated Penalver.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (22-38) (52–74)
(L) Kane County continued to slog their way toward the end of a long season as their comeback attempt on Wednesday went for naught and the Cougars lost 8-5 to Beloit in ten innings. The Cougars put up all of their runs in the eighth and ninth innings. A one out single by Jeimer Candelario (2-for-5 with a RBI) started things off. Rock Shoulders walked and Carlos Escobar was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Giuseppe Papaccio (2-for-5 with three RBI) then stepped up and belted a bases clearing triple. Trevor Gretzky (1-for-4) began the ninth with a single and scored after base hits by Oliver Zapata (1-for-4) and Candelario. A sacrifice fly plated Zapata. James Pugliese received his first Single-A start and it was a bumpy ride as he struck out six but allowed five earned runs in five innings. Nathan Dorris continued his fine season with four strikeouts in four scoreless innings. It was an uncharacteristic performance from Michael Hamann. Hamann gave up three earned runs in an inning and absorbed the loss.
(L) The offense failed to show up for Kane County on Thursday as they were shut out by Beloit 4-0. Trevor Gretzky led the Cougars’ hitters with a 4-for-4 performance, while Willson Contreras went 2-for-4 with a double. It was a committee effort by the pitching staff. Felix Pena allowed an earned run as he struck out two in two innings. Brian Smith, just off the disabled list, tossed two scoreless innings, while Al Yevoli blanked the Snappers for three innings. Sheldon McDonald gave up three earned runs in the final two innings.
(W) Kane County used a big seventh inning to come out on top of Beloit 5-2 on Friday. The Cougars tied the game at one in the second after Carlos Escobar walked, advanced to third on a fielding error and crossed the plate after a single by Trevor Gretzky (2-for-3 with a RBI). Gretzky reached on a one out single in the seventh and Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4) followed with a single. Both runners scored on a single from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with two RBI). Rock Shoulders (2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) then belted his 18th home run to complete the scoring.
Scott Baker moved back to Kane County for rehab after poor weather curtailed his progress in Florida. Baker put together a better outing that he had in previous rehab starts. Baker allowed an earned run on a home run and struck out three in four innings. Justin Amlung entered the game in the fifth and tossed three scoreless innings while striking out four batters. An unearned run was all Andrew McKirahan gave up as he finished the game with three strikeouts in two innings.
(W) Saturday saw Kane County produce a solid, all-around effort that many thought would be a staple of the team this season and the Cougars picked up a 5-3 win over Wisconsin. Tayler Scott was effective in his six innings of work. Scott allowed three earned runs and struck out six batters. Matt Iannazzo provided a scoreless inning, while Steve Perakslis earned his seventh save by shutting out the Timber Rattlers for two innings.
The Cougars got on the board first in the third inning after Trevor Gretzky (2-for-4) tripled and scored on a double by Oliver Zapata (2-for-5 with a RBI). Kane County answered three runs by Wisconsin with a three-run seventh. Jose Dore (1-for-4) led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly. After reaching with a single, Gretzky was wiped out on a force from Gioskar Amaya. Amaya scored on a triple by Zapata, and a base hit from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-5 with a RBI) plated Zapata. Giuseppe Papaccio (1-for-4 with a home run) added a solo home run in the eighth to ice the game.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (32-19-1) (67-50-1)
(W) After a spate of bad weather, Daytona inched closer to a playoff spot as they beat Tampa 5-1 on Friday. The D-Cubs used an inning to warm up, and then their offense got at it in the second inning after Anthony Giansanti (2-for-4) and Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4) reached on two out singles. Chadd Krist (2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) then stepped up and bashed his fourth home run that put Daytona up 3-0. Zeke DeVoss led off the third inning with a walk, stole second and scored on a ground rule double by Dustin Geiger (1-for-4 with two RBI) … and Geiger scored two wild pitches later.
Starter C.J. Edwards continued to be a strikeout machine, as he fanned eight in four scoreless innings. Kyler Burke followed and kept the Yankees off the board for two innings, while Zach Cates struck out four and gave up an earned run in the final three innings.
(W) There seems to be no stopping Daytona as they moved their magic number to six on Saturday with a 7-3 win over Tampa. Anthony Giansanti (2-for-4 with two RBI) kick started the offense in the second inning after he walked, stole two bases, and scored on a single from Elliot Soto (1-for-3 with a RBI). The D-Cubs made it 3-0 in the third after Dan Vogelbach drew a two out walk and moved to third on a double by Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with two RBI). Both runners scored on a single by Anthony Giansanti. After the Yankees answered with three runs of their own that tied the game, Daytona put away Tampa with a four-run sixth inning. Wes Darvill (3-for-5) and Chadd Krist (1-for-3) singled and moved up ninety feet on a sacrifice by Soto. A fielder’s choice allowed Darvill to score and Zeke DeVoss to reach first. DeVoss stole second and Krist scored on a groundout. Consecutive walks to Dustin Geiger and Vogelbach loaded the bases. Kris Bryant singled in both DeVoss and Geiger.
Corey Black provided five quality innings. Black allowed three runs (two earned) and struck out two batters. Black then turned things over to the bullpen, which then slammed the door on the Yankees. Frank Del Valle tossed two scoreless innings, while Ryan Searle picked up two strikeouts in an inning of work. Lendy Castillo finished up in the ninth with a strikeout.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (36-25) (70-60)
(W) In a wild affair on Wednesday, Tennessee guaranteed not only a winning season but a winning second half by beating Birmingham 10-8. The Smokies took the lead in the third after Rafael Lopez (1-for-3 with a RBI) drew a one out walk. Matt Szczur (1-for-5) reached on an error and Lopez scored on a double from Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-3 with a RBI). Javier Baez (4-for-4 with two home runs and five RBI) then drilled his 15th homer for the Smokies. In the sixth, John Andreoli (1-for-5) reached on an error and scored on a double from Lopez. Baez clobbered a solo home run in the seventh inning. Tennessee didn’t let up in the ninth after Szczur led off with a double. A single by Alcantara moved Szczur to third. Szczur scored on a sacrifice fly. An intentional walk to Justin Bour and a wild pitch put runners on second and third. A double by Christian Villanueva (1-for-5 with two RBI) plated both runners. A single by Jonathan Mota (1-for-5 with a RBI) scored Villanueva.
Matt Loosen continued his struggles at the Double-A level, but showed some improvement as he allowed three earned runs while striking out five in 5.2 innings. P.J. Francescon gave up an earned run in 1.2 innings. Tony Zych was touched for four runs (two earned) as he went 0.2 innings. Frank Batista slammed the door for his 17th save.
(L) A couple of questionable calls by the home plate umpire contributed to Tennessee’s 4-2 loss to Birmingham on Thursday. In the second inning, John Andreoli (1-for-3) reached on a two out triple and Brett Jackson walked. Jonathan Mota doubled in Andreoli, but Jackson was called out at home even though he was not tagged as he crossed the plate. Singles by Javier Baez (1-for-4) and Justin Bour (1-for-4) started the seventh, and Baez scored on a double-play. Eric Jokisch was also a victim of a poor call. Jokisch allowed four runs (three earned) and struck out six in 7.2 innings. In the sixth inning, Jokisch initiated a 1-3 force but home plate umpire Jonathan Bailey said catcher Rafael Lopez did not step on home and a run scored. Yeiper Castillo struck out the final batter of the eighth inning.
(L) Tennessee hosted Mobile on Friday and stumbled again. The Smokies moved to within three games of clinching a playoff spot while losing 3-2 to the BayBears. Eduardo Figueroa may have made his last start for the Smokies as he will probably move aside for the newly acquired Neil Ramirez. Figueroa went six innings and struck out three while allowing three earned runs. Armando Rivero followed and rang up three of the BayBears in 1.2 scoreless innings. Hunter Cervenka and A.J. Morris each went 0.2 innings and struck out a batter. Tennessee clung to a 1-0 lead after Javier Baez (2-for-4 with a home run) belted a solo home run in the third inning, his 17th for the Smokies. Tennessee then drew to within a run in the sixth after Rubi Silva (2-for-4, RBI) left the park with his 14th home run of the season.
(L) Even with a 4-3 loss to Mobile on Saturday, Tennessee moved their magic number to two, as a Smokies’ win and Birmingham loss on Sunday would clinch a second half title. It was pitching that was Tennessee’s undoing as the offense staked the Smokies to a 3-0 lead. Matt Szczur (1-for-3) and Arismendy Alcantara led off the game with walks. A groundout and sacrifice fly scored Szczur. Justin Bour (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) and Rubi Silva (1-for-3 with a home run) then hit back-to-back solo home runs in the third inning. Dae-Eun Rhee had another quality start but may have been left in too long. Rhee surrendered two unearned runs in the seventh and went 6.1 innings with two strikeouts. Hunter Cervenka got the second out of the seventh, but Tony Zych allowed two earned runs in the eighth inning. P.J. Francescon struck out two batters in the ninth.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (61-74)
(L) Iowa hosted Memphis on Wednesday and lost 7-1. The I-Cubs tied the game at one in the fourth when Brad Nelson (1-for-3) and Ty Wright (1-for-3) drew walks. Nelson scored on a single by Luis Flores (1-for-2 with a RBI). Starter Yoanner Negrin deserved better after he allowed an earned run and struck out two in five innings. The disaster that is Alberto Cabrera at Triple-A level continued as the right-hander surrendered four earned runs in an inning. Jeffrey Antigua wasn’t much better and gave up two earned runs in two innings. Marcus Hatley finished the game with a 1-2-3 ninth.
(L) Once again, Iowa had a hard time putting a game away as they let Memphis steal the game 4-3 on Thursday. The I-Cubs were able to chip away at a 2-0 deficit after Dave Sappelt (1-for-5 with a home run) smacked a solo home run in the fourth inning. Iowa was then able to tie the game in the fifth after Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4) led off with a single and J.C. Boscan (1-for-3) walked. A base hit by Tim Torres (1-for-3 with a RBI) scored Ha. They took the lead in the eighth after consecutive one out singles by Edgar Gonzalez (1-for-4) and Brad Nelson (4-for-4). Pinch-hitter Ty Wright singled in Gonzalez. Justin Grimm was the victim of the lack of run support. Grimm allowed two earned runs with four strikeouts in six innings. Marcos Mateo also struck out four batters in his two scoreless innings of work. However, Brian Schlitter blew the save after he gave up two earned runs in the ninth.
(W) Iowa got another great pitching performance from Kyle Hendricks as they shut out Memphis 2-0 on Friday. Hendricks didn’t dominate but simply took the air out of the Redbirds’ offense. Hendricks induced 13 groundouts and struck out three batters in seven innings. Zac Rosscup punched out two of the three batters he faced, while Eduardo Sanchez picked up his second save with a strikeout in a scoreless ninth.
All the runs for the I-Cubs came in the fourth inning after Julio Borbon (1-for-4) led off with a single, stole second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. A fielder’s choice by Dave Sappelt wiped Borbon out at home, but singles from Brad Nelson (1-for-3) and Edgar Gonzalez (1-for-3 with a RBI) scored Sappelt. Nelson scored on a wild pitch.
(W) The I-Cubs broke open a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning and held on to beat Memphis 8-5 on Saturday. Iowa tied the score at one in the second inning after Mike Olt (4-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) blasted a solo home run. The I-Cubs then took the lead in the fourth when Brad Nelson (2-for-5 with two RBI) led off with a single but was forced on a grounder from Edgar Gonzalez. Jae-Hoon Ha reached on an error, and a single from Olt scored Gonzalez. The game was tied again in the fifth when Greg Rohan walked and advanced to third on a double from Ty Wright (1-for-3 with a RBI). A single by Dave Sappelt (2-for-5 with two RBI) plated Rohan. Iowa took control in the sixth after Olt lined a one out double and Luis Flores (1-for-3) walked. A double by Tim Torres (2-for-4 with RBI) drove in Olt. After an intentional walk to Julio Borbon, a sacrifice fly scored Flores. Back-to-back doubles by Sapplet and Nelson scored both Torres and Borbon.
Casey Coleman made his second consecutive start and struck out four while allowing three earned runs in five innings. Alberto Cabrera and Chang-Yong Lim each pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. Marcus Hatley had a little rougher time as he gave up two earned runs but had three strikeouts in the final two innings.
Rookie League – AZL Cubs (12-12) (25-27)
(L) The Cubs stuck too long with pitcher Carlos Rodriguez and ended up paying the price as they lost 4-3 to the Diamondbacks. Rodriguez was fine until the seventh inning when he gave up two earned runs. Rodriguez went 4.1 innings with four strikeouts. Starter Trevor Graham recorded three strikeouts and allowed an earned run in 2.1 innings. The offense managed only four hits. Jeffrey Baez went 1-for-4 with his 25th stolen base and an RBI.
(L) The Cubs couldn’t dig themselves out of a hole and lost 7-3 to the Royals on Thursday. Converted outfielder Johermyn Chavez was rocked for four earned runs as he tossed 0.2 innings. Erick Leal had two strikeouts in 2.1 scoreless innings, while Ethan Elias gave up an earned run and struck out three in three innings. Trevor Stevens was 3-for-5 and Erick Castillo went 2-for-4.
(W) It was more players rehabbing on Saturday as outfielder Ryan Sweeney and pitcher Rafael Dolis made appearances in the Cubs’ 4-2 victory over the Angels. After a scoreless inning by Dolis, Daury Torrez held the Angels without a run for six innings and struck out six batters. A newcomer at shortstop Alex Sanchez went 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs optioned RHP Neil Ramirez to the Tennessee Smokies; sent OF Ryan Sweeney and RHP Rafael Dolis on a rehab assignment to the AZL Cubs; assigned RHP Jose Arias to the Kane County Cougars from the Boise Hawks; assigned RHP Trey Masek to the AZL Cubs from the Boise Hawks.
The Iowa Cubs activated RHP Chang-Yong Lim from the 7-Day disabled list. The Tennessee Smokies released RHP Dayan Diaz. The Kane County Cougars placed RHP Tyler Skulina and LHP Rob Zastryzny on the 7-Day disabled list; activated LHP Brian Smith and LHP Matt Iannazzo from the 7-Day disabled list.
Top Prospect Watch
- Javier Baez (SS) – .303/.359/.649/1.008 with 14 doubles, 17 home runs, 44 RBI, eight stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Paul Blackburn (RHP) – 2-3 with a 3.35 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP, 43.0 innings pitched, 16 earned runs, 35 strikeouts, 26 walks (Boise Hawks)
- Reggie Golden (OF) – .223/.276/.377/.653 with seven doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 26 RBI, one stolen base (Kane County Cougars)
- Trevor Gretzky (OF) – .429/.455/.524/.978 with one triple, one RBI (Kane County Cougars)
- Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 6-1 with a 2.36 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP, 45.2 innings pitched, 12 earned runs, 47 strikeouts, 21 walks (Daytona Cubs)
- Dillon Maples (RHP) – 5-1 with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP, 32.0 innings pitched, eight earned runs, 33 strikeouts, 13 walks (Boise Hawks)
- Juan Carlos Paniagua (RHP) – 0-0 with a 10.80 ERA and a 2.90 WHIP, 10.0 innings pitched, 12 earned runs, 12 strikeouts, eight walks (Boise Hawks)
- Duane Underwood (RHP) – 3-3 with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP, 51.1 innings pitched, 26 earned runs, 32 strikeouts, 24 walks (Boise Hawks)
- Christian Villanueva (3B) – .259/.316/.455/.770 with 39 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs, 66 RBI, four stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Dan Vogelbach (1B) – .281/.410/.500/.910 with one double, two home runs, four RBI, one stolen base (Daytona Cubs)