The playoffs are looming in the minors and both Daytona and Tennessee moved into first place over the weekend. Iowa slipped into second as they continued to lose players to the Major League team. Kane County continued to find new and interesting ways to win games, while Boise looks like it is ready to go on a roll.
There are too many details to do an introduction any justice, so you need to open today’s Down on the Farm Report to read how the players and teams performed.
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 (34–28)
Boise used great pitching and a big second inning Thursday to defeat Hillsboro 7-2. Jeremy Null made his first start for the Hawks and allowed an earned run while striking out two in three innings. Trey Lang tossed four innings and gave up an earned run with a strikeout. Daniel Lewis remains untouched in his Boise career as he struck out a batter in two scoreless innings.
After a scoreless first inning, Danny Canela (0-for-4) walked and scored on a double from David Bote (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI). Jesse Hodges (4-for-4 with an RBI) had a one out single that plate Bote but he was forced at second on a grounder from Jason Vosler (0-for-3). Bryant Flete (1-for-3 with a double) doubled to put runners in scoring position, and Rashad Crawford (1-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) cracked his first home run. Kevin Brown (1-for-5 with a double) led off the third with a double and scored after two groundouts. The fourth inning started with a single by Hodges. Vosler was hit by a pitch and erased on a double play. Crawford walked and a base hit by Charcer Burks (1-for-5 with an RBI) plated Hodges.
A Friday matinee saw Boise fall just short of a comeback as the Hawks lost 5-4 to Hillsboro. Once again, Dillon Maples put the Hawks in a huge hole as he walked five and allowed three earned runs while striking out four in 3.1 innings. Alberto Diaz put a temporary hold on the Hops’ offense with two strikeouts in 2.2 scoreless innings. Tommy Thorpe was touched up for two earned runs as he struck out two in two innings.
The Hawks grabbed the early lead after Rashad Crawford (0-for-3) walked and Charcer Burks (1-for-4) singled. Burks was picked off of first but Crawford made it to third on the throw and scored on a base hit from Danny Canela (1-for-4 with an RBI). Justin Marra (1-for-3 with a home run) added a solo home run to begin the second inning. But the Boise offense remained in neutral until the ninth inning when Kevin Brown (1-for-3), David Bote (0-for-3), and Marra all drew walks and Jesse Hodges doubled in Brown and Bote. However, Bryant Flete (0-for-4) grounded out with the tying run on third.
The immediate future for Boise will be determined in the next few games as the Hawks took on division leading Salem-Keizer Saturday and won 4-1. Erick Leal had one of his best efforts of the season. Leal scattered four hits and allowed an earned run in six innings. Yomar Morel has also shown improvement and he struck out a batter in two scoreless innings. Sam Wilson may be emerging as a left-handed option for closer as he struck out two in the ninth for his third save.
In a close game, the Hawks manufactured the first run in the third inning after Bryant Flete (1-for-3 with a stolen base) reached on an error and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Flete moved to third on a single by Rashad Crawford (2-for-5 with a triple and two RBI) and scored on a sacrifice fly. Danny Canela (1-for-4 with a double) doubled to lead off the fourth inning and went to third on a one out single from Justin Marra (1-for-4). Walks to Jesse Hodges (0-for-2) and Mark Malave (1-for-3 with an RBI) forced in Canela with Boise’s second run. The Hawks put the game away in the seventh with one out singles by Malave and Flete and a triple from Crawford that scored two runs.
Sunday saw another miracle comeback by Boise to defeat Salem-Keizer 7-6. James Norwood had all kinds of difficulty in his third start for Boise as he allowed five earned runs in only 0.2 innings. James Farris got the emergency call from the bullpen and delivered. Farris struck out five in 2.1 scoreless innings. Brad Markey then shut the Volcanoes down for three innings with three strikeouts. Daniel Lewis gave up an earned run and had two strikeouts in two innings. Corbin Hoffner pitched a perfect ninth for his first save.
The Hawks were not able to score until the seventh inning after Bryant Flete (0-for-3) walked and Alex Tomasovich (1-for-3) singled. Rashad Crawford (2-for-4 with a double) walked to load the bases and a double by Charcer Burks (2-for-4 with a double, triple and two RBI) drove in Flete and Tomasovich. Crawford and Burks scored on groundouts. Boise tied the game in the eighth on a solo home run from Jesse Hodges (2-for-4 with a home run). Behind by one once again in the ninth, Burks led off with a triple and scored on a home run from Kevin Brown (2-for-5 with a double, a home run, and three RBI).
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (80–45)
Ho-hum, it was another miracle comeback for Kane County on Thursday as the Cougars scored four runs in the eighth and beat Quad Cities 4-1. Chesny Young (2-for-3 with a double) led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a one out single from Carlos Penalver (1-for-3). Trey Martin (1-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) stepped up and slugged his second home run of the season to put the Cougars in the lead 3-1. Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-3 with a triple and a stolen base) followed with a walk, stole second base and scored on a two out double from Victor Caratini (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI).
Duane Underwood continues to rack up quality starts. Underwood had four strikeouts and walked four in five scoreless innings. Zak Hermans gave up the only run while striking out two in two innings. Jasvir Rakkar shut down the River Bandits for two innings to record his first victory.
It almost seemed simple after Kane County rolled past Wisconsin 7-2 on Friday. Jonathan Martinez upped his record to 9-5 as he allowed two earned runs with two strikeouts in five innings. Tyler Ihrig went the rest of the way with three strikeouts in four scoreless innings.
The Cougars flexed their muscles in the second inning when Jacob Rogers (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) and Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4 with a home run) each slugged solo home runs. Danny Lockhart (3-for-4 with an RBI) led off the third with a single but was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice by Mark Zagunis (1-for-3 with an RBI). Zagunis stole second and scored on a single by Rogers. With two outs in the fourth, Trey Martin (2-for-3 with a home run and three stolen bases) hit an inside-the-park home run. Shawon Dunston Jr. (0-for-4 with a stolen base) followed with a walk, stole second and scored on a base hit by Lockhart. In the sixth, Martin singled, stole second, and scored after walks to Lockhart, Zagunis, and Victor Caratini (0-for-4 with an RBI). Kane County added a run in the eighth after Martin reached on a dropped third strike, stole second, and scored on a single from Zagunis.
While the blowout score of 9-0 for Kane County over Wisconsin in game one of a doubleheader will grab your attention, it was pitching that was the story. Daury Torrez and David Garner held the Timber Rattlers to two hits and Torrez struck out three in five innings for his league-leading 11th win. Garner tossed two scoreless innings to earn his first save. The Cougars drew first blood in the third inning after Carlos Penalver (2-for-4 with a double) and Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-4 with a stolen base) singled with one out. Penalver was picked off at third, but Mark Zagunis (0-for-2 with a stolen base) walked. A double steal by Dunston and Zagunis resulted in a throwing error that allowed Dunston to score. A base hit by Victor Caratini (3-for-4 with three RBI) drove in Zagunis. Kane County removed doubt about the outcome in the top of the seventh when Jeffrey Baez (1-for-2 with a home run and a stolen base) slammed a solo home run. Danny Lockhart (1-for-3 with an RBI) walked and Penalver doubled. A one out intentional walk to Zagunis loaded the bases. Caratini singled in Lockhart and Penalver. A fielding error on a force attempt allowed Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4) to reach and Zagunis to come home. A single by Jacob Rogers (1-for-4 with an RBI) brought Caratini in, and a double from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) scored Balaguert. Baez then walked and a base hit by Lockhart drove in Rogers.
The Cougars made it 80 wins for the season in game two as Kane County shut out Wisconsin 3-0. Ben Wells induced seven ground outs as he struck out two in five scoreless innings. Michael Wagner had two strikeouts in an inning of work, while Francisco Carrillo fanned the side in the seventh for his third save. Walks to Cael Brockmeyer (0-for-2) and Jacob Rogers (0-for-2), and a single by Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3) loaded the bases to begin the second inning. A double play allowed Brockmeyer to score. The score remained 1-0 until two outs in the seventh inning, when Jeffrey Baez (1-for-3 with a home run) smashed his second solo home run of the day. Carlos Penalver (2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base) followed with a single and stole second base. After a walk to Trey Martin (0-for-2), a throwing error on a pick-off attempt allowed Penalver to cross the plate with the final run.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (57-65)
It was make-up day on Thursday as Daytona played a doubleheader against Brevard County to recover previously lost dates. In the opener, the D-Cubs jumped out ahead and held on for a 6-2 victory. A double by Jacob Hannemann (1-for-3 with a double) started the contest and he was then sacrificed to third. Dan Vogelbach (0-for-3 with a stolen base) worked a two out walk and stole second base. Rock Shoulders (1-for-2 with a triple) walked to load the bases. A Billy McKinney (1-for-3 with a double and four RBI) doubled cleared the bases. Ben Carhart (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) followed with a single that scored McKinney. In the third, Shoulders had a one out triple and came home on a sacrifice fly. Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4) singled to begin the fourth inning and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Starter Jose Rosario had a decent outing. Rosario allowed two earned runs and struck out three in five innings. Starling Peralta had four strikeouts in two scoreless innings.
The nightcap saw Daytona revert to their struggling ways on offense as they lost to Brevard County 2-1. The only run for the D-Cubs came in the second inning after Wes Darvill (1-for-3 with a double) had a one out double and scored on a single from Bijan Rademacher (1-for-2 with an RBI). Justin Amlung started and was hung with two unearned runs as he struck out three in five innings. Austin Kirk had two strikeouts in an inning of work.
It was another dreadful offensive showing on Friday as Daytona lost to Tampa 7-2. Tyler Skulina had a poor outing as he allowed five runs (four earned) with three strikeouts in 3.2 innings. Stephen Perakslis had four strikeouts in 2.1 innings. Michael Jensen gave up two earned runs with a strikeout in 1.1 innings. Yao-Lin Wang picked up the final two outs, one by strikeout. The D-Cubs cut the lead in half in the fourth inning after Wes Darvill (1-for-4) singled, stole second, and scored on a ground rule double from Dan Vogelbach (2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI). Daytona added a consolation run in the ninth after Vogelbach doubled and scored on a one out single by Billy McKinney (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI).
Saturday was time for fun in the sun as Daytona beat Tampa 10-2 in an afternoon game. The D-Cubs did all of their damage in two inning. Gioskar Amaya (2-for-5 with a double) had a one out single in the third inning and moved to third on a double by Kyle Schwarber (2-for-4 with a double). Another double from Dan Vogelbach (3-for-4 with a double and two RBI) drove in Amaya and Schwarber. Vogelbach then scored on a home run from Willson Contreras (2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI). It was Schwarber starting things in the seventh with a single, and he advanced to second on a wild pitch. Vogelbach walked and a single by Contreras plated Schwarber. Billy McKinney (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) doubled in Vogelbach and Ben Carhart (1-for-4) walked to load the bases. A triple from Bijan Rademacher (2-for-5 with a triple and three RBI) wiped the bases clean, and Rademacher scored on a throwing error.
Rob Zastryzny was the beneficiary of the offensive outburst as he allowed two earned runs with four strikeouts in five innings. Gerardo Concepcion remains unscored upon since joining Daytona as he had three strikeouts in two innings. Austin Kirk finished up with three strikeouts in two scoreless innings.
A furious comeback came up short Sunday as Daytona lost to Tampa 8-7. Pitching put the D-Cubs in dire straits after Juan Carlos Paniagua allowed six runs (four earned) and struck out two in 3.2 innings. Starling Peralta didn’t help matters as he gave up two runs (one earned) while striking out four in 2.1 innings. Zack Godley pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Daytona was behind 4-0 when they scored their first run in the fourth inning. Kyle Schwarber (2-for-5 with a double and a triple) tripled with one out and scored on a sacrifice fly. It was 8-1 in the top of the fifth when Billy McKinney (0-for-4) reached and scored on two fielding errors. Marco Hernandez (0-for-4) reached on a force play, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on single from Gioskar Amaya (1-for-3 with an RBI). A solo home run by Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3 with a home run and an RBI) allowed the D-Cubs to further chip away at the deficit. The eighth saw Schwarber lead off with a double and move to third on a base hit from Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3 with an RBI). Willson Contreras (2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) then drove everyone in with his fourth home run.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (63-62)
On Thursday, it was the quintessential pitcher’s duel as Tennessee scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to beat Huntsville 1-0. The Smokies broke the scoreless tie in the ninth when Albert Almora (2-for-4) and Addison Russell (1-for-4) had back-to-back singles to open the inning. Christian Villanueva (0-for-3) was intentionally walked to bring up Dustin Geiger (2-for-4 with an RBI), who lined a single to right to bring Almora home with the game winner.
Starter C.J. Edwards was efficient as he scattered four hits with a walk and a strikeout in six innings. Hunter Cervenka pitched two innings and struck out a batter. Frank Batista had a perfect ninth to claim the victory.
It was another excellent pitching effort Friday as Tennessee shutout Huntsville for the second straight day, 2-0. Pierce Johnson was fairly untouchable for four innings as he struck out seven and gave up three hits with three walks. Matt Loosen followed and had a strikeout in three innings, and Andrew McKirahan tossed a scoreless inning. Then it was time for “El Tiburon”, as Frank Batista worked a perfect ninth for his tenth save.
The Smokes were able to grind out a run in the first after Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4 with a double) led off with a double and eventually scored on a groundout. Christian Villanueva (1-for-4) began the second inning with a single and scored after base hits by Charles Cutler (1-for-3) and Stephen Bruno (2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI).
A big eighth inning turned a close game into a blowout Saturday as Tennessee increased their first place lead to two games by beating Huntsville 12-5. The Smokies grabbed the lead in the first inning after Addison Russell (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) drew a two out walk and scored on a double from Christian Villanueva (3-for-4 with a double and two RBI). A single by Taylor Davis (3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI) drove in Villanueva. Tennessee countered two runs in the top of the third with two of their own when Villanueva walked and scored on a home run by Davis. Behind 5-4 in the seventh, the Smokies tied the game after Russell doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Villanueva. The eighth inning began with Stephen Bruno (1-for-4) being hit by a pitch with one out and Dustin Geiger (0-for-3) walking. Anthony Giansanti (3-for-3) singled to load the bases and pinch-hitter Lars Anderson walked to force in Bruno. A double from Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-5 with a double and two RBI) drove in Geiger and Giansanti and a triple by Albert Almora (1-for-5 with a a triple and two RBI) scored Anderson and Ha. Russell singled in Almora, and base hits by Villanueva and Davis drove in Russell.
Ivan Pineyro looked much better in his second start back from the disabled list than in his first. Pineyro struck out seven and allowed two earned runs in 4.2 innings. Lendy Castillo was shaky as he gave up three earned runs and lasted only 0.2 innings. Blake Cooper made his organizational debut as he struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings. P.J. Francescon took over and pitched a perfect inning, and Hunter Cervenka struck out the side in the ninth.
Tennessee made it five wins in a row Sunday, as the Smokies moved on to Montgomery and beat the Stars 7-3. Felix Pena showed what kind of a pitcher he is with run support. Pena struck out four and allowed two earned runs in 6.1 innings. Zach Cates relieved and gave up an earned run in an inning of work. Jeffrey Lorick tossed a scoreless inning, while Frank Batista recorded the final two outs in the ninth.
Trailing 1-0 in the top of the third, consecutive singles by Stephen Bruno (2-for-4 with a double), Taylor Davis (3-for-4), and Jae-Hoon Ha (3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) loaded the bases. A base hit by Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-5 with two RBI) drove in Bruno and Davis. A single from Albert Almora (3-for-5 with an RBI) scored Ha, and a double by Addison Russell plated Chen and Almora. Davis singled to lead off the fourth inning and scored on a home run by Jae-Hoon Ha.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (67–63)
Iowa outlasted the 51’s on Thursday and defeated Las Vegas 6-5 in 12 innings. Dallas Beeler had a typical effort as he allowed three earned runs and struck out five in six innings. Armando Rivero let Las Vegas back into the game as he gave up an earned run with three strikeouts in an inning of work. Zac Rosscup tossed two scoreless innings while striking out two batters. Blake Parker came on in the tenth and struck out two batters. Marcos Mateo surrendered the lead run in the 12th but had four strikeouts in two innings.
The I-Cubs took the lead in the third inning after Matt Szczur (3-for-6 with a stolen base) singled and stole second. A base hit by Logan Watkins (3-for-6 with an RBI and a stolen base) drove in Szczur. Watkins stole second. A fielder’s choice allowed Jorge Soler (0-for-5) to reach, as Watkins was thrown out at home. Mike Olt (2-for-5 with a double, a home run, and two RBI) stepped up and belted a two-run home run. Olt doubled to lead off the sixth inning, and Manny Ramirez (2-for-3) put runners on the corners with a single. Eli Whiteside (1-for-4) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Olt scored on a sacrifice fly. The 12th inning dramatics began with a single by Watkins, who came in on a home run by Kris Bryant (1-for-5 with a home run and two RBI).
On Friday, Iowa just could not generate any offense and they lost 2-0 to Las Vegas. Eric Jokisch was the tough-luck pitcher as he allowed two earned runs and struck out six in six innings. Alberto Cabrera pitched two innings with a strikeout and Arodys Vizcaino had a strikeout in an inning of work. Rafael Lopez (2-for-3) led the offense, while Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with a double) and Ryan Kalish also collected hits.
On Saturday, Iowa could not overcome a three-run deficit with a late inning surge as they lost to Salt Lake City 5-3. Carlos Pimentel once again received an emergency start with the call-up of Dan Straily and allowed five earned runs while striking out three in five innings. Yoanner Negrin tossed three scoreless innings, and Marcus Hatley shut down the Bees in the ninth. The I-Cubs took the lead in the first inning after Ryan Kalish (2-for-5) led off with a single. Logan Watkins (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) and Kris Bryant followed with walks. A groundout brought in Kalish and a sacrifice fly scored Watkins. Iowa added a run in the sixth after Kalish singled with two outs and scored on a double by Watkins.
Iowa slipped to two games in back of first place on Sunday as they lost to Salt Lake City 3-2. Felix Doubront made his second rehab start and like the time before put the I-Cubs in a hole after he allowed three earned runs and struck out four in six innings. Marcos Mateo had two strikeouts in an inning of work. Armando Rivero also fanned two in two scoreless innings. A depleted offense scratched for runs after Mike Olt (1-for-4) singled with one out in the sixth and scored on a double from Josh Vitters (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI). It was too little in the ninth after Logan Watkins (0-for-3) drew a one out walk and went to third on a double by Eli Whiteside (2-for-4 with a double). Watkins scored on a groundout.
Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (19–25)
The AZL Cubs could not overcome a big deficit on Thursday as they lost to the Diamondbacks 6-2. Jake Stinnett was hit hard as he surrendered four earned runs on six hits in two innings. Catcher Tyler Pearson (1-for-3) provided an offensive highlight as he hit his first professional home run.
The A-Cubs could not support a lead on Saturday, as they lost to the Mariners 4-3. The Cubs went in front in the first inning thanks to Andrew Ely (1-for-3 with a double) and Eloy Jimenez (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI). Jefferson Mejia was hung with four unearned runs as he struck out four in three innings.
Game one of a doubleheader on Sunday was a three hit shut-out as the AZL Cubs beat the White Sox 3-0. Jose Paulino struck out eight in five innings, while rehabbing James Pugliese fanned two in two perfect innings. Third baseman Adonis Paula was 1-for-3 with a home run, and catcher Tyler Pearson went 1-for-2 with a double.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs recalled OF Matt Szczur and RHP Dan Straily from the Iowa Cubs; optioned OF Junior Lake and RHP Dan Straily to the Iowa Cubs; released C Chadd Krist; sent RHP James Pugliese to the AZL Cubs on a rehab assignment; assigned RHP Yoanner Negrin to the Iowa Cubs from the Boise Hawks; assigned RHP Blake Cooper to the Tennessee Smokies, assigned INF/C Ben Carhart to the Daytona Cubs from the Kane County Cougars; assigned OF/C Mark Zagunis to the Kane County Cougars from the Boise Hawks; assigned RHP Jake Stinnett to the Boise Hawks from the AZL Cubs; assigned OF Calvin Graves to the AZL Cubs from the Boise Hawks.The Tennessee Smokies placed C Luis Flores on the 7-day disabled list. The Daytona Cubs placed LHP Nathan Dorris on the 7-day disabled list. The Kane County Cougars activated OF Yasiel Balaguert from the 7-day disabled list.
Top Prospect Watch
Albert Almora (OF) – Tennessee Smokies
Corey Black (RHP) – Tennessee Smokies
Paul Blackburn (RHP) – Kane County Cougars
C.J. Edwards (RHP) – Tennessee Smokies
Jacob Hannemann (OF) – Daytona Cubs
Eloy Jimenez (OF) – AZL Cubs
Pierce Johnson (RHP) – Tennessee Smokies
Jorge Soler (OF) – Iowa Cubs
Dan Vogelbach (1B) – Daytona Cubs
Rob Zastryzny (LHP) – Daytona Cubs