With Kris Bryant and Addison Russell up with the parent club, it is time to focus on the rest of the Cubs’ minor leagues.
Myrtle Beach is showing the heart of a true champion as they came from behind twice to win behind the hitting of Billy McKinney, Jacob Rogers, and Ben Carhart. The bullpens for both South Bend and Tennessee had their difficulties, but should not take away from excellent starts by Ryan Williams, Jake Stinnett, Frank Batista, and Corey Black.
Iowa evened their record thanks to timely hitting by Junior Lake and Matt Szczur, along with some great pitching from Donn Roach.
So who will be the next prospect up? Find out in today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (5-8)
South Bend exorcised some demons Monday night as they shut out Great Lakes 3-0. The bullpen had blown the last two games against the Loons, along with some shoddy defense. Ryan Williams continues to impress as a starter as he scattered seven hits over 5.2 scoreless innings while striking out three batters. Seeing his first action of 2015, David Garner stranded a runner at second in the sixth and had a strikeout in a scoreless seventh. James Norwood worked two perfect innings and had three strikeouts to earn the first save for South Bend.
Chesny Young (2-for-3 with two stolen bases) walked and stole second with one out in the first, while Cael Brockmeyer (0-for-3 with a walk) drew a two out walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Hodges laced a single through the middle to score Young and Brockmeyer. Young singled to lead off the fifth inning and once again stole second base. Hodges delivered a two-out single that plated Young.
The game turned against South Bend on a controversial call and another bullpen implosion as they lost 5-2 to Lake County on Tuesday. With one out in the top of the eighth and the game tied at two, Francisco Carrillo seemed to get out of the inning by inducing a 6-4-3 double play, but base umpire Matt Bates called the runner safe at second, allowing the Captains to take the lead. Carrillo then had all kinds of problems getting batters out in the ninth as he ended up with three earned runs on three hits and two walks while striking out two in two innings.
It wiped out a good start for Jake Stinnett, as he was charged with an unearned run in five innings. Stinnett struck out four and walked five while giving up two hits. Jordan Minch had some trouble finding the strike zone with two walks and a hit along with an earned run in two innings.
Justin Marra (1-for-2 with a home run and an RBI) got the SB Cubs on the board in the third inning as he slugged his first home run of the season. South Bend took the lead in the fifth inning as Marra walked with two outs. Back-to-back singles from Rashad Crawford (1-for-3) and Charcer Burks (2-for-4 with an RBI) plated Marra.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (8-3)
There was no quit in Myrtle Beach on Monday as they came from behind to beat Salem 7-4 in 11 innings. The Red Sox jumped out to a big lead on Tyler Skulina as the big right-hander allowed four earned runs on six hits, including a home run, while striking out four in five innings. Gerardo Concepcion held Salem in check for two innings as he struck out a batter. Tayler Scott came up big out of the pen, going three scoreless innings and striking out two batters. Matt Brazis slammed the door in the 11th with two strikeouts.
The Pelicans stared to chip away at the lead in the fourth after Mark Zagunis (1-for-4 with two RBI) and Bill McKinney (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) started the inning with walks. Jacob Rogers (1-for-2 with a home run) drew a one out walk to load the bases, and a single by Victor Caratini (2-for-5 with an RBI) drove in Zagunis. McKinney cut the lead in half in the sixth inning as he blasted a solo home run. It was the long ball again in the eighth inning as a solo shot by Rogers brought Myrtle Beach to within one run.
In the ninth, Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4 with an RBI and three stolen bases) singled with two out and stole second base. A base hit by Zagunis brought in Hannemann and tied the score. With one out in the 11th, Danny Lockhart (1-for-4), Carlos Penalver (1-for-5), and Hannemann had consecutive singles, with Lockhart scoring. Hannemann stole second, and Penalver scored on a sacrifice fly. A base hit by McKinney plated Hannemann with the seventh run.
The character of champions showed through again on Tuesday. Myrtle Beach didn’t let a deficit bother them as they defeated Salem 7-4. The Pelicans tied the game at two in the second inning after Jacob Rogers (0-for-4 with an RBI) led off with a walk and Ben Carhart (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) drilled a two-run home run. The Birds took the lead in the fifth after Jacob Hannemann (1-for-5) singled with one out. Mark Zagunis (0-for-4 with a stolen base) followed with a walk. A base hit by Billy McKinney (2-for-5 with an RBI) drove in Hannemann for the lead.
Behind for a second time, Myrtle Beach put the game away in the seventh after Zagunis reached on an error to start the inning. Zagunis stole second and scored on a double from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI). A wild pitch moved Candelario to third, and a throwing error allowed Candelario to score and Rogers to make it all the way to second. A wild pitch and a walk to Carhart put runners at the corners. A single by Danny Lockhart (1-for-5 with an RBI) scored Rogers. Carhart touched home on a sacrifice fly.
Jen-Ho Tseng was on the hill for the Pelicans and was a bit uncharacteristic, allowing two earned runs on six hits and a walk while striking out three in 4.1 innings. Michael Heesch made his High-A debut and gave up two runs (one earned) with a strikeout in an inning of work. James Pugliese mowed down the Red Sox with two strikeouts in 2.2 scoreless innings. Jasvir Rakkar made his first appearance for Myrtle Beach and collected his first save with a scoreless ninth inning.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (6-5)
A close ballgame on Monday blew up in the face of Tennessee as they lost to Jackson 7-1. Frank Batista continues to impress in a starter role, as his breaking pitch baffled Generals’ hitters. Batista struck out five in 4.2 scoreless innings. Michael Jensen came on with runners on first and second and fanned the only hitter he faced to quell the uprising. C.J. Edwards took over in the sixth and struck out the side in his first inning. However, things didn’t go so well the next frame as a pair of errors assisted in Edwards giving up four runs (two earned) as he departed after 1.2 innings. Andres Santiago wasn’t much better, as he surrendered three earned runs while striking out three in 1.1 innings.
The only run of the contest for the Smokies came in the second inning when Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI) blasted his first Double-A home run.
The bullpen spoiled a good effort for Tennessee on Tuesday as they lost to Jackson 5-3. Corey Black had another good outing as he struck out four and allowed an earned run on two walks and three hits in six innings. Stephen Perakslis entered the game in the seventh inning and had all kinds of trouble in the eighth. Perakslis surrendered four runs (three earned) while striking out a batter in two innings.
The Smokies started the game off right as leadoff hitter Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-5 with a triple) tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly. Tennessee took the lead again in the fourth inning after Ryan Dent singled with one out and stole second. Albert Almora (1-for-4 with two RBI) had a two out base hit that scored Dent. Almora took second on the throw home. Kyle Schwarber (2-for-5 with an RBI) singled in Almora.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (6-6)
With all the poor weather this past weekend, Iowa had a doubleheader on Monday and they dropped the opener to Oklahoma City 8-0. Carlos Pimentel was treated rudely again as he allowed eight runs (seven earned) on four hits and five walks while striking out three in four innings. Just up from extended spring training, Michael Wagner made his Triple-A debut. Wagner struck out a batter in three perfect innings. Scott Baker took a perfect game into the seventh inning and held the I-Cubs to two hits as Addison Russell was 1-for-3 while Mike Baxter went 1-for-3 with a double.
Game two went into extra innings with Iowa prevailing over Oklahoma City 4-3 in nine innings. Spot starter Yoanner Negrin got the call and gave up two earned runs on two solo home runs as he had four strikeouts in five innings. Joe Ortiz relieved and allowed the Dodgers to tie the game in the seventh as he served up a solo home run in two innings. James Russell had three strikeouts in the final two innings to collect his first victory.
The I-Cubs added their runs one at a time as Junior Lake (1-for-2 with an RBI) walked with one out in the first inning and scored on a double from Addison Russell (2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI). It was the same combination in the fifth as Lake led off with a single and scored on a double by Russell to tie the score. Iowa took the lead in the sixth after Taylor Davis (2-for-4 with a home run) crushed a solo home run to center field. The winning run came in “grind it out” fashion in the ninth after Mike Baxter (0-for-1) walked, stole second, moved to third on an error, and scored on a sacrifice fly.
After Iowa took what appeared to be comfortable lead on Tuesday, they had to hold on as the I-Cubs escaped with a 6-4 victory over New Orleans. Iowa tied the game at one in the third inning after pitcher Donn Roach (1-for-2 with a double) led off with a double and scored on a one out single from Matt Szczur (3-for-4 with an RBI). Christian Villanueva (2-for-4 with a double) started the fourth inning with a double and scored on a Taylor Teagarden home run. In the eighth, Chris Valaika (3-for-4) started the inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. A single by Junior Lake (1-for-4 with an RBI) scored Valaika. A base hit by Villanueva put two runners on for Teagarden. And Teagarden doubled in Lake and Villanueva.
Donn Roach had his second straight impressive start, striking out three and allowing an unearned run on four hits and two walks in six innings. The struggles for Armando Rivero continued as he gave up an earned run and struck out a batter in an inning of work. Blake Cooper picked up a save even though he surrendered two earned runs while striking out four in two innings.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs selected the contract of INF Addison Russell from the Iowa Cubs, optioned INF/OF Arismendy Alcantara to the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Michael Wagner to the Iowa Cubs from extended Spring Training.
The South Bend Cubs placed OF Jeffrey Baez on the 7-day disabled list; activated OF Yasiel Balaguert from the 7-day disabled list.