Myrtle Beach now has the best record in the Carolina League as they have ridden the hot hitting of Billy McKinney for two wins to start the week. Tennessee remains in first although the Smokies lost two close games even with receiving a record setting performance from Pin-Chieh Chen. South Bend remains in striking distance of first place as Jeremy Null had a game to remember. And in Iowa, the I-Cubs are close to evening their record as they received excellent pitching performances from Eric Jokisch and Carlos Pimentel.
It never too early to scoreboard watch, so take a look at today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (14-12)
Although South Bend lost on Monday 2-0 to Great Lakes, it may be the sign of a turnaround for the SB Cubs. The reason for this slant on a loss is the performance of starter Jake Stinnett, who finally looks like he is living up to some of the hype. Stinnett gave up two earned runs on seven hits, but only had one walk in five innings while striking out five batters. Francisco Carrillo also looks to be turning around a dismal season. Carrillo had a strikeout in three scoreless innings. Tyler Ihrig also struck out a batter in the ninth.
It was short work for the South Bend Cubs on Tuesday as it took them one hour and 44 minutes to dispatch the Great Lakes Loons 3-0. Organization Pitcher of the Month Jeremy Null was simply dominant as he struck out three and allowed four hits and a walk in eight innings. James Farris had a strikeout in the ninth to record his second save.
The SB Cubs held a precarious 1-0 lead through eight innings as Yasiel Balaguert (0-for-2 with a walk) walked, moved to third on a single from Jesse Hodges (1-for-3), and scored on a double play in the second inning. Justin Marra (1-for-3) led off the eighth inning with a base hit, and one out singles by Rashad Crawford (1-for-3) and Charcer Burks (2-for-4 with a double) loaded the bases. A double play and an error allowed both pinch runner Jeffrey Baez and Crawford to score.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (15-9)
Myrtle Beach shrugged off rare poor pitching performances on Monday with their bats as the Pelicans pummeled Lynchburg 14-6. Things were pretty rocky for starter Jen-Ho Tseng as he gave up three earned runs in three innings. Josh Conway didn’t fare much better. Conway allowed three earned runs in an inning of work. But from there, the rest of the bullpen buckled down. Michael Heesch ate some innings, striking out three in three scoreless innings. Jasvir Rakkar seems to have taken over as the team’s closer. Rakkar recorded his third save working two scoreless innings.
The Pelicans cut the Hillcats lead in half in the third inning after Mark Zagunis (2-for-6 with two doubles) led off with a double and scored on a one out single from Billy McKinney (2-for-4 with a triple and three RBI). Myrtle Beach took the lead for good in the fourth inning after Danny Lockhart (2-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base) reached on an error and scored on a double from Carlos Penalver (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI). Alberto Mineo (0-for-3 with two walks) walked, and an out later, Wes Darvill (1-for-3 with a triple and three RBI) drew a free pass. Penalver scored on a ground out, and Jacob Rogers (3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI) cleared the bases with a three-run home run. Consecutive singles by Jeimer Candelario (2-for-6 with a double), Kevin Brown (3-for-5 with a double), and Lockhart plated Candelario.
The Birds got some breathing room in the fifth inning after Mineo reached on an error and Zagunis doubled. A ground out brought in Mineo, and McKinney was hit by a pitch. A base hit by Rogers drove in Zagunis.
Myrtle Beach put the game away in the ninth. Brown doubled and scored on a single from Penalver. After a walk to Mineo, Darvill tripled in Penalver and Mineo. A triple by McKinney drove in Darvill, and McKinney scored on an error.
One big inning was all it took for Myrtle Beach to defeat Salem 5-2 on Tuesday. Behind 1-0 in the fourth inning, Mark Zagunis (1-for-4 with two stolen bases) reached on an error and stole second base. Ben Carhart (1-for-3) walked. A double from Billy McKinney (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) scored both Zagunis and Carhart. Jacob Rogers (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) doubled in McKinney. A single by Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3) put runners on the corners and a base hit from Victor Caratini (1-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Rogers. A base hit by Trey Martin (2-for-4 with a stolen base) loaded the bases, and Candelario scored on a ground out.
Jonathan Martinez had another solid effort. Martinez tossed six innings and allowed two earned runs with two strikeouts. Ben Wells had three strikeouts in two scoreless innings. James Pugliese earned his second save as he struck out a batter in a perfect ninth inning.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (13-11)
Despite an historic effort, Tennessee could not prevail in extra innings on Monday and the Smokies lost 4-3 to Birmingham in 13 innings. Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-2 with a home run, five walks, and a stolen base) set a Southern League record by getting on base in all seven of his plate appearances, the most in any single game. Chen cut a 2-0 lead in half in the fifth inning with a solo home run.
The Smokies tied the score in the seventh inning after Ryan Dent (1-for-5) led off with a single and stole second. Chen walked and a base hit by Kyle Schwarber (1-for-6) loaded the bases. A wild pitch brought in Dent. Tennessee took the lead in the top of the 13th after walks to Dent, Chen, and Schwarber loaded the bases. A sacrifice bunt scored Dent.
Felix Pena was a little wild but still pitched a pretty good game. Pena allowed two earned runs on two hits and five walks with four strikeouts in 5.2 innings. Fernando Cruz pitched a scoreless inning, while Michael Jensen and Stephen Perakslis each racked up three strikeouts as they held the Barons in check for two and three innings respectively. For the second straight outing, Zach Cates was given a lead to protect and wound up surrendering the winning run. Cates yielded two earned runs in 0.2 innings.
Tennessee tried to get away with one and almost succeeded but the Smokies lost 4-3 to Pensacola on Tuesday. The Smokies gave a spot start to Jeffry Antigua and may have ridden him a little too long. Antigua was fine through five innings but allowed four earned runs in the sixth inning. Antigua had two strikeouts in 5.2 innings. Starling Peralta went the rest of the way while picking up a strikeout in 2.1 scoreless innings.
Tennessee scored two runs in the second inning after Anthony Giansanti (2-for-4) reached on an error with one out. Ryan Dent (1-for-4 with a double) doubled, and a single by Jeffry Antigua (1-for-2 with two RBI) drove in both Giansanti and Dent. The Smokies added a run in the seventh inning when Elliot Soto (2-for-5) singled with two out and scored on a triple from Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4 with a triple and an RBI).
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (12-13)
In what looked like early trouble for Iowa on Monday turned into a 2-1 victory over Nashville. Eric Jokisch did not look good in the first inning. Jokisch allowed an earned run, but he straightened things out and struck out five in six innings. Brian Schlitter, Justin Grimm, and James Russell each tossed a scoreless inning, with Grimm striking out two and Russell collecting his third save.
The only runs for the I-Cubs came in the third inning after Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a double) drew a one out walk and Matt Szczur (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) belted a two-run home run.
Iowa made the most out of what they had on their roster Tuesday as they defeated Nashville 4-0. The I-Cubs’ pitching staff is in flux as several players were moved around for the big league club. Carlos Pimentel was given the start and had his best outing of the season, striking out seven and allowing three hits with three walks in six innings. Hunter Cervenka sandwiched three strikeouts around two hits in his inning of work. Armando Rivero and Blake Cooper each had a strikeout as both relievers tossed a scoreless inning.
Iowa broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning after Chris Valaika (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) drew a one out walk. Mike Baxter (2-for-4) singled and Taylor Davis (0-for-2 with two walks) walked to load the bases. A base hit from Adron Chambers brought in Valaika.
In the fifth, John Andreoli (2-for-4 with two stolen bases) led off with a single but was wiped out on a force by Rubi Silva (0-for-3). A wild pitch moved Silva to second, who later scored on a single from Valaika. A one out walk by Davis and a triple from Chambers added a run in the sixth, and Chambers scored on an error.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs sent RHP Justin Grimm to the Iowa Cubs on a rehab assignment; sent LHP Joe Ortiz outright to the Iowa Cubs; selected the contract of LHP James Russell; optioned RHP Gonzalez German to the Iowa Cubs.
The Iowa Cubs placed RHP Yoanner Negrin on the 7-day disabled list.