For the first time since the season began, none of the Cubs affiliates has a losing record as Carlos Pimentel led Iowa both on the mound and at the plate to even the I-Cubs’ record. South Bend also moved to .500 despite good efforts from starters Trevor Clifton and Ryan Williams.
Tennessee lost two despite excellent outings from Ivan Pineyro and Felix Pena, but maintained their winning record. At 19-12, Myrtle Beach remains the best team in the Carolina League as league leading hitter and Triple Crown candidate Billy McKinney and home run leader Jacob Rogers helped to secure two victories.
So welcome to the experience of a winning franchise, and find out how they got there in today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (15-15)
South Bend jumped out to an early against Bowling Green, but they could not hold off the Hot Rods as they lost 5-2 on Friday. All of South Bend’s scoring came with two outs in the first inning after Chesney Young (1-for-3) walked and consecutive singles by Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4), Justin Marra (1-for-3 with an RBI), and Jesse Hodges (1-for-4 with an RBI) scored Young and Balaguert.
Trevor Clifton had an outing worthy enough for a win as he limited Bowling Green to two earned runs on two walks and two hits while striking out five batters. Just off the disabled list, James Norwood tossed a perfect inning. But Francisco Carrillo continued his frustrating season, allowing three earned runs on six hits in two innings.
The SB Cubs slipped back to .500 for the season on Saturday as they lost to Bowling Green 4-1. Ryan Williams brought his league leading ERA against the top hitting team in the Midwest League and came away giving up four runs (two earned) on eight hits with six strikeouts in six innings. David Garner continues to shine in the bullpen. Garner struck out three in two perfect innings of work. South Bend tried to mount a comeback in the ninth inning. Charcer Burks (1-for-3) and Gleyber Torres (0-for-3) walked, with a balk moving them up a base. A ground out scored Burks, but the rally fizzled.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (19-12)
Two poor innings erased a good start by Myrtle Beach on Friday as the Pelicans lost 10-6 to Winston-Salem. Starter Paul Blackburn was hammered by the Dash. Blackburn gave up five earned runs (all in the second inning) on two walks and seven hits as he struck out three in two innings. Ben Wells was greeted just as rudely. Wells allowed five earned runs in only one inning. Josh Conway was able to halt Winston-Salem by striking out three in two scoreless innings. James Pugliese added another two shutout innings that included two strikeouts. Zach Cates fanned two in the ninth inning.
A single by Mark Zagunis (2-for-4) started the game for the Pelicans. Wes Darvill (1-for-5 with a double) followed with a ground rule double. Billy McKinney (3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI) doubled in Zagunis and Darvill. After a walk to Jacob Rogers (3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI), McKinney scored on a wild pitch. Trey Martin (2-for-4 with a double) doubled to lead off the fourth inning and scored two outs later on a ground out. In the fifth, McKinney singled with one out and touched home on Rogers’ fifth home run of the season.
Myrtle Beach made up for a rain out on April 19 with a doubleheader on Saturday. The Pelicans defeated Winston-Salem 3-2 in ten innings in the first game. Tyler Skulina followed up his Carolina League Pitcher of the Week performance with a modest effort, allowing two earned runs on three hits and four walks while striking out four in six innings. Juan Paniagua returned to action and both fanned two and walked two in two scoreless innings. Jasvir Rakkar got his first victory by holding the Dash for two more innings while recording a strikeout.
The Pelicans tied the game up in the top of the seventh after Jacob Rogers (1-for-5) singled and came in on a triple from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with a triple and an RBI). A base hit by Victor Caratini (1-for-3 with an RBI) plated Candelario.
Mark Zagunis (1-for-4 with a double) led off the 10th with a ground rule double and scored after a ground out and a sacrifice fly.
The second game saw Myrtle Beach fail to get their offense going as the Pelicans fell behind and lost to Winston-Salem 6-1. Jen-Ho Tseng continued to struggle with his command as he allowed four earned runs on four walks and three hits in 3.2 innings. Michael Heesch went the rest of the way. Heesch gave up two runs (one earned) in 2.1 innings. The Pelicans scratched out a run in the seventh after Jeimer Candelario (0-for-2 with a walk) walked with one out and advanced to second on defensive indifference. Candelario came home on a two out single from Trey Martin (1-for-3 with an RBI).
On Sunday, Myrtle Beach almost threw a game away, but the Pelicans offense came from behind to give them a 4-3 victory over Winston-Salem. Jonathan Martinez was on his way to pitching another gem when errors by Carlos Penalver (1-for-4) and Danny Lockhart (1-for-4 with a triple) opened the door for three runs (one earned) in the fifth inning. Martinez had two strikeouts in five innings. Tayler Scott continues to thrive in the bullpen as he struck out five and allowed only one hit in four scoreless innings.
Mark Zagunis (1-for-4 with a triple) and Billy McKinney (2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI) sandwiched walks around an out to lead off the game. A single by Jacob Rogers (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) drove in Zagunis. McKinney advanced to third on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly. The Pelicans tied the game in the sixth after McKinney tripled and scored on an error. A lead-off triple by Zagunis began the seventh inning and he scored the go-ahead run on a fielder’s choice.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (15-14)
Lost in Tennessee’s 3-0 loss to Pensacola on Friday was an outstanding pitching performance by starter Ivan Pineyro. Pineyro tied a career high with 10 strikeouts as he allowed three earned runs on six hits in seven innings. Starling Peralta pitched a scoreless eighth inning. With “Bash Brothers” Kyle Schwarber and Dan Vogelbach taking a game off, the rest of the Smokies’ offense went on vacation as they managed only five hits … Willson Contreras (2-for-3), Elliot Soto (1-for-3), Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4) and Anthony Giansanti had a pinch hit.
Tennessee got another fine pitching performance on Saturday but failed to support it as the Smokies lost 5-1 to Pensacola. Felix Pena fanned seven and gave up three earned runs on six hits and a walk in five innings. Carl Edwards Jr. relieved and struck out four while allowing an earned run in two innings. Gerardo Concepcion surrendered an earned run in 0.1 innings, and P.J. Francescon recorded the final two outs.
The Smokes scored in the third inning after Ryan Dent (1-for-3 with a double) doubled, moved to third on a single from Anthony Giansanti (1-for-3) and scored on a double play.
Tennessee had a travel day on Sunday.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (15-15)
Friday saw the I-Cubs even their season record as the pitching staff thwarted Colorado Springs, tossing a 4-0 shutout. Donn Roach had the Sky Sox pounding the ball into the ground as he induced ten ground outs and struck out four in six innings. Armando Rivero and Drake Britton worked around a couple of walks to get out of the seventh inning. Hunter Cervenka and Joe Ortiz each pitched a scoreless inning.
Iowa manufactured a run in the first inning after John Andreoli (2-for-4 with two doubles and two stolen bases) doubled with one out and stole both third and home. The I-Cubs opened things up in the sixth inning after Rubi Silva (1-for-3) and Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4) singled. Silva scored on another double from Andreoli. A single from Javier Baez (1-for-3 with an RBI a stolen base) plated Alcantara. Iowa added a run in the seventh after Mike Baxter (2-for-3 with a double) doubled with one out and scored on a single from Jonathan Mota (1-for-3 with an RBI).
A lack of both offense and defense led to a 3-1 loss to Colorado Springs on Saturday. Starter Eric Jokisch was one of the contributors as his error along with one by Javier Baez led to two unearned runs. Jokisch gave up three runs on five hits and struck out three in six innings. Gonzalez Germen pitched two innings with a strikeout and Brian Schlitter fanned a batter in an inning of work. The I-Cubs scored in the sixth inning after Adron Chambers (1-for-3 with a double) doubled and scored on a single by Mike Baxter (1-for-4 with an RBI).
Iowa returned back to .500 for the season on Sunday with 14-2 thumping of Colorado Springs. Carlos Pimentel turned in his finest pitching performance of the season, blanking the Sky Sox for 5.2 innings while striking out five batters. Michael Wagner relieved and gave up two earned runs in 2.1 innings. After an hour and eight minute rain delay, Armando Rivero took over in the ninth and had two strikeouts.
Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-5 with a triple and an RBI) led off the bottom of the first with a triple and scored on a single from John Andreoli (3-for-4 with an RBI). Walks to Javier Baez (2-for-3) and Taylor Teagarden (2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI) loaded the bases. Andreoli scored on a double play. The second inning began with a walk to Junior Lake (2-for-4) and a single by Adron Chambers (2-for-4). A double from Jonathan Mota (2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI) scored Lake and Chambers and a pair of ground outs allowed Mota to score. The I-Cubs added another run in the third after Lake singled, Chambers walked, and Carlos Pimentel (2-for-3 with a double and two RBI) had a base hit. Lake scored on a wild pitch. That all led to the crescendo of the fourth inning, when Andreoli walked and a base hit by Baez and a throwing error put runners in scoring position. Teagarden delivered a three-run home run.
After one out, Lake restarted the inning with a single. A base hit by Chambers and a double from Mota plated Lake. Pimentel doubled in Chambers and Mota. A two out single by Andreoli drove in Pimentel, and base hits by Baez and Teagarden scored Andreoli.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs sent RHP Anthony Varvaro outright to the Iowa Cubs; assigned LHP Tyler Ihrig to the Eugene Emeralds from the South Bend Cubs.
The South Bend Cubs activated RHP James Norwood from the 7-day disabled list.
Top Prospect Watch
- Albert Almora Jr. (OF) – .291/.322/.329/.651, three doubles, eight RBI, two stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Trevor Clifton (RHP) – 1-1, 21.2 IP, 2.91 ERA, 7 ER, 24 K, 0.969 WHIP (South Bend Cubs)
- Carl Edwards Jr. (RHP) – 1-2, 14.2 IP, 3.68 ERA, 6 ER, 16 K, 1.364 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
- Billy McKinney (OF) – .333/.433/.545/.979, five doubles, two triples, four home runs, 22 RBI (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Kyle Schwarber (C) – .325/.442/.590/1.033, five doubles, a triple, five home runs , 15 RBI (Tennessee Smokies)
- Jake Stinnett (RHP) – 0-2, 20 IP, 5.85 ERA, 13 ER, 17 K, 1.950 WHIP (South Bend Cubs)
- Gleyber Torres (IF) – .317/.415/.386/.801, three doubles, two triples, 16 RBI, eight stolen bases (South Bend Cubs)
- Jen-Ho Tseng (RHP) – 1-1, 21 IP, 5.14 ERA, 12 ER, 11 K, 1.381 WHIP (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Duane Underwood Jr. (RHP) – 3-0, 28 IP, 1.29 ERA, 4 ER, 22 K, 0.929 WHIP (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Dan Vogelbach (1B) – .330/.421/.524/.946, nine doubles, a triple, three home runs, 18 RBI (Tennessee Smokies)