Success is building throughout the minor league system as first place Myrtle Beach was able to stop a losing streak on National Television with the help of Mark Zagunis.
Also joining in the successes are the affiliates in the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues.
So get on board the bandwagon, and know the score by reading the Down on the Farm Report.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (26-30)
The SB Cubs took on one of the Midwest League’s best teams and came away a winner, beating Cedar Rapids 9-4. The Kernels have the second best record in the MWL but starter Jake Stinnett had one of his best outings of the year, allowing three earned runs on six hits and three walks while striking out five in 5.1 innings. Daniel Lewis relieved and tossed 1.2 scoreless innings, while Jordan Minch finished out the game giving up an earned run and striking out two in two innings.
The South Bend offense was in high gear. David Bote (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) walked to lead off the game. A single by Gleyber Torres (3-for-5 with an RBI) put runners on the corners, and Bote scored on a ground out. Jesse Hodges (2-for-3 with an RBI) singled with one out in the second, scoring on a double from Jeffrey Baez (3-for-4 with a double and two RBI). Tied at two in the fourth, South Bend answered in the bottom of the inning with four straight singles by Cael Brockmeyer (2-for-5), Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4), Hodges, and Baez that allowed Brockmeyer to score. A double from Bote drove in Amaya and Hodges and a base hit by Torres scored Baez. A single Brockmeyer and walks to Amaya and Hodges with one out loaded the bases. A wild pitch scored Brockmeyer and Amaya crossed the plate on a ground out. The SB Cubs added a run in the eighth inning after Torres singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored in on a base hit from Kevin Encarnacion (1-for-4 with an RBI).
It was time for two All-Stars to shine on Saturday as South Bend defeated Quad Cities 2-1. All-Star Jeremy Null remained one of the top pitchers in the Midwest League. Null allowed an earned run on five hits while striking out four in six innings. Francisco Carrillo worked around a hit and a walk with a strikeout in 1.1 innings. Fellow All-Star James Farris worked 1.2 scoreless innings for his eighth save.
South Bend tied the game at one in the fourth inning after Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-3 with a home run) blasted a solo home run to left field. One out singles by Jeffrey Baez (1-for-2 with a stolen base) and Charcer Burks (1-for-4) started the fifth inning. A fielder’s choice nailed Baez trying to score, but a base hit by Andrew Ely (1-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Burks.
South Bend could not get out of a hole they dug for themselves on Sunday and lost 8-3 to Quad Cities. Starting pitcher Erick Leal was battered around, surrendering seven earned runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out two in four innings. Ryan McNeil picked up some of the slack, tossing three scoreless innings. David Garner had five strikeouts but gave up an earned run in two innings.
Behind 7-0 in the fourth inning, Charcer Burks (1-for-5) singled and Gleyber Torres (0-for-4 with a walk) walked. A one out base hit by Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-3 with an RBI) drove in Burks, and Torres scored on a sacrifice fly. Jason Vosler (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) doubled to start the sixth inning and came home on a two out single from David Bote (1-for-4 with an RBI).
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (33-22)
A doubleheader to make-up for an accident suffered by opponent Carolina was on tap for Myrtle Beach on Friday, and the Pelicans dropped the opener 5-3. Duane Underwood is finding the second time around in the Carolina League a little rougher as he allowed four earned runs to the Mudcats on seven hits and a walk while striking out four in 5.1 innings. Jasvir Rakkar went the rest of the way and gave up an earned run with a strikeout in 1.2 innings. The Birds tied the game in the second inning after Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with a double) led off with a double and scored following a ground out and a fielder’s choice.
In the third inning, Mark Zagunis (1-for-4 with a home run) launched a solo home run with one out. Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-3 with a stolen base) followed with a single, stole second and scored on a base hit from Chesny Young (2-for-3 with an RBI).
The Pelicans salvaged a split as they took the nightcap 5-2 over Carolina. Paul Blackburn continues to inch closer to his potential, as he surrendered two earned runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Blanking the Mudcats the rest of the way, Michael Heesch picked up the victory.
The offense didn’t click until late. Myrtle Beach manufactured a run in the third inning. Mark Zagunis (0-for-1 with two walks and a stolen base) walked with two outs and a single by Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-3 with a double) put runners at first and third. The Pelicans pulled off a double steal, with Chen taking second and Zagunis stealing home. Trailing by a run in the sixth, Zagunis walked and took third on a double from Chen. A single by Chesny Young (2-for-3 with an RBI) drove in Zagunis, and Jeimer Candelario (0-for-2) was hit by a pitch. Carlos Penalver (1-for-3 with a double and three RBI) delivered a two out double that plated Chen, Young and Candelario.
As the make-up games continued, the losses began to mount for Myrtle Beach as the lost game one of a doubleheader with Carolina on Saturday 1-0. Tyler Skulina had an outstanding effort as he struck out eight and allowed an earned run on three hits and a walk in six innings. Josh Conway had two strikeouts in a scoreless seventh inning. The Pelicans managed only four hits … Victor Caratini (2-for-3 with a double), Danny Lockhart (1-for-2 with a double) and Trey Martin (1-for-2).
In game two, Myrtle Beach managed to get on the board but still lost 4-2 to Carolina. Mark Zagunis (1-for-2 with a stolen base) walked to start the game and scored on a one out single from Chesny Young (1-for-4 with an RBI). The top of the line-up tied the game in the fifth inning after Zagunis was hit by a pitch and Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4) singled. A one out base hit by Victor Caratini (1-for-3 with an RBI) drove in Zagunis.
Fernando Cruz was given the spot start and kept the Pelicans in the ballgame, allowing two runs (one earned) while striking out four in five innings. Juan Paniagua, working for the first time in five days, gave up two earned runs with a strikeout in two innings.
A National Television audience saw just what a machine Myrtle Beach can be as they dismantled Carolina 4-1 on Sunday. Starter Jen-Ho Tseng looks to finally be rounding into form as he allowed an earned run on five hits and a walk while striking out two in 4.1 innings. Michael Heesch remained rock-solid as he struck out two in two scoreless innings. Picking up his fourth save, James Pugliese shut down the Mudcats for 2.2 innings and had two strikeouts.
It took one swing of the bat to tie the game in the sixth inning. Mark Zagunis (2-for-4 with a double, a home run, and two RBI) hit his third home run of the season. Two out walks to Chesny Young (0-for-3 with a walk) and Victor Caratini (0-for-3 with a walk) set up Jacob Rogers (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI), who delivered a double that drove in both runners. In the seventh, Trey Martin (1-for-3) singled and Danny Lockhart (1-for-3 with a double) doubled, and Martin scored on a fielding error.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (31-26)
Tennessee fell back into a first place tie on Friday as they lost to Chattanooga 6-5. Starter Ivan Pineyro could not keep the Smokies in the game as he allowed four earned runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out six in six innings. Starling Peralta gave up an earned run as he worked an inning. Gerardo Concepcion yielded an earned run in 0.2 innings. Finishing out the game, Michael Wagner had two strikeouts in 1.1 scoreless innings.
Tennessee was constantly playing catch-up in this one. The Smokies tied the game at two in the fourth inning. Kyle Schwarber (1-for-3) led off with a single and Willson Contreras (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) followed with a double. A one out base hit by Billy McKinney (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) drove in Schwarber and Contreras. Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-4) began the sixth inning with a base hit. Schwarber was hit by a pitch. A single by Contreras brought in Almora, and a sacrifice fly scored Schwarber.
The Smokies opened a series with Birmingham on Saturday and could not hold onto an early lead, losing 4-3. One out walks in the first inning, along with a wild pitch, to Albert Almora Jr. (0-for-4 with a walk) and Kyle Schwarber (1-for-4) put runners in scoring position. A single by Willson Contreras (2-for-4 with two RBI) drove in Almora and Schwarber. Contreras came home on a double form Billy McKinney (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI).
Starter Jeffry Antigua labored through 3.2 innings. Antigua gave up three earned runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out two batters. Andres Santiago surrendered the lead run, as he had two strikeouts in 2.1 innings. Corey Black had his second bullpen appearance and struck out two in two scoreless innings. P.J. Francescon had a strikeout in an inning of work.
A tense battle on Sunday saw Tennessee come out on the losing end as they fell to Birmingham 1-0 in 11 innings. Frank Batista once again was masterful, striking out two and giving up six hits in seven scoreless innings. Tayler Scott was probably left in too long, as he allowed the winning run on a home run after striking out two in four innings. The Smokies collected seven hits … Jacob Hannemann (1-for-3 with a double), Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4), Elliot Soto (1-for-4), Kyle Schwarber (1-for-4), Willson Contreras (1-for-5) Ryan Dent (1-for-5) and Stephen Bruno (1-for-1).
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (29-27)
The bullpen absolutely fell apart for the I-Cubs on Friday as they finished a series against Albuquerque with a 10-2 loss. Felipe Paulino had a decent start, striking out six and allowing three earned runs on four hits and three walks in 5.2 innings. Armando Rivero got the final out of the sixth inning, but Blake Cooper was pounded in the seventh. Cooper had been reliable in the bullpen all year, but gave up five earned runs. Joe Ortiz added to the misery as he surrendered two earned runs in the eighth inning.
A one out single by Adron Chambers (2-for-5) and a double from Javier Baez (1-for-5 with a double and an RBI) plated Chambers in the first inning. But the I-Cubs would only add a single run in the seventh on a Chris Valaika (1-for-2 with a home run) solo home run.
Iowa returned home Saturday and dropped the series opener with Memphis 7-2. Starter Carlos Pimentel got no help from his defense, but his own lack of control was also to blame. Pimentel allowed six runs (two earned) on two hits and eight walks in three innings. Pressed into service, Gonzalez Germen gave up an earned run in two innings. Slowly making improvement, Yoervis Medina had two strikeouts in two perfect innings. Brian Schlitter mopped things up with a strikeout in two scoreless innings.
The only scoring for the I-Cubs came in the eighth inn when John Andreoli (1-for-3 with a double) walked and came around on a home run from Javier Baez (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI).
A see-saw affair on Sunday had the I-Cubs coming out on top, besting Memphis 3-2. Donn Roach was typical Donn Roach, allowing an earned run on six hits and a walk while striking out five in six innings. Armando Rivero also had a typical outing, giving up an earned run and striking out a batter in an inning of work. Striking out two, Carl Edwards Jr. tossed a scoreless inning. Setting down the side in order in the ninth, Joe Ortiz recorded the win.
Taylor Teagarden (3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) started the scoring in the second inning by slugging a solo home run. Iowa answered a run by the Redbirds in the seventh inning as Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a stolen base) had a one out single and stole second base. A base hit by Teagarden brought in pinch-runner Jonathan Mota. The I-Cubs played by the book in the ninth inning, as Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a stolen base) opened with a single and was sacrificed to second. Alcantara stole third base and was able to trot home on a one out single from Teagarden.
Dominican Summer League – DSL Cubs (4-3)
The DSL Cubs saw their record move to 3-3 on Friday as they were overrun by Rangers-2 13-3. The D-Cubs committed five errors as Eury Ramos allowed six runs (two earned) while striking out three in 1.2 innings. Deibi Torres gave up six runs (five earned) and had two strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Former pitcher turned OF/1B Chris Pieters went 2-for-4.
It was bombs away on Saturday for the DSL Cubs as they used three home runs to defeat the DSL Braves 8-0. Outfielder Tony Rijo was 2-for-3 with a double, home run, and three RBI. Designated Hitter Yovanny Cuevas was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI, while first baseman Franklin Tineo went 1-for-5 with a home run. Starter Pedro Silverio went six innings and struck out nine while only walking one batter.
Venezuelan Summer League – VSL Cubs (8-9)
On Friday, the VSL Cubs were edged out in a late inning rush by the first place VSL Rays, losing 6-5. Fidel Matos once again was in the middle of things, going 1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI. Catcher Gustavo Polanco was 2-for-5 with a double while outfielder Luis Ayala went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base. Left-handed starter Carlos A. Rodriguez had a rough time, allowing four earned runs but striking out five in 6.1 innings.
The V-Cubs once again had trouble with the first place VSL Rays on Saturday, losing 6-5. Hulking lefty Andres Bonalde (6-foot-6, 198-pounds) started and had three strikeouts, giving up two runs (one earned) in 2.2 innings. Alex Pacheco had six strikeouts but allowed three earned runs in 3.1 innings. Outfielder Jose Gonzalez was 2-for-3 with two RBI.
News and Notes
The Iowa Cubs activated OF John Andreoli from the 7-day disabled list. The Tennessee Smokies placed RHP Stephen Perakslis on the 7-day disabled list.
Top Prospect Watch
- Albert Almora Jr. (OF) – .250/.293/.327/.621, five doubles, a triple, two home runs, 13 RBI, three stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Trevor Clifton (RHP) – 2-4, 42.1 IP, 3.83 ERA, 18 ER, 44 K, 1.181 WHIP (South Bend Cubs)
- Carl Edwards Jr. (RHP) – 0-0, 4 IP, 6.75 ERA, three ER, four K, 1.750 WHIP (Iowa Cubs)
- Billy McKinney (OF) – .284/.330/.407/.737, eight doubles, a triple, nine RBI, (Tennessee Smokies)
- Kyle Schwarber (C) – .324/.445/.580/1.024, seven doubles, a triple, 12 home runs, 24 RBI (Tennessee Smokies)
- Jake Stinnett (RHP) – 2-2, 38.1 IP, 6.10 ERA, 26 ER, 32 K, 1.904 WHIP (South Bend Cubs)
- Gleyber Torres (INF) – .311/.387/.3837/.771, 10 doubles, two triples, 31 RBI, eight stolen bases (South Bend Cubs)
- Jen-Ho Tseng (RHP) – 2-2, 41.1 IP, 3.92 ERA, 23 ER, 37 K, 1.306 WHIP (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Duane Underwood Jr. (RHP) – 5-2, 50.1 IP, 2.15 ERA, 12 ER, 34 K, 1.033 WHIP (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Mark Zagunis (OF) – .302/.436/.441/.877, 10 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 22 RBI (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)