Big wins and big comebacks highlight the end of the week as Jeffrey Baez remains one of the hottest players in the system for South Bend. Myrtle Beach had two walk-off wins thanks to the heroics of Jason Vosler, Danny Lockhart, and Mark Zagunis.
And the system has a new first place team as the AZL Cubs are leading the East Division of the Rookie League, while the DSL Cubs are riding a 10-game win streak to put themselves in playoff contention.
With all of the thrills, here is today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Short Season Class-A – Eugene Emeralds 21 – 24
The Eugene Emeralds returned from All-Star break late on Thursday.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs 48 – 59
South Bend came back from a devastating loss to pound Kane County 10-2 on Wednesday. The Cubs spotted the Cougars two runs in the second inning then went on a run. Gioskar Amaya (2-for-3 with a double) led off the bottom of the second with a double and scored after a ground out. South Bed tied the game in the third after Jeffrey Baez (1-for-4 with a triple, three RBI, and a stolen base) walked, advanced to third on an error and scored on a ground out. Rashad Crawford (1-for-4 with a double) started the fifth with a double and came across when Ian Happ (1-for-3) reached on an error with two outs. A single by David Bote (3-for-5 with two RBI) drove in Happ. In the sixth, Jesse Hodges (1-for-4) singled and was sacrificed to second. A two out base hit from Vimael Machin (1-for-3 with two RBI) brought in Hodges. Gleyber Torres (1-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base) singled and stole second with one out in the seventh inning. Happ followed with a walk, and a ground out scored Torres. The Cubs stuck in the dagger in the eighth inning after Amaya led off with a single and Erick Castillo (0-for-3) was hit by a pitch. Machin walked and Baez delivered a base clearing triple, scoring Amaya, Castillo and Machin. A sacrifice fly plated Baez.
Trevor Clifton was finally the beneficiary of some run support as he struck out three and allowed two earned runs in seven innings. Daniel Lewis struggled with his control as he walked three in 0.2 innings. Alex Santana picked up his second save with a strikeout in 1.1 scoreless innings.
The SB Cubs could not make a big inning stand up as they lost 4-3 to Kane County on Thursday. Gioskar Amaya (2-for-4) singled and stole second to begin the fourth inning. Charcer Burks (0-for-2 with a walk) walked. A two out bunt single from Jeffrey Baez (3-for-5 with a double and a stolen base) loaded the bases, and a base hit from Gleyber Torres (2-for-5 with three RBI) brought in Amaya, Burks, and Baez.
Defense betrayed Tommy Thorpe, but he held some of the responsibility himself as one of the Cubs’ three errors was his own on a pickoff. Thorpe was charged with three runs (one earned) and struck out two in six innings. Ryan McNeil had three strikeouts, but gave up the eventual game-winner in two innings. Michael Wagner had a strikeout as he set down the side in order in the ninth.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (65-45)
Myrtle Beach inched themselves up the standings Wednesday as the Pelicans went 10 innings to beat Wilmington in walk-off fashion. Jen-Ho Tseng is quietly regaining the form that made him Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the Cubs last season. Tseng allowed two earned runs on four hits while striking out six in seven innings. Josh Conway remains solid in the bullpen as he had two strikeouts in three scoreless innings.
The Pelicans tied the game in dramatic style in the ninth inning when Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4) laid down a bunt single and came around on a one out, two-run home run from Jason Vosler (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI). It was nearly an identical scenario in the 10th inning, with Trey Martin (1-for-4) bunting his way on. Martin was sacrificed to second and a double by Danny Lockhart (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) sealed the deal.
There was no quit in the Pelicans on Thursday night as Myrtle Beach scratched their way back for a 5-4 win over Wilmington. Daury Torrez labored through six innings, giving up four earned runs and striking out two on 92 pitches. David Garner stopped the Blue Rocks in their tracks as he struck out three in two scoreless innings. Jasvir Rakkar worked around a hit in the ninth to record his second win.
Myrtle Beach struck first after Mark Zagunis (3-for-4 with a double, a home run, and three RBI) doubled with two outs and Jason Vosler (1-for-3 with a double) walked. A single by Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-3 with an RBI) brought in Zagunis. The Pelicans cut the deficit to one in the sixth inning after Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4 with a triple) reached on an error and came around on a two-run home run from Zagunis. In the eighth inning, Chen tripled and a single by Zagunis plated Chen to tie the game. Carlos Penalver (2-for-3) walked to start the ninth inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a sacrifice, Chesny Young (1-for-5) reached on an error that scored Penalver with the game-winner.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (57-51)
Tennessee had their way with Birmingham on Wednesday as the Smokies walloped the Barons 13-1. If it’s a low scoring game, then Ryan Williams must be pitching. Williams bounced back from a poor game to limit Birmingham to three hits as he struck out a batter in six shutout innings. Starling Peralta was charged with an unearned run with a strikeout in two innings. Matt Brazis worked around a walk and a hit in the eighth to strike out the side.
The game began modestly enough for the Smokies after Albert Almora Jr. (2-for-5 with a double and three RBI) singled with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A base hit by Tommy La Stella (2-for-5 with an RBI) put runners at the corners. A single from Willson Contreras (4-for-5 with a double and three RBI) drove in Almora. In the fourth inning, Jacob Rogers (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) and Stephen Bruno (3-for-3 with a double and an RBI) had one out singles and Jacob Hannemann (2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI) walked. A wild pitch scored Rogers, and a double from Almora brought in Bruno and Hannemann. Jonathan Mota (1-for-3) singled with two out in the fifth and came around on a double by Rogers. In the sixth, La Stella had a one out base hit and scored on a double by Contreras. The Smokies loaded the bases to start the seventh on a walk to Rogers and singles by Bruno and Hannemann. Ground outs brought in Rogers and Bruno, and a single from Contreras scored Hannemann. One out walks to Mota and Rogers began the eighth and a double by Bruno brought both runners home. Bruno came around on a home run from Hannemann.
The bullpen was unable to hold on Thursday as Tennessee erased a big deficit but lost 7-6 to Birmingham 7-6 in 10 innings. The Smokies manufactured a run in the first inning when Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4 with a stolen base) was hit by a pitch. Albert Almora Jr. (3-for-4) singled, with Hannemann coming in after a ground out and a sacrifice fly. Hannemann started things again in the third inning as he singled, stole second, and scored on a base hit from Willson Contreras (1-for-3 with two RBI). Tennessee was down 5-2 in the seventh inning when Stephen Bruno (1-for-4), Hannemann, and Almora had consecutive one out singles to load the bases. Miguel Montero (1-for-4 with a home run and four RBI) delivered a Grand Slam home run to put the Smokies in the lead.
Jeffry Antigua had all kinds of trouble in the fourth inning, allowing five earned runs. Antigua pitched six innings with three strikeouts. Fernando Cruz came on in relief and let the Barons tie the score as he gave up an earned run and struck out three in two innings. The reliable P.J. Francescon was not up to the task as he surrendered the winning run and had four strikeouts in two innings.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (61-51)
It appeared that no one wanted to win on Wednesday before Omaha stepped up and beat Iowa 9-5. Drake Britton served up batting practice as he allowed five earned runs in four innings. Frank Batista wasn’t much better, giving up four runs (three earned) in two innings. Ryan Buchter, Armando Rivero, and Joe Ortiz each tossed a scoreless frame.
It was not such a bad beginning for the I-Cubs. Adron Chambers (2-for-5 with a triple and two RBI) singled with one out and scored on a two out double from Christian Villanueva (1-for-34 with a double and an RBI). Arismendy Alcantara (0-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base) walked with an out in the second inning, stole second, and came home on a base hit from Taylor Davis (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI). Davis started things in the fifth with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. John Andreoli (0-for-4 with a walk) walked and a triple from Chambers drove in Davis and Andreoli. Chambers scored on a wild pitch.
Call it a comeback win as the I-Cubs used two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to top Omaha 5-4. Iowa chipped away at Omaha’s four-run lead in the fifth inning after Taylor Teagarden doubled and moved to third on a one out single from Taylor Davis, with a force out bringing Teagarden home. John Andreoli and Chris Valaika had base hits to start the eighth inning, with Valaika wiped out on a force play that allowed Javier Baez to reach. A throwing error allowed Andreoli and Baez to come home. It was Teagarden again as he singled to begin the ninth inning. A base hit by Davis, a wild pitch, and a walk to Mike Baxter loaded the bases. A fielder’s choice allowed pinch-runner Rubi Silva to score the tying run, and a single from Valaika brought in Baxter for the walk-off win.
Starter Tsuyoshi Wada was less than effective as he allowed four earned runs and had two strikeouts in 4.2 innings. Yoervis Medina pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, and Joe Ortiz added a scoreless frame. Carl Edwards Jr. struck out two as he shut down the Storm Chasers for two innings.
Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (20-16)
The AZL Cubs’ pitching staff all shared responsibility for an 8-6 loss to the AZL Padres on Tuesday. Dylan Cease was not sharp as he allowed two earned runs on four walks, but struck out three in 1.1 innings. Robert Garcia had a big night, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and stealing three bases. Catcher Marcus Mastrobuoni was 2-for-4.
It was an old-fashioned pitcher’s delight as the AZL Cubs bested the AZL Dodgers 2-1 on Wednesday. Starter Manuel Rondon struck out three and was nicked for an unearned run as he went five innings. Luis Hernandez was absolutely dominating in relief, striking out six in two scoreless innings. It was a quiet night for the offense, as both Angelo Amendolare and Tyler Payne were 1-for-3.
Dominican Summer League – DSL Cubs (36-22)
In a rain shortened game on Wednesday, the DSL Cubs were lucky to score all their runs early as they beat Red Sox-2 6-5 in seven innings. Chris Pieters remained the offensive lynchpin as he was 1-for-4 with two RBI. Shortstop Yeiler Peguero went 2-for-4 with two stolen bases. Faurius Guerrero tossed three scoreless innings of relief and had four strikeouts.
The DSL Cubs moved themselves to three games out of first place as they defeated division leading Red Sox-2 on Thursday 6-2. It was a group effort out of the pitching staff as starter Wander Cabrera struck out two in two innings, while Hector Garcia also fanned two in three scoreless innings. Outfielder Samir Lara was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI, and outfielder Wander Feliz went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI.
Venezuelan Summer League – VSL Cubs (28-40)
The VSL Cubs began their last week of the season with a 9-5 loss to the VSL Phillies. Eugenio Palma had 1.2 strong innings in relief, striking out three and allowing no hits. Gustavo Polanco was 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI, and Fidel Matos went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
On Tuesday, the V-Cubs used a five-run seventh to beat the VSL Phillies 7-2. First baseman Fidel Matos went 2-for-3 with a triple, an RBI, and stolen base. Henrry Pedra was also 1-for-2 with and RBI and a stolen base. Reliever Yapson Gomez struck out three in three scoreless innings.
After a rainout on Wednesday, the VSL Cubs were able to top the VSL Tigers 4-1 on Thursday. Riger Fernandez pitched one of his best games of the season, allowing an earned run in five innings. Juan Rengifo collected his 11th save. Centerfielder Luis Ayala was 2-for-3 with two RBI and three stolen bases.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned INF Jonathan Mota to the Tennessee Smokies from Iowa Cubs; assigned INF Sutton Whiting to the Eugene Emeralds from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans activated C/INF Ben Carhart from the 7-day disabled list. The South Bend Cubs placed OF/1B Yasiel Balaguert on the 7-day disabled list; activated OF Charcer Burks from the 7-day disabled list.