Entering the third week of the minor league season, all four Cub affiliates are struggling in some fashion. South Bend has the best record at 5-5, thanks to the efforts of outfielder Donnie Dewees and reliever Greyfer Eregua. Myrtle Beach snapped a four game losing streak on the hot bats of Jason Vosler and Rashad Crawford. Meanwhile, Bijan Rademacher and Willson Contreras were still the hitting stars for Tennessee and Iowa respectively.
To see how your favorites have performed, take a look inside today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (5-5)
South Bend’s pitching woes continued Friday with the aid of four errors as they lost to Fort Wayne 10-3. Lefty Ryan Kellogg was hit hard, surrendering four earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four in 4.1 innings. Casey Bloomquist and John Williamson were the unfortunate victims of the defense, each giving up three runs (one earned). Greyfer Eregua continued to shine with a strikeout in a perfect inning.
Making his first ever start at first base, Ian Rice (2-for-3 with a double) doubled and scored in the third inning and was driven in after a walk in the seventh. Doubles by P.J. Higgins (1-for-4 with a double) and Eddy Julio Martinez (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) brought in another run in the sixth inning.
It was a total pitching staff meltdown for South Bend on Saturday, as they were embarrassed 14-1 by Fort Wayne. Kyle Twomey started and was lit up for six runs (five earned) on seven hits and four walks. James Norwood wasn’t much better, giving up three earned runs and striking out three in two innings. Scott Frazier was simply pounded, as he yielded five earned runs in one inning. Once again, Greyfer Eregua performed well with a shutout inning.
The SB Cubs scored a consolation run in the ninth after Daniel Spingola (1-for-4 with a double) led off with a double. Walks to Ian Rice (0-for-2) and Matt Rose (0-for-3) loaded the bases and Spingola came home on a sacrifice fly.
South Bend nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on Sunday, but rallied for a 5-4 win over Fort Wayne. The offense struck for three runs in the fourth when a double and an error put Eloy Jimenez (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) and Eddy Julio Martinez (0-for-4) on, with both scoring on another error. Behind 4-3 in the eighth, Donnie Dewees (2-for-3 with two doubles) doubled and came home on a base hit from Jimenez, who later scored on a sacrifice fly.
Adbert Alzolay was cruising until the seventh inning when he let three of the first four batters reach, and one crossed the plate. Scott Effross allowed two of the inherited runners to score and gave up another earned run to surrender the lead to the Tin Caps. Once the lead had been secured again, Craig Brooks slammed the door with a strikeout in the ninth for his first save.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (5-6)
The offensive miseries of Myrtle Beach continued on Friday as they were held to two hits in a 2-0 loss to Carolina. Jason Vosler (1-for-3 with a double) and Gioskar Amaya (1-for-2) were the only Pelicans to hit safely.
Starter Trevor Clifton had a solid effort, allowing two earned runs on three hits and three walks while striking out six in 4.2 innings. Lefty Jordan Minch followed with 2.1 scoreless innings, and James Farris had a strikeout in a perfect inning.
The Pelicans snapped a four-game losing streak on Saturday as their offense finally got into gear in a 6-1 victory over Carolina. Rashad Crawford (1-for-4 with a triple) led off the game with a triple and scored on a single from Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4 with two RBI). Jason Vosler (2-for-4 with a double) followed with a double and Jeffrey Baez (1-for-4 with two RBI) drove Balaguert and Vosler home with a base hit. A double from Gleyber Torres (1-for-5 with a double and an RBI) and a single by Ian Happ (1-for-5 with an RBI) drove in Charcer Burks (1-for-2) and Crawford in the second. Balaguert plated Torres with a ground out.
Starter Erick Leal had another fine performance as he struck out seven and was charged with an unearned run in five innings. Ryan McNeil also had his strikeout pitch working, as he fanned five in 2.2 innings. David Berg closed things.
It took some late inning heroics, but Myrtle Beach secured their second victory in a row with a 4-3 win over Carolina on Sunday. Jake Stinnett had what is becoming a typical performance. Stinnett allowed three runs (two earned) and had four strikeouts in six innings. Jose Rosario gave up only one hit and struck out two in two scoreless innings, and James Farris collected his first save by striking out the side in the ninth.
The Pelicans clawed back into the game in the fourth when an RBI single by Jeffrey Baez (1-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Ian Happ (2-for-3 with a stolen base). Myrtle Beach started the seventh inning with base hits by Rashad Crawford (2-for-5 with a double) and Happ sandwiched around a walk to Gleyber Torres (0-for-3), with singles by Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-5 with an RBI) and Jason Vosler (3-for-5 with two RBI) scoring all three runners.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (4-7)
In an effort more indicative of the style of play this team has displayed over the past two years, Tennessee dispatched Birmingham 4-2 on Friday. Solid pitching and timely hitting had been the hallmark of a team with two straight league championships, as starter Tyler Skulina fanned six and allowed two earned runs on five hits and a walk in five innings. Juan Paniagua was at the top of his game as he struck out a batter in two perfect innings. Starling Peralta earned his second save and he also tossed two perfect innings and had two strikeouts.
The Smokies took control in the first inning after Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) led off the game with a double and came home on a single by Mark Zagunis (1-for-4). Walks to Victor Caratini (0-for-3) and Bijan Rademacher (1-for-1 with three walks and an RBI) led to runs on a ground out and a base hit from Hannemann in the second inning. Tennessee added a run in the ninth when Billy McKinney (1-for-4) singled and came around on a base hit by Rademacher.
It was a lackluster effort all around as Tennessee was stuffed 6-1 by Birmingham on Saturday. Jen-Ho Tseng’s starting performance was not all that bad as he struck out four and allowed two earned runs on two hits and three walks in four innings. Michael Jensen also had a hard time, giving up three runs (two earned) in 1.2 innings. David Garner threw 1.1 scoreless innings, but Andury Acevedo surrendered an earned run in the eighth.
The only run for the Smokies came in the sixth inning. Billy McKinney (1-for-3) singled. Mark Zagunis (0-for-3) and Victor Caratini (0-for-3) walked to load the bases. McKinney scored on a ground out.
Pitching once again was at the heart of a 5-3 loss by Tennessee to Montgomery on Sunday. Rob Zastryzny had what is becoming a typical effort for him, allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out four in six innings. Gerardo Concepcion posted two scoreless innings and had a strikeout. With the game tied at three, Josh Conway gave up two earned runs while recording only one out, with Juan Paniagua finishing off the ninth inning.
All the runs for the Smokies came in the eighth inning, when back-to-back singles by Victor Caratini (2-for-4 with a double) and Taylor Davis (1-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Billy McKinney (1-for-4), who had walked earlier. Two batters later, Carlos Penalver (2-for-4 with two RBI) singled to bring in Caratini and pinch-runner Anthony Giansanti.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (4-6)
It wasn’t as close as the score indicates as Iowa was blown out 8-6 by Round Rock on Friday. Three late runs by the I-Cubs obscured the poor effort form starter Drew Rucinski, who allowed seven earned runs on five hits and four walks in 4.1 innings while striking out four batters. Newly assigned Stephen Perakslis also gave up an earned run as he pitched 2.1 innings. C.J. Riefenhauser got the final out of the seventh, and Armando Rivero added a scoreless inning.
A double from Munenori Kawasaki (1-for-4 with a double and three RBI) drove in Ryan Kalish (2-for-2 with a double) and Kris Negron (0-for-3) in the third inning. In the fifth, a double from Kalish and a fielder’s choice by Kawasaki brought in another run. Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) launched his first Triple-A home run, a three-run shot with John Andreoli (1-for-4) and Willson Contreras (0-for-3) aboard, in the eighth inning.
Iowa has shown some early resiliency as they bounced back on Saturday to throttle Round Rock 7-0. It was a bullpen day for the I-Cubs as Michael Wagner got the start and struck out four in 3.2 innings. Scott Barnes followed and also fanned four in 2.1 innings. Carl Edwards Jr., Miguel Mejia and Jean Machi then each tossed an inning.
Iowa broke open a scoreless game with five runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by John Andreoli’s (1-for-4 with a triple and two RBI) two run triple. Logan Watkins (1-for-5 with an RBI) also had an RBI single while Dan Vogelbach (2-for-3 with a double and two RBI) drove in a run with a double. A base hit by Vogelbach also plated Willson Contreras (3-for-5 with a double) in the sixth inning and Contreras reached on a double.
Sunday’s game with Round Rock was postponed due to rain.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs optioned INF Munenori Kawasaki to the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Stephen Perakslis to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; RHP Michael Wagner to the Iowa Cubs from the South Bend Cubs.
The Iowa Cubs placed RHP Stephen Fife on the 7-day disabled list; placed LHP Giovanni Soto on the temporary inactive list; placed RHP Pierce Johnson on the 7-day disabled list. The South Bend Cubs activated LHP John Williamson from the 7-day disabled list.