The South Bend Cubs had a very good weekend while things did not go as well for the other teams in the system. The SB Cubs swept a three game series with their closest rivals to take first place with a two game lead. And the power of Eloy Jimenez was on full-display.
Here is today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (25-16)
With a 7-5 victory in 10 innings over Lake County on Friday, South Bend took sole possession of first place of the Midwest League’s Eastern Division. A Matt Rose (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) two-run homer in the 10th with Eddy Julio Martinez (0-for-4) on marked the third time in the final three innings that a team went up by two runs. In the eighth, a solo home run by Eloy Jimenez (2-for-5 with a home run and an RBI) and a squeeze from Rose to score Daniel Spingola (2-for-3) put the SB Cubs ahead two runs. Andrew Ely (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) also cranked a solo home run in the fifth inning.
Adbert Alzolay had another fine, understated performance as he allowed two earned runs and struck out two in six innings. Greyfer Eregua relieved and gave up an earned run in two innings, but Craig Brooks let the Captains tie the game with two earned runs in an inning of work. James Norwood nailed down his fourth save in the 10th inning.
It was another intense battle for first place on Saturday as South Bend used four runs in the ninth to get past Lake County 10-6. Four straight singles by Eddy Julio Martinez (1-for-5), Daniel Spingola (1-for-3), Jesse Hodges (2-for-5), and Matt Rose (3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) plated two runs, with Hodges scoring on a squeeze from Andrew Ely (4-for-5 with a home run and four RBI). A double by P.J. Higgins (4-for-6 with a double and an RBI) added another run.
Starting pitcher Ryan Kellogg continued his season-long struggles as he gave up six runs (four earned) and struck out three in five innings. Kyle Miller stemmed the tide by tossing two scoreless innings. Scott Effross gained the victory by striking out four in two innings.
South Bend put some more distance between themselves and Lake County on Sunday with a 6-4 win. The S-Cubs used their power as Eloy Jimenez (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) went yard with P.J. Higgins (2-for-4 with an RBI) on in the first, and Eddie Julio Martinez (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) would go back-to-back with Jimenez. Donnie Dewees (2-for-5 with a home run) belted a solo shot in the fifth to put the Cubs ahead for good.
Preston Morrison had one of his better efforts as he allowed an earned run and struck out five in five innings. John Williamson gave up an earned run as he went two innings, while Greyfer Eregua surrendered two earned runs in two innings.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (23-19)
Sometimes, closers are not always successful as a bullpen fail for Myrtle Beach led to a 5-3 loss on Friday to Lynchburg. The usually reliable James Farris allowed three runs in the ninth after Jeremy Null had a fine start. Null had six strikeouts and gave up an earned run in 5.1 innings. Tommy Thorpe kept things close with four strikeouts while yielding an earned run in 2.2 innings.
The Pelicans scored all of their runs in the fourth inning after Ian Happ (2-for-4 with a triple) led off with a triple and came home on a wild pitch. A walk to Jeffrey Baez (1-for-2 with a stolen base) and a single by Danny Lockhart (1-for-4) put runners on for Gioskar Amaya (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI), whose base hit drove in both runs.
With a four-run first inning, Myrtle Beach powered past first place Lynchburg 6-4 on Saturday. A one-out triple from Gleyber Torres (1-for-4 with a triple) and a single by Ian Happ (1-for-3 with an RBI) brought in one run. Happ later scored on a sacrifice fly. Jeffrey Baez (2-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and a stolen base) blasted a two-run homer with Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4) on board. Baez also scored in the fourth inning on a single from Trey Martin (1-for-3), who also came home on a base hit by Rashad Crawford (1-for-4 with an RBI).
Jake Stinnett continues to make incremental improvement as he fanned six and allowed three earned runs in six innings. Daury Torrez also is making a painfully slow adjustment as he gave up an earned run in an inning of work. Jordan Minch recorded a strikeout, and Jose Rosario claimed his fifth save after 1.2 scoreless innings.
It was high disappointment for Myrtle Beach on Sunday, as pitching gave away a hard-fought lead in a 7-4 loss to Lynchburg. Leading 3-1, James Pugliese surrendered five earned runs in the eighth, including a Grand Slam. Spoiled was yet another fine start by Jonathan Martinez, who had six strikeouts and gave up an earned run in 6.1 innings. Ryan McNeil also allowed an earned run in the ninth inning.
The Pelicans took the lead in the sixth inning with a sacrifice fly scoring Charcer Burks (0-for-2 with a stolen base), a double from Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) bringing in Rashad Crawford (1-for-3), and a single by Jeffrey Baez (2-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) plating Balaguert. Baez added a solo home run in the eighth inning.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (20-24)
On Friday, Tennessee’s game with Biloxi was postponed due to rain.
Tennessee used nine runs in their final two innings to secure a 10-9 victory over Biloxi on Saturday. Jeimer Candelario (4-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI) showed signs of breaking out of his season-long slump as he had a two-run double in the seventh and a Grand Slam in the eighth inning. Chesny Young (2-for5) continues to set the table as he played both shortstop and second base, while Ben Carhart (2-for-2) added a key RBI in the seventh.
It was a parade of struggling pitchers for the Smokies, led by Duane Underwood Jr. Underwood Jr. has not shown the promise that made him the Cubs’ top pitching prospect as he allowed three earned runs in five innings. Michael Jensen also gave up three earned runs, while Juan Paniagua, David Berg, and Miguel Mejia each surrendered an earned run.
Game one of a doubleheader on Sunday ended up going nine innings and Biloxi broke a 0-0 tie with five runs in the ninth as Tennessee lost 5-0. The Smokies managed only three hits by Victor Caratini (1-for-4), Ben Carhart (1-for-3), and Paul Blackburn (1-for-2). Blackburn continued to shine on the mound as he struck out four in six scoreless innings. Corey Black fanned five in two perfect innings. But David Garner allowed five runs (two earned) in the ninth.
In game two, pitching once again failed the Smokies as they dropped the nightcap 6-5 to Biloxi. It’s time for straight talk, and pitchers Tyler Skulina and Josh Conway are simply not getting the job done at Double-A. Skulina surrendered four earned runs in five innings, while Conway gave up two earned runs in 0.2 innings. David Berg retired the only batter he faced, and Juan Paniagua tossed a perfect inning.
A single by Bijan Rademacher (1-for-2 with two RBI) drove in Chesny Young (1-for-4) in the first, and a double from David Freitas (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) scored Jeimer Candelario (2-for-3) and Rademacher in the third inning. In the fourth inning, a base hit by Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4 with an RBI) plated Carlos Penalver (2-for-4 with a double) and walks to Billy McKinney (0-for-2) and Rademacher allowed Hannemann to cross home.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (18-23)
After a good run it may be back to the norm for Iowa as they lost 9-4 to Tacoma on Friday. Jake Buchanan had strung together several good outings recently, but that was over on Friday night as the Rainiers blasted Buchanan for 10 hits and nine earned runs in five innings. Jean Machi pitched an inning, while Armando Rivero had five strikeouts in two innings.
John Andreoli (2-for-5 with a home run) led off the game with a solo home run, and Dan Vogelbach (0-for-3) scored on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. Back-to-back doubles by Kris Negron (3-for-4 with a double and a triple) and Munenori Kawasaki (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) in the fifth along with a two-out double by Willson Contreras (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) added two more runs.
An Iowa rally could not overcome poor pitching on Saturday as they lost to Tacoma 7-6. Alex Sanabia was pummeled again, as he gave up six earned runs in 4.1 innings. Gerardo Concepcion, Carl Edwards Jr., and Spencer Patton held down the middle innings, but Giovanni Soto loaded the bases and allowed the walk-off in the ninth.
Down 5-0 in the fourth, Iowa came back after Matt Murton (1-for-4 with an RBI) singled in Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-4 with a double) while Juan Perez (2-for-4 with a double, a home run, and three RBI) thumped a three-run homer with Murton and Willson Contreras (1-for-4) on base. Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) also launched a two-run home run with Perez on in the sixth inning.
It was once again a humbling experience for Iowa in Tacoma on Sunday, as they lost 8-1. Drew Rucinski continued to show why he doesn’t belong on a Triple-A roster as he yielded five earned runs, three via the home run, in only three innings. Scott Barnes and Brandon Gomes were not much better, surrendering three more earned runs as they split up three innings. C.J. Riefenhauser tossed a perfect inning.
The lone run for the I-Cubs came in the third inning when David Bote (1-for-4) singled and came around on a base hit from Albert Almora Jr. (3-for-4 with a double and an RBI).
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned INF/OF David Bote to the Iowa Cubs from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
The Iowa Cubs placed OF Ryan Kalish and RHP Ryan Williams on the 7-day disabled list; placed OF Shane Victorino on the temporarily inactive list; activated OF Matt Murton from the 7-day disabled list. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans activated INF/OF David Bote from the 7-day disabled list.