Congratulations to the South Bend Cubs on becoming the First Half Champions of the Eastern Division and securing the best record in the Midwest League!
Along with Dominican League highlights, the Down on the Farm Report has another big Monday edition.
Short Season Class-A – Eugene Emeralds (2-0)
It was a much anticipated opener for Eugene on Friday as they defeated Boise 6-1. Dylan Cease, possibly the Cubs’ best pitching prospect got the Opening Day nod and was successful, striking out two and giving up only a solo home run in four innings. Enrique De Los Rio and Jared Cheek each had three strikeouts and worked two innings. Mark Malave fanned two in the ninth.
Matt Rose (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) started the game off right for the Ems as he belted a two-run homer with D.J. Wilson (0-for-2 with two stolen bases) on in the first inning. Robert Garcia (2-for-4) scored on a wild pitch and Kevonte Mitchell (2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base) singled in Wilson in the third. Tyler Payne (0-for-2) came in on a base hit by Andruw Monasterio (2-for-5 with two RBI) in the fourth and Monasterio drove in Yeiler Peguero (0-for-3) in the eighth inning.
Things weren’t as easy for the Emeralds on Saturday as they needed their bullpen to pull out a 2-1 victory over Boise in 11 innings. Lefty Bryan Hudson had a strong performance as he had two strikeouts and gave up an earned run in five innings. Michael Knighton and MT Minacci each tossed two scoreless innings. Tommy Nance struck out two in the final two innings to collect his first win.
The offense did not get revved up until the seventh inning when Matt Rose (1-for-4 with an RBI) walked and scored on a ground out to tie the game. In the 11th, a single by Rose brought in Andruw Monasterio (1-for-3 with a double) with the game-winner.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (41-28)
South Bend failed to seal the deal on Friday as they lost 4-3 to Lake County. Needing one win to clinch a playoff berth, and error led to Craig Brooks giving up three unearned runs in the eighth inning. Casey Bloomquist surrendered only a solo home run in seven innings while Tyler Peitzmeier tossed a scoreless ninth.
Sacrifice flies scored Carlos Sepulveda (2-for-3 with a triple) and P.J. Higgins (1-for-4) in the first inning, and Ian Rice (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) added a solo home run in the eighth.
For the second straight night, South Bend could not take care of business as they lost 6-4 to Lake County in 10 innings. The Achilles Heel for the S-Cubs has been their pitching, as Kyle Twomey struck out six but gave up three runs (two earned) in 5.2 innings. John Williamson did not help matters as he yielded an earned run in an inning. Greyfer Eregua was stretched beyond effectiveness as he went 3.1 innings and allowed the go-ahead runs.
The Cubs’ offense did not take advantage of the worst pitching staff in the league as a sacrifice fly brought in Jesse Hodges (3-for-3) and a home run from Ian Rice (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) with Carlos Sepulveda (1-for-5) on board made it 3-0 in the third inning. Donnie Dewees (1-for-4 with a home run) sent the game into extras with a solo home run in the ninth.
There were some anxious moments on Sunday, but when the smoke cleared South Bend secured a playoff berth with a 3-1 win over Lake County. Kyle Miller has flourished moving into the starting rotation as he had five strikeouts and allowed an earned run in seven innings. Pedro Araujo is becoming the main man in the bullpen after he struck out four in two perfect innings for his second save.
The S-Cubs did not take the lead until the sixth inning when Josh Silver (1-for-3) led off with a single and Carlos Sepulveda (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) tied the game with a double. After a walk to Ian Rice (0-for-3), Eloy Jimenez (2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI) doubled in Sepulveda and Rice for the winning margin.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (36-34)
A doubleheader on Friday saw the Pelicans drop the opener 4-2 to Potomac in eight innings. Jonathan Martinez was solid and he gave up two earned runs and had two strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Tommy Thorpe could not hold the Nationals as he allowed two earned runs in two innings.
Gioskar Amaya (0-for-3) came home on a single by Charcer Burks (1-for-3 with an RBI) in the second and a single from Ian Happ (1-for-3 with an RBI) drove in Rashad Crawford (0-for-3) in the fifth inning.
In the nightcap, Myrtle Beach could not survive a four-run inning on Friday as they lost 4-3 to Potomac. Zach Hedges got no help from his defense as he allowed four runs (three earned) and struck out five in five innings. Dillon Maples pitched a scoreless sixth inning.
A double by Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) brought in Gleyber Torres (1-for-3) in the first inning, and a sacrifice fly scored Gioskar Amaya (2-for-3 with a double) in the second. In the seventh, a double from Ian Happ (2-for-4 with a double, a triple and an RBI) plated Charcer Burks (0-for-2).
Another day, another doubleheader as Myrtle Beach was one better than Potomac in game one, winning 2-1. Gleyber Torres (2-for-3 with a home run) put the Birds ahead in the fourth inning with a solo home run. Torres then scored the eventual winning run in the sixth as he came home on a double from Ian Happ (2-for-2 with two doubles and an RBI).
Trevor Clifton started but exited after only 2.1 scoreless innings to prepare for an All-Star appearance. James Pugliese took over and allowed an earned run in three innings. Jordan Minch went 0.2 innings, and Ryan McNeil came up with save number six with a scoreless seventh inning.
The Pelicans made it a sweep as they used a big inning to beat Potomac 4-0 in game two. After loading the bases in the third, a sacrifice fly brought in Charcer Burks (0-for-3). Jason Vosler (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) doubled to score Gleyber Torres (1-for-3), and Ian Happ (2-for-4 with a double) came in on a wild pitch. Another sacrifice fly plated Vosler.
Myrtle Beach closed out the first half of the season on Sunday with a 4-3 loss to Potomac in 11 innings. Down 3-0 in the fifth inning, Ian Happ (3-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI) cut the deficit to one with a two-run homer with Rashad Crawford (1-for-6) on base. Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-5) came home in a sacrifice fly to tie the game in the eighth inning.
Jeremy Null had his ups and downs as he had seven strikeouts but gave up three earned runs on nine hits in five innings. Michael Wagner kept the Pelicans in the game by striking out six in four scoreless innings. Tommy Thorpe had difficulty once again holding the Nationals as he allowed the game winning run in 1.1 innings.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (28-42)
Rain on Thursday meant a doubleheader on Friday and Tennessee dropped game one to Jackson 2-1 in nine innings. Duane Underwood Jr. had one of his better outings in a while, striking out three and allowing an earned run in four innings. Juan Paniagua pitched two scoreless innings, but James Farris was pulled thin as he gave up an earned run in 2.1 innings. The only score for the Smokies came in the fifth after Danny Lockhart (1-for-4 with a double) came home on a fielder’s choice.
Game two was another tight one as the Smokies came out on the short end 1-0. Starling Peralta got the start and had three strikeouts in four scoreless innings. Nick Sarianides pitched an innings, but David Garner gave up an earned run in 1.1 innings. Tennessee had only two hits as Chesny Young was 1-for-3 while Victor Caratini went 1-for-2 with a double.
A late surge was not enough for Tennessee on Saturday as they lost 9-8 to Jackson. After a few successful outings, Tyler Skulina floundered again as he surrendered seven earned runs in only 1.2 innings. Stephen Perakslis poured gas on the fire by giving up two earned runs in 4.1 innings. R.J. Alvarez worked around a hit and a walk to strike out the side in the seventh, and Nick Sarianides had two strikeouts in a perfect eighth.
Bijan Rademacher (2-for-5 with a double) scored two runs early in the contest. The Smokies tried to claw back in the sixth. Kelly Dugan (1-for-4 with an RBI) scored on a ground out, and an error brought in Billy McKinney (3-for-4 with a double and an RBI). In the seventh, a McKinney double plated Victor Caratini (2-for-5 with an RBI). Ben Carhart (2-for-5 with an RBI) singled in Dugan, and a passed ball allowed McKinney to come home.
The first half ended with another dismal effort by Tennessee on Sunday as they were shut out 4-0 by Jackson. Starter Jen-Ho Tseng actually had a good game, allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out three in six innings. Jose Rosario gave up two earned runs as he pitched two innings. The Smokies managed only three hits as Victor Caratini was 1-for-4 while Billy McKinney and David Bote each went 1-for-3.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (31-35)
On Friday, Iowa dug an early hole that a late rally could not erase as they lost 7-6 to Memphis. Aaron Brooks was hammered as he allowed seven runs (six earned) while pitching only three innings. Miguel Mejia and Giovanni Soto ate up two innings apiece, and Armando Rivero pitched the eighth.
A bases loaded walk by Kris Negron (2-for-3 with an RBI) pushed Mark Zagunis (1-for-5 with a stolen base) across in the first, and a double from Munenori Kawasaki (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) drove in Dan Vogelbach (0-for-3) and Negron in the sixth inning. A fielder’s choice and throwing error scored John Andreoli (1-for-3 with a stolen base) and Logan Watkins (2-for-5) in the seventh. Cael Brockmeyer (2-for-4 with a double) scored on a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.
It was another day, another poor pitching performance for Iowa as they lost 6-4 to Memphis on Saturday. Drew Rucinski was lit up once again as he surrendered six earned runs in five innings. Felix Pena had three strikeouts in two perfect innings, and Carl Edwards Jr. worked around a hit to strike out the side in the eighth.
A single by Dan Vogelbach (2-for-5 with an RBI) plated John Andreoli (2-for-5 with a double, two RBI, and a stolen base) in the first inning. A base hit from Matt Murton (2-for-5 with an RBI) brought in Kris Negron (2-for-5 with a double) in the third. In the sixth, a double by Andreoli drove in Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3) and pinch-hitter Logan Watkins.
Once again, a late surge was not enough on Sunday as Iowa lost to Memphis 4-3. Pierce Johnson chugged and wheezed through 3.1 innings with 64 pitches, allowing four runs (three earned) before he left with a blister on his pitching hand. Gerardo Concepcion pitched 1.2 innings, while Dallas Beeler, Joel Peralta, and Corey Black each tossed an inning.
Matt Murton (1-for-4 with an RBI) scored on a fielding error in the seventh inning, and a double by Munenori Kawasaki (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) plated Mark Zagunis (1-for-1 with a triple) in the eighth. John Andreoli (0-for-3) also scored on a ground out in the eighth inning.
Dominican Summer League – DSL-1 Cubs (6-7)
D-1 evened their record on Friday with a 4-3 win over Mets-1. Brailyn Marquez got no help from his defense as he allowed three runs (one earned) and had four strikeouts in five innings. Outfielder Samir Lara was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
On Saturday, the defense for D-1 contributed to five unearned runs as they lost 7-3 to Rangers-1. Jesus Tejada had a good start as he gave up two earned runs in five innings. The Cubs scored all three runs in the sixth inning as first baseman Richard Nunez was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
Dominican Summer League – DSL-2 Cubs (8-5)
A four-run seventh helped D-2 to a 9-6 win over the DSL Giants on Friday. Outfielder Tony Rijo (1-for-4) slugged a two-run homer in the sixth while second baseman Luis Diaz was 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Emilio Ferrebus went five innings and had four strikeouts while allowing an earned run.
D-2 scored four late runs to overcome Diamondbacks-2 on Saturday and win 5-3. Third baseman Fidel Mejia set the table by going 2-for-4 with a double and first baseman Franklin Tineo was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base. Starter Hector Garcia was charged with an unearned run and had three strikeouts in six innings.