Big headlines dominated the start of the week as the Cubs’ system has another first place team. High-A Myrtle Beach moved in front thanks to closer Ryan McNeil.
The other big story was the start for Oscar De La Cruz for South Bend, along with a big night for Eloy Jimenez. Chesny Young and Bijan Rademacher also produced at the plate for Tennessee, while Jeimer Candelario rolled for Iowa and D.J. Wilson did the same in Eugene.
With reports from Arizona and the Dominican League, the Down on the Farm Report continues its winning ways.
Short Season Class-A – Eugene Emeralds (29-14)
It was a rare night that the pitching just wasn’t up to snuff for Eugene on Friday, as the Emeralds lost 8-7 in 10 innings to Boise. After a long layoff, Dylan Cease looked unprepared as he faced only five batters, walking four, allowing an earned run, and striking out one before being replaced by Duncan Robinson. In his longest professional outing, Robinson struck out three in 3.2 scoreless innings. Enrique De Los Rio was charged with an unearned run and fanned four in three innings, while Andin Diaz surrendered five earned runs in two innings. Mark Malave gave up the game-winner in 0.2 innings.
A four-run fourth inning had Wladimir Galindo (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) scoring on a ground out. D.J. Wilson (3-for-5 with two RBI) drove in Kevonte Mitchell (1-for-3) with a single. A base hit by Yeiler Peguero (3-for-5 with an RBI) brought in Trent Giambrone (3-for-5 with a double and an RBI) and Zack Short (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) doubled in Wilson.
The Emeralds could not overcome an early deficit on Saturday, losing 5-3 to Boise. Pedro Silverio was unable to fool the Hawks, allowing four runs (three earned) in two innings. Tyler Peitzmeier got the early call from the pen and had four strikeouts in four scoreless innings. Dakota Mekkes pitched two innings and gave up an earned run.
The offense did not get going until the seventh inning when a single by Robert Garcia (3-for-5 with a double and two RBI) drove in Marcus Mastrobuoni (3-for-4 with a double) and Sam Tidaback (1-for-3 with a triple). A rally in the ninth fell short after Tidaback tripled and came home on a wild pitch.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (64-41)
On Friday, the South Bend offense simply crushed Lake County in an 11-7 win. The big story was Eloy Jimenez, who belted a Grand Slam home run in the fifth inning while going 4-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI. Alberto Mineo (3-for-5 with a double) remained hot while Carlos Sepulveda (2-for-5) and Tyler Alamo (2-for-5 with a double and two RBI) had multi-hit games. Roberto Caro (1-for-5 with two RBI) and Vimael Machin (1-for-5 with two RBI) had multiple RBI.
The offensive outburst helped Kyle Miller, who allowed five earned runs and struck out six in 5.2 innings. Jared Cheek gave up two earned runs in 1.1 innings in his first appearance for South Bend. Scott Effross had three strikeouts in two scoreless innings.
The big story on Saturday was not South Bend’s 2-1 loss to Great Lakes, but the arrival. Top pitching prospect Oscar De La Cruz announced his presence with authority as he gave up only two hits and a walk while striking out seven in 4.2 scoreless innings. Casey Bloomquist took over in the fifth inning and allowed two earned runs in 3.2 innings. The SB Cubs could not capitalize on their seven hits. Eloy Jimenez (3-for-4 with a double and an RBI) doubled in Alberto Mineo (2-for-4) in the seventh for their only run.
South Bend made the most out of six hits on Sunday as they defeated Great Lakes 2-1. A single by Alberto Mineo (1-for-2 with an RBI) drove in P.J. Higgins (1-for-3 with a double) in the first inning. Mineo scored on a base hit from Eloy Jimenez (1-for-4 with an RBI) in the fifth inning.
Adbert Alzolay scattered five hits and had seven strikeouts in six scoreless innings. Tanner Griggs was charged with an unearned run in 1.2 innings. John Williamson struck out the only batter he faced, and Dillon Maples tossed a scoreless ninth for his fifth save.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (56-51)
In a pitcher’s duel on Friday, Myrtle Beach came out on the short end as they lost 3-1 to Salem. In his High-A debut, Preston Morrison dazzled as he struck out six in six scoreless innings. Daury Torrez had some trouble as he gave up three earned runs in 0.2 innings. Pedro Araujo bounced back from a bad previous appearance, striking out three in 1.1 scoreless innings. David Bote (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) doubled in Bryant Flete (2-for-4) with the Pelicans’ only run in the eighth inning.
Myrtle Beach made a statement on Saturday in beating Salem 15-4. A half game behind the Red Sox for first place, the Pelicans made it known that this will be a race. Moved up the number two slot in the order, Donnie Dewees (4-for-5 with a double, two RBI, and a stolen base) rocked and Jesse Hodges drove in four as he went 3-for-5 with a double and a home run. David Bote (3-for-4 with two RBI) and Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI) had multiple RBI while Charcer Burks (2-for-5 with a stolen base), Bryant Flete (2-for-6 with an RBI), and Tyler Pearson (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) had multi-hit games.
Jonathan Martinez benefitted from the outburst as he allowed two earned runs in six innings. Tommy Nance worked around two hits to strikeout the side in the seventh, and Tommy Thorpe gave up two earned runs in the eighth inning. James Norwood tossed a scoreless ninth.
With a 3-1 win over Salem on Sunday night, Myrtle Beach took over first place in the Carolina League Southern Division. Charcer Burks (1-for-5 with a home run) led off the game with his ninth home run, and Bryant Flete (3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) homered with Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-5) on base in the third inning.
Jeremy Null had his best outing in quite a while, allowing an earned run and striking out three in six innings. Craig Brooks had a perfect 1.1 innings and Ryan McNeil got save number 17 with five strikeouts in 1.2 innings.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (42-63)
In what can be called a typical Tennessee win this season, the Smokies took 11 innings to beat Chattanooga 8-7. Tennessee kept the pressure up, scoring in six innings as they were paced by Bijan Rademacher (4-for-6 with a double, a home run and two RBI). Chesny Young (3-for-5 with an RBI) was the catalyst from the leadoff spot, getting on base four times. Victor Caratini (2-for-5 with an RBI) singled to score Trey Martin (1-for-3 with a stolen base) in the 11th for the game winning run.
The offense helped pick up Brad Markey, who allowed five earned runs and had five strikeouts in five innings. Stephen Perakslis tossed two scoreless innings, while Jack Leathersich chipped in an inning of his own. David Garner gave up an earned run as he went 1.1 innings, with Starling Peralta getting the final five outs for the win.
It was back to earth for the Smokies on Saturday as they lost 9-1 to Chattanooga. Zach Hedges was good in his second Double-A start as he allowed four runs (one earned) and struck out five in five innings. David Berg was battered again, giving up four earned runs in 0.2 innings. Juan Paniagua went the final 2.1 innings and was charged with an unearned run. Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) doubled in Jorge Soler (1-for-3) for Tennessee’s only run in the sixth inning.
The Tennessee offense could not make up for poor pitching on Sunday as they lost 6-2 to Birmingham. Tyler Skulina continued his lost season as he surrendered six earned runs and had five strikeouts in six innings. R.J. Alvarez and Jack Leathersich each pitched a scoreless inning.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (46-63)
The I-Cubs could not escape some bad pitching as they bowed to New Orleans 7-5 on Friday. With Brian Matusz a late scratch, Iowa turned to Drew Rucinski, who allowed seven earned runs and struck out six in six innings. Felix Pena had three strikeouts in two scoreless innings.
Iowa had a short-lived lead in the first after Jeimer Candelario (2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI) singled in Albert Almora Jr. (2-for-6) and Taylor Davis (1-for-3 with an RBI) drew a bases-loaded walk to force in Mark Zagunis (0-for-1). Davis scored on a sacrifice fly in the seventh, and Candelario drilled a two-run homer in the eighth inning with Tim Federowicz (1-for-5) on base.
It was business as usual for Iowa on Saturday as they lost 6-4 to Omaha. Starter Jordan Pries allowed five earned runs as he lasted only 3.2 innings. Pierce Johnson flashed some of his potential as he struck out four in 2.1 innings. Spencer Patton struck out the side in seventh and Jose Rosario gave up an earned run in the eighth inning.
Logan Watkins (0-for-4 with a stolen base) scored on a sacrifice fly in the first and come home on a home run from Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) in the third inning. A bases loaded walk to Cael Brockmeyer (0-for-3 with an RBI) forced in Jeimer Candelario (0-for-2) in the ninth inning.
Iowa took control from the very beginning on Sunday in an 8-3 win at Omaha. Juan Perez (2-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases) singled in Kris Negron (1-for-5 with a double and two RBI), a base hit by Taylor Davis (1-for-5 with two RBI) drove in Albert Almora Jr. (2-for-5 with an RBI) and Perez, and a wild pitch brought in Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with a double) in the first inning. Munenori Kawasaki (1-for-2 with an RBI and a stolen base) came home on a ground out in the fourth inning. In the eighth, Kawasaki singled in Candelario, a force out plated Kawasaki, and a base hit by Almora scored Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4).
Jake Buchanan was serviceable as he allowed three earned runs and struck out five in 5.2 innings. Armando Rivero also fanned five as he pitched two innings. C.J. Riefenhauser tossed 1.1 scoreless innings.
Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (17-14)
The AZL Cubs’ game on Friday was suspended due to rain.
The A-Cubs managed only five hits on Saturday as they lost to the AZL Angels 10-4. Jhonny Bethencourt led the offense by going 2-for-3 with a triple. Matt Swarmer had trouble in his second start, allowing three runs (two earned) in 1.2 innings.
Dominican Summer League – DSL-1 Cubs (19-29)
Defense was the difference on Friday as D-1 lost 5-2 to the DSL Indians. Andres Bonalde started and gave up five runs (two earned) while striking out four in three innings. Orian Nunez was 1-for-4 with an RBI in the loss.
It was another tough-luck loss for D-1 on Saturday as they fell 6-5 to the DSL Indians. Jose Mac Donna had a good start, allowing an earned run over four innings. Jonathan Sierra went 2-for-4 with a double, a triple and two RBI.
Dominican Summer League – DSL-2 Cubs (27-21)
D-2 was not able to overcome one big inning on Friday in losing 3-2 to DSL Rojos in seven innings. Emilio Ferrebus allowed three earned runs and had four strikeouts in 5.2 innings. Fidel Matos went 1-for-2 with a triple and two RBI.
On Saturday, D-2 returned to their winning ways in beating DSL Rojos 6-3. Faustino Carrera improved his record to 5-0 by striking out two in five innings and being charged with an unearned run. Richard Nunez was 2-for-4 with a stone base in the win.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs selected the contract of LHP Brian Matusz from the Iowa Cubs; assigned C Erick Gonzalez to the DSL-1 Cubs from the AZL Cubs.
The Tennessee Smokies activated RHP David Berg from the 7-day disabled list. The South Bend Cubs activated LHP Kyle Twomey from the 7-day disabled list. The Eugene Emeralds released RHP Scott Frazier.