As we head into the final weekend of the minor league regular season, the Cubs affiliates were still able to excite. Eugene looked to add to their record season on the pitching of Dylan Cease and Manuel Rondon. South Bend also got some great pitching from Jose Paulino, as did Myrtle Beach with both Preston Morrison and Jeremy Null.
But the biggest news had to be Chesny Young, who went 7-for-9 to surge ahead in the race for the Southern League batting crown.
With all of the details, including the AZL Cubs’ playoff, take a look inside today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Short Season Class-A – Eugene Emeralds (52-19)
In a game that was not as close as the score indicates, Eugene’s offense provided a 7-5 victory over Tri-City Tuesday night. Two big innings put the Ems up 7-1. Trent Giambrone (1-for-3 with an RBI) singled in Wladimir Galindo (1-for-3 with a double). A ground out scored Giambrone, and a base hit by Kevonte Mitchell (3-for-4 with a double and three RBI) drove in Zack Short (1-for-3 with a stolen base) in the second inning. A ground rule double from Mitchell in the sixth inning brought in Giambrone and Short, while a single by Yeiler Peguero (1-for-3 with two RBI) plated Mitchell and Marcus Mastrobuoni (0-for-3 with an RBI).
Dylan Cease was practically untouchable as he was charged with an unearned run and had eight strikeouts in five innings. Duncan Robinson relieved and was battered for four earned runs in 1.2 innings. Tyler Peitzmeier picked up his second save as he struck out two in 2.1 scoreless innings.
Relief pitching and defense almost let the Emeralds down on Wednesday, but the offense rallied in the 12th inning to beat Tri-City 3-2. Manuel Rondon scattered three hits and struck out seven in five innings. Marc Huberman followed with the same results, fanning three in two innings. But Andin Diaz was charged with two unearned runs in two innings, and Chad Hockin also had three strikeouts in two innings. Jed Carter had two strikeouts in a perfect 12th for his third victory.
A wild pitch and a sacrifice fly scored D.J. Wilson (1-for-5 with a stolen base) and Chris Pieters (1-for-4 with a stolen base) in the first inning. But Eugene’s offense was silent until the bottom of the 12th when a sacrifice fly with one out brought in Jose Gonzalez (2-for-5) with the game-winner.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (81-54)
The South Bend Cubs just could not put things together on Wednesday, as they outhit West Michigan but lost 3-1. Oscar De La Cruz was merely mortal as he struck out three and allowed three earned runs in six innings. Pedro Araujo had two strikeouts in two scoreless innings, and Mark Malave tossed a scoreless inning in his Low-A debut. P.J. Higgins (2-for-4 with an RBI) singled in Carlos Sepulveda (1-for-2) in the eighth inning for the only SB Cubs’ run.
A bottom of the ninth that saw an ejection gave South Bend some anxiety as they held on to beat west Michigan 5-3 on Thursday. Jose Paulino started and was dominating, allowing an earned run while striking out seven in five innings. Greyfer Eregua gave up an earned run as he worked three innings. Needing three outs, Dillon Maples reverted back to being Dillon Maples as he walked the bases loaded and recorded only on out. Jared Cheek yielded an earned run that was charged to Maples, but some questionable calls led to pitching coach Dave Rosario being ejected before Cheek could secure the victory with a strikeout.
Vimael Machin (2-for-3 with a double and two RBI) scored on a sacrifice fly in the second inning for the first run of the game. A bases loaded single by Machin drove in Carlos Sepulveda (0-for-4) and P.J. Higgins (2-for-3) in the third, with Eddy Julio Martinez (0-for-4) coming in on a double play. In the sixth, Machin scored once again, this time on a ground out.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (79-56)
Myrtle Beach squandered some good pitching as the Pelicans lost 3-0 to Lynchburg on Wednesday. Preston Morrison had nine strikeouts in six scoreless innings. However, Tommy Nance allowed three earned runs in 2.1 innings, with Scott Effross getting the final two outs. Donnie Dewees (1-for-4 with a double), David Bote (1-for-3 with a double), Ian Rice (1-for-4), and Andrew Ely (1-for-3) had the hits for the Pelicans.
The Pelicans were good in all phases of the game as Myrtle Beach easily took care of Lynchburg 7-1 on Thursday. Jeremy Null looked as if he had regained last year’s form as he allowed an earned run on five hits while striking out four in 6.2 innings. Daniel Lewis threw 1.1 scoreless innings, and James Pugliese had a strikeout in a perfect inning.
A five-run fifth inning provided separation for the Birds as David Bote (3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) singled in Charcer Burks (2-for-5 with a triple) and a double from Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) scored Donnie Dewees (1-for-3 with a triple). Bote came home on a wild pitch and Bryant Flete (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) delivered a two-run homer to bring in Balaguert. Dewees tripled and scored on a ground out in the first, and Bote added a solo home run in the seventh inning.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (57-78)
Tennessee had to hold their breath a little bit on Wednesday was the Smokies beat Birmingham 8-7. Jonathan Martinez made his Double-A debut and allowed three earned runs while striking out eight in five innings. Juan Paniagua had all sorts of trouble as he gave up four runs (three earned) in 1.1 innings. Nick Sarianides got the final two outs of the seventh and James Farris had two strikeouts in two perfect innings for his fifth save.
It was Chesny Young not only setting things up, but bringing things home as he was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI while Ian Happ was 2-for-2 with two doubles and an RBI. David Freitas (2-for-5), Jason Vosler (2-for-4 with a double), and Carlos Penalver (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) had multi-hit games. Daniel Lockhart (1-for-3 with an RBI) and Kelly Dugan (1-for-5 with a double and an RBI) each drove in a run.
While the Smokies lost 3-2 to Montgomery on Thursday, the Southern League gained a new batting leader. Chesny Young (4-for-4) and Kelly Dugan (1-for-4 with a double) scored on a double from David Freitas (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) in the ninth as Young raised his average to .304 and took over the lead by two points.
Zach Hedges had a game where his ground balls were finding holes, as he allowed three earned runs on 10 hits while striking out three in seven innings. David Garner had a strikeout in a perfect eighth inning.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (63-76)
A matinee turned into a 17-hit explosion for Iowa as they destroyed Nashville 10-1 on Wednesday. Albert Almora Jr. paced the offense by going 4-for-5 with an RBI, while Jeimer Candelario was 3-for-5 with an RBI. Matt Murton (2-for-4 with three RBI) and Logan Watkins (1-for-4 with two RBI) had multiple RBI. John Andreoli (2-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base), Bijan Rademacher (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI), and Kris Negron (2-for-5 with a home run and an RBI) had multi-hit games.
Despite a furious rally by Iowa on Thursday, their pitching staff could not hold as they lost 6-5 to Nashville. Stephen Fife had a good start as he struck out six in four scoreless innings. Giovanni Soto gave up four earned runs in 1.2 innings, while Joe Thatcher had two strikeouts in 1.1 innings. Jack Leathersich was charged with an unearned run as he pitched an inning, and Gerardo Concepcion surrendered an earned run in 0.1 innings.
The I-Cubs got on the board in the seventh inning after Kris Negron (0-for-4 with a stolen base) came home on a wild pitch and Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) walked with the bases loaded to force in John Andreoli (1-for-3 with a stolen base). Lane Adams (3-for-5 with a home run and two stolen bases) belted a solo home run and Matt Murton (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) doubled in Taylor Davis (0-for-2 with a stolen base) in the eighth inning. Candelario scored on a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs
The AZL Cubs lost a one game playoff with the AZL Mariners 4-0 on Wednesday night. Javier Assad allowed four earned runs as he pitched four innings. Luis Ayala and Gustavo Polanco were each 1-for-4 while Jhonny Bethencourt went 1-for-3.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs selected the contract of RHP Jake Buchanan from the Iowa Cubs; recalled INF Tommy La Stella from the Iowa Cubs; optioned RHP Spencer Patton to the Iowa Cubs; assigned INF Stephen Bruno to the Tennessee Smokies from the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Jonathan Martinez to the Tennessee Smokies from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans; assigned RHP Duane Underwood Jr. to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans from the South Bend Cubs; assigned RHP Mark Malave to the South Bend Cubs from the Eugene Emeralds.
The Iowa Cubs activated RHP Miguel Mejia from the 7-day disabled list. The Tennessee Smokies placed RHP Brad Markey on the 7-day disabled list.