Minor Matters – May 12, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

Iowa 5-12 line

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At The Plate – Tough one to swallow for the Cubs in this one as they blew a 6-1 lead that they had in the third, and an 8-6 lead in the ninth by giving up three runs in the bottom half to lose 9-8.  Brett Jackson seems to be finding a groove ever since coming off the DL, he was 3-for-4 with a walk, a double, and two runs scored.  Josh Vitters was 1-for-3 with two walks, and a run scored.  Dave Sappelt was 1-for-5 with a triple, three RBI’s, and a run scored in the loss.  Brad Nelson was 2-for-4 with his sixth home run of the season, two RBI’s, and two runs scored.  Ian Stewart made a rare appearance in this one and it was a productive one, he was 1-for-1 with a triple, and two RBI’s in a pinch-hitting role.

On The Mound –  Chris Rusin didn’t have his best stuff in this one, going five innings giving up five runs on nine hits while striking out one.  Casey Coleman was outstanding out of the pen going two scoreless innings while striking out one.  Hisanori Takahashi worked just one-third of an inning giving up one run on one hit while walking one and striking out one.  Rafael Dolis worked one inning and it wasn’t good, he gave up two runs on one hit while walking one and striking out one.  Blake Parker also struggled in a third of an inning, giving up one run on one hit, he was hung with his first loss of the season.

Smokies 5-12 line

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At The Plate – The Smokies had plenty of opportunities in this one, but were only 4-17 with runners in scoring position.  Even so, the Smokies scored five times, and that was plenty in this one, winning 5-0.  Matt Szczur has been on a roll of late, and today as well, he was 3-for-5 with a double, and two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .287 on the season.  Arismendy Alcantara was 2-for-4 with a double, he also made his eleventh error on the season in the victory.  Christian Villanueva was 1-for-2 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.  Tim Torres was 1-for-4 with a double, and two runs scored.

On The Mound –  Kyle Hendricks was outstanding once again in this one, going 6.2 scoreless innings giving up four hits while walking one and striking out four to earn his second win of the season.  A.J. Morris pitched out of trouble in his inning of work, he worked a scoreless inning giving up two hits while walking one and striking out two.  Zach Rosscup worked 1.1 scoreless innings while walking one and striking out three to close this one out.

Kane County 5-12 line

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At The Plate – Kane County seems to find ways to lose games in the worst ways, tonight was one of them as the Cougars led 6-3 in the sixth inning only to fall 7-6.  Bijan Rademacher was 0-for-2 with three walks, a run scored, and a caught stealing.  Jeimer Candelario was 2-for-4 with his first home run of the season, a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored.  Rock Shoulders was 1-for-5 with a grand slam, his eighth home run of the season, four RBI’s, and a run scored.  Carlos Escobar, and Oliver Zapata each had two hits in the loss.

On The Mound –  Dillon Maples was promoted from extended spring training to Kane County today as got the start.  First things first that is very important as Maples is one of the better pitching prospects in the system, and it’s good to see him back healthy.  Maples went five innings giving up three runs on six hits while striking out two.  Lendy Castillo took over and ended up taking the loss going 4.1 innings giving up four runs on two hits while walking four and striking out four.

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Minor Matters – May 11, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

Iowa 5-11 line

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At The Plate – The Cubs left some runs out on the bases in this one but they found just enough offense to come away with a win.  Brett Jackson was 2-for-5 with a double, two RBI’s, and  his fourth stolen base of the season.  Dave Sappelt had a good day going 2-for-4 with his first home run of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored.  J.C. Boscan was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in the win.  I mentioned that Iowa left some runs out there, they were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position, and left nine guys on base.

On The MoundGuillermo Moscoso was brilliant in this one for the Cubs as he improved his record to 2-0 on the season.  Moscoso went seven innings giving up one run, unearned, on six hits while walking one and striking out seven.  Zach Putnam worked a scoreless inning out of the pen giving up one hit while walking one.  Blake Parker was solid again for his fifth save of the season, he worked a scoreless ninth while striking out one.

Smokies 5-11 line

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At The Plate – The Smokies finally found a way to beat the Barons, and almost blew the lead late before hanging on to a 5-4 victory.  Matt Szczur was good again at the top of the order going 2-for-4 with two RBI’s, two runs scored, and two stolen bases, he now has twelve stolen bases on the season.  Ty Wright was 2-for-3 with a walk, and a double in the win.  Christian Villanueva had another solid day going 3-for-4 with two doubles, and an RBI, he’s hitting .294 over his last ten games.

On The MoundMatt Garza had a solid outing for the Smokies, and more importantly came out of it healthy again.  Garza went 3.1 scoreless innings giving up three hits while walking two and striking out two.  Matt Loosen struggled with his command out of the pen but managed to get the win.  Loosen went four innings giving up three runs on two hits while walking four and striking out six.  Marcus Hatley struggled a little bit but earned his first save of the season going 1.2 innings giving up one run on two hits while walking two and striking out one.

Kane County 5-11 line

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At The Plate – After falling behind 3-1 early the Cougars went to work at the plate scoring six times over the final six innings en route to a 7-4 victory.  Pin-Chieh Chen was solid at the top of the order going 2-for-5 with a double.  Dan Vogelbach was 1-for-4 with a walk, a double, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .292 on the season.  Willson Contreras had a huge day going 3-for-5 with a double, his fourth home run of the season, two RBI’s, and two runs scored.  Gioskar Amaya only had one hit in this one (1-for-5) but he had two huge RBI’s.

On The MoundMichael Heesch flirted with disaster all day long but pitched out of trouble for the most part.  Heesch worked six innings giving up four runs on twelve hits while walking one to earn his second win of the season.  Brian Smith was outstanding out of the pen, he worked three scoreless inning giving up two hits while striking out three to earn his first save of the season.

NOTES:  Daytona had a double-header scheduled, and both games were postponed.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there, including mine, the best one there is!

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Minor Matters – May 7, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

Iowa 5-7 line

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At The Plate – The Cubs really had nothing going all night against the Sky Sox as they were blanked 5-0.  The Cubs could only manage four hits in the loss, and were o-for-1 with runners in scoring position, a rather uninspiring effort.  Dave Sappelt owns triple A (tiny bit of sarcasm here), he was 1-for-3 in his debut with Iowa tonight.  Luis Flores, Nick Struck, and Edwin Maysonet had the other hits for the Cubs, all singles, and Struck was the starting pitcher, like I said, not a good night.

On The Mound – 2012 minor league pitcher of the year Nick Struck, is finding 2013 not as comfortable as last year.  Struck worked 5.2 innings giving up five runs on eight hits while walking three and striking out six, his record fell to 0-3 with the loss.  Yoanner Negrin was solid out of the pen going 1.1 scoreless innings while walking one and striking out two.  Zach Putnam also had a scoreless appearance, he worked an inning and struck out one.

Smokies 5-7 line

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At The Plate – No that is not a typo, yes that was the final score, and yes they only played five innings.  The official reason was wet grounds for the shortened game, but I think it might have also been a slaughter rule.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say this was and will be the worst game by the Smokies all year.  The Smokies couldn’t push across a single run, what’s worse is they only had four hits and made three errors, yikes.  Ty Wright, Christian Villanueva, Rafael Lopez, and Elliot Soto were all 1-for-2 with a single in the shellacking.

On The Mound – Look away, or just avoid this part if you are squeamish.  Matt Loosen got the start, and you guessed it, the loss as well, his first of the season.  Loosen went 2.1 innings giving up seven runs on four hits while walking three and striking out two.  A.J. Morris was beat up out of the pen, sort of, Morris went 1.1 innings giving up six runs, all unearned, on three hits while walking two and striking out one.  Tony Zych wasn’t much better, he worked 1.1 innings giving up three runs on four hits while walking one and striking out two.  New game tomorrow, forget about this one.

Daytona 5-7 line

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At The Plate – Just an awful night all around the minor league system tonight as Daytona was crushed as well, at least they managed to score three times.  Daytona could only manage six hits, and three runs in the loss, they also made two errors, seemed to be a theme for every team tonight.  Javier Baez was 1-for-4 with his sixth home run of the season, an RBI, and a run scored.  Jorge Soler was 1-for-4, as was Ben Carhart, Carhart scored a run as well.  Taiwan Easterling was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI’s in the loss.  Javier Baez and Jorge Soler each made an error in this one, Baez his twelfth, and Soler his first.

On The Mound –  Just a rough night from the D-Cubs pitching, Ben Wells got the start and saw his record fall to 3-2 with the loss.  Wells went five innings giving up five runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out two, what’s more disturbing is that Wells gave up three home runs, he’s now given up four all year.  Sheldon McDonald was the lone bright spot for the D-Cubs as he worked a scoreless inning out of the pen.  Starling Peralta continues to get hammered, he worked one-third of an inning giving up five runs on two hits while walking two.  David Cales was also roughed up, that is a rarity for sure, he worked 1.2 innings giving up three runs, two earned, on three hits while striking out two.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Win Second Straight Behind Rizzo’s Monster Shots

Cubs April 26 line

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If you are going to break out of a slump, do it in impressive fashion.  That’s exactly what Anthony Rizzo did tonight as he blasted two monster home runs, each two run shots and that’s all the Cubs would need.  Scott Feldman and company made those four runs hold up the rest of the way for the Cubs second win in as many games, the first time they have done that all year.  Scott Feldman worked out of a couple jams thanks to some slick defense, the Rizzo 4-26biggest play might have been Darwin Barney saving a throwing error and turning into a double play in the third inning.  Shawn Camp also faced some trouble in his inning of work but once again was able to wiggle off the hook.  Heading to the ninth with a two run lead Dale Sveum turned to Kevin Gregg and he delivered, pitching a spotless ninth for the save.

At The Plate – The Cubs scattered ten hits in this one while scoring four times.  The offense really only came from three guys in this one, Dave Sappelt, Anthony Rizzo, and Darwin Barney.  Rizzo had the huge game going 3-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI’s, a stolen base and two runs scored.  Dave Sappelt getting the start for DeJesus filled in admirably going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.  Barney was 3-for-3 with three singles in the victory.

On The Mound – Scott Feldman finally got that elusive first win tonight as he worked 6.2 innings giving up two runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out two.  With first and second and nobody out in the third Feldman almost threw it all away, literally.  Feldman grabbed a ball hit back to him and threw to second to start a big double play but the throw was high and if not for some defensive heroics from Darwin Barney this game might have ended differently.  Shawn Camp and James Russell each had scoreless appearances to get the game to the ninth.  Kevin Gregg took it from there as he worked a scoreless ninth for his second save of the year.

Up Next – The Cubs go for their first three game winning streak of the year tomorrow night with Travis Wood taking the mound.  Wood will oppose Alex Sanabia at 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-26 box

Game Highlights:

Anthony Rizzo’s first home run of the night
Rizzo goes deep into the upper deck
Barney’s game saving play

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Find a Way to Win Despite Another Blown Save

Cubs April 23 line

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Same thing every night it seems as once again the Cubs blew a ninth inning lead, this time it was Carlos Marmol giving up a game tying single to Joey Votto.  Marmol then loaded the bases and narrowly escaped the jam, lucky he did as the Cubs responded right away in the tenth.  An unlikely power source did the trick, Darwin Barney took Manny Parra deep to start the tenth, how unlikely you ask?  I’ll tell you my inquisitive friend, that was Barney’s first home run away from Wrigley Field, in his career.  The Cubs were able to tack on another insurance run for good measure and Kevin Gregg nailed down the save, with the tying run on base of course.  Lost in this was the Castillo 4-23 winperformance by Carlos Villanueva, he was sensational, but had to settle for a no decision and Carlos Marmol got the win…. yeah, the win stat in baseball doesn’t always tell the truth, sometimes it’s just a dirty liar, okay, Cubs win!

At The Plate – I know it’s easy to pin the blame on the bullpen with all of these close losses, but one of the other fingers has to be pointed at the offense as well, tonight was a perfect example.  The Cubs jumped on the board early in this one, plating two runs in the second, that was it until the tenth, more times than not, that won’t be good enough.  Hello Cody Ransom!  Ransom made his Cubs debut tonight as was terrific, he went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, an RBI, and a run scored.  Alfonso Soriano has located the fountain of youth, it’s in Cincinnati, weird place for it, but anyway.  Soriano was 3-for-4 but his aggressiveness on the base paths was refreshing, he stole second and third on consecutive pitches which set up the first run, the Cubs need more of that.  The Cubs stole four bases tonight, the two from Soriano, one from Sappelt, and one from Julio Borbon.  Dave Sappelt had a solid night out of the lead-off spot as well going 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, and an RBI.  Darwin Barney had the game winning hit, a solo home run in the tenth which was his only hit in four at bats.

On The Mound – What else can be said about Carlos Villanueva, he has been outstanding in the early going and only has one win to show for it.  Villanueva went 8.1 innings giving up two runs on just three hits while walking two and striking out six.  Carlos Marmol blew the save, he worked two-thirds of an inning giving up one hit which allowed the tying run to score while walking two and striking out one.  Kevin Gregg did a solid job in nailing this one down, I don’t expect any Cubs pitcher to go 1-2-3 in a save situation, he gave up two hits while striking out two to earn the save.

Up Next – Great match up in the series finale tomorrow morning at 11:30 AM CST on CSN Chicago.  Jeff Samardzija battles Mat Latos, a series win would be fantastic, but again, the Cubs are trying to win a series tomorrow when they could be going for a sweep.

Cubs 4-23 box 1

Cubs 4-23 box 2

Game Highlights:

Cody Ransom goes deep in debut
Big double play
Darwin Barney’s game winning blast
Sappelt’s RBI single
Slick play here from Cody Ransom

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Continue to Beat Themselves

Cubs April 20 lineFull Box Score

I understand that the Cubs won’t be competitive this year, maybe competitive in games, but not to the point of winning anything substantial, but the one thing I expect to see at least is strong fundamental play.  When the roster is hollowed, which it is, one would expect to see the little things done right, and players paying attention.  We are only sixteen games into this season and it is clear that in some games the Cubs just aren’t mentally there.  I suppose I shouldn’t be as upset about it Alfonso Sorianobecause this kind of stuff happens on bad teams, and for the most part the Cubs have fought in games but today just got to me.  It also is starting to get to Dale Sveum, “”This is obviously getting old…we’re making mistakes that rookie ball people make.”   The Cubs only had four chances with runners in scoring position, they did convert once, but it wasn’t enough as four unearned runs did in the Cubs and Edwin Jackson, just frustrating.

At The Plate – The Cubs managed to out-hit the Brewers in this one 7-6, but the Brewers didn’t make any errors and thus they won.  Of the seven Cubs hits only two were of the extra-base variety.  David DeJesus was 1-for-3, as was Luis ValbuenaAlfonso Soriano was the only Cubs player to register an RBI, he was 1-for-4, and also made an error.  Starlin Castro was 1-for-4 and he also made an error, the other error was made by Edwin Jackson.  Nate Schierholtz, and Dave Sappelt were the only Cubs with extra base hits, both doubles.

On The Mound – Edwin Jackson had a “quality” start by definition of the rule book as he went six innings giving up five runs, one earned, on four hits while walking one and striking out four.  Hector Rondon, and Kameron Loe both worked scoreless innings in relief but by then the game was decided. 

Up Next – The Cubs will look to avoid the sweep tomorrow afternoon as Scott Feldman battles Wily Peralta at 1:10 PM CST.

Cubs April 20 box

Cubs April 20 box 1

Game Highlights:

Soriano’s impressive RBI single….sigh
Castro’s Error, sums it up

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Claim Julio Borbon From Rangers (UPDATE: Gonzalez DFA’d)

Julio Borbon was designated for assignment by the Rangers last week, they were unable to work out a trade so he was placed on waivers on Wednesday.  The Cubs Borbonclaimed Borbon today, intriguing move considering they already signed Ryan Sweeney, a left-handed hitting outfielder, which is what Borbon is, and now a spot on the 40 man roster needs to be cleared to make room for him.  Borbon has also produced, he’s a career .283 hitter having 685 at bats in the Majors, and a career .324 on base percentage.  All of these numbers coming at the age of twenty-three to twenty-five, then didn’t play last year, one would think he would be a candidate to be on the active roster given the fact that he is out of minor league options.  This also could be the start of something else that is going on, I don’t want to speculate too much but there are simply too many players right now that are on the 40 man roster that are similar to Borbon.  The Cubs have Brett Jackson at Iowa, Ryan Sweeney at Iowa, Brian Bogusevic at Iowa, Dave Sappelt in Chicago, and David DeJesus in Chicago.  My guess is that he will replace Sappelt on the active roster and Sappelt will hit waivers but that’s just an educated guess at this point.

(UPDATE) Alberto Gonzalez has been DFA’d in a corresponding move to make room for Borbon.

Thanks for reading,
– George