October 19, 2012 AFL Recap; Solar Sox Get Smacked Around

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It usually goes like this when you are struggling as a team, once the hitting picks up the pitching disappears, and that’s exactly what happened in this one.  It was also a terrible day for Cubs prospects not named Kevin Rhoderick, Rhoderick tossed a scoreless inning of relief in this one.  Nick Struck wasn’t so lucky as he battled command issues all day, he gave up three runs on two hits it just .2 innings while walking three.  It didn’t get much better at the plate, Javier Baez had another 0-for-4 performance which drops his average to .212 in the AFL this season.  Matt Szczur returned to the lineup and finished the day 0-for-5, Rubi Silva was productive in a back up role today going 1-for-2 with a triple and an RBI.  The Solar Sox can’t buy a win right now, with the loss they drop to 3-7 on the year.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Mesa Solar Sox Recap – October 14 Through October 16

Sunday October 14, 2012

No Game.

Monday October 15, 2012

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A six run fifth was too much for Mesa as they lost to Peoria 9-2.  Matt Szczur led off and was really good on Monday going 3-for-4 with a double bringing his average up to .368.  He also scored a run, drove one in, and stole his fourth base of the AFL.  Javier Baez got another start at shortstop and went 0-for-4 with an RBI.  There were no pitchers from the Cubs system who pitched on Monday.

Tuesday October 16, 2012

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Mesa dropped another to Peoria on Tuesday losing 4-2.  The Cubs system was well represented on Tuesday as five different players made appearances.  After a great game on Monday Matt Szczur led off once again this time going 0-for-4.  Rubi Silva got the start as the DH and just like Szczur was 0-for-4.  Javier Baez started as well, this time at third base.  He was 2-for-4 with an RBI and is now hitting .280 with nine RBIs this fall.  Kevin Rhoderick pitched a scoreless inning in relief, allowing only one hit and striking out two.  Nick Struck also got an inning of work, pitching a scoreless ninth for Mesa.

Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

Solar Sox Crushed; Cubs Quieted

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As good as Tuesday night was, Wednesday was equally as bad.  The Solar Sox were crushed by the Salt River Rafters 11-3, and it was really all over by the fourth inning when the Rafters built a 7-1 lead.  Javier Baez had a rough night, to say the least, he finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts at the plate and also committed two errors.  Matt Szczur led off once again for the Solar Sox and went 1-for-4 while registering his first stolen base of Fall League play.  Rubi Silva got his first start of the season in left field and went 1-for-5 at the plate.  The only Cubs pitcher not to make an appearance opening night was Nick Struck, he was able to get into this one.  Struck might have been a little too amped up for his AFL debut as he walked three over his 1.1 innings of work.  Struck struck out one, and did not allow a run despite his command issues.  The Solar Sox will look for their first win of the AFL season this afternoon at 1:35 PM CST against Surprise, it’s not a surprise, that’s just the team name.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Watkins and Struck Named Minor League Players of the Year

Congrats to both Logan Watkins and Nicholas Struck as they have been named Minor League Players of the Year for the Cubs organization.  Logan is the actual “player” of the year, and Struck is the pitcher of the year, both guys had great seasons, and did so rather quietly.  They should be known by now as they have some hardware backing their name now, he is more on their season via Carrie Muskat of Cubs.com.

Infielder Logan Watkins and right-handed pitcher Nick Struck were named the Cubs’ Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. The two will be honored Monday at Wrigley Field. Watkins, 23, hit .281 with 93 runs scored, 20 doubles, 11 triples, nine home runs and 52 RBIs in 133 games for Double-A Tennessee. He led the Southern League in runs scored, was second in triples and walks (76) and was fourth in on-base percentage (.383). Originally selected in the 21st round of the 2008 Draft, Watkins owns a .285 batting average in 475 career Minor League games.

Struck, 22, went 14-10 with a 3.18 ERA in 28 games (26 starts) for Tennessee. He led the Southern League in victories, ranked third with 155 2/3 innings pitched and fourth in ERA. He led the club with 123 strikeouts, walked 44, and limited opposing hitters to a .238 batting average. From May 29 through the end of the season, Struck went 10-5 with a 2.29 ERA in 18 games (16 starts). All told, Struck allowed three or fewer earned runs in 20 of his 26 starts while he issued two or fewer walks in 21 starts. Chicago’s 39th round selection in the 2009 Draft, Struck is 32-27 with a 3.50 ERA in 84 career Minor League games, including 73 starts. He has struck out 330 batters while walking 134, and has surrendered 28 home runs in 431 2/3 innings pitched

I just completed Logan Watkins’ player card, just after he won the award, so I guess I will have to edit that.  Nicholas Struck should be up soon, congrats to both guys, great season!

Thanks for reading,
– George

8/31: Around the Cubs Minor League System

A quick recap of the Cubs minor leagues on Friday, August 31.  Peoria was cancelled due to rain and both Iowa and the AZL Cubs seasons are in the books.

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The Boise Hawks had a few rough innings and lost this one 6-4.  Felix Pena pitched five really good innings giving up no runs on four hits with three strikeouts.  Hayden Simpson struggled and took the loss giving up six runs on six hits in two innings.  Eduardo Orozco pitched well in his two innings allowing no runs on one hit and striking out four.  Jeimer Candelario had a nice night at the plate going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.  Stephen Bruno and Gioskar Amaya each had two hits, with Amaya scoring two runs.  Dan Vogelbach and Wilson Contreras each a had a hit in the loss and Rock Shoulders was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.  Marco Hernandez delivered a pinch-hit RBI single.

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Daytona got down early, but Rebel Ridling and the bullpen sparked a 4-3 win.  Ridling was awesome on Friday tying the game in the seventh and winning it with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth.  He ended the night 4-for-5 with a double, a home run, and two RBIs.  Vladimir Frias also had a nice night at the plate going 3-for-4 with an RBI.  Nelson Perez had two hits, including a double and a run scored.  Rafael Lopez and Christian Villanueva each had a hit in the win.  Kyler Burke got the start for the Cubs, he lasted four innings giving up three runs on six hits.  Matt Iannazzo pitched the next three innings allowing only one hit and striking out two.  Scott Weismann got the win as he threw the final two scoreless innings.  It was a nice win for the Cubs as the season is coming to a close.

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Tennessee continued to roll on Friday beating Pensacola 5-0.  Chris Rusin started, but only lasted three innings not allowing a hit and striking out one.  Nicholas Struck pitched the next 5.2 and got the win as he gave up only one hit and struck out six.  Rubi Silva had a nice night at the plate going 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs.  Matt Szczur had two hits in the win and scored a run.  Junior Lake and Justin Bour each had a hit and combined to score three runs.  Anthony Recker and Matt Cerda each had a hit and Jae-Hoon Ha had an RBI in the win.  It has been fun following Tennessee the past few weeks as they have been playing some really good baseball, unfortunately it was a little late as they have been eliminated from the playoffs.

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The Iowa Cubs were supposed to play a series against New Orleans, but because of Hurricane Isaac the series has been cancelled and their season has come to an end.

Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

8/25: Around the Cubs Minor League System

Saturday’s minor league recap.

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It was a game of big innings early, until the ninth when the AZL Cubs walked off with another win, this time 8-7.  Paul Blackburn started, but wasn’t at his best giving up three runs on four hits in three innings of work.  Rafael Dolis and Jasvir Rakkar each pitched an inning allowing two runs a piece.  Ethan Elias did a great job keeping the Giants at seven runs as pitched the next three innings allowing no runs on no hits, while walking two and striking out four.  The good luck charm Steve Perakslis improved his record to 4-0 as he got the win after pitching a scoreless ninth.  The Cubs had a lot of nice days offensively.  Carlos Penalver and Yasiel Balaguert each had two hits and drove in two a piece.  Ben Carhart was 2-for-6 with a walk off single and Shawon Dunston had one hit, a double and three RBIs.  Trevor Gretzky and David Bote both contributed with two hits and combined two score three runs for the Cubs.  Daniel Lockhart and Garrett Schlecht each had a hit and an RBI in the Cubs victory.  The victory clinched a spot in the playoffs for the Cubs.

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Boise got out to a quick start and held on to beat Vancouver 8-6.  After a recent struggle Jeimer Candelario appears to have broken out as he went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored, and three RBIs.  Stephen Bruno stayed red-hot going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.  Dan Vogelbach also had two hits, including a double and an RBI.  Wilson Contreras and Gioskar Amaya each had a hit with Contreras knocking in two and Amaya one.  Albert Almora left the game early with an apparent injury, but I have no word yet as to what the problem was.  Ian Dickson started, but did not factor in the decision as was only able to last 4.1 innings as he allowed four runs on seven hits.  Hunter Ackerman did get the victory as he threw the next 2.2 innings giving up one run and striking out five.  Eduardo Orozco got the ball to Nathan Dorris and Dorris closed out the win and the second half for Boise.  With the victory Boise is the second half winners and are headed to the playoffs.

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A three run fourth was enough for Joseph Zeller and the Cubs bullpen as they beat Wisconsin 3-2.  Zeller pitched quite well giving up one run on seven hits in six innings.  Sheldon McDonald pitched the next two innings allowing one run, but got the ball to Larry Suarez who notched his fifth save of the season striking out two in a scoreless ninth.  Timothy Saunders had another nice night going 2-for-4 with a homer and a double.  Chadd Krist also hit a home run, a two run shot in the fourth inning.  Oliver Zapata had a hit, two walks, and two stolen bases and Zeke DeVoss also added a hit in the Chiefs win.

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Daytona lost game one to Tampa 3-2.  Although they only had three hits, they threatened late, but couldn’t finish.  Ronald Torreyes, Elieser Bonne, and Vladimir Frias were the only Cubs to have hits on Saturday.  Nelson Perez drove in the two Cubs runs in game one without the benefit of a hit.  Eduardo Figueroa started, but took a no decision as didn’t give up a run in four inning, while striking out six.  Matt Spencer took the loss as he really struggled with his command walking five and allowing all three of the Yankees runs to score in just 0.2 innings.  Matt Iannazzo finished game one out throwing a scoreless 1.1 innings.

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Daytona returned the favor in game two as Ryan Searle and staff only allowed three hits in a 4-1 win.  Searle started and pitched pretty good going five innings allowing one run on three hits and striking out five.  From there Jeff Lorick pitched a scoreless sixth and Scott Weismann notched his fourth save of the season throwing a perfect seventh.  John Andreoli and Ronald Torreyes hit one-two in the order and set the table of the Cubs in this one.  Torreyes was 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored, and an RBI.  John Andreoli was also 2-for-4 with a double, triple, and two runs scored.  Rebel Ridling had two hits of his own and drove in one run and Nelson Perez drove in another run, again not having a hit.  Javier Baez broke through with a double in the victory.

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Mobile scored one in the ninth to tie it and got one in the 10th to beat Tennessee 4-3.  Nicholas Struck was in line for the win pitching seven innings, allowing two runs, one earned on six hits, while striking out six.  Zach Rosscup did his job getting the ball to Frank Batista, but Batista couldn’t get the save in this one allowing the ninth inning run.  Casey Harman took the loss allowing an unearned run in the 10th.  Rubi Silva had a nice night at the plate going 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs.  Jae-Hoon Ha had three hits and Junior Lake had two hits and a run scored.  Logan Watkins was 1-for-5 with a home run for the Smokies in the tough loss on Saturday.

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Things have been better for Iowa as of late and Saturday was no different as they beat Oklahoma City 4-1.  Ty’Relle Harris started and got the win pitching six strong innings.  He allowed one run on four hits while striking out six.  Miguel Socolovich and Jeff Beliveau each pitched a perfect frame to get the ball to Jairo Asencio who struck out two and pitched a scoreless ninth to record his fifth save of the season.  The Cubs had a few nice nights offensively on Saturday starting with Diory Hernandez who had a home run and three RBIs.  Dave Sappelt was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Matt Tolbert also had two hits with a run scored.  Greg Rohan and Jeff Frazier each had two hits a piece with Frazier having two doubles and Rohan having one.  It is good to see Iowa finishing the season strong.

It was an exciting night, Congrats to Boise Hawks and the AZL Cubs in clinching a playoff birth.

Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

8/20: Around the Cubs Minor League System

Monday, August 20 Cubs minor league report.  After a couple days of being rained out Daytona had a scheduled off day on Monday.

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The AZL Cubs dropped Monday night’s game to the Padres 5-1.  The good new first, Paul Blackburn started and pitched well.  He pitched four innings allowing no runs on two hits and four strike outs.  The bad news now, Rafael Dolis gave up three runs, two earned in 1.1 innings in taking the loss.  Arturo Maltos-Garcia couldn’t keep the game close allowing two runs in just .2 innings and Daniel Adrian pitched the final two innings on Monday.  The Cubs didn’t do much offensively, but there were a few bright spots.  Carlos Penalver and Yasiel Balaguert were each 2-for-4 and Penalver scored a run.  Danie Lockhart and Justin Marra each had a hit with Marra driving in the only Cubs run in the game.  David Bote and Trevor Gretzky each had a hit in the loss.  The Cubs will look to get back on track tomorrow.

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Boise got off to a great start on Monday, but gave up six runs in the last three innings to lose 8-7.  Ian Dickson started and pitched five innings, giving up two unearned runs on three hits, while striking out four.  Hunter Ackerman had a tough night, giving up four runs on three hits in 2.2 innings.  Tyler Bremer was the losing pitcher in this one as he gave up two runs.  Dan Vogelbach had a nice night at the plate going 3-for-4 with a home run.  Marco Hernandez hit a home run hit his fifth home run of the season and drove in two RBIs.  Trey Martin also drove in two runs and Xavier Batista had an RBI as well.  Stephen Bruno continued his hot stretch at the plate going 3-for-3 with a double and a run scored.  Albert Almora ended the night with one hit and Wilson Contreras had a hit and an RBI.  It was not a good loss for the Hawks, but tomorrow is a new day.

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Wisconsin ambushed Joseph Zeller and the Chiefs beating Peoria 8-1.  Zeller struggled giving up seven runs, five earned on 10 hits in six innings.  Willengton Cruz and Luis Liria pitched the final two innings combining to give up one unearned run.  On the offensive side Timothy Saunders continued to rake going 2-for-4 and he is now hitting .371 since going to Peoria.  Zeke DeVoss was also had two hits, one being a double.  Bijan Rademacher was 1-for-3 driving in the lone Chiefs run of the night.  Jacob Rogers and Pin-Chieh Chen each had a hit in the loss on Monday.

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With the game tied at one, Tennessee put up four in the eighth and defeated Chattanooga 5-1.  Nicholas Struck got the start and did a real nice job pitching six strong innings.  He gave up one run on six hits, walking two, and striking out three.  After Trey McNutt pitched a scoreless seventh, Brian Schlitter cam in and got the win, pitching the final two innings of this one.  Junior Lake had a nice night offensively going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Michael Brenly also had a double and he drove in two runs of his own.  Jae-Hoon Ha and Rubi Silva each had two hits and Ha scored a run.  Logan Watkins and Justin Bour each had a hit and scored a run in the win.

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After a nice stretch for Iowa they lost to Memphis on Monday 11-3.  Ty’Relle Harris got the start, but didn’t last long giving up three runs, two earned in just four innings.  Jay Jackson gave up a run in his two innings of work before giving the ball to Michael Hatley who really struggled.  Hatley didn’t record an out, but gave up six runs on three hits and four walks.  Esmailin Caridad and Brian Esposito finished off the game for Iowa combining to pitch the last three innings.  Offensively the Cubs had a few nice performances.  Greg Rohan and James Adduci each had two hits and each had an RBI in the loss.  Alfredo Amezaga and Blake Lalli also had two hits a piece and each also scored a run.  Tony Campana and Dave Sappelt both had a hit and Matt Tolbert had an RBI in the loss.

Thanks for Reading,
-Mark