Cubs Minors Daily: Espinoza with homer, De La Cruz impressive, Soto with two hits, more


by - Senior Writer -
Jake Roth - USA Today Sports
Jake Roth - USA Today Sports

It has been a long and challenging road, but we have reached the final week of minor league competition, with the DSL grabbing center stage Monday. While one team continues to search for wins, you have another team who has turned it around as they push closer towards that .500 mark with a shot at getting over .500 this week.

While most of these players may not amount to anything more than minor league depth, this is the first step in their professional careers as most of these players begin playing in the DSL as teenagers. That is impressive when you think about it, and the Cubs have had plenty of good showings throughout the season that should get them excited for what is to come.

DSL PHILLIES 3 – DSL CUBS RED 0

While a loss to the Phillies prevented the Cubs from reaching .500 on Monday, they had to like what they saw, at least from a pitching side of things where the Cubs pitched well. Coming off a terrible start last week, Starlyn Picardo bounced back to allow one run in two innings of work to finish off his season.

Perhaps more impressive was Enmanuel De La Cruz, who continues to impress. Despite allowing two runs in four innings across his outing, De La Cruz has been near lights out in 13 appearances this season as he has posted a 2.28 ERA with 11 walks and 39 punchouts. He has proven time and again to be the best pitcher for DSL Red, and the results continue to back that up.

The Phillies had plenty of strong pitching in their own right, using Jonathan Petit for five innings and Estibenzen Jimenez for four. The two of them combined to all just six hits in the game and kept the Cubs offense off-balance all game to pitch a shutout. The only run the Phillies would need, came off Picardo in the first when Kliubert Avila connected for his fifth double of the season to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.

With De La Cruz now on the bump, Yemal Flores doubled the lead with an RBI single in the fourth to make things 2-0 before the Jose Leanez RBI single in the sixth brought home the final run in what was a 3-0 loss for DSL Red. Andrews Cruz had the hot hand on offense, collecting two of the six hits from the bottom of the order. Pedro Ramirez, Moises Ballesteros, Anderson Suriel, and Starlin Mateo had the remaining four hits.

DSL CUBS BLUE 8 – DSL RAYS 3

The Cubs couldn't have asked for a better game on Monday, pushing across six early runs before going on to win 8-3. Marino Santy got the ball for what could be his final start of the season and ended the 2021 campaign in a positive manner. Santy allowed an unearned run on just two to go with three punchouts in four innings of work as his season ERA fell to 3.98.

In the early going, Santy was backed by plenty of offense, which made things easier for him on the mound. Three batters into the bottom of the first, and the Cubs had the bases loaded as they looked to strike. Following a pair of strikeouts, Carlos Ramos showed great patience working a walk to push home the game's first run before Daniel Ferreira cashed in with an RBI double to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead after one.

One inning later, and it was more of the same for the Cubs offense as they came to play in this one. With traffic on the bases, Leonel Espinoza brought home the game's fourth run with an RBI single ahead of the Wally Soto double to make things 5-0. Add in a balk later in the inning, and the Cubs raced out to a 6-0 lead through two and never looked back.

A wild pitch got the Rays on the board in the fourth inning as they scored in each of their next three innings. Fortunately for the Cubs, it was only one run in each frame which would have made things at worst 6-3. However, an Espinoza homer in the fourth followed by a wild pitch in the sixth allowed for two more Cubs runs to score as DSL Blue took down the Rays 8-3.

Espinoza was one of three players with multiple hits while also driving in two, with one coming off his team-leading 8th homer. Wilmer Bolivar and Soto added two hits, with Ferreira picking up two RBIs from the bottom third of the order.

DSL CUBS BLUE 8 – DSL RAYS 5 (completed game from August 9th)

As if one win against the Rays wasn't good enough on Monday, why not make it two as the Cubs completed a suspended game from August 9th and won 8-5. The record and stats are reflected based on that date in which the Cubs were sitting at 8-13 at that point.

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