Cubs Minors Daily: Hernandez impressive, Triantos with fourth homer, Pagan homers, more


by - Senior Writer -
Cristian Hernandez is batting .361 in September
Cristian Hernandez is batting .361 in September

We are getting down to the nitty-gritty in terms of Minor League baseball as four of the seven teams will have their regular season come to an end this weekend. Unless the ACL Cubs or Myrtle Beach Pelicans qualify for the postseason, it will be strictly DSL and Iowa from Sunday on out as their seasons will go into October.

With so many organizations having their regular season end this week, it is worth noting how many prospects the Cubs have gotten a chance to witness this season. Had the season started sooner or if all the leagues carried over to October, there is a good chance some of them would have moved on from the Rookie League to Myrtle Beach or other full-season leagues. Now they must wait until next season, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

ACL MARINERS 9 – ACL CUBS 8

At 31-25, the ACL Cubs have the best chance of any of the Cubs minor league teams to make the postseason. However, with them sitting in sixth place in the ACL standings, it is becoming less likely with each loss. Monday saw the Cubs drop a heart breaker to the league-leading Mariners as the Mariners scored seven runs across the final two innings to take the 9-8 win.

Of all the pitchers the Cubs threw at the Mariners, starter Luke Little was perhaps the most impressive. Last year's fourth-round pick, Little, is a flame-throwing lefty that can touch 105 MPH with his fastball. While it is unclear with the Cubs plan is for him going forward, Little went three innings on Monday, allowing two runs with one earned to go with three strikeouts.

Both those runs came in the first inning when Harry Ford clubbed his third homer of the season to give the Mariners an early 2-0 lead at that point. The Cubs wasted no time scoring themselves as they used a three-run first inning to take the lead. Yeison Santana was right in the middle of everything with an RBI triple making things 2-1. He came home to score on the Parker Chavers RBI groundout before James Triantos unloaded for his fourth homer of the season, giving the Cubs a 3-2 lead.

The Cubs continued to build on that lead in the second inning, with Chavers reaching base on a costly throwing error that allowed a pair of runs to score, making things 5-2. Once the sixth inning began, it seemed like Seattle hit a switch offensively as they suddenly started to crush the ball. Arturo Guerrero opened the big inning with a two-run triple to pull the M's within 5-4 before RBI singles by Asdrubal Bueno, and Luis Chevalier gave the Mariners a 6-5 lead.

Down, but not out, the Cubs wasted no time responding with another big inning of their own as Juan Mora tied things up with an RBI double. After Malcolm Quintero gave the Cubs a 7-6 lead with an RBI single, Ezequiel Pagan capped off another three-run inning for them with a homer as the Cubs took an 8-6 lead into the seventh.

Looking to put the Mariners away, they had other ideas, with Chevalier picking up an RBI single to pull the Mariners within 8-7. Two pitches later saw Edwin Arroyo get into one for his first homer of the season, and that was the difference in the Mariners 9-8 win. Santana and Malcolm Quintero led the way as they combined for four hits and two RBIs. Pagan, Triantos, BJ Murray JR, and Mora all had hits for the Cubs.

DSL CUBS BLUE 4 – DSL ROYALS 3

In the exact opposite of how the ACL game went, it was the Cubs who managed to score late, pushing across all four of their runs in the seventh and final inning to win 4-3. Cristian Rojas made his 11th start of the season and pitched very well. In 3 2/3 innings, Rojas allowed just two runs with only one earned to go with four strikeouts as he lowered his ERA to 3.16. Jose Romero followed him up, allowing one run in 2 1/3 innings, while Warmer Fabio secured the save in a scoreless inning of work. Romero has an ERA of 2.92, while Fabio sits at 1.29.

Most of the game, things were very quiet offensively for the Cubs, but not the Royals, who jumped in front 1-0 in the third on the Angel Parra single before pushing that lead to 2-0 in the fourth the Luis Echenique single. Add in the Aldrin Lucas Sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth, and the Cubs were trailing 3-0 with just three outs to work with.

That is why they tell you to play until the final out, and the Cubs took that to heart in the seventh inning. With two down in the inning and Daniel Ferreira standing on base, Raul Guzman ripped an RBI double to put the Cubs on the board as that was the start of a major two-out rally. Cristian Hernandez followed that up with an RBI single to pull the Cubs within 3-2, only to see Wally Soto pick up a single a few pitches later to put runners on the corners.

Looking for the big hit, the Cubs were hoping Frank Hernandez would come through as he has done so frequently this season. Although he didn't get a hit, he did reach base as the Royals committed a two-run error that saw the Cubs not only take the 4-3 lead, but win by that score. Cristian Hernandez led the offense with two hits to go with his RBI as the Cubs grabbed eight hits in the win. Hernandez has been hitting north of .360 since the middle of August and has seen his average increase to .301 after a slow start to the year.

DSL TIGERS 3 – DSL CUBS RED 1

Even though the DSL records are not where they would like them to be, getting a chance to watch these kids play baseball until October is going to be a great thing. For DSL Red, they have struggled to find offense over the last few weeks, but their pitching is finally starting to show up. Carlos Garcia made his seventh start of the season, and despite taking the loss, he pitched well. Not only did he go four innings striking out five, but of the three runs he allowed, only one was earned as his ERA fell to 2.18.

While the pitching was the story on both sides, the offense was few and far between, especially for the Cubs, who managed to score first in the bottom of the first. Cristian More laced a single to center with one out before using his speed to steal second for his 13th steal of the year. That paid off in the end as Moises Ballesteros struck out swinging, but an error on the catcher allowed for More to score, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

That lead didn't last long, with the Tigers responding in the top of the third. Abel Bastidas tied things up after a fielding error put a runner on base, ripping an RBI triple past More in center. Two batters later saw Jesus Bolivar give the Tigers the lead for good as his line-drive single to left put the Tigers up 2-1. A Sebastian Bautista homer in the top of the fourth extended the lead to 3-1, but little did anyone know that would be it for runs.

After the Cubs wasted a leadoff Raino Coran double in the bottom of the fourth, they put one more runner in scoring position the rest of the game, which came in the sixth inning. Unfortunately, they couldn't get the hit they needed and dropped another tight contest. Along with More and Coran, Anderson Suriel, Gouri Lubo, and Andrews Cruz picked up hits as the Cubs tallied a total of five hits. Coran added a pair of walks to go with his hit reaching base three times in the loss.

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