Down on Cubs Farm: Zobrist set to return, Lugo still unbeaten at AA, Slaughter impressive


by - Staff Writer -
Benny Sieu - USA Today Sports
Benny Sieu - USA Today Sports

It was another busy yet successful day on the farm as the Cubs managed to go 5-4 throughout league play.

IOWA CUBS 1 – Reno Aces 3: The rough stretch continued for the Cubs on Thursday, as Reno rallied for a pair of late runs to send the cubs to 58-52 with a 3-1 win. The good news about this loss was that Colin Rea proved his last start was a fluke and got back to what he looked like all season. Rea tossed six great innings of 1ER ball to take a ND.

Offensively, both teams were challenged as it took four innings for someone to break through with Reno grabbing the 1-0 lead on an Alberto Rosario single. The Cubs provided the excitement in the top of the fifth when Trent Giambrone showed off his wheels for an inside the park homer to give him 21 on the season. He is not tied with Robel Garcia for most homers in the minor league system.

The 1-1 game held up until late as the Aces looked to rally off Duane Underwood Jr in the eighth. With a pair of runners on, Rosario came through once again with a go-ahead single. An error on the same play allowed an extra run to cross to give the Aces a 3-1 lead. With one more shot to extend the game, Iowa had something going in the ninth as both Donnie Dewees and Dixon Machado started the inning off with walks. Unfortunately, nothing would come of it with the Cubs bowing out 3-1.

Just like the big-league team, Iowa was held to one hit with that hit being the Giambrone homer. Addison Russell, Jim Adduci, and Mark Zagunis were all held hitless with the rest of the team as they managed to pick up four walks in the loss.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 4 – Mississippi Braves 1: The Smokies kicked off a new series in a positive way as they knocked the Braves 4-1 to move to 47-63. Luis Lugo continues to shine since his promotion allowing just 1ER in five innings to pick up the win as he is now 5-0 with a 3.09 ERA with Tennessee.

The only offense the Smokies would need came in the second inning when they managed to jump in front with a pair of runs. A Charcer Burks single got Tennessee on the board before a bunt single from Zach Davis made things a 2-0 game. Add in the Roberto Caro third-inning sacrifice fly and just like that we had a 3-0 Smokies lead.

The lone run Lugo allowed came in the bottom of the fourth inning when Trey Harris tagged him for his third double of the season and 3-1 Smokies lead. Things would not get any closer as the bullpen combo of Michael Rucker, Wyatt Short and Jordan Minch allowed just one hit the final four innings with Tyler Payne picking up his first homer with AA in the eighth to deliver the 4-1 win.

In his first game since a promotion, Payne certainly didn’t disappoint as he led the way with two hits including his first homer. Hits from Caro, Nico Hoerner, Vimael Machin, Burks, and Christian Donahue helped the offense deliver just the right amount of runs in the win. Short picked up his eighth save to bring his ERA to 1.74.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 1 – Frederick Keys 2: Looking to avoid the sweep, the Pels turned to Javier Assad as he was looking for his first win in a while. Despite a great start of six innings allowing just 2ER on 3H, it wasn’t enough as the Pelicans offense mustered only one run to fall 2-1 and 41-67 for the year. The loss was also Assad’s fourth straight decision loss as he is now 3-8.

Pitching dominated the entire game as both teams combined for just six hits. It took four innings for some to break through as Patrick Dorrian put the Keys up 1-0 with an RBI groundout as Frederick never trailed. One inning later saw Will Robertson go deep for the second time this season to push the lead to 2-0 as that proved to be the winning run in this game.

The bottom of the fifth is when Myrtle Beach appeared to have something going offensively. With a runner on base, Wladimir Galindo cranked his sixth double of the season to cut the deficit in half 2-1. Galindo tried to be a little too aggressive on the bases and was thrown out trying to reach third on the same play.

The best chance for Myrtle Beach came in the eighth inning as they still trailed 2-1. Eric Gonzalez, Delvin Zinn, and Cam Balego all earned walks in that frame as the Pelicans had the bases loaded with two down. Needing a hit to take the lead Miguel Amaya made solid contact but hit it right at the right fielder to end the threat with the Keys finishing them off in the ninth for the 2-1 win.

Galindo, Aramis Ademan, and Kevonte Mitchell provided the hits for the Pelicans as they couldn’t do much offensively at all. Expecting to see his playing time increase with the Payne promotion, Amaya managed to go hitless with a pair of strikeouts. Jesus Camargo and Ryan Lawlor dazzled out of the pen, tossing three scoreless frames with just 1BB and 6K. Lawlor now has a 2.21 ERA with Camargo coming in at 2.82.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 4- West Michigan Whitecaps 3: The hottest team in the Cubs system and maybe in the Midwest league must be the South Bend Cubs as they are rolling as of late. Looking for another home win, they turned to Faustino Carrera as he looked for win no. six. In six solid innings, Carrera allowed just 2R with one being earned to go with 0BB and 6K as the offense backed him with four runs of support in a 4-3 win. The Cubs are now 59-48.

West Michigan opened the scoring in the third inning when Daniel Reyes went deep for the first time in 2019 to put the Whitecaps up 1-0. South Bend responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third as both Andy Weber and Fidel Mejia connected for RBI singles to put the Cubs up 2-1.

The Whitecaps were able to draw even in the fifth when Wenceel Perez picked up an RBI single of his own making it 2-2. With Carrera then departing after his sixth inning of work, the Cubs offense knew they needed to score something to reward him with a win for his fine outing. Look no further than Cole Roederer who continues to flash his skillset with his seventh homer of the season and fifth in the last month as the Cubs would go up 4-2.

That would be all they would need for the offense as West Michigan managed to score on a wild pitch in the seventh to come within 4-3 but could get any closer as Brian Glowicki picked up his fourth save in the win. With the win, the Cubs are 22-17 in the second half and are just one game out of first place.

South Bend recorded ten hits in the win with Roederer responsible for three of them and the only multi-hit game. Everyone in the lineup had one hit besides leadoff man Clayton Daniel who did manage to take three walks in the win. Before the game, South Bend was also informed that Ben Zobrist would be starting his rehab assignment with the Cubs this upcoming weekend.

EUGENE EMERALDS 9 – Spokane Indians 2: Looking for a big win in front of the home crowd, the Emeralds delivered as they used a big first inning as momentum to improve to 21-27 with a 9-2 win. 2019 fourth-round pick Chris Clarke started his fourth game of the season as he tossed three scoreless frames with five strikeouts to drop his ERA to 1.80. Zach Mort picked up the win with five shutout innings of relief and six punchouts.

The Eugene offense got rolling right away in the first as Jake Slaughter put them in front for good with an RBI double and 1-0 lead. Later that inning Grayson Byrd came through with a double of his own as that proved to be the winning hit with Eugene up 3-0. Slaughter was just getting started on his big evening, as he added a sacrifice fly in the third before a two-run single in the fifth to put the Ems up 6-0.

With the game seemingly in hand, Zac Taylor added to the lead in the seventh with an RBI triple before Byrd brought him home with another single to push the lead to 8-0. Add in the Pedro Martinez single in the eighth and Eugene was up 9-0 and three outs away from a shutout. Spokane did not allow that to happen however as both David Garcia and Luis Asuncion tallied RBI singles in the ninth to end the shutout, but the Emeralds still cruised 9-2.

All Martinez has done since arriving at Eugene is hit, and that continued with a team-high three hits on Thursday. Joining him with multi-hit efforts were Byrd, Hill, and Slaughter who paced the offense with four RBI’s while Byrd added three. Edmond Americaan was back in the leadoff role, going 1-4 on the night.

DSL CUBS (2) 2 – DSL Cardinals Red 4: Despite a 4-2 loss to the 19-33 Cardinals, the DSL 2 Cubs are in great shape as they still sit at 32-20 for the year. This one was over almost as quickly as it began as the Cardinals pushed across three runs in the first two innings to put the Cubs in a 3-0 hole early. That lead grew to 4-0 in the fifth before the Cubs finally broke through.

In the sixth is when DSL 2 Cubs began to chip away as Christhian Espinal cranked a liner to the left for a single to make it a 4-1 game. One inning later saw Lizardo Ruiz add a single of his own and just like that we had a 4-2 game. Unfortunately, that is as close as the Cubs would get failing to come through late and falling 4-2.

Ruiz led the way with a pair of hits to go with his RBI as he is now above 205 on the season at 207. Although held hitless at 0-2, Felix Stevens managed to take a pair of walks as he continues to reach base. Emmanuel De La Cruz and Willians Vazquez combined to toss three innings of one-hit ball in relief.

DSL CUBS (1) 3 – DSL Pirates 2: With the score tied heading to the ninth, the Cubs were able to push across the winning run to knock off the Pirates 3-2 and improve to 24-28 on the season. Andy Hernandez was solid in his ND start, tossing five shutout innings and allowing just three hits.

The Cubs wasted no time getting the offense going as they took the lead in the first inning. With a man on third, Yohendrick Pinango gave himself up with an RBI groundout to put the Cubs up 1-0. Juan Vasquez added a single later in the inning to push the lead to 2-0, but Brayan Mancilla was thrown out at home trying to score.

That 2-0 score would hold up until the eighth inning when the Cubs bullpen let Hernandez’s great start go to waste. A safety squeeze from Eliazer Montero got the Pirates on the board as they were still threatening. Jhan Polanco followed that up with a single and just like that we had ourselves a 2-2 game. It was the Cubs who would get the last laugh however as a ninth-inning error allowed Nestor Heredia to reach base with the winning run crossing home on the same play and 3-2 victory.

Vasquez was the leader on offense, collecting two hits and the lone multi-hit game. Another hit for Pinango moves his average to 344 as he continues to lead the team in that category. Even though Anderson Parra gave up the tying single, none of those runs were charged to him as he earned the victory with two great outings of relief.

AZL CUBS (1) 3 – AZL Athletics (Gold) 4: The AZL Cubs fell to 18-17 on Thursday as one big inning did them in for a 4-3 loss. Richard Gallardo did his part in a three-inning start, as he did not allow a single baserunner to go with two punchouts before turning things over to the pen.

The third inning is also where the Cubs did most of their damage as they were the first team to breakthrough. Already with a pair of runners on base, Brailin Pena picked up a single to put the Cubs in front 1-0. Yovanny Cuevas extended that lead to 2-0 shortly after but was not credited with an RBI as he grounded into a double play killing what could have been a bigger inning.

The Athletics were held in check through four innings before erupting in the fifth for a big inning. A Cesare Astorri single put the Athletics on the board before Ramon Martinez gave them the lead for good with a double. Add in a passed ball and the Athletics pushed across four in that inning to take a 4-2 lead. The Cubs responded with a Flemin Bautista sixth-inning single to make it 4-3 but couldn’t get any closer falling by that score.

AZL CUBS (2) 6 – AZL Angels 4: The AZL 2 Cubs took down the league-worst Angels 6-4 on Thursday to move to 19-17 for the year. In what was a rocky beginning to the game that saw the Cubs down 3-1 early turned into gold as the Cubs rallied for five runs late to hold on.

The Angels wasted no time getting on the scoreboard first as both Erik Rivera and Jose Reyes picked up first-inning RBI groundouts for a quick 2-0 lead. Reyes would add an RBI double in the third to make it 3-0 before Ricardo Verenzuela responded with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third to make it 3-1.

Still, down a pair in the seventh, Verenzuela ignited the Cubs offense once again as his triple made things a 3-2 game. A few pitches later saw Josue Huma tie the game with an RBI groundout as the Cubs were back in business. Not to be outdone, the Angels responded in the eighth with the Trent Devueaux double and just like that they had the lead once again 4-3.

Looking to send the fans home with a win, the Cubs used a big eighth inning to storm in front which proved to be enough in the win. 17-year-old Reivaj Garcia connected for his second double of the season and once again we were tied 4-4. Verenzuela was then in the center of the action yet again legging out a fielder’s choice to give the Cubs the lead for good 5-4. Huma added an insurance run with a squeeze play to make it 6-4 which ended up the final in the win.

Despite just one hit, Verenzuela made things count offensively as he led the team with 3 RBI’s. Huma collected two hits to go with two RBI’s while Garcia added two hits of his own and an RBI. Jose Gomez and Francisco Fermin tossed four scoreless frames of relief as debuted with Arizona on Thursday.

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