Down on the Cubs Farm: Nico Hoerner injury update, Leal’s strange first, more


by - Staff Writer -
Hoerner is an elite prospect for the Cubs (Matt Kartozian - USA Today Sports)
Hoerner is an elite prospect for the Cubs (Matt Kartozian - USA Today Sports)

IOWA CUBS: Off (Travel Day)

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 1 – Chattanooga Lookouts 6: Coming off two straight wins were the Smokies were carried by dominating pitching, it as Cory Abbott’s turn to take the hill hoping for three in a row. Abbott turned in another strong effort going 5 2/3 innings and allowing 3ER. However, a lack of offense and bullpen implosion late prevented him from getting the win (4-3) as the Smokies fell 6-1.

It took three innings for someone to break through on the scoreboard, but it was the Smokies taking the early lead. Charcer Burks led the inning off with a single as he would advance to second on the Abbott sacrifice bunt. Now with two outs, Vimael Machin broke the scoreless tie as his single made it a 1-0 Smokies lead. That would not only be a short-lived lead but the lone run the Smokies would score in the game.

Just one inning later is when the Lookouts took the lead for good as they were finally able to solve the mystery of Abbott. Starting in the fourth inning, Brantley Bell tied the game up 1-1 with a double as this was just the start for the Lookouts. One inning later, TJ Friedl got in on the fun with his fourth homer of the season to put the Lookouts in front 3-1.

With minimal offense from the Smokies over the next four innings, the Lookouts seized control of the game with a huge eighth inning. It was a string of four hits in six batters that got the job done as RBI singles from Taylor Trammell and Alfredo Rodriguez mixed with the Michael Beltre double made it a 6-1 game with the Lookouts scoring six unanswered runs. Tennessee managed to put just one baserunner on base the final two frames as they fell 6-1.

The Smokies are now 30-34 on the season but should be receiving some relatively good news soon. Nico Hoerner is expected to work out his fractured wrist in the next week or so and if all goes well should be ready to go immediately after the all-star break. Tennessee was very quiet offensively picking up just four hits with Burks leading the way with two. Jared Young and Machin added the other two while Tommy Nance and Jordan Minch tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 1 – Fayetteville Woodpeckers 5: Making just his second start of the season, Erick Leal got the ball as he looked to deliver the victory. Leal, may not have the best-looking stat line going six innings and allowing 5ER in the loss, but all five of those runs came in one inning as he was solid the rest of the way. It wouldn’t have mattered much considering the Pelicans mustered just one run offensively to fall 5-1.

Usually, when a team scores all their runs in one inning, it tends not to be enough. However, in rare instances, if you have one big inning that can make all the difference in the world which is what happened to the Woodpeckers who plated all five of their runs in the first inning. Fayetteville kept the pressure on immediately as a hit by pitch single and walk to Scott Schreiber loaded the bases with no one out.

Jake Adams brought home the games first run with a sacrifice fly to left as the Woodpeckers had a 1-0 with plenty of traffic still on the bases. Command continued to be an issue for Leal as he walked Chandler Taylor to load the bases again, before recording a huge strikeout to give him a shot to work out of the jam. It wasn’t meant to be as Emmanuel Valdez greeted him with a long Grand Slam putting the Woodpeckers up 5-0 after one.

That was about the only offensive excitement for the day as neither team was able to put more than one runner on base over the next four innings. The first real scoring chance for the Pelicans came in the sixth inning when Jimmy Herron singled, and Zach Davis walked to put two runners on base, but they were unable to cash in with a clutch hit.

Following another inning where the Pelicans had a great scoring chance, Myrtle Beach was finally able to bust through in the eighth inning. D.J. Wilson got the inning started with a walk as he would advance to second two batters later on a Carlos Sepulveda walk. With two outs and in danger of not scoring again, Kevonte Mitchell hit a chopper to third as a misplay by Adams resulted in an error to make it a 5-1 game.

It was in the ninth when things began to get interesting as the Pelicans showed tremendous fight and patience at the plate. With one out in the inning, the Pelicans managed to load the bases as Grant Fennell, Herron and Wilson all took walks. With a chance to come close with on big swing, the Pelicans would strand the bases loaded as Davis and Sepulveda ended the game with a pair of strikeouts to seal their fate in the 5-1 loss dropping them to 20-42 on the season.

With just three hits, one each from Davis, Mitchell, and Herron the offense was limited most of the night, but the eight walks helped the Pelicans stage plenty of rallies despite bringing just one home. Alexander Vargas and Ben Hecht did their jobs in relief keeping the Woodpeckers off the board with two shutout frames.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 7 – Lansing Lugnuts 11: Unlike with Myrtle Beach and Tennessee, the offense was not the problem for South Bend as they struck for seven runs surpassing their total from the four-game sweep at the hands of Great Lakes. However, for Buddy Bailey and his team, pitching remains an issue as of late as the Lugnuts used a five-run seventh inning to propel them to the 11-7 win.

Faustino Carrera (ND) got the start in this one and continued actually to pitch quite well. Outside of a few hiccups, he lasted six innings allowing four runs with just 3ER as he gave his team a chance to win. Carrera currently holds a 2.78 ERA as he is quickly turning into one of the staff’s best starters.

After the Lugnuts took a 1-0 lead in the first off of a Ryan Gold double, the Cubs offense went to work as they got run support immediately. With Delvin Zinn leading the inning off with a double and Brennan Davis getting hit by a pitch, the Cubs first two batters reached base with no outs. Tyler Durna followed that up with a single and just like that it was 1-1.

Levi Jordan gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead in the second with an RBI single before the Lugnuts evened the score in the third off of a Griffin Conine single. It was in the bottom of the third when the Cubs offense fully got locked in as they surpassed their run total from the series prior.

Once again it was the top of the order getting things started with Davis leading things off with a walk followed by the Durna single. With one out, Andy Weber showed great patience of his own to work a walk loading the bases for a possible big inning. Looking to get back on track is Cole Roederer as he laced an RBI double to make it a 4-2 game. Christopher Morel followed that up with a sacrifice fly giving the Cubs a 5-2 lead through three innings of play.

It was in the fifth inning when Lansing began to smell blood in the water as the two-run shot off the bat Conine made it a 5-4 game before Carrera departed an inning later. That was the best thing that could have happened to the Lugnuts as they plated seven runs over the next two innings to take a commanding 11-5 lead.

Five of those runs came in the seventh inning when Nick Podkul tied the game up with a single before Conine gave Lansing the lead for good with his second homer in as many at-bats. A few batters later, Hagen Danner went deep for his ninth of the season as the Lugnuts scored seven unanswered runs to take the lead 9-5. Add in a pair of RBIs from Reggie Pruitt and Podkul in the eighth and South Bend was left trailing 11-5 heading to the ninth for their final at-bats.

Make no mistake about it, the Cubs needed a miracle to come back in this one, but they didn’t go down without making a little noise. Zinn continued to sizzle at the plate leading off another inning by getting on base, this time with a single. Davis answered that by taking another walk, as Durna loaded the bases getting hit by a pitch.

With no outs and the bases loaded, South Bend had a golden chance to make something big happen, but Jonathan Sierra killed that rally by grounding into a double play despite a run scoring on the same play. Weber kept the rally alive with a single to make it 11-7, but a game-ending strikeout from Roederer ended any further threat as the Cubs fall 11-7 and dropped to 33-30 on the season.

The Cubs received plenty of offensive contributions, as five players collected two hits in the loss. Despite not recording a hit, Davis managed to reach base three times as he took a pair of walks to go with a hit by pitch. Sean Barry lowered his ERA to 1.46 following 1 1/3 inning of scoreless relief.

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Tags: Cory Abbott, Charcer Burks, Vimael Machin, Jared Young, Jordan Minch, Zach Davis, Carlos Sepulveda, Kevonte Mitchell, Alexander Vargas, Ben Hecht, Faustino Carrera, Delvin Zinn, Tyler Durna, Levi Jordan, Andy Weber, Cole Roederer, Christopher Morel, Jonathan Sierra, Sean Barry
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