Clinton, 11, Kane County 1
The Kane County game gets top billing because I spent Sunday afternoon at Ashford Field in the "front row" enjoying Class A baseball. The big story of the 11-1 drubbing was the injury suffered by Albert Almora in the top of the fourth. The Cubs 2012 # 1 pick was the leadoff hitter and came out of the dugout to warm up for his at-bat . During one of his warm-up swings, which were taken right in front of me, Almora grimaced in pain as he swung and grab his lower back. He took a few seconds to gather himself and tried to swing again but you could see he was in pain. He went up to bat and took a weak cut at a pitch, fouling it off, and then flew out to center. He tried to run down the first base line but started limping and pulled up after he crossed first base. The trainer came out and he left the game. Almora is hitting .329/.376/.466 in 61 games.
At the Plate: Giuseppe Papaccio (.259/.317/.345) was the story at the plate going 3-3 as the Cougars were held to six hits. Papaccio also played third made a couple of nice plays, handling all six chances. Jose Dore (.222/.222/.667) who replaced Almora, knocked in the Cougars only run of the night with a double in the sixth scoring Oliver Zapata (.250/.313/.387), who singled. Rock Shoulders (.264/.363/.483) had the other hit, a single. Clinton pitcher Scott DeCecco, a lefty, had the Cougars popping the ball up all day as he recorded 10 fly ball outs and didn't walk or strikeout a hitter. DeCecco has held KC to three earned runs in 18 innings in three starts.
On the Mound: 2013 fourth-round pick Tyler Skulina made his MWL debut and the Lumberkings greeted him with three runs in the first. Skulina had some command issues in the first walking two and unleashing a wild pitch. After a single and a walk to start the inning, Skulina gave up a bases clearing triple and a groundout made it 3-0. His second inning was a different story, throwing strikes and getting two groundouts and a fly out. Skulina looked a lot more comfortable in his second inning but that was the end of his MWL debut…...RHP Justin Amlung (4-4 4.42) was greeted the same as Skulina in the third giving up three hits to plate a run. He finished with a line of 2IP, 4H, 1ER, 1BB, 1K….Jose Rosario (0-7 7.38) has a live arm and his pitches have plenty of movement. Harnessing that arm continues to be a problem for the 22-year-old right-hander. After two scoreless frames, he was tagged for seven runs in the seventh and ended the day allowing six hits while walking five…...Stephen Perakslis (1-3 3.12) pitched the 8th allowing a one-out double but got the next two hitters on groundouts to the right side.
With 2B Logan Watkins promoted to Wrigley Field and making his MLB debut (1-4) infielder Daniel Lockhart was promoted from Boise to AAA Iowa. The move was made out of convenience as Iowa was playing in Tacoma and Boise was in Everett. I would be surprised to see Lockhart spend the final month at Iowa but the options are limited. Arismendy Alcantara has put up the number to earn a promotion and is the favorite to move up.
AAA—Iowa 8, Tacoma 4
Jake Arrieta fanned 11 hitters while tossing five shutout innings leading Iowa to the win over Tacoma, snapping their nine-game losing streak.
At the Plate: The I-Cubs roughed up one of the top prospects in baseball scoring five runs in three innings off Taijuan Walker. Darnell McDonald (.222/.298/.310) went 3-5 with three runs while Jae-Hoon Ha (.252/.299/.378) was 3-5 with 3 RBI and two runs. Daniel Lockhart, who had only played as high as short-season Boise, singled and doubled in his AAA debut. Mike Olt (.198/.292/.381) broke out of his slump with a double, a triple and 2 RBI. Brad Nelson (.264/.343/.455) drove in a pair and J.C. Boscan (.253/.318/.299) was 2-4.
On the Mound: Jake Arrieta (2-2 3.29 ERA) was dealing on Sunday as the newly acquired Cubs set down 11 on strikes while tossing five shutout innings. He threw 99 pitches, 55 for strikes, allowing two hits and three walks. The 11 strikeouts is a season-high for any Iowa pitcher….Alberto Cabrera (0-0 4.35) had his second straight tough outing allowing two runs on four hits, two leaving the yard….Chang-Yong Lim (0-0 1.80) threw a 1-2-3 eighth with a strikeout….Brian Schlitter (1-3 3.72) surrendered two runs in the ninth on three hits.
AA— Jacksonville 10, Tennessee 4
Jacksonville (26-16, 60-49) scored six times in the first and beat Tennessee (24-18, 58-53) for the third straight day.
At the Plate: Javier Baez (.243/.306/.586) had his first three-hit game at AA with a double and two RBI. Brett Jackson (.261/.346/.425) hit leadoff and was 2-4 with two runs. Justin Bour (.230/.321/.493) and Christian Villanueva (.264/.316/.452) both had a RBI.
On the Mound: A.J. Morris (3-2 5.25 ERA) got rocked for seven runs in 1.1 innings as the right-hander didn't make it out of the second. He allowed six hits and walked two. P.J. Francescon (1-0 5.14) allowed three runs in 2.2 frames on three hits and two walks. Jeffry Antigua (1-0 2.16) blanked the Stars for three innings and Frank Batista (3-3 2.39) tossed a scoreless eighth.
Daytona vs Bradenton
For the second straight day, Daytona and Bradenton were rained out. They will try to get in a twin-bill on Monday.
Short-Season—Boise 10, Everett 5
Boise pounded out 15 hits including a pair of homers by Rony Rodriguez in the win over Everett.
At the Plate: Rony Rodriguez (.244/.326/.427) blasted a pair of homer as part of his three-hit night with three RBI. Kris Bryant (.292/.352/.583) continues to square up the ball with his first three-hit game as a pro with a pair of doubles, two RBI and two runs. He extended his hitting streak to nine games. Jordan Hankins (.240/.306/.310) hit his first professional homer, a two-run blast in the ninth. David Bote (.239/.324/.374) and Carlos Penalver (.216/.281/.281) had two hits each while Cael Brockmeyer (.309/.411/.383) knocked in a pair.
On the Mound: Rob Zastryzny (0-0 3.14 ERA) had his toughest outing as a professional as the Cubs second-round pick gave up four runs on five hits and a walk with five punchouts in 2.1 innings. Carlos Martinez (3-2 3.98) gave up a run in 1.2 frames on three hits. Sam Wilson (3-0 0.00) continues to put up zeros in the NWL as the lefty hasn't given up an earned run in 13 innings. He worked two innings allowing two hits with three punchouts. Zack Godley (2-0 0.60) fanned three in two innings and Tyler Bremer (0-2 2.37) worked a 1-2-3 ninth.
Arizona Rookie League—Cubs 7, A's 3
Cubs (17-19) won their second straight AZL game beating the A's (15-21).
At the Plate: Cubs had 11 hits as Jesse Hodges (.221). Kelvin Freeman (.291) and Charcer Burks (.260) all had two hits. Alberto Mineo (.194) drove in two runs while Kevin Brown (.182), Zak Blair (.229), Mark Malave (.258) and Francisco Sanchez (.210) all drove in a run.
On the Mound: Orbandy Rodriguez (2-0 0.00) got the win working two scoreless frames with three strikeouts. Daury Torrez (2-2 4.50) fanned four in three innings giving up an unearned run on two hits. A pair of 2013 picks worked the final three innings as David Garner (0-1 7.71) blanked the A's for two innings and Trevor Clifton (0-0 0.00 pitched a scoreless ninth in his third pro game.
Dominican Summer League—Cubs
Had the day off.
Venezuelan Summer League—Tigers 9, Cubs 6—11 innings
The Tigers (32-36) scored three times in the top of the 11th to finally put away the Cubs (36-31.
At the Plate: The Cubs tied the game with a run in the ninth, knotted the game with two runs in the 10th but couldn't come away with the win. Robert Vahlis was 2-5 with 2 RBI and Delbis Arcila doubled, scored, and had a RBI. Humberto Garcia scored twice and singled.
On the Mound: Cubs used five pitchers in the 11-inning affair as Cesar Romero (0-1 7.71) took the loss allowing three runs on two hits and two walks in the 11th. Chris Pieters (1-5 7.71) turned in the best outing tossing three no-hit frames with a punchout.
Cubs Notes: Based on the VSL website, the Mariners and Cubs will meet in a three-game playoff. The Cubs hold a one-game lead over the Phillies with one game to play but if the teams tie, the Cubs hold the tie-breaker winning the season series.