Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Bats run silent for Ems and defense drops the ball in pivotal game two loss

A-

Vancouver 2, Eugene 1

Game Recap

Zach Davis led off the game with a single then used his legs to make his way around the bases to give the Emeralds a 1-0 lead. He stole second, then third, before finally coming home on a wild pitch. The Eugene pitching staff would need to make that narrowest of margins stick as the Emeralds offense would collect just two hits in the final eight innings. Thankfully, Cory Abbott and the relief core seemed up for the task.

Abbott shut out the Canadians for three innings before handing the ball off to Rollie Lacy. Lacy pitched well, but when your shortstop gives the first hitter you face a free bag, then when you get the next player to line out and you see the third baseman throw the ball away while trying to pick the runner off first allowing him to advance all the way to third, it can be too tall a task for a pitcher to be asked to hold a one run lead in those circumstances. The runner from third scored on a ground out, then with two outs in an inning that should have been over, Brock Lundquist drove a Lacy pitch over the right center field wall to give Vancouver a 2-1 advantage. Both runs were unearned and Lacy would pitch into the sixth. Ricky Tyler Thomas would finish the game with two and a third hitless innings, but the damage was done.

Jhonny Bethencourt

Jhonny Bethencourt

The two teams combined for only seven hits as pitching dominated. Defense proved to be the difference, and unfortunately for the Emeralds the errors by Jhonny Bethencourt and Austin Filiere have been an all too frequent event down the stretch, and it came back bite the team in this one.

Top Performers

  • Zach Davis: 2-4, 2B, R, 2 SB
  • Michael Cruz: 2-2, 2B, 2 BB
  • Cory Abbott: 3 IP, H, 2 BB, 3 K
  • Rollie Lacy: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, BB, 2 K (L)
  • Ricky Tyler Thomas: 2.1 IP, BB, 3 K

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Jhonny Bethencourt has struggled defensively as he has bounced around the diamond this season, especially on the left side of the infield. In 23 regular season games at SS and 3B he committed 12 errors. Austin Filiere has been no more reliable at the hot corner as he committed 14 errors in 36 games. Both sport fielding percentages below .850 at those positions. The pair have been two of the better offensive players for Eugene this season, but they will need to clean up their defensive games as they move forward in the system.

Corey Abbott / Photo by Darin Spangler

Corey Abbott / Photo by Darin Spangler

It was an impressive performance from the pitching staff in this game. In his final appearance of the year, Cory Abbott continued to show the skills that made him a late riser in the draft. he commands his pitches well and the development of a slider this season has given him a legit out pitch. Including his postseason start he finishes with 21 K and just 5 BB in 17 IP.

I know less about Rollie Lacy, the Cubs 11th round pick out of Creighton as he spent most of his time pitching in the AZL before being a late edition to Eugene. He has good size (6'4" 195) and was Creighton's Friday night starter before coming to the Cubs. He has performed well as a pro however, posting a 2.25 ERA in 32 innings between the two affiliates.

Ricky Tyler Thomas has been a mainstay in long relief for the Emeralds since being selected in the 7th round out of Fresno State. The lefty features a terrific changeup, a definite plus pitch, but his fastball velo has wavered between the high 80s and low 90s and also ran into control issues late as his collegiate career progressed. Walks have continued to plague in Eugene, but at least at this level where he can outclass hitters with his changeup he has managed to overcome it. He has struck out well above a batter per inning and his ERA has dropped below 2 in 13 games. He will need to improve his fastball command as he moves up and faces more advanced hitters that will be less willing to chase his changeup out of the zone.

Comments

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  • I had no idea the fielding was that atrocious in Eugene. My first year in Short Season ball, our IF was worse than my high school team. In 70 games, our 3B had 24 errors, the SS had 47 errors, and the 2B had 17 errors. I looked it up on BB Ref so I didn't get those numbers wrong. Try pitching behind that defense? LOL.

    The following year our SS had 74 errors in 126 games. The 3B, SS, and 2B all had below .830 fielding percentages. It was not fun throwing all those extra pitches with runners on because guys couldn't make routine plays.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Where/when did you play? Were the field conditions atrocious?

    I try to keep the recaps positive and rarely report on errors unless they affect the outcome, especially at the lower levels. So, other than a couple of mentions, more so with Bethencourt than Filiere, I haven't brought it up much.

    I don't have numbers to back me up on it, but my memory tells me that Bethencourt has had issues fielding ball and Filiere has had issues throwing. Bethencourt has had a couple of games where he committed multiple errors, even one game with 4 I think. I do think Bethencourt looks more comfortable at 2B, but he has been forced to play SS/3B down the stretch once Young joined the club and Ademan left.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Myrtle Beach had very inconsistent defense this year as well.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Played in the Northwest League in 1988. South Atlantic League in 1989. Florida St League in 1990 before blowing out my shoulder.

    Fields were fine -- I was in Spokane in '88 and we won the NWL title. Spokane was the former AAA stadium for the Dodgers when Cey, Russell, Lopes, Garvey, Yeager et al went through their system in '70/'71. The field was perfect. These guys were just not very good fielders at the time.

    Ironically, we won the NWL title on a clean steal of home. I am not sure that has ever been done. It was a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the 9th and our guy on 3rd took off when the LHP was in the wind up and stole home cleanly. Craziest ending to a baseball game and championship I have ever seen.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I do seem to recall high error totals in the minors being more prevalent in those days, especially from SS.

    That had to be a fun way to win any game, let along a championship.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    The irony is as bad as our SS was then, he ended up playing in the majors for 11 years in a utility role. LOL.

    Rich Waltz, the Marlins play by play broadcaster, was our radio guy and had a ridiculous call on the radio. He sent us all cassette tapes of the call after the season (yes, we only had cassette tapes back then). Have no idea where the tape ended up over the years, but I can still hear his call in my head.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Hey, I'm old enough that the first album I ever bought was on cassette!

  • Nice pitching. I'm Liking this draft class of pitchers. If they can get Little straightened out & combined w/Albertos & possibly Assad & others from the ifas at Eugene, they will have themselves a nice wave of guys to contribute/use for trade in a couple seasons, right behind the Alzolay, DeLa Cruz, Hatch, maybe Underwood, & ?s wave...

    Abbott seems to be the sleeper. Love his K/BB & K per inning ratios. Will be interesting to see how next years minors rotations look...

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    The thing I really like about the draft class is that many of them have a go-to pitch that, at least so far, is showing to be consistently plus.
    Lange, Little, Thompson's curves are all as advertised.
    Abbott and Hecht's slider
    Uelman's sinker
    Thomas's change

    They need work on other aspects, but they all have something they can fall back on as all of those pitches look good enough to get high level hitters out right now when they command them.

    My first impression is that Abbott could move quick and surprise people. Project him to start next year in Myrtle and could finish in Tennessee.

  • I generally try to stay out of off-field reporting as I feel that so many instances have circumstances that muddy the water making accurate and unbiased reporting from a distance (or even up close) nearly impossible, so i will stick to the bare minimum of facts since it did come out yesterday that Emeralds Manager Jesus Feliciano was arrested on Friday and charged with DUII.

    His lawyers issued the following statement:
    “Mr. Feliciano is considering all legal options available to clear his name after being wrongfully arrested. He blew a 0.0 on the intoxilyzer and looks forward to more forensic evidence that will exonerate him. He intends to prove his innocence in court if charges are filed, and he has retained me to do exactly that.”

    http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/35950448-75/manager-of-eugene-ems-arrested-on-duii-charge-friday-night.html.csp

  • I thought I read they were tied in the series at one apiece? Title says pivotal game 2 loss?

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Typo. Should say game three.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Where were you this morning? I could have fixed then.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I was at work and it sucked! LOL Got my beer goggles on now, only way I saw it.

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