Daily Cubs Minors Recap: De La Cruz dominates in six shutout innings; Clark strikes out seven in relief

Oscar De La Cruz (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Oscar De La Cruz (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

AAA

Nashville 1, Iowa 0 (10 Innings)

Game Recap

Scheduled starter Luke Farrell was a late scratch, forcing Iowa into a bullpen day, and the bullpen proved up to the challenge. Alberto Baldanado, Rob Zastryzny, Anthony Bass, Justin Hancock combined four nine shutout innings. They struck out 12 and allowed just 4 hits and 3 walks. For the second time this season, the Iowa offense failed to support a potential shutout by the pitching staff by getting shutout themselves and thus sending the game to extras in a 0-0 tie.

The Cubs would lose the fake baseball/hockey shootout in the 10th. They are now 2-2 in extras.

Top Performers

  • Alberto Baldanado: 1.2 IP, 2 H, BB, 4 K
  • Rob Zastryzny: 3.1 IP, H, BB, 3 K
  • Anthony Bass: 2 IP, 2 K
  • Justin Hancock: 2 IP, H, BB, 3 K
  • Mark Zagunis: 1-3, BB
  • Efren Navarro: 1-3, BB

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Adbert Alzolay is scheduled to make his first start tonight.

Rob Zastryzny is handling his full time move to the bullpen extremely well so far. He has yet to allow a run in 8.2 innings across four appearances while striking out 8 and allowing just 7 base runners.

AA

Tennessee 5, Montgomery 1

Game Recap

Jeffrey Baez

Jeffrey Baez

He struggled with his secondary pitches in his first two outings, but Oscar De La Cruz had everything working on Wednesday. His curve showed much better bite and he mixed in a few effective changeups as well, but he still relied on his fastball for the heavy lifting, spotting in-and-out as well as up-and-down. In the end he tossed six shutout to lower his season ERA from 16.50 to 8.25.

Zack Short doubled home Jeffrey Baez in the 5th for the eventual game-winner. Baez drove in a run of his own and Erick Castillo added a two-run homer late to provide breathing room.

Top Performers

  • Oscar De La Cruz: 6 IP, H, BB, 6 K (W, 1-2, 8.25)
  • Jeffrey Baez: 2-4, 2B, R, RBI, SB (3)
  • Erick Castillo: 1-4, HR (1), R, 2 RBI
  • Trey Martin: 1-3, R, BB, SB (5)
  • Yasiel Balaguert: 2-4, RBI

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

The Smokies (7-6) continued to run wild on the base paths. They stole three more bases to add to their Southern League leading total (20 in 23 attempts). With Tennessee near the bottom in AVG, SLG and OPS they've needed the boost.

Advanced A

Down East 6, Myrtle Beach 5

Game Recap

More defensive miscues and another early hole. The Pelicans (3-12) fell behind 5-0 in the top of the 2nd as Tyson Miller (6 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) struggled with his command before settling in after that point. A good sign is the offense did fight back and make a game of it, which has rarely been the case recently.

Andruw Monasterio

Andruw Monasterio

Daniel Spingola and Vimael Machin hit solo homers to kick off the attempted comeback. A big 8th inning featured a triple, two doubles, a single, walk and a hit by pitch led to three runs but Aramis Ademan struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning with the Pelicans still down a run.

Top Performers

  • Andruw Monasterio: 3-3, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 SB (2, 3)
  • Vimael Machin: 2-4, 2B, HR (1), 2 R, RBI, BB
  • Daniel Spingola: 1-3, HR (2), R, RBI
  • Tyler Alamo: 2-5, 2B, R, RBI
  • Jordan Minch: 2 IP, 2 K

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Despite playing in just 9 games so far, Andruw Monasterio (.367/.424/.467) collected his 4th multi-hit game of the season.

A

Dayton 3, South Bend 2

Game Recap

Bailey Clark (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Bailey Clark (photo by Rikk Carlson)

South Bend (6-5) strung together three hits in the top of the second to take an early 2-0 lead. Yeiler Peguero started it off with a triple, Christian Donahue doubled him home and then Rafael Narea singled to drive him in. Dayton responded with two of their own in the bottom of the inning against Erich Uelmen (4.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K). They added another run an inning later.

Bailey Clark replaced Uelmen in the 5th and pitched masterfully the rest of the way. He looks so much more comfortable and in rhythm this season. His velocity is consistent and he is commanding it and his big breaking ball much better. He struck out seven in his 3.1 shutout innings to keep the Cubs in it, but the Dragon's bullpen was equally effective allowing just one base runner the last three innings.

Top Performers

  • Bailey Clark: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 7 K
  • Christian Donahue: 1-3, 2B, R, RBI
  • Yeiler Peguero: 1-3, 3B, R
  • Roberto Caro: 2-4, sB (1), CS
  • Rafael Narea: 1-3, RBI

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Bailey Clark really does look like a new man. His breaking ball is razor sharp and his command vastly improved. He looks comfortable getting ahead with his fastball as well as pitching backwards. He threw 72% of his pitches for strikes on Wednesday.

Roberto Caro replaced an injured Chris Carrier on the roster and collected two hits in his first start.

Comments

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  • fb_avatar

    I'm encouraged by De la Cruz and Bailey Clark. If Clark has turned the corner there isn't much keeping him in the low minors, is there? Do you know what the velocity was? Also, Trey Martin and Jeffrey Baez seem to be having good years too.
    Unfortunately we don't have any Plus talent in the minors, but again, our ML roster is so young that many of those players would normally be in AA or AAA.
    Thanks for the recap Michael. It's great reading first thing in the morning.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I don't know what Clark was sitting in this particular outing but AZ Phil reported he was mostly mid-90s during spring and that is what it looked like he was throwing last night. He has been upper-90s at times as well I know. If he continues to pitch like this he will see Myrtle Beach before long. But consistency has always been an issue for him so we'll wait and see. He does look stronger and just more sure of himself out there imo so I hope he has turned the corner.

    Martin and Baez are both performing well in their repeat of AA. Both are good athletes and fun to watch in the outfield. Martin covers a ton of ground and for some reason teams continue to run on Baez despite 85 career outfield assists. His arm is both strong and accurate.

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    If the major league club needed a pitcher right now, who do you think would be candidates? I assume if a starter went down, Butler or Monty would take the start, and we'd need a bullpen replacement.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    If they needed a lefty I think they would turn to Zastryzny. He is pitching very well right now, getting out both righties and lefties, and showing improved command. Rosario has been pitching well too, but has also walked a few too many. Both provide excellent LHRP depth. The team still has MLB veteran Kyle Ryan chilling in EXST as well but I think they would go with Z or Rosario since they are already on the 40-man.

    If a righty is needed... Maples is still Maples. Looks the same as last year. Dominant one outing, out of control the next. Level of competition really shouldn't affect him. When he is on he can get anybody out but he is not ready for high leverage work until he refines his consistency. I think they would turn to Shae Simmons before Maples right now.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    I guess this question was more than hypothetical....Farrell it is!

  • In reply to Zonk:

    As Norway said, Butler to the DL with a tired arm after already throwing 14+ innings... excuse me, a groin strain. Ferrell hasn't been lighting it up (no 4/20 pun intended), but I guess that's the case with every organization: if they had arms that were tearing it up in AAA, they wouldn't be sitting in AAA.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    It was Farrell's turn in the rotation. They undoubtedly wanted a long a guy that is stretched out to replace Butler as they head into Colorado.

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    That de la Cruz start may be the best Cubs related news this season. Well, the best Cubs related news that doesn’t involve Javy.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    And Alzolay makes his debut tonight. Good news on the upper level pitching front two days in a row.

  • I think we now know why Farrell was scratched. Butler put on DL with groin strain, Farrell recalled.

  • Thanks for the recap, Michael. It's especially nice how much depth you add in the comments.

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