Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Clifton and Little with shutout performances; Narea drives in four; Cubs1 gets extra inning walk-off win in AZL playoff action

Trevor Clifton

Trevor Clifton

AAA

Iowa 1, Oklahoma City 0 (Game 1)

Iowa 3, Oklahoma City 2 (Game 2)

Game Recap

Game one was all about the pitching duel between Trevor Clifton and Justin DeFratus. Neither hurler gave up a run before handing the game over to the bullpens. Thankfully, Clifton last one inning longer, and the Cubs bullpen was just a bit better. Jacob Hannemann doubled home the only run of the game in the 5th.

Duncan Robinson (by Stephanie Lynn)

Duncan Robinson (by Stephanie Lynn)

More great pitching highlighted game two. Duncan Robinson turned in his second consecutive solid outing since joining Iowa last week. The score was tied 2-2 heading into the final inning. It would take a two-out rally by the Cubs to end it. After Mike Freeman singled, Ryan Court drew a walk to force Freeman into scoring position. Jason Vosler delivered the walk-off single.

Top Performers

  • Trevor Clifton: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 5 K (W, 4-3, 3.89)
  • Brian Duensing: 1.2 IP, K (8.10)
  • Dillon Maples: 0.1 IP, K (S, 10, 2.79)
  • Duncan Robinson: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (0.82)
  • Allen Webster: IP, 2 K (3.86)
  • Dakota Mekkes: IP, BB, 3 K (1.48)
  • Chris Coghlan: 1-2, 2B, R, BB, HBP (.228)
  • Taylor Davis: 2-3 (.276)
  • Trey Martin: 2-3, R (.213)
  • Jacob Hannemann: 1-3, 2B, RBI (.235)
  • Kris Bryant: 1-3 (.250)
  • Mike Freeman: 2-6, R, SAC (.283)
  • Jason Vosler: 2-7, RBI (.259)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

The two rehabbers, Kris Bryant and Brian Duensing, both turned in solid games, as they prepare for September (or sooner) returns.

Trevor Clifton (7-7, 3.43 overall in 26 G/24 GS between AA/AAA) completed a great comeback season. It was easy to question his future potential after his 2017 season fell apart in the 2nd half, but all due credit to the young hurler, he came back in 2018 in better shape and also transformed himself into more of a pitcher rather than a thrower. His command, movement and sequencing of his pitches all improved, and the results followed (126.0 IP, 106 H, 48 ER, 52 BB, 101 K, .232 AVG, 1.25 WHIP).

Advanced A

Buies Creek 12, Myrtle Beach 3

Game Recap

Erick Leal (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Erick Leal (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

For six, or even seven innings, the Pelicans seemed to have this game well in hand. They plated three runs in the bottom of the 1st, and though the offense went into hibernation after that, the pitching staff has been forced to work with fewer runs than that most of the year, so you felt pretty good about them being able to make it work. Erick Leal, James Buckelew and Ryan Kellogg nursed the lead through seven, but Buies Creek finally overtook them in the 8th. Still, it was 4-3 entering the 9th, but that is when the wheels fell off. Seven hits off Jose Paulino and three throwing errors behind him, led to 8 runs (seven of them unearned).

Top Performers

  • Jhonny Pereda: 2-3, R, RBI, BB (.275)
  • Jared Young: 2-4, 2B, R (.289)
  • Aramis Ademan: 2-4 (.213)
  • Erick Leal: 4.1 IP, 3 H, R, 3 BB, 4 K (1.41)
  • James Buckelew: 1.2 IP, 2 K (0.00)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

By recording the final out of the game, Roberto Caro has now pitched in three games without allowing a run (1.2 IP, BB). Since I will be attending the final two Myrtle Beach games of the year when they play in Frederick this weekend, he better stay in top form. There is a tendency for position players to have to take the mound when I am in attendance.

A

South Bend 8, Bowling Green 1

Game Recap

Rafael Narea (photo by Rebecca Snyder)

Rafael Narea (photo by Rebecca Snyder)

With the bases loaded in the 1st, Rafael Narea cleared the bases with double. He'd add another RBI on another double later in the game. Austin Upshaw also finished with a pair of doubles.

In his final outing of the year, Brendon Little turned in one of his best performances, with five shutout innings. Brendan King and Jake Steffens kept up the good work with four solid innings to finish it off.

Top Performers

  • Brendon Little: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K (W, 5-11, 5.15)
  • Brendan King: 3 IP, H, R, 0 BB, 5 K (3.47)
  • Rafael Narea: 2-4, 2 2B, R, 4 RBI (.239)
  • Austin Upshaw: 2-4, 2 2B, R, RBI
  • Jose Gutierrez: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, BB, CS (7) (.231)
  • Chris Singleton: 2-4, 2B, R (.218)
  • Delvin Zinn: 2-4, R, BB (.299)
  • Austin Filiere: 2-4, 2B, R (.256)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Delvin Zinn (.299/.347/.338) continued his terrific August (.341/.429/.415) and extended his hitting streak to 10 games (during which he has hit .471).

Rafael Narea (.239/.297/.315) has scored 5 runs and driven in 10 over his last 6 games (.294) thanks to 5 extra base hits (3 doubles, 2 home runs).

Drew Smyly (2017 TJS) is scheduled to make his first rehab appearance of the year for South Bend on Thursday.

Brendon Little (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Brendon Little (photo by Rikk Carlson)

It is good to see Brendon Little finish the year on a high note. In what was an up-and-down season, he had been mostly down in the 2nd half after he returned from a two-week DL stint in late June. He allowed five or more runs in 6 starts this year, but with his five shutout innings Wednesday was also the 6th (of 21 starts) that he held the opposition without an earned run.

A-

Eugene 6, Salem-Keizer 5

Game Recap

recap

Top Performers

  • Luis Vazquez: 2-4, 2 R
  • Nelson Velazquez: 1-4, 2B, R, RBI, BB (.244)
  • Jonathan Sierra: 1-4, 3B, RBI (.249)
  • Paul Richan: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, K (2.12)
  • Eugenio Palma: 2 IP, 0 R (S, 2, 3.46)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Paul Richan (photo by Jared Ravich at MiLB.com)

Paul Richan (photo by Jared Ravich at MiLB.com)

He only struck out one batter, but since he did not walk one, Paul Richan pushed his K-to-BB ratio above 6 for the season (31-to-5). He finishes his first season with a 2.12 ERA and 0.81 WHIP (19 H, 5 BB) over 29.2 IP. Opposing hitters batted just .183 against him. He came through as advertised as a polished college arm that should progress quickly. As with Keegan Thompson and Alex Lange this year, I would expect Richan to open 2019 at Myrtle Beach.

AZL

Cubs1 8, Rangers 7 (10 Innings)

Top Performers

  • Yonathan Perlaza: 3-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI
  • Orian Nunez: 2-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB
  • Josue Huma: 1-3, 2 R, BB
  • Christopher Morel: 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB
  • Chi-Feng Lee: 3 IP, H, 2 R, 0 ER, BB, 5 K
  • Dalton Geekie" 2 IP, H, 2 K
  • Fauris Guerrero: 2 IP, H, BB, 5 K
  • Niels Stone: IP, R, 0 ER (W)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

I would suggest hopping over to The Cub Reporter and reading AZ Phil's recap of the game which is down in the comments section. The game included a "Little League Grand Slam" by the Rangers and a game-winning walk-off walk for the Cubs by rarely used Kevin Moreno (.150/.320/.200).

Comments

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  • Nice to see Webster stepping up in AAA with 2Ks in 1 inning. The Cubs could certainly use another bullpen arm next month and maybe even for the postseason. Also great news about Smyly being scheduled for his first rehab outing.

  • In reply to October:

    He looked good. Mid-90s (T97). Low-90s slider. Has always had a good changeup too, although I think he only threw one in this outing.

  • So when does Mekkes get added to the 40?

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    I still think it doesn't happen until next year, where they will wait to add him until they need him. If Morrow/Smyly/Duensing and Norwood/Rosario/Zastryzny/Maples/Farrell/Mills/Underwood aren't enough extra help, they could decide to add him, but I doubt it. I think they make room for Webster and Ryan before him.

  • Hey Michael, saw where the deadbirds announced their fall league guys today. Any info on that list for the Cubs?

  • Initial AFL rosters announced. Cubs are sending Hoerner, Giambrone, Higgins and D.J. Wilson.

    The Cubs pitchers are TBA. My guess is they want to see how a couple guys are feeling at end of the season, and there also may be a couple Minor League Free Agents that they need to have agree to successor contracts before they would become eligible to be assigned. Danny Hultzen would be a possibility. As would guys like Leal, Black, Paulino

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Still finalizing my year-end rankings but I currently have Hoerner as the #2 prospect (top position player behind Alzolay), Giambrone at #17, Wilson at #34 and Higgins at #59

  • How are rosters for the AZL cubs1 and cubs2 teams created? Are the players on AZL Cubs1 better than the players on AZL Cubs2?

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    I can't say for certain, but Cubs1 tends to have more experienced players. Morel, R. Mejia, Soto, Kwon all began the year in Eugene and then moved down to Cubs1. Perlaza was in AZL last year. Guerra is older. They assigned Americaan, who is a JUCO 21-year old there after the draft while Roederer and Davis were assigned to Cubs2.

    A lot probably depends on positional depth. So for instance, if you have two good C, you aren't going to put them both on the same team. But the Cubs ended up with three (Guerra, Soto, Perez) and they assigned Guerra and Soto to 1 while Perez went to 2.

  • Smyly, one inning and 3 K's.

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