Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Darvish exits rehab start early; Plenty of other impressive pitching performances by Swarmer, Steele, De Los Rios; Artis and Short homer again

Yu Darvish (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Yu Darvish (photo by Rikk Carlson)

AAA

Oklahoma City 5, Iowa 0 (Game 1)

Oklahoma City 5, Iowa 2 (Game 2)

Game Recap

Not much positive to discuss in these two games. The offense came up dry in the opener. In the nightcap, Kyle Ryan kept Oklahoma City off the board for three innings, but once he handed the game over to the bullpen Oklahoma City broke it open with five runs between the 4th and 5th innings.

Top Performers

  • Kyle Ryan: 3 IP, H, 2 K (2.51)
  • Casey Coleman: 1.2 IP, H, 3 K (7.66)
  • Jen-Ho Tseng: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 7 K (L, 2-13, 6.49)
  • Mark Zagunis: 2-3, 2B (.274)
  • Chris Coghlan: 2-5, 2B, RBI, BB (.214)
  • Mike Freeman: 2-3, R, CS (5)
  • Terrance Gore: 1-3, R, BB (.212)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Mike Freeman (.277/.321/.399) has scored 4 runs, and driven in 2 more in his 3 games since he returned from the DL. He has collected multiple hits in each game.

Kyle Ryan (1-2, 2.51) has not been scored on over his last 3 outings (8.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 9 K)

After posting an ERA above 7 in each of the first 3 months of the season,  Jen-Ho Tseng recovered a bit in the 2nd half, making 5 starts in July with a 4.23 ERA. August has been up-and-down, though mostly due to bad luck, as his peripherals are stronger than they have been all season, but Tseng has still taken 3 losses and compiled a 5.85 ERA during the month.

AA

Tennessee 3, Jackson 1

Game Recap

Matt Swarmer struck out nine and the bullpen backed him up effectively the rest of the way as they made a Zack Short solo home run in the 5th that broke a 1-1 tie stand up.

Top Performers

  • Matt Swarmer: 6 IP, 2 H, R, 0 BB, 9 K (W, 4-4, 3.29)
  • Allen Webster: IP, 2 K (S, 3, 0.00)
  • Zack Short: 1-4, HR (16), R, RBI (.238)
  • Wynton Bernard: 1-3, RBI, BB (.299)
  • Charcer Burks: 1-2, BB (.234)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Zack Short (.238/.361/.438) has homered three times in his last 9 games.

We need to start paying attention to Allen Webster as a potential September call up. He has been lights out for the Smokies, regularly hitting 95-97 with a good breaking ball as well. In 4.2 innings he has struck out 9 batters while issuing just one walk and three hits. Webster already has 3 saves in 4 games with Tennessee.

Matt Swarmer (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Matt Swarmer (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Few pitchers can boast the strikeout-to-walk ratios that Matt Swarmer is capable of posting, and when he gets in a groove like he is in currently, it actually reaches ridiculous proportions. Over his last 8 starts (51.2 IP) he has struck out 59 batters while issuing just 4 free passes. Yep: 59-to-4. His season total of 138-to-18 in 123 innings gives him 7.7 strikeouts for every walk.

Advanced A

Myrtle Beach 5, Buies Creek 4

Game Recap

A Jhonny Pereda solo homer got the Pelicans on the board in the 1st on the way to building an early 5-0 lead as Justin Steele absolutely dominated through five no-hit innings. He tired in the 6th, giving up three runs, but the Myrtle Beach would still secure the win.

Top Performers

  • Justin Steele: 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, BB, 7 K (W, 2-1, 2.45)
  • Yapson Gomez: 2.1 IP, 4 H, K (0.00)
  • Jhonny Pereda: 2-4, HR (8), R, 2 RBI (.279)
  • Andruw Monasterio: 1-2, R, RBI, 2 BB (.263)
  • Roberto Caro: 1-2, R, 2 BB, SB (14) (.304)
  • Michael Cruz: 1-2, 2B, R, RBI, SF (.143)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Justin Steele (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Justin Steele (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Both of the lefties that pitched in this game have been welcome recent additions to the Myrtle Beach roster. Justin Steele of course, is continuing his remarkable return from TJS, and has now put up a pitching line of: 18.1 IP, 12, 5 ER, 6 BB, 19 K. Reliever Yapson Gomez has been even better since being called up from South Bend. He has not allowed a run in 11 innings.

A

South Bend 3, Great Lakes 0

Game Recap

Enrique De Los Rios (photo by Rebecca Snyder)

Enrique De Los Rios (photo by Rebecca Snyder)

While the news was not good on the Yu Darvish front (the Cubs are scheduling an MRI as he exited after just one inning of work in his rehab outing on Sunday), South Bend was able to recover thanks to seven shutout innings of relief by Enrique De Los Rios. jose Gutierrez laid down a perfect bunt to drive in the first and deciding run of the game. Manuel Rodriguez struck out the side in the 9th to earn his third save.

Top Performers

  • Yu Darvish: IP, H, BB, K (1.50)
  • Enrique De Los Rios: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (W, 3-3, 2.63)
  • Manuel Rodriguez: IP, 3 K (S, 3, 7.32)
  • Jose Gutierrez: 2-4, R, RBI (.179)
  • Jimmy Herron: 1-3, 2B, R, BB (.271)
  • Christian Donahue: 3-4 (.286)
  • Clayton Daniel: 2-4
  • Miguel Amaya: 1-3, BB (.266)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Christian Donahue (.280/.348/.373) has a 5-game hitting streak going (7-for-16).

Jimmy Herron has upped his game in August with a .300/.362/.460 batting line.

Manuel Rodriguez

Manuel Rodriguez

After struggling the entire season Manuel Rodriguez has all of a sudden found his groove. Over his last 3 appearances Rodriguez has struck out 9 batters while not allowing a hit or a run in 4.1 innings. Featuring a mid-90s fastball and solid breaking ball, Rodriguez was expected to share the closer duties with Brian Glowicki this season, but control has been a major issue (33 BB in 35.2 total IP) and Rodriguez has simply not been reliable enough in high leverage situations. His save opportunity came on Sunday because Glowicki had thrown 2 innings on Saturday and was unavailable.

A-

Eugene 5, Boise 4 (10 Innings)

Game Recap

D.J. Artis hit his second career home run to lead off the 1st:

He would two more runs in support of Riley Thompson, who fired 3.2 scoreless innings. The bullpen would not be able to hold a late lead and the game would head to extras, where Andy Weber delivered the walk-off:

Top Performers

  • D.J. Artis: 2-4, HR (2), 3 R, RBI, BB, SB (3) (.346)
  • Levi Jordan: 2-4, RBI, SB (6), CS (4) (.258)
  • Jonathan Sierra: 1-4, 2B, R, RBI, SB (9) (.249)
  • Andy Weber: 1-4, RBI, BB (.261)
  • Riley Thompson: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 K (2.87)
  • Mitch Stophel: 1.2 IP, H, 2 BB, 2 K (5.23)
  • Riley McCauley: IP, 2 K (W, 1-0, 0.00)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Riley Thompson has pitched 6.2 scoreless innings with 9 strikeouts over his last 3 outings.

Riley McCauley earned the victory with a scoreless 10th and has still not allowed a run as a professional over 13 appearances (13 innings).

Another 2018 draftee that has made an impact in each of his 13 professional games is D.J. Artis (.325/.440/.500 between R/A-). He has reached safely in all 13, showing off the on-base skills he was known for in college, but he has also now homered twice and is slugging .500 which is unexpected. His 6 stolen bases in 7 tries however is. I thought he might skip Eugene and head to South Bend, just as Jimmy Herron did, but the team seems content to let him give the Emeralds an offensive boost.

AZL

Brewers 3, Cubs2 2

Top Performers

  • Yovanny Cruz: 4 IP, 3 H, R, 3 BB, 5 K (2.86)
  • Chris Allen: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (0.79)
  • Luis Silva: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (L, 2-3, 4.54)
  • Luis Verdugo: 1-3, RBI, BB, CS (3) (.174)
  • Carlos Pacheco: 1-3, BB (.172)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Make it 4 consecutive starts for Yovanny Cruz with 1 or fewer runs. He has pitched 19 innings and allowed just 2 runs on 13 hits and 6 walks while striking out 28. He is making a quite a breakthrough and is definitely an arm to keep an eye on moving forward.

Chris Allen (0.79) pitched out of the pen in this game, but continued his good work since being a 20th round overslot pick out of Marin Community College. In 11.1 pro innings he has struck out 11 batters.

Comments

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  • fb_avatar

    Justin Steele actually pitched five no-hit innings with 7 strikeouts and then came back for the 6th, gave up three straight singles and got pulled.

    His comeback has been really impressive. I never saw it coming.

  • In reply to João Lucas:

    Thanks. It was five, not four no-hit innings. I have updated the article to accurately reflect it.

  • In reply to João Lucas:

    Yeah, I agree. This (& AA next) is where I wanted to see him perform like he has been. One thing to do it in the AZL but another to do it at A+. He could be a real shot in the arm for the organization going forward.

  • Michael, has Swarmer figured something out for LHB? I really thought he would get pounded in his promo and facing even better LHB.

    This is a really good sign for him.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Not really.
    Lefties still hitting 100 points higher with far greater power production:
    .291 w/ 6 HR vs LHB
    .191 with 0 HR vs RHB
    It was .278 and .171 with Myrtle Beach.

    That said, Swarmer just isn't walking anybody right now. And when you don't give bases away sometimes you can overcome a few extra hits.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Yes a 7.7 SO to BB rate can cover other weaknesses but he really isnt giving up that many hits.

  • In reply to John57:

    I just checked. His batting ave against overall is .235 in Tenn.

  • In reply to John57:

    Keep in mind though that teams don't necessarily game plan at the MiLB level. Against MLB competition the opposing team is going to stack their lineup with lefties against him every single time out.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    It is possible I have made his issues out to be more than they are. Perspective does matter, and while 100 points higher looks bad, part of the reason for it is that Swarmer absolutely eats up right handed batters. His numbers against lefties are not actually that bad in comparison to other RHP.

    I still have doubts because I think lefties do pick him up better than righties with his over-the-top delivery, but Swarmer continues to make a believer out of me. He has the size, stamina and command you want from a starter. I know many fans won't like the comparison because soom seem to have an irrational dislike for him, but Swarmer is very similar to Luke Farrell in terms of size and stuff, only Swarmer doesn't hurt himself with walks the way that Farrell does. I think that could be the dividing line between Farrell being a AAAA starter or semi-effective MLB reliever, and Swarmer being a potentially very effective MLB reliever or maybe even a solid MLB BOR starter. I do think he would have the stamina to go 6+ innings, but I don't think I would want him facing Christian Yelich or Matt Carpenter three times in one outing.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Among the starting rotation in Tennessee
    Rucker holds both RHB and LHP to below .220.
    Thompson is around .260 combined between A+/AA despite being the least experienced. This is why these two are the ones that I project to have the best chance of sticking as starters.

    Swarmer (.291), Hatch (.270), Robinson (.297) all give up much higher AVG and SLG against LHB which I fear will limit them to the bullpen in the future. Swarmer has the best chance of overcoming it and remaining a starter thanks to his command. Hatch needs to improve his or he likely ends up a MIR. Robinson isn't nearly as tough on RHB as the rest of the group and I think he ends up more as AAA depth or maybe low leverage long man.

  • Webster for a long time, has been a player associated with interest by the Cubs. With his velo being strong, it sure does seem a possibility that he finally is figuring things out. I would hope he gets a shot in September.
    Id rather see what he has become, than looking at somebody like Farrell again.

  • fb_avatar

    Michael, should Allan Webster be in the mix of Maples and Mekkes (and one other I can’t think of) who are September call ups and pieces of the Cubs bullpen next year?

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Maybe Norwood is the 1 you were thinking of? Ryan possibly.

    Webster, Mekkes & Ryan would have to be added to 40 man. Guys on the 40 man besides Norwood & Maples are Rob Z., Underwood, Mills, Mazzoni, Farrell & Tseng.

    They stand at 39 on the 40 man right now. 3 guys are on the 60 day DL. There’s talk of adding a catcher. So if there’s any other additions to the 40 man, along w/said catcher, then someone’s (or 2) gotta go to either 60 day dL (Duensing) or DFA.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    They also may add Gore, the speedy guy from the Royals they acquired. Zagunis is also on the 40 man.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Yes. Webster has looked good (as much as I can tell from the poor AA broadcasts). He also has experience on his side. He could be an option in September but also next year even if he doesn't get a roster spot this year.

  • fb_avatar

    Farrell and Tseng seem to be the most likely to be bumped from the 40 man squad. It was Norwood I was thinking of. I'm beginning to feel good about our relief pitchers, and the starters we have are good but not elite, at least not yet.
    If our offense remains unpredictable during Sept-Oct we'll need awfully good pitching to win.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think Farrell and Tseng are definitely possibilities, but I think Mazzoni is the first to go.

    I also suspect Zastryzny and Kyle Ryan are competing for the same 40 man spot.

  • Off topic.

    Both MIL (over CIN) and StL (over LAD) won, so the Cubs Magic Number remains at 35.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Alrighty then... It’s a divisional race. Time to wake up the bats.

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