The Cubs got some good news when Duane Underwood put up an encouraging start, getting him one step closer to joining AA Tennessee. The stars in full season play were Paul Blackburn and Ian Happ.
Iowa, Round Rock – PPD (Michael E.)
- Heavy rains washed out yesterday’s matchup between Iowa and Round Rock (Rangers) and then caused a 34 minute rain delay at the start of tonight’s game. Once they got going the two teams were not able to complete the first inning as wet grounds, particularly the batters box, prohibited the game from continuing.
Tennessee 4, Montgomery 0 (Michael E.)
- After be tagged for three hits and run in the first inning of his opening start of the season, Paul Blackburn has given up just eight hits since while compiling 17 straight shutout innings, including 7 tonight. He worked quickly with his over the top delivery, requiring just 86 pitches. The only two hits he allowed were a bunt single in the first and an infield single in the sixth. He did walk three batters on the night and was helped by his defense in extending the shutout streak.
- Throwing 95-96 and flashing his wipeout slider, Corey Black issued a leadoff walk, before retiring the next three hitters in order.
- An encouraging outing from Andury Acevedo who entered the game tied for the most walks issued in the Southern League with eight despite having thrown just 3.2 innings. He did fall behind and give up a single to the leadoff man before recovering and blowing away the final three batters. The Cubs signed the 25 year old right hander away from the Yankees organization to a major league deal in the offseason and it is easy to see what they like about him. He throws 97-98 with movement and mixes in a slider, although he appeared to go exclusively with the fastball in this outing. If he can harness his command he has the stuff to retire major league hitters.
- Light hitting shortstop Carlos Penalver (2-3, 2B, 3 RBI, BB, CS) drove in three of the four Smokies runs on a two run double and an RBI single. He would reach on a walk in his third AB before being caught attempting to steal second. With two more runners on in the seventh he was robbed of a fourth RBI on a nice running catch by fleet Montgomery CF Braxton Lee.
- He stayed hot at the plate, but RF Bijan Rademacher (1-2, 2 R, BB, HBP) also made some big plays defensively as he doubled off a runner at 1st base in the bottom of the first, and then preserved Blackburn’s shutout streak when he robbed a HR to the leadoff man in the 5th. A momentarily frightening moment occurred in the 7th when Rademacher was struck on the right wrist by a pitch, but he shook it off and stayed in the game.
- Jacob Hanneman (1-4, BB, K, SB) extended his modest hitting streak to 4 games and also stole his 6th base, raising his average from .111 to .205 over that span.
- Chesny Young (1-3, 2 BB, 2 SB) and Mark Zagunis (1-2, 2 BB) each reached base three times.
- LHP Tommy Thorpe rebounded to put up a solid outing, going 5.1 innings and allowing just one run. He walked 2 and struck out 2 to improve to 1-1 with a 4.35 ERA on the year. Thorpe throws a high 80s FB with a good curve and a change-up.
- Bit of a tough outing for converted reliever Daury Tprrez, who made this game a close one when he allowed 5 hits and 3 runs (2 earned) in 1.2 innings, including back to back HRs in the 7th that knocked him out of the game
- Dave Berg came in to put out the fire and earn his 2nd save. He went 2 perfect innings, getting 5 of the 6 outs via groundout and the other one via strikeout.
- Rashad Crawford continued his strong start. He tripled down the RF line to lead off the game and then singled and scored later. Crawford is off toa .333 start with 7 extra base hits (4 doubles, 2 triples, HR) in his first 11 games. Crawford is one of our players to keep an eye on as he has filled out physically and added some raw power. He can still fly and cover a lot of ground in CF.
- Gleyber Torres doubled and reached on a fielder’s choice He would score both times. Torres has been mired in a slump this season.
- Ian Happ had himself a heck of a ballgame, going 4 for 4 and hitting a solo HR deep over the high wall in right center and then a 2-run shot the opposite way to drive in 4. He also drove in a run with a line drive single. stole a base and made a spectacular diving play on defense. He may have driven the bus to and from the game too. Happ is off to a solid start after a strong spring, hitting .313/.400/.537 to start the season. He’s pretty good.
- 3B Jason Vosler singled in the first run of the game ( a clutch two out hit, of course) and went 1 for 3 overall.
- Charcer Burks doubled, walked, and scored a run.
- LHP Carson Sands didn’t have great velo today but he battled for 5 innings, pitching to contact, including 6 GBs. He also threw strikes, walking just one. He also, struck out two and allowed 2 runs Sands also throws a good curve and a developing change up.
- John Williamson kept the lead in tact with 2 no hit innings.
- 2B Sutton Whiting singled, walked, and scored 2 runs. Whiting has been the leadoff man since joining South Bend and has done a good job of getting on base and providing speed on the bases.
- C PJ Higgins doubled, singled, scored, and drove in 2 runs. Higgins has impressed with his skills behind the plate, including a 1.9 second pop time. At the plate he hits line drives from gap to gap. He is a deep sleeper to watch.
- What did Donnie Dewees do today? He singled, walked, stole a base and scored twice and drove in 2. That’s what. Dewees has been the Cubs hottest hitter this side of Willson Contreras. He’s hitting a cool .405/.460/.690 with 8 extra base hits (4 doubles and 4 triples.
- Eloy Jimenez doubled, walked, scored, and drove in a run.
- Daniel Spingola went 3 for 5 and scored a run.
- 3B Matt Rose has had a better season than the box scores would indicate. He’s made some nice defensive plays at 3B and has made a lot of solid contact this year — only to see it go directly to an opponents glove. This time he made sure nobody caught it, depositing over the LF wall for a 2 run HR. He almost hit two, hitting a long, high fly down the LF line that would have easily cleared the wall but went foul.
- Andrew Ely singled twice and scored while SS Bryant Flete singled, walked and scored a run.
- 1B Tyler Alamo also singled and walked. He is off to a strong start, hitting .389, though they are all singles.
EXST Cubs 4 – EXST Giants 2 (Box Score via AZ Phil, The Cub Reporter)
- Duane Underwood hit 95 mph several times in the first inning and pitched at 92-94 mph for all 5 innings. The sustained velocity over 5 innings is encouraging because it means Underwood is close to returning to league action, probably with the Tennessee Smokies. As far as the game went, the one thing that was missing was FB command early in the game. Underwood left the ball up and the Giants crushed it repeatedly for line drives. He improved as the game went on, keeping the FB down and gradually mixing in his curve and change, both of which have the chance to be plus pitches as well as his FB. The CB was consistently in the 76-78 mph range while the mid 80s change showed some sink and tail. After a troublesome first in which Underwood gave up 2 runs, he proceeded to pitch 4 scoreless innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out 4.
- LHP Manual Rondon, acquired by the Cubs in exchange for C Rafael Lopez, had good velocity, sitting 92-93 and touching 94. He also mixed in a curve and a change. Most importantly for Rondon, he was attacking the strike zone. He is a power pitcher but tends to nibble sometimes and gets himself into trouble. Not today. He mowed down the Giants for 3 perfect inniings with 5 of those 9 outs coming via strikeout.
- The offensive star was 17 year old Isaac Paredes, who hit a hard triple down the RF line, scored 2 runs and drove in another. Paredes is a rather thickly built SS who defends suprisingly well and shows extra base pop, bringing Jhonny Peralta to mind.
- 2B Vimael Machin squared up all day and drove in two runs with a single and a sac fly to deep CF.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap