Daily Cubs Minors Recap: More injuries; Aliendo with 4th straight multi-hit performance; Made reaches three times; Ueckert extends no-hit streak

Pablo Aliendo (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

AAA

St. Paul 4, Iowa 0

Game Recap

You know how I said yesterday morning how Iowa was going to struggle to score given the number of injuries and promotions to Chicago they are facing?

Yeah, they got one hit last night.

But Alec Mills did look sharper in his second rehab stint. His secondaries looked more crisp and his control was much improved. The bullpen also had a nice rebound game even though Ryan Meisinger did give up a pair of runs in the 8th. He combined with Dakota Mekkes to punch out nine guys over the final five innings.

The Cubs and I-Cubs came into the season with deeper rosters than they have in a long time. The way almost every call-up to Chicago has provided a boost in at least one game shows that. But the lineup in Iowa has been gutted and the pitching staff thinned. After opening the year 9-5, the I-Cubs have now dropped 6 straight games, being outscored by a combined 43-17. They’ve scored 3 or less in 4 of 6 and surrendered more than 4 runs in all 6.

Top Performers

  • Alec Mills: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, BB, 5 K (L, 0-2, 11.12)
  • Dakota Mekkes: 3 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (2.61)
  • Vance Vizcaino: 1-3, 2B, SB (1) (.455)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

No new injuries! If only the rest of the system was so lucky…

AA

Tennessee 5, Chattanooga 4

Game Recap

Andy Weber and D.J. Wilson both contributed early extra base hits to help spark run scoring innings, but each would end up exiting with injuries before the end of the night. The Smokies emptied their bench of healthy players (Levi Jordan remained, but he hasn’t played in a while) as they scrambled to fill important defensive holes at SS and CF.

Wilson’s triple in the 4th drive in a run. He’d score on a Miguel Amaya single. With runners on 1st and 2nd in the 7th, Wilson attempted a sac bunt. A throwing error by the third baseman went wild. Both runners scored. Unfortunately, Wilson appeared to pull his hammy trying to beat out the play at 1st.

Cam Sanders and the Smokies pen made it stand up. Although he didn’t rack up the same kind of strikeout numbers he has so far, Sanders held the Lookouts to three runs (two earned) over the first five. Ethan Roberts followed with two strong shutout innings. Cayne Ueckert kept his 0.00 ERA intact with a scoreless 9th for his first save in Tennessee.

Top Performers

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Boy, Cayne Ueckert keeps on dealing. His fastball has been impossible for guys to hit so far this year (looks like he is throwing mostly two-seamers, but maybe his four seamer has natural arm side run), and the slider is pretty good too. He touched 98 last night as he extended his streak to 5 no-hit appearances in a row. Season line: 11.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 18 K

Weber appeared to injure himself on a swing while striking out to end the 3rd. Chris Morel (seven position versatility!) slid over from 2B to SS. Grayson Byrd continues to prove his worth by moving to 2B from 3B. Backup catcher Erick Castillo (who started at 1B, was forced across the diamond to 3B).

The hole in CF created by Wilson’s exit is easier to cover for the Smokies. All of their outfielders on the current roster are natural center fielders. It will be interesting to see how the Smokies fill out their lineup if Weber, Jordan and Wilson remain out today. The 9 position players who finished the game are the only 9 they have, and 3 of them are catchers.

High-A

Fort Wayne 6, South Bend 0

Game Recap

They stayed healthy. That’s the best I can say about the Cubs last night.

That’s not true. Eury Ramos and his upper-90s heater continues to impress out of the South Bend pen. He punched out three over 2.1 perfect innings.

Top Performers

  • Eury Ramos: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (1.74)
  • Samuel Reyes: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (5.84)
  • Cole Roederer: 1-3, BB, SB (4) (.229)
  • Tyler Durna: 1-3, BB (.188)
  • Bradlee Beesley: 1-3 (.333)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

I’m not sure South Bend can send any injury replacement help up to Tennessee. South Bend has 4 infielders (Cam Balego, Luis Vazquez, Aramis Ademan, Scott McKeon) on the IL. And another IF capable player (Yonathan Perlaza) is suspended for his part in the bench clearing brawl the other day.

UDFA from 2020, Bradlee Beesley recorded a hit in his first professional at bat. Beesley is an undersized, but athletic centerfielder who was rated among the top players unchosen in the abbreviated 5 round draft last year.

The Cubs have already seen great returns on several hard throwing UDFA relievers from last year (Ben Leeper, Scott Kobos, Graham Lawson, Bailey Reid), but their position player signings (Beesley, McKeon, Matt Mervis, Jacob Wetzel) have yet to contribute much yet.

Low-A

Myrtle Beach 10, Salem 9

Game Recap

It ended up closer than it ever should have been, but Myrtle Beach held out in the end to return to the .500 mark on the year.

Down 3-2, Myrtle Beach exploded for seven runs as they batted around in the top of the 6th. The red-hot Pablo Aliendo started it off with a leadoff single, and then capped off the scoring when he drove in a pair with a double. In between the Pelicans scored via single, walk, sacrifice fly, groundout and on fielder’s choice (with an error). They used just about every method to score besides power.

With a 9-3 lead heading into the bottom of the 9th they should have walked away with an easy win. But after opening the year without allowing an earned run in his first 4 appearances, Jake Reindl has struggled with his control of late. Even coming off giving up 4 runs over 3.1 innings in his last appearance, Myrtle Beach had to feel secure giving him a 6 run cushion.

Reindl got the leadoff man to pop out, but then it fell apart. A walk, followed by three singles, and finally another walk was enough for Manager Buddy Bailey. Reindl was replaced by Tyler Sullentrop, who entered with the bases loaded, one out and four run lead. Sullentrop struggled even more than Reindle though. He walked three straight batters (with a lengthy stadium power delay thrown in the mix) to force in three runs. He finally delivered a huge K to record the second out, and then induced the final batter to ground out to preserve the victory.

Top Performers

  • Pablo Aliendo: 3-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB (.292)
  • Kevin Made: 2-4, 2B, R, BB (.250)
  • Edmond Americaan: 1-4, R, 2 RBI, BB (.244)
  • Jonathan Sierra: 1-3, 2 R, 2 BB (.220)
  • Jacob Wetzel: 1-2, R, RBI (.182)
  • Reivaj Garcia: 1-4, R, BB (.212)
  • Ethan Hearn: 1-4, 2 RBI, SF (.113)
  • Jose Miguel Gonzalez: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K (W, 2-0, 2.19)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Edmond Americaan (.244/.311/.439) extended his hitting streak to 7 games. He’s recorded 11 hits and 4 walks during this stretch, with a double and two triples, and is 3-for-4 in stolen base attempts.

Americaan has been great of late, maybe the second hottest hitter in the Cubs entire org (Patrick Wisdom has an argument despite inconsistent playing time since being summoned to Chicago). Americaan isn’t even the hottest hitter on his team though. That honor goes to catcher Pablo Aliendo (.292/.382/.354). His hitting streak stands at a more modest 4 games, but all 4 have been of the multi-hit variety, going 10-for-16 with a walk thrown in.

Comments

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  • Hello Michael,
    What's the history on Pablo Aliendo ! Was he drafted,
    picked up as a free agent ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    IFA signed in 2017-18 class. An slightly undersized but very athletic catcher.

    Similar to Bryce Windham in South Bend in that regard (and P.J. Higgins before them, and Robinson Chirinos before him), but I think Windham has a better frame to add weight and get stronger than Aliendo.

    Aliendo has a line drive stroke with little power. He struggled to hit his first couple of pro seasons, but I can see him being a good MiLB hitter. Not sure he has MLB upside.

    Windham and Aliendo are long shots, but are worth seeing what they become over the next three years. Never rule out good athletes.

  • Thanks for another excellent report, Michael.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    You're welcome

  • Thanks Michael. That explains the PR for Wilson which made no sense to me. He's obviously going to be down for a bit but the breakout year is still possible.

    Not in negative terms but I see AZL Rookie ball as getting your sea legs. Not putting any real stock in it for future performance. So Raising Cayne being a 27th rounder wasn't even remotely on my radar. Granted it's a very SSS but good grief so far he's been you'll get nothing and you'll like it. Now go sit down. 110 pitches over 8.2 IP is being efficient to put it mildly.

    No idea as to who's idea it was to bring in Craig Breslow. But the sudden emergence of some dominant arms strikes me as more than just coincidence. I just hope they're doing it the right way. Meaning not doctoring the ball.

    I can't help but wonder if getting control of that would improve offense across baseball overnight. SF staff's overnight improvement is especially suspicious to my eye. A guy or 2 turning it around is one thing. But across the board raises an eyebrow IMO.

  • Michael,
    I really wish Markee Network would stop split screen interviews with the game in progress. I would rather watch the
    game in progress. There must be a better time for interviews.
    Hey Willson, how bout base running 101. You got
    away with it today, however, you've been thrown out too
    many times this year on the bases.

  • I predict Sergio Alcantara will not be in Iowa's lineup tonight.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    Could be. I don't think the Cubs want to lose him down the line in a forty man roster crunch.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I know. But Morel is the last option. And he's not an option.

    Got any good ideas?

  • With respect to the Javy caper: I don't have a rule book in front of me, but I have always understood that a force for the third out nullifies any run that scores prior to the force. But what if the third out is not a force, but rather a tag? If the first basemen had tagged out Javy after Contreras scored, would the run have counted? Clearly if the first baseman could have run back to first with the ball before Javy arrived, the run would have been nullified. But a tag??

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Doesn't matter. Only the out at 1B mattered. The catcher could have tagged him after Contreras scored and the run doesn't count. That's why you see guys jogging to home plate from 3rd when there's a routine grounder. He could have been tagged out after a 5 minute run down. Run wouldn't have counted.

    Now once the runner is safe at first it matters. Let's say he was advancing to 2B and gets called out there. Then the scoring runner has to cross home plate safely before the out is recorded.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Doesn’t matter how he’s put out before getting to 1st base, run wouldn’t have counted.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Oops, I didn’t hit the refresh button before hitting “comment”, my bad.

  • Once again the 40 man quandary raises it's ugly head. Houston we have a problem.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    Hopefully Marisnick can come off the DL and Rizzo is ready tomorrow. Then Bryant can go back to playing third base.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Ugh, there's been nothing in his activity reports that would lead you to believe he's ready. And rushing guys back from hamstring problems never seems to work out well. I usually figure they're gone for a month on the bright side.

    We might have some idea what their plans are when Iowa laces 'em up tonight.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    They could bring up Dee. DFA Martini?

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    I actually prefer Bote at 3rd and KB in another position.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I'm guessing Bote might have separated his shoulders. Those are painful, but heal pretty quick. The risk is a repeat injury.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Left shoulder.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Several weeks on the enthusiastic side. And he'll certainly need rehab starts. So he's probably lost for at least June. My guess is longer. That didn't look good.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    it certainly looked like it.

  • Hey Dan Bellino, maybe next time you will asked for help !
    You owe the Cubs one run !
    Go Ortega !

  • Nice win but jeeesh. Another pyrrhic victory?

    They're approaching Mets territory rapidly with the injuries. Here's to hoping the starters can stay healthy.

    Even If Marisnick is ready which I highly doubt given the way that looked they are very thin on the infield. Based on production to date Heyward to the 60 day might be an option.

    This just isn't how you want to see them go into that June schedule. But a tip of the cap to the guys filling in.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    D. Strange-Gordon looks like next man up to me. Megill to the 60 day IL? Should Rizzo be on the 10 day IL?

    Jed & company I'm sure are looking at dealing a pitcher or two for a bat.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Recall just seeing Megill is starting to throw again. That's good news.

  • You are probably correct. Hadn't seen him show up on Iowa's roster until just now.

    Heyward and Marisnick have run the bases a bit for what that's worth.

  • I know they are not popular choices. A. Russell & Y. Puig are available. I wouldn't mind the Cubs signing Puig.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I can't imagine the Cubs bringing his baggage into that clubhouse. Not to mention they need infield help.

    The mere fact the Mets and others have steered clear of him speaks volumes. With the sexual assault allegations and his clubhouse issues there's a good chance his MLB days are over.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    Agreed. That ship done sailed.

    Ross said this team cares about each other & gets along great. That’s why/how they beat the Reds yesterday *see Ross’s post game comments*. They ain’t gonna rock that boat now

  • Addison Russell? That is intriguing.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I doubt it will be either. Dee is a veteran and only 33. He was signed to strengthen the infield depth when the Cubs called on Ortega. He has been plugging away and playing clean for awhile now and would probably love the opportunity to contribute with a contending team.

  • In his heyday Gordon was that true lead off hitter I think the Cubs need.

    On base/contact/speed, opposing pitchers hate that combination.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    We might find out what he has left in the tank sooner than later.

    The only things I'm sure of is a 2/3 man bench depending on Rizzo's back is a problem.

    The 40 man roster is a problem given the injuries. I can't remember a time I couldn't find a pitcher or 2 on it I thought they wouldn't miss. First time for everything.

    Today's lineup has been posted. No Rizzo. Higgins and Martini as your bench bats isn't exactly a warm fuzzy. Though in fairness they're both off to a slow start since being called up.

  • Cubs are closing in on an all-time MLB record. 26 straight games of either winning or only losing by one run. Only the 1918 giants had a longer streak and that was 29 games.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Not sure what you mean? I think every team that has ever played a one run game has either won or lost by one run. Can you explain what you mean please?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    They’ve now played 25 consecutive games where they have not LOST by multiple runs. They’ve only lost by 1 run or won all of their games by any amount of runs in this span. Nobody has beaten them by more than a run. 29 is the record going back to the early 1900s by the Giants.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    A couple of those were extra inning affairs too. They've been playing really well.

    After a few games of relying on the long ball yesterdays approach was a welcome sight. 10 runs with 1 xtra base hit. Ortega's dinger.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    Yeah, earlier in the year it was Home Run or nothing. It’s been fun watching them over this stretch.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Once the opening day roster got tweaked and Duffy / Hoerner joined the starting 8 I have to say I haven't enjoyed watching the Cubs this much since '15 - '16.

    It sounds weird to say. But I think most of us felt this way. They were playing winning baseball but for the most part it just wasn't fun to watch. Like a daily grind to get to the post season. Only to see their known shortcomings do them in in short order. Aside from '17 when the post season grind made it to the NLCS.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Oh, ok. I understand now. Thanks for explaining that. I also come up with 25 games not 26.

  • Here's a thought. Bote to the 60 day. He's going to need at least a week with Iowa on a rehab assignment anyway. Bring up Alcantara. Now they have a legit back up at SS.

    That covers them thru July at a minimum. When the 26/40 man requires it in August go to an 8 man pen. They've been doing that for all practical purposes as it is. Not to mention more injuries are all but a certainty.

    They have 5 scheduled days off in August and September. A total of 10. That should go a long ways in preserving the pen.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    Bote might not need a 60d il with that injury. It's not his throwing side shoulder. Depends on the severity. It makes a big difference if the injured shoulder goes right back in place. No reason to rush him though. Ross has flexible players to work with and they have proven to be able to handle every assignment so far.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    We are missing Vargus already and don't want to lose Alcantara as well.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    We'll hear something sooner than later. He's scheduled for an MRI today. I wasn't suggesting trying to send him back down this year. Here to stay.

    Alcantara isn't in the Iowa lineup or listed on their bench today. Says the Cubs selected his contract. He does appear to be on his way to Chicago.

    I'm not enthusiastic about a quick return for Bote. He does need that shoulder to hit. And that just didn't look good.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    Duty calls. All hands on deck. I'd say he is hear to stay. Makes sense, Alcantara is a true ss/2bman.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Vargas was also DFA by the Pirates today. So there’s a chance Cubs could reclaim him. But..... he wasn’t/isn’t very good either.

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