Results tagged ‘ Paul Blackburn ’

Riding the Bus (Cubs Minor League Reports): April 18, 2016

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MONDAY APRIL 18, 2016

Tenn4-18

Full Box Score

The Smokies’ pitching was outstanding last night as they completely shut down the Biscuits allowing only three hits en route a 4-0 victory.  Maybe more impressive was their approach, they walked ten times last night, clearly they have been watching the Major League club.

At the Plate:

  • Jacob Hannemann got things going from the lead-off spot; he went 1-for-4 with a walk, and his sixth stolen base of the season.
  • Chesny Young was 1-for-3 with two walks, and two stolen bases in the win.
  • Bijan Rademacher continued his hot start; he was 1-for-2 with a walk, two runs scored, and he had an outfield assist. Rademacher is now hitting .444 on the season.
  • Carlos Penalver had another solid game; he was 2-for-3 with a double, three RBI’s, and a walk.

On the Mound:

  • Paul Blackburn turned in a brilliant start to pick up his second win of the season; he worked seven scoreless innings, giving up three hits while walking three, and striking out three.
  • Corey Black was solid in relief; he worked a scoreless inning while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Andury Acevedo worked a strong ninth inning; he allowed one but also struck out the side.

MB4-18

Full Box Score

Myrtle Beach built a 6-1 lead in the seventh thanks to a huge night from Ian Happ, and hung on to beat Winston-Salem 6-4.

At the Plate:

On the Mound:

  • Tommy Thorpe got the start tonight, and picked up his first win of the season; he worked 5.1 innings, giving up one run on five hits while walking two, and striking out two.
  • Daury Torrez struggled in this one; he worked 1.2 innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on five hits while striking out two.
  • David Berg was terrific out of the pen to pick up his second save of the season; he worked two scoreless/hitless innings while striking out one.

SB4-18

Full Box Score

A huge fourth inning saw the South Bend Cubs plate six runs to break open a 2-2 game on their way to a 9-3 drubbing of Bowling Green.

At the Plate:

  • Every single player in the lineup for the Cubs had at least one hit as they pounded out thirteen in the win. J. Higgins went 2-for-5 with his third double of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Donnie Dewees went 1-for-4 with a walk, two RBI’s, a run scored, and his fourth stolen base of the season.
  • Eloy Jimenez went 1-for-4 with his third double of the season, a walk, and an RBI.
  • Daniel Spingola had a huge night; he went 3-for-5 with two stolen bases, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .357 on the season.
  • Matt Rose chipped in with some power; he went 1-for-4 with his first homer of the year, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Andrew Ely went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the win.

On the Mound:

  • Carson Sands struggled early, but settled in to pick up his first win of the year. Sands worked five innings, giving up two runs on five hits while walking one, and striking out two.
  • John Williamson was brilliant in relief; he worked two scoreless/hitless innings while walking one, and striking out three.
  • Greyfer Eregua cleaned things up; he worked two innings, giving up one run on two hits while striking out two.

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Prospect Files: Paul Blackburn Picks Off Another (VIDEO)

That’s one way to get out of trouble, just pick everyone off.  Paul Blackburn did it twice yesterday, here is video of one of the tasty plays.

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Riding the Bus (Cubs Minor League Reports): April 13, 2016

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2016

Iowa4-13

Full Box Score

The Iowa Cubs finally found the offensive explosion that they have been searching for as they scored eight times over the first five innings en route to a 9-5 victory over New Orleans.

At the Plate:

  • Arismendy Alcantara ripped his first home run of the season; he went 1-for-4 with a walk, said homer, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Dan Vogelbach has had a great start; he went 1-for-3 with two runs scored, and is now hitting .391 on the season.
  • Albert Almora is getting on base quite a bit; he went 1-for-3 with a walk, and three runs scored.
  • Juan Perez had a huge day; he went 3-for-3 with two doubles, three RBI’s, and one run scored.
  • Logan Watkins couldn’t make an out yesterday; he went 4-for-4 with a double, three RBI’s, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Stephen Fife got the start and was brilliant; he worked 4.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Miguel Mejia was torched, but picked up the win (the win stat is horrible); he worked an inning, giving up three runs on four hits while striking out one.
  • Armando Rivero turned in another solid outing; he worked 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit while striking out two.
  • Carl Edwards Jr. was roughed up a bit; he worked one inning, giving up two runs on two hits while walking two, and striking out two.
  • Spencer Patton finished this one off by working a scoreless ninth inning.

Tenn4-13

Full Box Score

All Smokies in this one, Tennessee jumped out to a 7-0 lead en route to a 7-3 victory over Birmingham.  The Smokies pounded out 13 hits, and walked six times, nice to see the “Cubs Way” permeating the organization.

At the Plate:

  • Big night for Jeimer Candelario; he went 3-for-4 with a walk, and a run scored.
  • Taylor Davis has been solid this year; he went 2-for-4 with a walk, and two runs scored to bring his average to .333 on the season.
  • Bijan Rademacher doesn’t appear to be bothered by AA pitching; he went 3-for-5 with his second dinger of the year, four RBI’s, and two runs scored.
  • Anthony Giansanti went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored in the win.
  • Carlos Penalver also chipped in; he went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

On the Mound:

  • Paul Blackburn got the start and was brilliant in picking up his first win of the season. Pauly worked six scoreless innings, giving up four hits while walking one, and striking out six.
  • David Garner was solid in relief; he worked 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits while walking one, and striking out four.
  • Andury Acevedo had a weird, horrible outing; he worked 1.1 innings giving up three runs, on NO HITS while walking FIVE, and striking out two, okay then.
  • Starling Peralta closed the door on this one by recording the final out to get out of Acevedo’s trouble, Peralta picked up his first save of the year.

MB4-13

Full Box Score

Myrtle Beach came out on the wrong end of a pretty solid game between two teams.  After falling behind 2-0 early the Pelicans tied things up in the third and it stayed that way until Winston-Salem scored twice in the ninth.

At the Plate:

  • Rashad Crawford has been awesome so far this year; he went 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored. He is now hitting .381 on the season from the lead-off spot.
  • Shawon Dunston Jr. continues to produce; he went 1-for-4 with a walk, a double, and a run scored.
  • I love Ian Happ, deal with it. He went 1-for-3 with a walk, and an RBI in the loss.
  • Yasiel Balaguert, Jason Volser, and Jeffrey Baez each finished the night with one hit a piece.

On the Mound:

  • Great effort from Jonathan Martinez after a shaky first; he worked seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits while walking one, and striking out three.
  • James Pugliese picked up the loss in relief; he worked two innings, giving up two runs on three hits while striking out three.

SB4-13

Full Box Score

A huge fourth inning propelled South Bend to a 6-5 victory over Bowling Green.  Things got a little uneasy late in this one as the Hot Rods pulled to within one before their rally fizzled out.

At the Plate:

  • Remember how much I love Ian Happ? I love Donnie Dewees just as much; he went 3-for-4 with his second double of the year, three RBI’s, and a run scored.  He is now hitting .440 on the season, that’s basically unpossible.
  • Sutton Whiting had a solid game; he went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Bryant Flete has been very good this year as well; he went 1-for-3 with a walk, and two runs scored, he’s now hitting .429 on the season.
  • Tyler Alamo chipped in from the nine spot in the order; he went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Preston Morrison struggled a bit with command but was good enough to pick up his first win of the season. Morrison worked six innings, giving up two runs on four hits while walking four, and striking out six.
  • James Norwood had a rough go of it out of the pen; he worked 1.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits while striking out three.
  • Greyfer Eregura was solid in picking up his first save of the year; he worked 1.1 scoreless innings while striking out one.

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Riding the Bus (Cubs Minor League Reports): April 8, 2016

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FRIDAY, APRIL 8, 2016

Iowa 4-8-16

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After falling behind 4-0 early the Iowa Cubs fell just short in their comeback attempt as they dropped a nail biter to Round Rock, 4-3.

At the Plate:

On the Mound:

  • Stephen Fife was roughed up in this one, he worked three innings, giving up four runs on five hits while walking three, and striking out five.
  • Jean Machi was brilliant, he worked two scoreless innings while walking one, and striking out three.
  • Felix Pena was just as good, he worked two scoreless innings, walking one, and striking out two.
  • J. Riefenhauser, and Miguel Mejia each worked a scoreless inning to keep things close.

Tenn 4-8-16

Full Box Score

The Smokies couldn’t muster much offense in their quest to move to 2-0 on the season as they could only scratch across one run in a 2-1 loss to Mobile.

At the Plate:

On the Mound:

  • Paul Blackburn struggled early, giving up five hits over the first two innings, but that was it for the night. Blackburn worked five innings, giving up one run on five hits while striking out two.
  • Michael Jensen was solid out of the pen, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up two hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Corey Black picked up the loss in this one, he worked one inning, giving up one run on two hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Andury Acevedo worked a scoreless inning while striking out one.

MB 4-8-16

Full Box Score

The Pelicans came up just short in their attempt at coming back from a 5-1 deficit in the sixth inning.  Myrtle Beach pulled to within one before falling to Frederick 7-5.

At the Plate:

  • Rashad Crawford had another good night, he was 2-for-4 with a walk, but was also picked off twice, oops.
  • David Bote was 2-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored in the loss.
  • Cael Brockmeyer showed off his power, he was 1-for-4 with his first homer of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Charcer Burks had a huge night, he was 3-for-4 with a home run, a triple, an RBI, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Zach Hedges got the start tonight, and picked up the loss. He worked 5.1 innings, giving up four runs, two earned, on five hits while walking one, and striking out six.
  • Dillon Maples struggled, he worked just 1/3 of an inning, he gave up an unearned run on one hit while walking two, and striking out one.
  • Ryan McNeil was decent out of the pen, he worked 2.1 innings, giving up one run on three hits while striking out three.
  • Jordan Minch worked one innings, giving up one run on two hits while walking one.

SB 4-8-16

Full Box Score

A messy game for the South Bend Cubs as they made six (SIX) errors on their way to a snow shortened 6-3 loss to West Michigan.

At the Plate:

  • Matt Rose went 1-for-2 with a walk, one of four for the Cubs in this one.
  • Ian Rice was 1-for-2 with a run scored, and a walk in the loss.
  • Bryant Flete was the offensive star tonight, he went 2-for-3 with a triple, and two RBI’s.

 

On the Mound:

  • A weird night for the Cubs start Justin Steele. Steele worked 3.2 innings, giving up four runs, all unearned, he made three (!) errors while walking three, and striking out three.
  • Casey Bloomquist worked two innings out of the pen, giving up two runs, both unearned, on two hits while walking one, and striking out three.
  • James Norwood was tremendous, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings, he walked one, and struck out three.

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Riding the Bus: May 2, 2015 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

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SATURDAY • MAY 2, 2015

Iowa Cubs 5-2 Final

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A number of teams are having trouble beating Oklahoma City this year, you can add Iowa to said list as they lost yet again to the Dodger, 4-1.

At the Plate:

On the Mound:

  • Tsuyoshi Wada got the start and was the hard luck loser as he was brilliant.  Wada worked seven innings, giving up two run, both unearned, on two hits while walking one, and striking out five.
  • Yoanner Negrin couldn’t keep things close late in this one, he worked two innings, giving up two runs on three hits while walking three, and striking out one.

Tennessee Smokies 5-2 Final

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After losing both an early and late lead, Tennessee somehow found a way to pull this one out with a run in the tenth.  Of course that run came from a Kyle Schwarber dinger, hero.

At the Plate:

  • Kyle Schwarber only had one hit but it was a big one, he finished the night 1-for-5 with said dinger, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Dan Vogelbach got back on track, he was 3-for-4 with a walk, a double, a triple, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Stephen Bruno has been good all year, he was 1-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored in the win.
  • Bijan Rademacher provided the early fireworks, he was 1-for-4 with a dinger, three RBI’s, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Corey Black got the start and was missing bats left and right, he tossed 5.2 innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on six hits while walking two, and striking out ten(!).
  • Starling Peralta has been good all year, he was again last night, he worked two scoreless innings while surrendering three hits.
  • P.J. Francescon picked up a blown save, and a win, he worked 2.1 innings, giving up one run on four hits while striking out one.

Myrtle Beach 5-2 Final

 Full Box Score

Things got a little dicey for the Pelicans late in this one, but they were able to weather the storm and hang on for a 5-4 win over Lynchburg.

At the Plate:

  • Mark Zagunis flashed some rare power, he was 1-for-3 with his first dinger of the year, an RBI, a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.
  • Jacob Rogers had a solid game, he was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored.
  • Trey Martin was productive in the win, he was 1-for-4 with an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.
  • Carlos Penalver had a great game from the bottom of the order, he was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two RBI’s.

On the Mound:

  • Paul Blackburn got the start, and picked up his second win of the season, he worked five innings, giving up one run on six hits while walking one, and striking out two.
  • Gerardo Concepcion had an off and on appearance, he worked two innings, giving up three runs on four hits while walking two, and striking out six.
  • Tayler Scott, and Jasvir Rakkar both worked a scoreless inning late with Rakkar picking up his second save of the season.

South Bend 5-2 Final

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It’s nice to be on this side of things, after blowing a number of saves early this year the South Bend Cubs finally registered a come back win of their own.  Trailing 4-2 in the eighth the Cubs pushed three runs across to the delight of the sellout crowd in South Bend.

At the Plate:

  • Gleyber Torres is terrorizing Midwest League pitching, he went 1-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and three runs scored.
  • Chesny Young had a great game, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Cael Brockmeyer has been outstanding, he was 2-for-4 with a run scored in the win, and is hitting .356 on the season.
  • Yasiel Balaguert made his one hit count, he went 1-for-4 with a double, and three RBI’s.

On the Mound:

  •  Trevor Clifton started this one, and didn’t get much help behind him.  Clisfton worked five innings, giving up three runs, on earned, on three hits while walking two, and striking out three.
  • Tyler Ihrig was great out of the pen, and earned his first win of the season.  Ihrig worked three innings, giving up one run on four hits in the process.
  • James Farris was perfect in the ninth to pick up his first save of the season, he struck out the side as well.

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Riding the Bus: April 18, 2015 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

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SATURDAY • APRIL 18, 2015

Myrtle Beach 4-18-Game One Final

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Duane Underwood Jr. was brilliant in the first game of the double-header tonight, in fact, he was almost perfect.  Underwood Jr. took a no-hitter into the seventh (last inning of a DH) before giving up a couple hits, so very close.  The Pelicans had six hits in the victory, three of which were of the extra base variety.

At the Plate:

  • Shawon Dunston Jr. had a big game, he was 2-for-3 with a triple, a stolen base, and two runs scored.
  • Jacob Rogers continued his strong year at the plate, he was 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Victor Caratini had a similar night, he was 1-for-3 with a double, and an RBI in the win.

On the Mound:

  • Duane Underwood Jr. got the start and the win in this one, he worked six innings, giving up one run on two hits while walking one, and striking out four.
  • Starling Peralta came on in relief of Underwood Jr. and shut the door, he worked a scoreless inning while walking one.

Myrtle Beach 4-18-Game One two

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The Pelicans came out swinging in game two as they scored four times in the top of the first en route to an 8-4 win, and a double-header sweep.  The seven inning game saw the Pelicans pound out twelve hits, once again they went heavy on the extra base hits with five.

At the Plate:

  • Jacob Hannemann was solid at the top of the order, he was 2-for-4 with a double, and two runs scored.
  • Mark Zagunis is a joy to watch at the plate, he was 2-for-2 with a double, a run scored, and two more walks.
  • Billy McKinney had a big game two, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.
  • Jeimer Candelario has been good so far this year, he was 2-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI, and two runs scored in the win.
  • Ben Carhart supplied the power, he was 1-for-2 with a dinger, three RBI’s, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Paul Blackburn didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled and got the win, he worked five innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on seven hits while walking one, and striking out four.
  • Josh Conway was brilliant in picking up the save, he worked two scoreless innings while striking out one.

Tennessee Smokies 4-18 Final

Full Box Score

The Smokies are rolling, they took care of Pensacola tonight to run their record to 6-3 on the season.  Everything was working in this one for the Smokies, they pounded out twelve hits, and scored seven times in the win.  The pitching was on point as well tonight giving up just one run on five hits while striking out ten.

At the Plate:

  • Elliot Soto got the job of leading off tonight, and he did it well.  Soto was 3-for-5 with two runs scored.
  • Albert Almora have a game, he was 5-for-5 with a double, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.
  • Stephen Bruno came up big in this one, he was 1-for-4 with two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .385 on the season.
  • Willson Contreras with a huge contribution off the bench, he was 1-for-1 with a dinger, three RBI’s, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Felix Pena got the start tonight, and was stellar, he worked six innings, giving up one run on four hits while walking two, and striking out six.
  • Fernando Cruz was outstanding out of the pen to pick up his first save of the year, he worked three scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two, and striking out four.

South Bend 4-18 Final

Full Box Score

The South Bend Cubs have a disturbing trend of blowing saves, today was their fourth one of the season already.  Things looked very much in hand late as the Cubs led Great Lakes 4-1 heading to the ninth, four runs later and the Cubs saw their record fall to 4-6 on the season.

At the Plate:

  • Trey Martin, and Chesny Young were a solid one-two punch at the top of the order in this won.  Martin went 2-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.  Young went 1-f0r-4 with a triple  an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Jeffrey Baez had a solid game, he went 1-for-4 with a double, his third of the season.

On the Mound:

  • Zach Hedges was brilliant tonight, he worked five scoreless innings, giving up two hits while striking out three,
  • Tommy Thorpe did a fine job out of the pen, he worked tow innings, giving up one run, unearned, on two hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • James Farris took the brunt of it in this one, he worked two innings, giving up four runs, two earned, while striking out five.

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Riding the Bus: April 11, 2015 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

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SATURDAY, APRIL 11, 2015

South Bend 4-11 Final

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So close, the South Bend Cubs made things very interesting tonight as they scored in the 8th and 9th to push the game to extra’s.  Unfortunately they couldn’t come up with anything else, and Bowling Green tallied twice in the 12th to win 7-5, South Bend’s fist loss of 2015.

At the Plate:

  • Charcer Burks was great out of the lead-off spot, he went 2-for-6 with a double, a triple, and two runs scored.
  • Jeffrey Baez is doing great things at the plate, he was 2-for-4 with two doubles in the loss.  He also had an outfield assist, threw a runner out at the plate.
  • Gleyber Torres broke out tonight, he’s 18.  He went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and two runs scored.

On the Mound:

  • Erick Leal got the start tonight, and was knocked around a bit, didn’t get much help behind him, though.  He worked five innings, giving up four runs, two earned on eight hits while walking two, and striking out three.
  • Jordan Minch worked a scoreless inning in relief, he did walk two, but escaped the trouble.
  • Ryan McNeil was brilliant tonight, he worked three innings, giving up one run, unearned on one hit while striking out five.
  • Francisco Carrillo got the loss, and only gave up one hit, he worked three innings, giving up two runs on one hit while striking out one.

Myrtle Beach 4-11 Final

Full Box Score

What a thrilling walk-off win for the Pelicans!  All hope looked lost when Wilmington scored twice in the top of the tenth, but the Pelicans surged back to score three times in their half of the tenth to win it.  Some really good performances from Pelican pitching today, kept them in it all night long.

At the Plate:

  • Jeimer Candelario had the big day for the Pelicans, he was 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Victor Caratini had a huge hit as well, he finished the night 1-for-4 with two RBI’s, and a walk.
  • Shawon Dunston Jr. continued his hot start, he went 2-for-4 in the win, he’s now hitting .400 on the season.

On the Mound:

  • Paul Blackburn made his 2015 debut, and was very good.  He worked five innings, giving up one run on four hits while walking one, and striking out six.
  • Juan Paniagua was even better, he worked a perfect three innings, no hits, runs, or walks while striking out six.
  • Starling Peralta picked up the win, he worked two innings, giving up two runs on four hits while walking one, and striking out five.  That’s right, the Pelicans struck out 17 guys, wow.

Tennessee Smokies 4-11 Final

Full Box Score

Sloppy one tonight as the Smokies committed five errors in a 6-2 loss to the Braves.  Kyle Schwarber launched his first home run of the season, an absolute blast, and things were looking good early.  But a six run seventh for the Braves sealed the Smokie’s fate as they fall to 1-2 on the season.

At the Plate:

  • Pin-Chieh Chen knocked in one of the runs tonight, he finished 1-for-4 with said RBI in the loss.
  • Kyle Schwarber was 2-for-4 with a dinger, an RBI, and a run scored.  Schwarber also gunned down a runner trying to steal second, good stuff.
  • Ryan Dent had a solid game, he went 1-for-2 with a walk, and was one of the few players without an error.
  • Christian Villanueva, and Dan Vogelbach each had one hit tonight.

On the Mound:

  • Felix Pena got the start for the Smokies and was outstanding, he worked six scoreless innings, giving up three hits while walking one, and striking out two.
  • Zach Cates wasn’t as good, he didn’t register an out, he gave up five runs, two earned, on one hit while walking three.
  • P.J. Francescon was solid at the end of this one, he worked two innings, giving up one run, unearned, no hits while walking one, and striking out two.

Iowa Cubs 4-11 Final

Full Box Score

So the Iowa Cubs struggled in the first two games of the season, note to self, don’t anger the Iowa Cubs.  Thirteen runs, and sixteen hits later the Iowa Cubs put their offensive struggles in the rear view mirror.  All eight position players that started had at least one hit, six players had at least two RBI’s, tasty.

At the Plate:  (Take a seat, just going to list them)

  • Adron Chambers was 2-for-5 with two doubles, a walk, two RBI’s, and three runs scored.
  • Addison Russell was 1-for-5 with a walk, and two runs scored.
  • Kris Bryant was 3-for-4 with a dinger, a walk, three RBI’s, a double, and three runs scored.
  • Chris Valaika was 3-for-5 with a walk, a home run, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Junior Lake was 1-for-5 with  two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Rubi Silva was 2-for-5 with two RBI’s, a run scored, and a stolen base.
  • Rafael Lopez was 1-for-4 with a walk, two RBI’s, a double, and a stolen base.
  • Mike Baxter was 2-for-5 with a run scored.

I’m tired.

On the Mound:

  • Eric Jokisch got the start but couldn’t work deep enough for the win, he worked 4.2 scoreless innings, giving up three hits while walking three.
  • Blake Cooper was really good out of the pen to get the win, he worked 2.1 scoreless innings, surrendering no hits while striking out four.
  • Gonzalez Germen, and Joe Ortiz each worked a scoreless inning  in relief.

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Myrtle Beach Pelicans Roster is Set

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Here come the Myrtle Beach Pelicans!  That’s right, another new affiliate for the Cubs, the Pelicans replace the Daytona Cubs at the high Class-A level.  An outstanding location, and a roster filled with talented prospects makes this team a must see, the season opens on Thursday!

Pitchers:

Paul Blackburn (RHP)
Matt Brazis (RHP)
Gerardo Concepcion (LHP)
Josh Conway (RHP)
Michael Heesch (LHP)
Jonathan Martinez (RHP)
Juan Paniagua (RHP)
Starling Peralta (RHP)
James Pugliese (RHP)
Tayler Scott (RHP)
Tyler Skulina (RHP)
Daury Torrez (RHP)
Jen-Ho Tseng (RHP)
Duane Underwood (RHP)

Catchers:

Victor Caratini (S)
Ben Carhart (R)
Alberto Mineo (L)

Infielders:

Jeimer Candelario (S)
Wes Darvill (L)
Andrew Ely (L)
Daniel Lockhart (L)
Carlos Penalver (R)
Jacob Rogers (L)

Outfielders:

Shawon Dunston Jr. (L)
Jacob Hannemann (L)
Billy McKinney (L)
Mark Zagunis (R)

Players to watch?  How much time ya got?  The pitching staff is electrifying, Torrez, Blackburn, Underwood, Tseng, oh my.  Billy McKinney, and Mark Zagunis are a pair of highly touted prospects roaming the outfield, so much excitement here.

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The Steady Progression of Paul Blackburn

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It’s finally here, 2015 Spring Training, ignore the negative twenty-five wind chills outside, it’s baseball season.  The talk over the last few years heading into spring training has been how good the Cubs prospects are, and eventually the Cubs will compete with said prospects.  This year publications still love the Cubs when it comes to prospects (Kris Bryant was just named the number one prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America), but the major league team is finally ready to take the next step.  But before we get too far into that I want to talk about a Cubs prospect that is one of my personal favorites, but doesn’t get too much pub yet, Paul Blackburn.

Blackburn is in the group that I would consider the second wave of prospects, which means one of two things.  He either steps onto a Cubs team that is already competing (2017), or he is traded in a package to improve an already competitive team anywhere from this season through the 2016 off-season.  Either way I think that Blackburn can, and will be an effective major league starter, I just hope it’s with the Cubs.

The Cubs drafted Blackburn in the 1st round (supplemental round) of the 2012 amateur draft, number 56 overall out of Heritage High School in Brentwood, CA.  Wasting no time, the Cubs and Blackburn struck a deal, and Pauly was pitching in Arizona for the Cubs AZL team.  It was the end of a long calendar year, but Blackburn handled himself quite well in an offensively heavy league.  Blackburn tossed 20.2 innings, and finished the season with an ERA of 3.48, and a FIP of 5.39, obviously that last number is a little high.  The following season with Boise was trying for Blackburn as his innings were limited, and his command disappeared.  My guess is he was trying to miss too many bats, probably due to the fact that his BABIP was .313 in 2012, bad luck, so he tried to limit contact, just my opinion.  On one hand the strikeouts escalated from 5.66 K/9 in 2012 to 7.43 K/9, but so did the walks, which was uncharacteristic.  In 2012 Blackburn had a BB/9 rate of 3.05, that went all the way up to 5.67 BB/9 in his 46 innings of work in 2013.  With all that happening his advanced stats got better, the BABIP went down to .288, and his FIP went down to 4.47, more strikeouts, more walks, but less long balls.

With only 65+ professional innings under his belt Blackburn took his talents to Kane County for the 2014 season, and broke out.  Blackburn was a key cog in one of the best minor league teams that I’ve ever seen, as well as one of the best rotations.  The command came roaring back, Blackburn could put the ball where he wanted without hesitation again.  The strikeouts went back to 2012 levels, but the walk rate plummeted to 2.38 per nine innings, the FIP followed suit, dropping to 3.84, a career best.  The most impressive thing about Blackburn was his ability to bounce back from a year in which he probably learned a lot about himself as a pitcher.  As Jonathan Mayo points out in his 2015 prospect rankings (Blackburn 15th in Cubs system), Blackburn probably has the best combo of stuff and feel in the system.  He knows how to pitch, kind of like Kyle Hendricks, and has the same type of ground ball stuff but with a little more consistent velocity.  Expect Blackburn to get time at High-A Myrtle Beach this year, and possibly Double-A Tennessee.  I’m excited about the type of pitcher, and person that Pauly is, you should be too.

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Riding the Bus; Cubs Minor League Reports (4/22/2014)

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TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2014

Iowa 4-22-14

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It was all Iowa today as they built a 10-1 lead over Round Rock by the fifth inning en route to a 10-3 cake walk.  The I-Cubs sprayed the ball all over the place as they pounded out twelve hits to improve their record to 10-9 on the season.

At the Plate:

  • Chris Coghlan was the poster child for the “Cubs Way” today as he went 1-for-1 with four walks, a double, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Arismendy Alcantara is making an awful lot of noise lately, he was 2-for-5 with his second home run of the season, two RBI’s, a double, and two runs scored in the win.
  • Javier Baez is starting to heat up at the plate, he was 2-for-5 with a triple, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Chris Valaika has been destroying Triple A pitching, he went 3-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, a double, and a run scored, he’s hitting .340 on the season.
  • Luis Flores is pounding the baseball this season, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBI’s, and three runs scored.

On the Mound:

  • Eric Jokisch was very good today, and was rewarded with his first win of the season.  Jokisch worked seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, while walking none, and striking out eight.
  • Marcus Hatley continued his brilliance out of the pen, he worked a scoreless inning, while walking one, and striking out two.
  • Marcos Mateo cleaned things up tonight, he worked a scoreless inning, while walking one, and striking out one.

Kane County 4-22-14

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The Cougars looked to be sailing right along to a 5-2 win when things got dicey in the ninth inning.  The Snappers scored twice and had the tying, and go ahead run on base before the Cougars escaped with a 5-4 win.

At the Plate:

  • Carlos Penalver has had an impressive start to 2014, he was 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored in the win today.  He’s now hitting .302 on the season.
  • Ben Carhart had another solid game, he went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
  • Yasiel Balaguert was productive again today, he went 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, a run scored, and an RBI, his 15th of the season.
  • David Bote joined in on the double fun as well, he was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Paul Blackburn was solid once again as he moved his record to 2-0 on the season.  Pauly worked 5.1 innings, giving up one run on five hits, while walking two.
  • Nathan Dorris did a solid job out of the pen but did get touched up a bit.  Dorris worked 2.2 innings, giving up one run on one hit, while walking two, and striking out three.
  • Jose Arias started the ninth, and couldn’t finish this one off.  Arias worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on two hits, while walking two, and striking out two.
  • Zack Godley came on and cleaned up the mess as he struck out the final batter of the game to pick up his third save of the season.

Daytona 4-22-14

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2014 has been frustrating for Daytona, they took out a seasons worth of frustration on the baseball tonight.  The D-Cubs pounded out seventeen hits while scoring eighteen runs to embarrass Clearwater 18-5, I’m sure that felt good.

At the Plate:

  • Pin-Chieh Chen is turning into a weapon out of that lead-off spot, he was 4-for-5 with a walk, three RBI’s, two triples, a double, and four runs scored, yikes.
  • Tim Saunders was solid yet again, he went 2-for-2 with two doubles, a walk, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Bijan Rademacher never stops hitting, he was 2-for-5 with two doubles, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored, he’s hitting .365 on the season.
  • Rock Shoulders went insane today, he was 3-for-5 with a grand slam, a walk, two doubles, four RBI’s, and four runs scored.
  • Gioskar Amaya made his long awaited return to the lineup tonight, and was awesome.  Amaya went 3-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, and four runs scored.
  • Marco Hernandez made some noise from the nine spot, he was 2-for-5 with a triple, three RBI’s, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Taylor Scott was the beneficiary of the offensive onslaught tonight, as he picked up his second win of the season.  Scott worked 5.1 innings, giving up three runs, on earned, on four hits, while walking three, and striking out one.
  • Stephen Perakslis was really good out of the pen, he worked 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit, while striking out three.
  • Austin Reed got mop up duty in this one, he worked two innings, giving up two runs on four hits, while walking one, and striking out two.

Smokies 4-22-14

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Pierce Johnson made his long awaited Double A debut tonight, and things were going just fine until the 5th inning.  The Barons scored eight times to erase a 1-0 deficit on their way to crushing the Smokies 14-3.

At the Plate:

  • John Andreoli had another solid game out of the lead-off spot, he went 2-for-3 with two walks.
  • Kris Bryant is rolling, he was 3-for-5 with a double, and a run scored in the win.  He has now reached base in eighteen straight games, and is hitting .311 on the season.
  • Taylor Davis was good from the nine spot, he went 2-for-4 with two RBI’s, he’s hitting .429 on the season.

On the Mound:

  • Pierce Johnson made his 2014 debut, and it had some good, and some bad.  Johnson worked four innings, giving up three runs on four hits, while walking four (bad), and striking out five.  I think he was a little too amped up for this start, the command was spotty at best.
  • Ryan Searle wasn’t much better out of the pen as he worked three innings, giving up six runs on six hits, while walking one, and striking out three.
  • Jeff Lorick suffered the same fate as the others, he worked one inning, giving up five runs, three earned, on three hits, while walking two.

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