Down on the Farm: 2-2 record, Giambrone, Happ, and Amaya crushing dingers, more

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by - Staff Writer -
Giambrone has four homers in his last five games (Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports)
Giambrone has four homers in his last five games (Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports)

The Cubs farmhands continue to go through the growing pains of a minor league journey as many inconsistencies remain prevalent. Still, with a 2-2 record on Monday night, many positives can be taken away as the future looks bright for Chicago.

IOWA CUBS 5 – Oklahoma City Dodgers 10: With how things have gone this season, any time the Cubs score five or more runs it seems like that is more than enough to win. Not on this night, however, as Duncan Robinson struggled for the first time all season allowing the Dodgers to come out on top 10-5.

The Dodgers wasted no time grabbing the early lead as they jumped all over Robinson in the first inning. A Matt Beady single got the scoring started, before an RBI groundout by Kyle Garlick and a Cameron Perkins sacrifice fly made things 3-0 before the Cubs came to bat. Despite a scoreless first two frames, the offense wasn’t the issue as Robinson briefly settled in to let the Cubs go to work.

Iowa did just that in the third inning looking to chip away at an early deficit. Not only did the chip away, but they managed to claw even as the hottest hitter in AAA Trent Giambrone went yard for the fifth time this season and fourth straight game to make it 3-2 Dodgers. After Ian Happ got on base, it was Phillip Evans lasing a double and just like that it was a 3-3 ball game.

Former Cubs prospect Rob Zystryzny not only had a nice day on the mound against his former team but had a monster day at the dish also. Starting with his double in the fourth that put the Dodgers back in front 4-3, Zystryzny added a single in the fifth as part of a four-run fifth to give Oklahoma City an 8-3 lead. Jake Peter, Drew Jackson, and Perkins were responsible for the other three runs that frame.

In desperate need of some offense in a hurry, the Cubs turned to Happ in the fifth. With Dixon Machado on base, Happ remained on his excellent stretch of play crushing his first homer of the season to make things 8-5. Iowa was unable to generate much offense after that point with Will Smith capping off the scoring with a two-run homer in the eighth for the 10-5 Dodgers win dropping the Cubs to 7-4.

The good news from this loss was seeing Happ continue to improve picking up a pair of hits, but three strikeouts also. Another homer and three more hits from Giambrone moves his average north of .300 at .302 while Machado continues to lead the way at .392. From a pitching standpoint, James Norwood continues to look sharp while Dillon Maples is struggling with consistency. Brian Duensing was walloped for the first time in 2019.


TENNESSEE SMOKIES 6 – Jackson Generals 2: Returning home and looking to stay hot the Smokies took on the former Cubs AA affiliate Jackson with bragging rights on the line. Tyson Miller got the call and turned in a solid five-inning start allowing just one run with five strikeouts with the offense taking care of the rest for the 6-2 Smokies win.

Playing with the lead is something Tennessee has been familiar with much of this season. That was on full display again as they wasted no time in the first. With Jared Young already on the bases, Robel Garcia connected for his first homer of the season giving the Smokies a 2-0 advantage.
Not to be outdone, the Generals managed to keep things close before getting their offense going in the middle innings. The speed and aggressive baserunning from Jazz Chisholm paid off in the fifth as caught the Smokies off guard to steal home. Ramon Hernandez continued the comeback bid in the top of the sixth as his single made it a 2-2 ballgame with the Generals having new life.

It was a short-lived tie as Charcer Burks put the Smokies in front for good with a single in the bottom of the sixth for the 3-2 lead. Roberto Caro added some much-needed insurance in the eighth with a knockout blow as his bases-clearing double pushed the lead to 6-2 before Bailey Clark finished things off in the ninth for the win.

The Smokies remain in first place as they continue to play well and move to 7-3. Nico Hoerner appears to be finding a nice groove collecting three hits in four plate appearances to push his average to .306. A pair hits from Young and Burks made up for seven of the teams nine hits as the Smokies remained efficient with their offensive attacks.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 3 – Frederick Keys 9: It is beginning to sound like a broken record for Myrtle Beach as they simply have not played well this season. Weather inconsistent pitching or lack of hitting, all their struggles have been on full display making it hard for wins to come by. Monday was no different as, despite an early lead, the Pelicans dropped their 10th game of the season 9-3.

Things did not look back early as Luis Lugo pitched a strong first inning which was anchored by immediate offense in the bottom of the frame. In a battle to grab the leadoff spot, D.J. Wilson reached base setting things up for the middle of the order. Miguel Amaya wasted no time bringing him in hammering his second homer of the year and the early 2-0 lead.


That score would hold up until the third inning when things began to go south for Lugo and the Pelicans.

Starting with a J.C. Escarra single to tie things up 2-2 in the third, the Keys offense erupted for seven unanswered runs over the next four innings to take a commanding 7-2 lead. Most of those runs were off singles and manufacturing runs, but Zach Jarrett did deliver a homer in the process.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth when the Pelicans put an end to that run as Kevonte Mitchell hit the second Myrtle Beach homer of the game cutting things to 7-3.


The Pelicans were unable to get any close as Mason McCoy pushed the lead to 9-3 with a homer in the eighth before the Keys pitching staff shut the door the final two frames.

With the loss, the Pelicans continue to sit in last place sporting a 2-10 record. The homer from Amaya couldn’t have come at a better time as he was amid a 4-23 slump and has seen his average drop to .194. Jhonny Bethencourt was the lone Pelican with multiple hits while five others tallied one.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 6 – Great Lakes Loons 5: After enduring a rough time at Great Lakes last week, the tables flipped as the Loons headed to South Bend on Monday. All eyes would be on starter Braylin Marquez as he looked to continue to dazzle with his fastball. Even though lasting only four innings of two-run ball, it was an offensive breakthrough for the Cubs that led them to the 6-5 victory.

Scoreless through the first two frames, the Loons got on the board first in the third as this as the blemish in the Marquez start. Niko Hulsizer made sure he didn’t miss a fastball and drove a homer over the fence for a 2-0 Loons lead. That lead was short-lived as the Cubs offense began to find their groove over the next two frames.

With Jonathan Sierra cutting things to 2-1 with a single in the third, it was the top of the order that made the Loons pay in the fourth. Already with runners on base, D.J. Artis put the Cubs in front with a double as Delvin Zinn, and Eric Gonzalez scored to make it 3-2. A few pitches later it was Cole Roederer getting in on the fun with a double of his own making it a 4-2 Cubs lead.

Not to be outdone, it was the Hulsizer game on the evening as he crushed his second homer of the night to bring things to 4-3 in the sixth before a seventh-inning double from Jacob Amaya brought things back to even at 4-4. Looking for the go-ahead knock, look no further than the bottom of the seventh when Tyler Durna stepped to the plate. Not only did he come through with a hit to put the Cubs in front for good, but it was also an extra-base hit to push across a pair putting South Bend up 6-4.

Things continued to be a struggle in terms of pitching to Hulsizer as he connected for his third homer in the game making it 6-5. That would be all the Loons would be able to get as Ethan Roberts entered for the ninth inning and set the Loons down for his third save of the season.
South Bend is back above .500 with a 6-5 record. The top of the line up certainly set the stage for South Bend as they combined to go 5-10 with three
RBI’s.



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