Chicago Cubs

Birmingham Rallies After Peavy Goes Down

Birmingham Rallies After Peavy Goes Down

Monday April 18, 2011
Posted: 10:55 p.m.
WHITE SOXBirmingham AA
The Barons capped a three-run, ninth-inning rally Thursday night by scoring the game-winning run on a wild pitch as they bested visiting Mississippi, 6-5.

Christian Colonel led off the inning with a walk and went to second on Justin Greenes one-out single before Luis Avilan uncorked the Braves first wild pitch, which put runners in scoring position. Tyler Kuhn then tripled to tie the score at 5-5. Billy Bullock came on to replace Avilan but walked Andrew Garcia, letting loose with a wild pitch in the process, allowing Kuhn to score the winning run.

The ninth-inning effort capped a comeback that saw the Barons rally from a 3-0, first-inning deficit. Jake Peavy had started in a rehab assignment and lasted only 23 of an inning. He gave up all three runs on four hits before leaving the game with what the White Sox termed discomfort. Peavy threw only 15 pitches.

Nate Jones pitched a scoreless ninth to eventually get the win but Dylan Axelrod deserves much of the credit, stepping in for Peavy and allowing only two runs over 7 13 innings.
Kannapolis A
Hickory roughed up opening-day starter Ryan Buch and the Intimidators couldnt respond, dropping a 6-1 decision Monday at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.

Buch 1-2 allowed six runs on seven hits and three walks in 5 13 innings. While Steve Upchurch pitched 3 23 innings of one-hit ball in relief, it wasnt enough to spark Kannapolis.

Brady Shoemaker had a pair of hits while Mike Blanke drove in the lone Intimidators run. In other news, Jacob Petricka was named as Sally League pitcher of the week after going 1-0 with 16 strikeouts in 11 innings over two starts. He didnt allow an earned run.
Winston-Salem A
Travis Adairs run-scoring single in the seventh inning provided the winning margin as Myrtle Beach downed Winston-Salem, 2-1, in the opening game of a three-game series at BB&T Coastal Field.

Adair then threw out Andy Wilkins at the plate in the ninth to end the game. Wilkins was attempting to score from second on Austin Younts second hit of the game. Yount had driven in the first Dash run.

Justin Collup 0-1 took the loss despite pitching well in his three-inning stint. Joe Serafin started and allowed a run in five innings.
Charlotte AAA
Norfolk wouldnt stay in the park Monday night and that proved to be problematic for Charlotte, which dropped a 10-5 decision at Harbor Park. The Tides blasted four home runs, three of which came off starter and loser Brandon Hynick, who lasted only four innings.

Dayan Viciedo had three hits and drove in a pair for the Knights.
CUBSIowa AAA
Lou Montanezs two-run double fueled a four-run seventh inning Monday afternoon to lead the I-Cubs by Memphis, 5-2 at Principal Park.

Montanezs double gave Iowa the lead and Brad Snyder added to it with a two-run single that scored Montanez and Fernando Perez. The outburst made a winner of John Gaub 1-0, who pitched two scoreless innings of relief.

Thomas Diamond started and fanned seven over six innings while allowing two runs. Scott Maine earned his third save of the season with a scoreless ninth. Bobby Scales walked in his only plate appearance to end his hitting streak at nine games.
Daytona A
Nick Struck couldnt contain Clearwater in the early going and Daytona was never able to fully recover, dropping a 7-4 decision Monday night at Bright House Field.

Struck 1-1 allowed six runs on seven hits over four innings, surrendering a crippling three-run homer to Travis Mattair in the third. Jae-Hoon Has three-run homer in the eighth cut into the Threshers lead but it wasnt enough as Justin Friend recorded the final five outs to record his fifth save. Matt Cerda added three hits for the Cubs.
Tennessee AA
Jake Kahaulelios 10th-inning homer Monday night gave Carolina a 5-4 victory over the visiting Smokies.

Tennessees offense, which has been tearing up the Southern League all season, was held in check. The Smokies managed only three hits with three of the runs coming on Ryan Flahertys sixth-inning homer. Brett Jackson went hitless, snapping his season-long hitting streak.

David Cales took the loss. Chris Rusin started and gave up a pair of runs in six innings before Kyle Smit allowed two runs in the bottom of the sixth to negate Flahertys homer.
Peoria A
Hayden Simpsons indoctrination to pro ball continued Monday night in Quad Cities and the Cubs top pick in last years draft continued to struggle through it as Peoria dropped a 4-2 decision at Modern Woodman Park.

Simpson 0-1 allowed all four runs in four innings, scattering six hits and walking two. He surrendered three first inning runs, allowing the River Bandits to snap what had been a 28-inning scoreless streak. Simpson has a 4.26 ERA through three starts and has allowed 14 hits in his last nine innings.

Peoria managed to score twice in the seventh inning but could draw no closer. Rubio Silva had a pair of hits and now has five multi-hit games this season. Greg Rohan singled in the seventh to run his hitting streak to 10 games. Smaily Borges was 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. The opposition has stolen 18 bases without being thrown out after Quad Cities swiped two bases Monday.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

With or without Justin Verlander, Jake Arrieta expects Cubs to stay in first place: ‘We have the pieces’

With or without Justin Verlander, Jake Arrieta expects Cubs to stay in first place: ‘We have the pieces’

The Cubs already have a Cy Young Award winner, someone who was transforming into the hottest pitcher on the planet around this time in 2015, and then beat the Cleveland Indians twice on the road in last year’s World Series.

So the Cubs can keep discussing Justin Verlander and trying to figure out the price point where it makes sense, what caliber prospects they would have to give up and how much money the Detroit Tigers would have to kick in to cover a bill that could soar toward $90 million. 

But Jake Arrieta showed why the Cubs might finally start to run away from the division and become a very dangerous team in October, dominating the White Sox on Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field during an 8-3 win that vaulted them into first place in the National League Central.          

“We expect to remain in first place,” Arrieta said. “We know it’s going to be a tough task, but that’s kind of what you deal with at the highest level of sports. You expect to have really good competition from teams that are either equal with you or close behind.

“We feel like we have the group to separate ourselves at this point in time and remain in first place for the remainder of the way.”

The Cubs probably don’t have the blue-chip prospects – and the appetite to raid their farm system again – to blow away the Oakland A’s and win a bidding war for Sonny Gray. The Cubs kick the tires on everything, but Yu Darvish would be a rental and the Texas Rangers are torn over what to do with their Japanese star. 

This is another reason why the Cubs are focusing on adding a veteran backup catcher and strengthening the bullpen before the July 31 trade deadline: Arrieta Watch is back, taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning in front of a sellout crowd of 38,517 before Omar Narvaez drilled a ground-rule double into the right-center field seats.  

The Cubs are 10-2 since trading for Jose Quintana during the All-Star break, erasing a 5.5-game deficit against the Milwaukee Brewers heading into this weekend’s showdown at Miller Park. At 53-47, the Cubs are a season-high six games over .500, and it all starts with pitching.  

“I think we’ve got the pieces to get it done,” Arrieta said. “If there’s a situation where we can get another guy and not lose any key players, it might work in our favor.

“Obviously, when we traded for Quintana, that’s a huge addition to our ballclub. This guy’s really good. He works his butt off. And just seeing how he carries himself in between starts is a really great sign. To have a guy like that who works extremely hard and cares about the team winning ballgames – you can’t replace that.

“That trade right there in itself is one that’s going to pay huge dividends for this ballclub, not only for this year, but for the next couple years. But we’re a great team right now, and I think we have the pieces to get it done.”  

Arrieta was on cruise control until Yoan Moncada launched his 98th and final pitch – an 0-2 curveball – 409 feet over the center-field wall with two outs in the seventh inning. Arrieta only allowed those two hits, giving up two runs and finishing with five strikeouts against two walks, continuing the correction super-agent Scott Boras predicted when the Chicago media and Cubs fans wondered about his flashes of diminished velocity and spikes in hard contact during a free-agency push.

Arrieta has methodically put together 10 wins and three straight quality starts after the All-Star break, chopping his ERA down from 5.44 in the middle of May to 4.03. Ricky Renteria’s White Sox are obviously tanking for the future and there are a lot of conditions attached to this statement: 

But if Arrieta pitches like this, Jon Lester continues to be one of the best big-game pitchers of his generation, Quintana excels in a pennant race and Kyle Hendricks regains his feel and rhythm after six-plus weeks on the disabled list, then the Cubs might have a better playoff rotation than the one that ended the 108-year drought.     

“We’re feelin’ it,” Arrieta said, thinking back to last summer, when Theo Epstein’s front office added 100-mph closer Aroldis Chapman to a team with close to a 99-percent chance of making the playoffs. “I remember last year we were in this clubhouse around this same time, and it’s no different.” 

Look at the competition: The Washington Nationals might be forced into adding a frontline starter now that Stephen Strasburg is headed to the 10-day disabled list with a nerve impingement in his right forearm. The Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping a strained lower back won’t stop Clayton Kershaw from making a few tune-up starts in September before becoming their Game 1 starter in October.

With or without Verlander, the Cubs are ramping up to defend their title.

“I’m going to continue to get stronger as the year progresses,” Arrieta said. “I feel like my best baseball, my best pitching, is still ahead of me. And I’m ready for it.”

Wake-up Call: Cubs best Sox in Game 3; Fox, Pace feeling the heat?

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USA TODAY

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