Cubs Minors Daily: Ed Howard with three hits, Owen Caissie impressive, Ball homers, more


by - Senior Writer -
Ed Howard had three hits last night (Kim Klement - USA Today Sports)
Ed Howard had three hits last night (Kim Klement - USA Today Sports)

Mother Nature hasn't been too kind on the minor league season this month as several makeup games have taken place across the system. That was once again the case last night as six of the seven teams were in action with seven games taking place.

Along with the makeup games, Minor League Baseball continues to deal with COVID and other restrictions, which we will get to later in this column. All in all, it was a solid showing for the Cubs system on the night despite posting a 3-4 overall record.

OMAHA STORM CHASERS 3 – IOWA CUBS 2

Fans were treated to a rare pitcher's duel when facing Omaha, but the Cubs remained on the short-end of the stick. One of the positives to take away was the performance by starting pitcher Luis Lugo who continues to get his feet wet at AAA. Lugo allowed just one run on three hits in five innings, walking two and striking out four.

He gave way to Dillon Maples, who continued to struggle in his rehab stint before handing things off to Marcus Waldon and Scott Effross. Both Cubs runs came in the bottom of the first, with

Trayce Thompson delivering the blow. Thompson has had a solid season this year, connecting for his team-high 16th homer as the Cubs led 2-0 after one.

Despite the strong pitching from Lugo and the gang, the Cubs offense went silent after the first, which gave Omaha a chance to battle back. The Dairon Blanco RBI double put Omaha on the board in the second inning before Nick Pratto tied things up off Maples in the sixth as he connected for his 12th bomb of the season.

Two innings later, the Storm Chasers offense was at it again as Ryan McBroom collected the game-winning RBI double to lift the Storm Chasers to a 3-2 win. Not only were the Cubs held scoreless after the first inning, but they managed just four hits in the game, with Thompson delivering the big blow. Abiatal Avelino, Nick Martini, and Taylor Gushue

added the final hits, with Greg Deichmann going hitless with three punchouts.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES VS CHATTANOOGA LOOKOUTS (Cancelled COVID)

The big news of the night came in AA, where the Tennessee Smokies and Chattanooga Lookouts were forced to cancel the rest of their series due to COVID concerns. The Smokies were affected by COVID as several players and coaches have to go through the contact tracing process. There has been no word if these games will be made up, but this is something to keep an eye on.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 3 – PEORIA CHIEFS 2 (game 1)

In game one of a doubleheader, the Cubs got a strong pitching performance from Alexander Vizcaino and Bailey Horn while using some late-game offense to pick up the win. Since being traded to the Cubs, Vizcaino continues to go about his business as the flame-throwing righty went 3 2/3 innings, allowing one run on one hit to go with six strikeouts.

Horn was also acquired at the deadline, who finished out the final 3 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits with three punchouts.

It took four innings for anyone to score, and it was the Chiefs who brought home the game's first run with Leandro Cedeno cashing in with an RBI single. Yohendrick Pinango took it upon himself to tie the game with an RBI groundout in the fifth before Bryce Ball homered for the second time in the series to put South Bend up 2-1.

Despite great pitching from South Bend, the Chiefs continued to battle, with Cedeno adding his second RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to tie things up 2-2. The Cubs had the last laugh with Luis Vazquez connecting for his second homer of the season in the seventh to pick up the 3-2 win.

PEORIA CHIEFS 3 – SOUTH BEND CUBS 1 (Game 2)

In a makeup of Thursday's rainout, pitching continued to take center stage, with the Cubs dropping this game 3-1. Chris Clarke got the start, but dealt with command issues. In just 1 2/3 innings, Clarke allowed two runs on four hits while walking four guys. Dalton Stambaugh allowed the other run in relief while Burl Carraway tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts.

Cedeno had a doubleheader to remember as he followed up his two RBI singles in game one with another one in game two to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead after one inning of play. Add in the Masyn Winn single in the second, and the Chiefs held a 2-0 lead through two innings with Clarke struggling to find the zone.

Down but not out, Tyler Durna put the Cubs on the board with an RBI double in the third as South Bend pulled within 2-1. Unfortunately, that would be as close as things would get with Cedeno again cashing in with an RBI single in the fifth to close out the Chiefs 3-1 win. Even with the loss, the Cubs outhit the Chiefs as they tallied eight hits. Pinango, Durna, and Jake Slaughter had two hits, with Vazquez and Yonathan Perlaza picking up one.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 9 – COLUMBIA FIREFLIES 8

The Pelicans overcame a five-run second inning by rallying for three runs in the eighth to pick up another win. Manuel Espinoza wasn't at his best as he allowed six runs, five earned in five innings of work. He didn't walk a man and struck out six.

For the most part, Espinoza was great outside of his rough second inning that saw Columbia push across five runs. Enrique Valdez doubled home the game's first run before a wild pitch from Espinoza made things 2-0. Not out of the woods yet, Matthew Schmidt delivered the big blow in the inning connecting for his third homer of the season to give Columbia a 5-0 lead.

Looking to make things interesting, the Pelicans picked up an RBI groundout from Jonathan Sierra in the second before Josue Huma added an RBI single in the fourth to pull within 5-2. After Saul Garza added An RBI single in the fifth to take a 6-2 lead, the Pelicans responded in a big way, using a four-run fifth to tie things up 6-6.

While an error led to the first run in that inning, Sierra and Ed Howard added RBI singles while Peter Matt picked up an RBI double in that frame to make this a ballgame. Failing to let that inning dictate the game, Columbia went about their business in the sixth with Jose Marquez connecting for a home run ahead of the Valdez sacrifice fly in the seventh, giving the Fireflies an 8-6 lead.

Still trailing by two in the eighth, the Pelicans brought the excitement as they used their last at-bats to fuel a rally. Jordan Nwogu started things off with an RBI single before the new kid on the block; Owen Caissie continued to flash his potential as his RBI double proved to be the difference in the 9-8 win.

Kevin Made continues to be the spark plug in the top part of the order as he joined Howard with three hits.

Nwogu, Caissie, Sierra, and Matt had multi-hit games, with Huma picking up the final hit. Christian Franklin continues to search for his first hit, but with two more walks, showing great patience at the plate.

ACL RANGERS 7 – ACL CUBS 4

Much like Myrtle Beach, the Cubs allowed a five-run frame to the Rangers, but this one happened late in the game as they couldn't recover. After 3 2/3 innings of two-run ball, Luis Rodriguez sees his ERA rise slightly, but it is still sitting at 1.50 on the season. One of the runs he allowed was the solo homer to Junior Paniagua in the third that saw the Rangers grab a 1-0 lead.

Yeison Santana followed that homer up with one of his own as his first career professional homer gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead after three. Santana wasn't done having a great game as he reached base on an error to put the Cubs back up 3-2 after Efrenyer Narvaez tied things up with a single earlier in the fourth.

Things began to unravel for the Cubs in the fifth inning as the Rangers pushed across five runs to take a 7-3 lead. Aaron Zavala and Kenen Irizarry gave the Rangers the lead with RBI singles before Yosy Galan provided the game-winning blow with a three-run shot. The Cubs had a chance to make things interesting by loading the bases in the seventh, but managed just an Ismael Mena walk to fall 7-4.

Despite just four hits, with two of those coming from Malcom Quintero, the Cubs showed great patience at the plate drawing 10 walks in the game. Two of those walks came from Mena and Shendrik Apostel, while Santana and Mena collected the final two hits. James Triantos and Felix Stevens suffered hitless days at the plate.

DSL RANGERS2 6 – DSL CUBS RED 4

What looked to be a solid win for DSL Red turned sour late as the Rangers pushed across five runs in the final two innings to secure the win. Starlyn Picardo lowered his ERA to 1.89 following three solid innings as he combined with Joel Jimenez and Leury Gomez to allow just one run in seven stellar innings on the mound.

They were backed by a Cubs offense that got going immediately in the first inning when Cristian More and Anderson Suriel collected RBI groundouts to make things 2-0. Francisco Laya picked up an RBI groundout of his own in the top of the second, but that was the brunt of the Rangers offense through the first eight innings.

Not only did Pedro Ramirez extend the lead to 3-1 with an RBI force out in the second inning, but he pushed across the Cubs final run in the fourth with an RBI single putting them in front 4-1. That score looked like it was going to hold up until the Rangers began to make noise in the eighth. Cesar Ortega pulled the Rangers within 4-3 with an RBI single before tying things up with a wild pitch. One inning later saw another wild pitch put them in front for good before the Frandy Almonte force out capped off the scoring in a 6-4 Rangers win.

Ramirez continues his season-long tear with three of the team's six hits to go with his two RBIs and is now hitting .376 on the season. Moises Ballesteros, Gouri Lubo, and Fredy Montenegro collected the remaining three hits.

DSL CUBS BLUE 16 – DSL RANGERS1 9

The offense was certainly not an issue for DSL Blue on Thursday as they scored early and often to top the Rangers. While the pitching wasn't anything to write home about, the offense made fans forget about that as they played one of their best games of the season.

Tied 1-1 after the Wally Soto double and the Abimelech Ortiz homer in the first, the Cubs took the lead for good with a wild pitch in the third. They continued to build on that lead in the fourth, with Esmarly Tatis grabbing an RBI single and Soto belting a three-run shot to extend the Cubs lead to 6-1. The Rangers continued to remain close, with Rafael Marcano picking up an RBI groundout and Danyer Cueva adding a single to make things 6-3.

Two innings later, the Cubs put the game away, scoring 10 runs across the sixth and seventh innings, with six of those coming in the sixth. With a wild pitch and passed ball helping to aid in the big inning, Frank Hernandez picked up an RBI triple while Joanfran Rojas and Tatis added singles. Leonel Espinoza mixed in a sacrifice fly as the Cubs now led 12-3.

One inning later saw the Cubs push the lead to 16-3 with Jerry Torres and Daniel Ferreira picking up bases-loaded walks with an Espinoza single and Rojas double play as the Cubs were in complete control. The Rangers made plenty of noise across the final three innings, scoring six runs, but it wasn't enough to top the Cubs 16-9.

Cristian Hernandez put together his best game as a pro going a perfect 3-3 at the plate with a walk to raise his average to .253. Soto added three hits to go with his four RBIs, with Espinoza and Tatis collecting multi-hit games. Every DSL Cubs starter recorded one hit in the win.

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