Jimenez and Clifton honored
With only one homer entering the month, Eloy Jimenez displayed his game power in May, smacking seven long ball to go along with eight doubles and 23 knocked in. Over 28 games, the Dominican Republic native hit .364/.407/.627 and scored 17 times. Jimenez was named Midwest League Player of the Week for May 16-22 after batting .458 (11-for-24) with four homers and seven RBI in six games. The six-game stretch was part of a 17-game hitting streak from May 13-30 in which the 19-year-old hit a league-best .420 (29-for-69) with four doubles and seven home runs. Signed by the Cubs as an international free agent in 2013, the third-year pro is batting .315/.356/.517 with 8 HR, 36 RBI and 4 SB in 51 games.
Clifton went 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA over five starts in the month of May, putting together a string of 21 consecutive scoreless innings. Over the course of the month, Clifton struck out 35 batters and walked only seven over 28 innings. He finished May second in the Carolina League in ERA and strikeouts, and in a tie for third in wins. The Tennessee native has posted a 3-3 record in nine starts on the season to go along with a sparkling 2.35 ERA in 46.0 innings. The Cubs 12th round pick in 2013 currently ranks second in the circuit in K/9 (10.0), fourth in ERA and is tied for sixth in total strikeouts (51). The right-hander has yielded just seven earned runs in his last seven starts covering 38.1 innings for a 1.64 ERA. During that time frame, he has fanned 41 against 11 walks with 32 hits allowed, posting a 3-1 record. His signature start came on May 12 vs. Winston-Salem, an outing in which he fanned a career-high 10 without walking a batter in six scoreless frames.
Pacific Coast League—AAA—Iowa 4, Memphis 0
Iowa made it eight in a row as Jake Buchanan and two relievers blanked the Red Birds in the series opener.
Hitting Recap: Iowa took a 1-0 lead in the second when CF Albert Almora (.324) singled, stole second and scored on John Andreolii’s single. C Willson Contreras (.335) delivered a RBI double in the 3rd and LF Matt Murton (.309) plated a pair of runs with a single in the 5th. 2B Arismendy Alcantara (.270) was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Almora finished 2-for-4.
Pitching Chart: Jake Buchanan (5-3, 4.22 ERA) fanned seven over seven shutout innings in his best game as an I-Cubs. The right-hander allowed four hits and got nine ground ball outs in the 83-pitch outing. Carl Edwards, Jr. worked a scoreless 8th and Spencer Patton fanned the side in the 9th.
I-Cubs Notes: Alex Sanabia (1-1, 9.92 ERA) gets the ball on Sunday for Iowa.
Southern League—AA—Tennessee 2, Jackson 1
Cael Brockmeyer’s two-run homer in the 7th gave the Smokies the win and snapped a four-game losing streak.
Hitting Recap: 1B Cael Brockmeyer (.400) hit his second AA homer, a two-run shot in the bottom of the 7th that gave the Smokies the win. Tennessee only had five hits, two from C Victor Caratini (.293), who scored on the homer.
Pitching Chart: Brad Markey went six innings, holding the Generals to a run on seven hits and three walks. He fanned one and recorded nine ground ball outs in the 94-pitch outing. Game score 52. Josh Conway walked two in a scoreless 7th and got credit for the win, his first in AA. Jose Rosario worked around two hits in the 8th, his first hold. Corey Black picked up his 7th save but two walks and a hit batter made it interesting before a strikeout ended the game.
Smokies News: Stephen Perakslis (0-2, 4.50 ERA) makes his second start for the Smokies Sunday evening at Mississippi.
Carolina League—High A—Myrtle Beach 6, Potomac 2
Hitting Recap: 3B Jason Vosler (.287) went 2-for-4 and smacked his second homer, a solo shot in the second. 1B Yasiel Balaguert (.237) had two hits, including a two-run bomb in the third. CF Rashad Crawford (.256) went 3-for-4 with a RBI while LF Charcer Burks (.207) had a pair of doubles and scored twice.
Pitching Chart: Zach Hedges (5-4, 2.39 ERA) blanked the P-Nats for six innings but didn’t get through the 7th allowing two runs. He scattered 10 hits, didn’t walk a hitter and threw 90 pitches, 58 for strikes. He had a game score of 48 and recorded eight ground ball outs. Tommy Thorpe worked two-thirds of an inning and James Farris got the final five outs for his 8th save.
Pelicans News: Trevor Clifton (3-2, 2.35 ERA) gets the ball on Sunday evening against Potomac.
Midwest League—Low A—Game 1—South Bend 10, West Michigan 3; Game 2—South Bend 2, West Michigan 1
South Bend snapped their five-game losing streak in the opener and moved into a tie for first with the sweep over West Michigan, winners of 10 straight..
Hitting Recap: GAME 1—Cubs scored four times in the first, the final two coming on a two-run bomb over the left-field wall by Ian Rice, his 4th. Donnie Dewees (.282) tied the game with a RBI single and Eloy Jimenez added a RBI ground out. Matt Rose launched a solo blast in the 2nd inning. 2B Carlos Sepulveda was on base four times with three singles and a walk, scoring three runs. Dewees went 3-for-4, hit his MWL leading 10th triple, and knocked in three runs. C P.J. Higgins had two hits and plated a run......GAME 2—Only four hits for South Bend but Rice (.387) slugged his second homer on the night, a two-run shot that proved to be the difference. LF Eloy Jimenez (316) went 1-for-3.
Pitching Chart: GAME 1— Carson Sands got the first two outs of the first but three straight singles scored a run. Sands was bailed out when SS Carlos Sepulveda gunned down the runner at home on the back end of a double steal. Sands only lasted three innings, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks. The lefty threw 75 pitches, 45 for strikes, and had a game score of 38. Pedro Araujo worked three scoreless frames to earn his first win. James Norwood pitched a scoreless 7th......GAME 2—Casey Bloomquist (4-2, 2.81 ERA) earned the win in his first start, allowing a run on five hits over five innings. Bloomquist didn’t walk or strikeout a batter but did coax 11 ground ball outs for a game score of 53 in the 53-pitch outing. Craig Brooks nailed down his third save with two scoreless frames and two strikeouts.
SB-Cubs News: Kyle Twomey (1-3, 4.66 ERA) takes the mound on Sunday afternoon at Four Winds Field against Whitecaps.
Dominican Summer League
As sometimes happens, not all of Saturday’s openers were posted on Milb.com website, both Cubs games were not. Both Cubs teams have Sunday off and if they post the scores, I’ll have an update in Sunday’s post.