Down on the Farm Report – 4/27/07

Things have been slow in the minors lately, as a few of the teams have struggled. Felix Pie is starting to hit the ball well so he could be staying in Chicago for a while, if you had planned to see him at an I-Cubs game, you might not get that chance. Mark Prior, who was supposed to start at Triple-A Iowa remained at extended spring training but as many have heard, he is now out for the season following surgery. I think many are ready to give up on him, likely because of the constant problems Kerry Wood has had but I am not one of those guys. I say give him another chance when he is able to make it back and he will reward our patience but I am one of those optimistic Cubs fans though.

Sean Marshall made his first start of the year and it appears Angel Guzman will be making the start on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. Here is what has been going on in the minors….

Iowa Cubs – Record: 9-10

The I-Cubs are 0-2 since the last update and have managed just five hits in those two games, so offensively no one stands out this time around.

From the mound, a couple guys that have been pitching well had some trouble this week. Carlos Marmol took his first loss of the season vs. Nashville. He went 5.1 innings, gave up five hits, four earned runs, he walked four and struck out three. Nashville, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Triple-A team, is leading the division and sadly enough, the Chicago Cubs could see a lot more of the guys that beat the I-Cubs. Ryan Braun and Yavani Gallardo are a couple of the Brewers top prospects and they could see Milwaukee real soon if they continue playing like they are.

The other poor showing was from Les Walrond. He also took his first loss of the season after pitching 6.0 innings, giving up nine hits, four earned runs, one walk and he struck out three. Even with the poor outing his ERA for the season still sits at 2.35.

Tennessee Smokies – Record: 9-9

The Tennessee Smokies lost the three games they played since my last update. They remain tied for the division lead in what must be a weak division. The Smokies pitchers aren’t fooling anyone lately and over the three games, they have given up 30 runs while the Smokies offense has managed only 13.

From the mound, one person of note is Donald Veal. He struggled yet again to take his 4th loss. He pitched only 3.1 innings, gave up six hits, five walks, six earned runs and struck out five. For the year his ERA stands at 10.57. It has been a tough start for the Cubs #2 rated prospect.

Offensively, Josh Kroeger is 5-of-9 over the last three games, Jorge Cortes was 7-of-13, and Joseph Simokaitis hit well in the last two games going 5-of-8 with a run scored and an RBI. Jake Fox remains solid and I think I mention him in every update. He was 6-of-10 in his two games played including a home run and four RBI’s. Sam Fuld just arrived with the Smokies after coming from extended spring training. He has started out well going 6-of-12 in his first three games.

Daytona Cubs – Record: 10-9

A familiar face was seen at the Wednesday night game for Daytona. Sean Marshall made his first rehab start and pitched 6.0 strong innings, giving up seven hits, two earned runs with a walk and four strikeouts.

Jeff Samardzija took his first loss of the season. He now sits at 0-1 for the year with a 2.21 ERA. He has yet to win a game even though he has given up only five earned runs over four games. In his latest outing he pitched 5.1 innings, gave up five hits and three walks, three runs, one of which was earned and he struck out four. Samardzija has looked solid thus far, which is what many Cubs fans will be happy to see.

Over the three-game stretch Robinson Chirinos was 3-of-9 with a home run and 3 stolen bases while Tyler Colvin was 5-of-12 with six RBI’s and a stolen base.

Peoria Chiefs – Record: 9-7

The Peoria Chiefs were rained out once and thus only played one game, which they lost 6-4 to Kane County. The Chiefs managed four runs in the first inning but were unable to score again. Welington Castillo was responsible for three of the runs, driving in two with his third homer and scoring the other.

Rookie coach Ryne Sandberg has the Chiefs running this season. They attempted seven stolen bases in this game and were successful on five of those tries. The Chiefs aren’t hitting the ball well so Sandberg is trying to win games anyway he can.

That is the latest from down on the farm. Have a great weekend.

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon