Down on the Farm Report – 5/29/07

The Cubs recent play has most of the Faithful frustrated, me included. If we have a runner on third base with less than two outs do we have faith we can score? If we have a lead late in the game do you have faith we can keep it? If we hear the score and it is 2-1 or even 10-9 most fans will know we are on the losing end. Why do we get so frustrated? After all, we are Cubs fans. We haven’t won a World Series since before my grandmother was born. This is part of being a Cubs fan, dealing with frustration like this.

After all the recent problems I thought I would take a look at this year’s team compared to the 2003 team, the first year for Dusty Baker. Below are some selected stats from both teams. The noticeable difference is in ERA.

  • 2003 Cubs (48 games) – 238 Runs, .257 Avg, 49 HR’s, .344 OBP, 3.38 ERA
  • 2007 Cubs (48 games) – 224 Runs, .269 Avg, 42 HR’s, .329 OBP, 3.93 ERA

The Cubs starters have pitched pretty well this year except for a few poor outings but the bullpen has been awful. Rich Hill is in his first full season, Angel Guzman has pitched well and Sean Marshall has come up from Iowa and has also pitched well. Ryan Theriot has been a pleasant surprise on offense so the Cubs farm system has been paying off for them this year. If we can get the bullpen figured out and do some timely hitting we can turn this year around. After all, as bad as we have been playing, we are still only five games out of first. This season is still wide open. I just hope we either get hot or get some more help up from Iowa to add a spark. Here are the first updates of the week from the farm….

Iowa Cubs – Record: 28-21

The Iowa Cubs continued there good play and were 2-1 in their last three games. They have guys like Felix Pie, Mike Fontenot and Ronny Cedeno with Major League experience, which helps. Pie and Cedeno haven’t been playing that great lately but there are others that have. Eric Patterson was 5-of-13 with five runs scored and five RBI’s and Mike Fontenot was 5-of-12 with two runs scored. Buck Coats was 4-of-8 with three runs scored, a home run, three RBI’s and a stolen base. Geovany Soto was 5-of-13 with four runs scored, a home run and four RBI’s.

From the mound, Les Walrond won his fifth game Sunday going 7.0 innings, giving up one run on six hits and three walks while striking out six.

Wade Miller also made his third minor league start going 5.0 innings, giving up one run on five hits and three walks while he managed to strike out four batters. It was Miller’s best performance of the three but he still needs to improve before he can become a successful Major League pitcher again. The big club has enough problems with the bullpen and Miller isn’t ready to solve any of them.

Tennessee Smokies – Record: 26-22

The Smokies were 2-2 in their last four games and most, if not all, of the credit goes to the offense. Casey McGehee was 4-of-11 with four runs scored and a home run and five RBI’s and Matt Craig was 6-of-10 with three runs scored. Jemel Spearman was 3-of-7 with four RBI’s. Josh Kroeger was 3-of-9 with three home runs and four RBI’s. Over the last 10 games, Kroeger is batting .333 with five home runs and 12 RBI’s.

From the mound, there haven’t been any good outings to report but a couple guys of interest turned in some poor outings. Donald Veal pitched 4.0 innings giving up seven runs on nine hits and four walks. Veal failed to strike anyone out. The Smokies rallied to win the game so Veal didn’t take the loss but this is disappointing after he had shown signs of improvement. On the season his ERA sits at 7.21.

Mark Holliman lost his 2nd game of the year after he went 5.2 innings giving up eight runs on 11 hits and six walks while managing to strike out one batter. Even with the poor outing Holliman still has a 6-2 record and an ERA of 2.26.

Daytona Cubs – Record: 22-26

The D-Cubs were also 2-2 over their last four games. The only consistent bright spot on offense was Brian Dopirak who was 4-of-9 with three RBI’s. Dopirak hasn’t been mentioned a lot so I hope this is a start to something. He has been one of the Cubs’ top prospects but of late hasn’t really done much.

From the mound, Jeff Samardzija pitched well but picked up his fourth loss. He pitched 5.0 innings giving up two runs, one earned, on four hits and one walk. He also struck out two batters.

Mitch Atkins pitched very well to bring his record even at 3-3. He went 8.0 shutout innings giving up only two hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three. His ERA on the season sits at 2.10.

Peoria Chiefs – Record: 23-25

The Chiefs have matched the other two teams to go 2-2 over their last four games as well. Joshua Lansford was 4-of-13 with three runs scored, a home run and two RBI’s. Russell Canzler was 4-of-14 with two runs scored, a home run and three RBI’s.

Alessandro “Alex” Maestri pitched well but took the loss on Friday. He pitched 5.2 innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and no walks while he struck out five.

Chris Shaver made his third start and picked up his first win. He pitched 5.0 shutout innings and gave up three hits and three walks while he struck out six batters.

Rocky Roquet picked up his 10th and 11th saves on the year as he continues his solid relief work. He has given up one earned run in 25 innings pitched for an ERA of 0.36.

That is the latest from the farm teams. More updates on Friday…..

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt