Down on the Farm Report – 6/15/07

As I start on my second rant for the week let me give you something to think about. It is the definition of a word many Cubs fans know all too well. The definition is “dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs”. The word associated with this definition? Frustration. Being a Cubs fan you need to understand that word well and expect it regularly. This year is no exception. Early on it was the bullpen. You take a four-run lead into the 9th inning only to give up five runs to lose the game. That isn’t the only one but the easiest to remember. That is frustration. At the same time how many times can we have people on 3rd with less than two outs and not score them. That is frustration.

Here is another definition “To anticipate the best possible outcome.” The word defined here is optimism. Cubs fans not only know optimism well but to be a Cubs fan you have to be an eternal optimist. No matter how frustrated we get we always have optimism to keep us going. As frustrating as this season has been, we are optimistic because we are still in the race. As frustrating as it is to watch a game slip away, we are always optimistic that tomorrow will be better. As frustrating as it is to have the bases loaded with no outs and not score, we are optimistic the next time will be better.

Some people call Cubs fans insane. We constantly root for a team that frustrates us because we are optimistic that things will get better. Albert Einstein once said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Insanity or optimism, you be the judge. As you try to decide, check out the latest updates from the farm teams below….

Iowa Cubs – Record: 39-26

Is it any wonder the Chicago Cubs fans see some hope for the future? The Iowa Cubs lost another player to the big club this week and did it slow down the I-Cubs? It sure didn’t. Clay Rapada was the latest player the Cubs called up to Chicago. The Cubs sent Matt Murton down to Iowa so he can get more consistent playing time. The I-Cubs won all three games since the last update and that includes a come from behind win over Omaha on Wednesday night.

The Cubs trailed 3-0 going into the bottom of the 9th inning. The I-Cubs scored three runs to tie it, with two runs coming from Geovany Soto’s home run, and then won it in the bottom of the 11th. This is the kind of thing you like to see because we rarely get it from the big club. Omaha’s starter shutout the I-Cubs for eight innings before turning it over to the bullpen, where Iowa’s fortunes quickly changed. I think Cubs fans can sympathize with the Omaha fans.

On offense, the I-Cubs have gotten solid performances from a slew of players this time around. Soto was the biggest hero and over the last three games he was 5-of-11 with two home runs., six RBI’s and four runs scored. Eric Patterson homered in back-to-back games and was also 4-of-12 with two RBI’s and three runs scored. Buck Coats was 5-of-7 with a stolen base while Mike Kinkade was 3-of-9 with a home run and four RBI’s.

From the mound, the Cubs got a great performance this week from J.R. Mathes. He pitched a complete game giving up two earned runs on nine hits and no walks while striking out five.

Tennessee Smokies – Record: 34-30

The Tennessee Smokies haven’t been playing well of late but they remain only one game out of first with four games to play in the first half of the season. The loss of Sean Gallagher to the big club last week didn’t help their situation but they still have a chance, remember that optimism I talked about above. The Smokies are 1-1 in their last two games and 5-5 over their last 10.

The Smokies continue to see stellar play out of Josh Kroeger. This kid can flat out play and he is mentioned regularly in my updates. He can’t be far from seeing Iowa which puts him in a place where he could see Chicago in an emergency role. It isn’t likely to happen this year but getting to AAA must be special to players knowing how close they are to imagining their dream.

Kroeger was 4-of-9 with three RBI’s and a stolen base. Issmael Salas was 3-of-6 with a home run and two RBI’s while Matt Craig was 3-of-8.

Justin Berg came through with a solid performance to pickup his third win. He pitched 8.0 innings giving up two earned runs on nine hits and no walks. He also struck out one batter. It is only Berg’s fourth quality start out of 13 so he has had trouble being consistent but it could mean he is ready to turn it around. We can only wait and see.

Daytona Cubs – Record: 30-34

When you get down to the Daytona Cubs you are feeling good about the Cubs farm teams. You see Iowa leading their division and Tennessee close in theirs. Well the good times have ended because the D-Cubs have not been as successful and have now lost three games in a row. They were rained out Wednesday night so maybe the night off will help them out. In Bull Durham a rain out was nice once in a while but this one wasn’t man-made, like the one in the movie.

On offense, the lone bright spot was Alan Rick who was 3-of-8 with two runs scored and an RBI. I have to admit that seeing his name made me go look at the transactions. I was thinking he must be a new player that just joined the team. Oddly enough, he isn’t new. He has appeared in 35 games for Daytona. On the season he is batting .187 and has just not put together a decent stretch of games to get mentioned. Well Mr. Alan Rick, this is your lucky day. The stars have aligned. Here is your 15 minutes of fame.

From the mound, Greg Reinhard made his second start with Daytona and went 4.1 innings giving up two earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out one. The D-Cubs had the lead when he turned the game over to the bullpen but the pen gave up five runs and the offense wasn’t able to match the effort.

Peoria Chiefs – Record: 30-35

I was watching the Cubs game on Wednesday night and I heard Len Kasper say to Ernie Banks that Ryne Sandberg has been tossed three times and suspended. That is different from the Ryno many Cubs fans know but the way his team has played I can see why. They have lost four games in a row, they are well out of first in their division and the hitting hasn’t gotten much better not to mention the pitching woes.

Ryno has been trying to manufacture runs when he can and with the poor hitting you have to use every opportunity. With the three losses since the last update you wouldn’t expect many positive performances. That is somewhat true but Matt Camp was 6-of-13 and added three stolen bases. Wellington Castillo was the other consistent performer going 3-of-10 with a stolen base. That is it for the highlights on offense.

I like to mention good pitching performances but the starters haven’t done their part to help me over the last three games. Since we have seen poor bullpen performances in Chicago I will point out a couple good relief appearances for Peoria. Alessandro Maestri pitched two scoreless innings of relief and gave up only a walk and struck out three. Jayson Ruhlman also pitched well in relief, going 3.1 innings and giving up only one hit. He didn’t have any walks or strikeouts.

That is the latest updates I have. Check back next Tuesday for more. Have a great weekend and let’s go Cubbies. Winning streak time, or am I too optimistic?

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne