Down on the Farm Report – 7/10/07

It is the All-Star break and the Cubs are within 4 1/2 games of the division leading Brewers, which should make the Cubs Faithful happy. At the same time, we are looking at four straight days without Cubs baseball, and I for one am already getting the shakes anticipating the withdrawals I will surely go through.

I do get to see Alfonso Soriano and Derrek Lee play in the midsummer classic or will I? Do not forget, and I am sure most of you have not, but this time it means something. Do you care? Do I care? I don’t. I could care less. I think it is a stupid idea. Does it make me want to watch the All-Star game more than before? No. I have always enjoyed watching the All-Star game. I think it is the best All-Star game in any of the sports.

The reason I dislike the idea is because I like to see the players have more fun and just enjoy the game themselves. I remember 2002 when Torii Hunter robbed Bonds of a home run. It was just a player doing what he does best and Bonds gave him a high five when he came off the field and then picked him up and gave him a bear hug. That was fun to watch because the players were having fun, they were able to relax and play. We see these players all the time when they mean business and are focused entirely on winning. They hear it from us when they do not perform so why not give them a night to not have to worry about it.

The funny thing is that same game with Bonds and Hunter is the game that ended in a tie and brought about this new idea. I did not like the tie game but I do not like the new alternative either. I figure it worked just fine for the first 69 years of the All-Star game, why change it because of one tie. Has anyone not seen the play where Pete Rose ran over Ray Fosse to win the 1970 All-Star game? Do you think Rose thought the game did not mean anything? I bet Fosse knows that answer.

If you look back at the results, the AL has won the last four years since the change yet looking at the World Series results, the AL has won two and the NL the other two. Looking even closer at the AL wins by the White Sox and Red Sox, they were both playing so well either team could have won all four games on the road.

The Cubs have not been to the World Series since 1945 so why do I care who has home field advantage? For the Cubs to make it to the World Series would be a dream come true for millions of Cubs fans. This year we have a better road record than a home record so they have as good of a chance to win on the road as they do at home. The All-Star game means something now? To me it means the game is not as fun as it has been in the past. My prediction for the game is NL 8, AL 5. No, I do not think the NL needs home field but if the Cubs make it, I think Cubs fans deserve every possibility to see a World Series game in Wrigley Field. That is enough about the All-Star game, now on to the Cubs farm updates.

Iowa Cubs – Record: 50-40

Iowa ended its eight game losing streak and have now won four in a row. They remain five games out of first because the first place team in their division has also won four in a row. On offense, Eric Patterson was 7-of-19 with two stolen bases while Matt Murton was 6-of-16 with a home run and five RBI’s. Josh Kroeger is adjusting to Triple-A and was 7-of-10 with a home run, four RBI’s and four runs scored. Newly signed John Nelson started well going 3-of-9 with a home run and five RBI’s. Buck Coats extended his hitting streak to 16 games and was 7-of-18 with a home run, two RBI’s and four runs scored.

From the mound, I wanted to point out that Billy Petrick won for Iowa on Sunday when he pitched 1.1 innings giving up a hit and a walk while striking out one. He has pitched 3.1 innings and has yet to give up a run.

Cory Bailey made his first start of the season after making 31 appearances in relief. He pitched 5.0 innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and a walk while striking out three. Bailey has been solid all year long but he is 36 and doesn’t have many years left in baseball. He has appeared in the majors with Boston, St. Louis, San Francisco and Kansas City.

Tennessee Smokies – Record: 10-10

Tennessee is back to .500 in the second half of the season after going 1-2 in their last three games. Helping out on offense was Matt Craig who was 4-of-8 with a home run and four RBI’s. Gary Cates was 3-of-9 and Jemel Spearman was 4-of-11 with a home run.

From the mound, Kevin Hart pitched a great game to pick up his seventh win of the season. He went 6.0 scoreless innings giving up two hits and a walk while striking out six. It is his sixth quality start in his last seven outings. He is obviously on a roll after a rough early stretch.

Recent News: Kevin Hart was promoted from Double-A Tennessee to the Iowa Cubs on Monday.

Daytona Cubs – Record: 6-11

Daytona continues to struggle in the second half of the season with a 1-3 record in their last four games including losses in their last three games. In their three losses, the D-Cubs have managed only nine hits and two runs. One of the few bright spots on offense came from Kyle Reynolds, He was 4-of-12 with a home run and two RBI’s.

Their lone winning pitcher this time around was Jeff Samardzija. He pitched 6.0 innings giving up an earned run on six hits and two walks while striking out four. It was only his 2nd win of the season but it is a good sign that he seems to be figuring things out. It was also his first quality start of the year.

Peoria Chiefs – Record: 11-7

Ryno has Peoria playing well early in the second half of their season. They have won three of their last four and now sit in first in their division. Helping on offense was recently promoted Derek Schermerhorn. He was 5-of-13 with two RBI’s and a stolen base in his three games played. Blake Lalli was 5-of-15 with two RBI’s and a stolen base while Jonathon Mota was 6-of-20 with a stolen base.

From the mound, Juan Mateo won his second start of the year going 6.0 innings giving up an earned run on three hits and two walks while striking out six. It was Mateo’s sixth appearance and his longest outing this year. It was also his first quality start of the season.

Jake Renshaw won for the 9th time this season after pitching 6.0 innings and giving up one unearned run on five hits and a walk while striking out three. This was Renshaw’s third quality start in four appearances.

Boise Hawks – Record: 6-14

Boise was 2-2 in their last four games and are surprisingly only three games out of first in their division. If they could put some wins together they could actually get to first place which would be amazing considering their poor play thus far. Helping on offense was Ty Wright again with 6-of-18, three RBI’s and a stolen base. Joshua Donaldson also helped out going 4-of-12 with a home run, four RBI’s and four runs scored. Mario Mercedes has also hit safely in 10 consecutive games. Marquez Smith had nine RBI’s in the two games the Hawks won on Thursday and Friday and didn’t hit a home run in either game.

From the mound, Christopher Huseby pitched 6.0 solid innings giving up two earned runs on four hits and a walk while striking out seven. He left the game with the lead but the bullpen was unable to hold it leaving Huseby with a no-decision.

That’s the most recent from the Farm….

Quote of the Day

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