Down on the Farm Report – 7/20/07

Hello Cubs fans. Time for more updates from the Cubs minor league system. The Cubs’ prospects are playing a big role in the big league team’s recent string of wins. With Scott Moore being called up today and Jake Fox on Thursday, they are giving the veterans a jolt of energy.

All in all, this has been a fun year to report on the minor leaguers because so many of them are contributing to a good season. It may be a short stay like Billy Petrick or Sean Gallagher or it might be a long stay like Mike Fontenot and Angel Pagan but they are all doing something to help the team. This is how you win championships. Now that I have said that, read on for the farm updates. Someone I wrote about today could be helping the Cubs tomorrow.

Iowa Cubs – Record: 54-44

Iowa was 3-1 over their last three games including the completion of a previously suspended game. Iowa had been playing poorly but might be headed back in the right direction.

Helping out on offense was Matt Murton who was 5-of-12 with a home run and four runs scored. John Nelson was 3-of-7 with a home run and two RBI’s while Tony Ritchie was 4-of-11 with two RBI’.

Ryan Dempster was in Iowa for a rehab assignment and started the game Tuesday but only pitched one inning. He didn’t give up any hits or walks and struck out a batter. On Thursday, before being activated, Dempster walked one, gave up a hit and struck out three.

From the mound, Randy Wells picked up his 5th win of the season after he pitched 5.0 innings giving up an earned run on four hits and no walks while striking out three. It was only his 5th start in 28 appearances.

Kevin Hart had a solid outing on Wednesday going 8.0 innings giving up three earned runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out five. He didn’t get the win but the Cubs won the game in the 9th on a Matt Murton RBI double.

Latest News: The Cubs traded Bo Hart to the Baltimore Orioles from AAA-Iowa along with Chris Amador from A-Daytona for future considerations. Hart was hitting just .188 with Iowa and Amador was hitting .260 with 13 home runs, 34 RBI’s and 19 stolen based with Daytona.

Tennessee Smokies – Record: 13-14

Tennessee was 0-2 in the two games they played. Matt Craig has been consistent on offense and was 4-of-8 with a home run. Joseph Simokaitis was 3-of-7 with a home run and two RBI’s.

From the mound, Justin Berg pitched well on Tuesday going 6.0 innings giving up two runs, one earned, on five hits and a walk while striking out five. He left with the game tied but the bullpen gave up six runs in relief to insure the loss for the Smokies.

Jerry Blevins was included in the trade this week for Jason Kendall and looking back I don’t believe I ever mentioned his name in my updates. I looked through the stats and although Blevins had good stats, 2-2 with a 1.53 ERA in 23 appearances in relief, I don’t think it is a big loss. We have other guys that were pitching even better in relief. Geoffrey Jones is a good example. He was 2-1 with a 036 ERA in 23 appearances with Tennessee. He is now with Iowa and has struggled since arriving there but should eventually figure things out. Blevins and Bowen for Kendall and cash was a good trade by Hendry if Kendall can turn things around. Koyie Hill had a nice game Wednesday night so I hope he is starting to hit the ball better.

Daytona Cubs – Record: 11-16

Daytona was 1-3 over their last four games and they continue to struggle in the 2nd half.

There were some people on offense to note including Kyle Reynolds who was 6-of-14 with a stolen base. Steven Clevenger was promoted from Boise to Daytona and was 3-of-7 in his two games played while Matt Matulia was 4-of-9.

Jesse Estrada had the best outing for the pitchers although he took the loss. He went 8.0 innings giving up three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five.

I also wanted to make note of the outing by Jeff Samardzija. He didn’t get a win; in fact he picked up his 6th loss of the year. He pitched 5.2 innings giving up five runs, three earned, on nine hits and no walks while striking out three. His performance wasn’t earth-shattering but it also wasn’t a bad outing. Samardzija has put together some good outings lately and this isn’t in that category but he is still progressing in the right direction.

Peoria Chiefs – Record: 15-10

Peoria won both of their games and continue to play well in the 2nd half of the season. Those of note on offense this time around include James Adduci who was 5-of-9 with three RBI’s and three runs scored. Wellington Castillo was 2-of-5 with two home runs and three RBI’s.

From the mound, Marco Carrillo picked up his 4th win of the season after pitching 6.0 innings and giving up three runs, two earned, on six hits and one walk while striking out four.

Jose Pina had a good outing and picked up his 4th win of the year. He went 6.0 innings giving up two earned runs on four hits and a walk while striking out one.

Boise Hawks – Record: 13-15

After starting the season 0-8 Boise is 13-7 since and is still in first place in their division. I am not sure what the problem was in the beginning but they are sure playing well as a team now.

On offense, Jonathon Wyatt was 7-of-12 with two home runs, four RBI’s, four stolen bases and six runs scored. That is an impressive few games by Wyatt. Marquez Smith was 7-of-15 with a home run and five runs scored while Ty Wright was 6-of-12 with five RBI’s and four runs scored.

Alberto Cabrera had a great outing on Tuesday going 6.0 innings giving up no runs on only one hit and a walk while striking out eight. He picked up his 2nd win of the season with that performance. It was even more impressive when you consider he is not yet 19 years old. He is 6’4″ and 170 pounds so a good size for a pitcher. It is too early to tell how far he will go but I will keep my eyes on him.

Latest News: Roberto Sabates was promoted to Boise from Mesa and Harol Tolentino was reassigned to Mesa.

Lastly, I would like to talk about a few things of interest to me that have happened recently.

First, Cesar Izturis traded to Pittsburgh for that well-known PTBNL. Izzy was a good guy but I like Theriot better. Good trade and hopefully we get someone good from the Pirates. We have our best trades with them.

Second, Derrek Lee is serving his five-game suspension now. Without Lee and Ramirez they score 12 runs against a decent pitcher in Matt Cain. I think that is the definition of “On a roll”.

Third, the Cubs called Jake Fox up from Tennessee. I have mentioned him a lot in my updates but when I heard they called him up I was wondering why they didn’t bring up Felix Pie or Josh Kroeger. Then I remembered that Fox was a righty and they need a right-handed bat and Pie and Kroeger are both lefties. I hope he does well. The kid can flat out play but it could take some time for him to adjust. When Josh Kroeger moved to Iowa, it took him a couple weeks to start hitting. This is a big jump for Fox but I would love to see what he can do. Good luck Jake.

That is all the latest on the Cubs farm system. Check back next week for more updates from Down on the Farm. Have a great weekend and Go Cubs!!

Quote of the Day

"The man says 'play ball' not 'work ball,' you know." - Willie Stargell
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