Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 04/19/10

After a slow start, the Iowa Cubs are back on track. The Smokies have continued their hot start while the Daytona Cubs and Peoria Chiefs are both hovering around the .500 mark. One minor leaguer has been placed on the DL, one big leaguer will rehab in Mesa, and two former Chicago Cubs pitchers were beaten by Cubs’ farm clubs in a span of three days.

Today’s Down on the Farm Report will get you caught up on all this and more!

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (5-6)
After getting swept in the four game series against Nashville to start the year, Ryne Sandberg’s club bounced back by taking three of four from Memphis. The offense has suddenly come to life as they put together a streak of five consecutive games where they scored five or more runs. They are now one win away from climbing up to .500 for the first time this year.

The I-Cubs made three roster moves this week. They lost reliever Jeff Gray because he was called up to Chicago. Sam Fuld went down with a left thumb injury and was placed on the DL. On Friday, the third move was made as they activated veteran catcher Mark Johnson, who started the year sidelined with an ankle injury.

Former Cub Rich Hill, now a member of the St. Louis Redbirds of the Pacific Coast League, was touched for seven earned runs on ten hits and two walks in his five-inning start against Iowa on Thursday. Hill’s horrific outing boosted his earned run average to 6.55. He took the loss in a 7-5 Iowa victory. Welington Castillo had a double, a homer, and two RBI. Thomas Diamond was the winning pitcher and John Gaub notched the save. Click for full box score.

A three run top of the 11th inning helped Iowa pick up their third straight win on Friday. They beat Nashville 7-4 in their first road game of the year. Blake Parker ended up with the win going 1.2 scoreless innings. Casey Coleman got a no decision but allowed just 2 runs in 7 solid innings. Click for full box score.

The winning streak ended with a thud as the Cubs fell to the Sounds 7-1 on Saturday. Darwin Barney (0-for-5) and Micah Hoffpauir (0-for-4) were among the hitters that struggled. Mike Parisi allowed seven runs (five earned) in just four innings. Click for full box score.

Iowa bounced right back with an 11-6 win on Sunday. They pounded out 13 hits against Nashville pitchers in the game. Catcher Welington Castillo had another great day at the plate with a homer, a triple, and four driven in. Bobby Scales enjoyed a 3-for-4 day at the plate with two RBI. All of Bobby’s hits were doubles. J.R. Mathes pitched poorly (six ER in six innings) but it was still enough for him to pick up the win. Click for full box score.

Iowa Cubs Player of the Week: Bobby Scales
The veteran minor leaguer has hit safely in each of his last eight games. That is the longest hit streak by an Iowa player this season. Scales leads the league in batting with a .429 average and is second in the PCL with a .541 on-base percentage. He is hoping to return to the big leagues after playing in 51 games with Chicago a year ago.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Nashville 7:05 (Jay Jackson)
Tuesday @Memphis 7:05 (Thomas Diamond)
Wednesday @Memphis 11:05 a.m. (Casey Coleman)

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (8-2)
So far in 2010 everything has gone the Smokies way. From comebacks to extra innings to blowouts these guys have found ways to win. We’ve seen a lot of hitting throughout the organization and Tennessee is no exception. The team has been led by five “C’s”: Cashner, Chen, Campana, Chirinos and Castro. Those guys could find “C” on their hat sometime in the near future if they keep it up.

The Smokies won the second game of a four game series against Chattanooga on Thursday by a score of 8-4. Robinson Chirinos went 3-for-4 with a homer, a double, and two RBI. Jeremy Papelbon allowed eight hits but worked himself out of some jams and ended up giving up just a single tally in his 4.1 inning start. Click for full box score.

A brief start from Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1 IP, 3 H, BB, 3 ER) led to the second Tennessee loss of the season on Friday. Tony Campana was 3-for-6 and a homer away from the cycle. Starlin Castro, Ty Wright and Blake Lalli all had multi-hit games as well. Click for full box score.

John Koronka, who was a member of the Cubs staff for a brief time in 2005, is now pitching for the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Dodgers organization. He suffered the loss in a game against the Smokies on Saturday becoming the second former Chicago Cub to lose to a Cub affiliate this week. On the flip side, Hung-Wen Chen was brilliant allowing just two runs in seven innings. The Smokies won the game 8-6. Click for full box score.

Sunday the Lookouts scored twice in the 9th to tie the series finale at four and sent the game to extra innings. When Dustin Sasser gave up a run in the tenth it looked like it was over. However, Ryan Flaherty drilled a walk-off two run homer to give the Smokies a 6-5 victory! Click for full box score.

Tennessee Smokies Player of the Week: Hung-Wen Chen
Chen, a right-handed pitcher, picked up wins and allowed just one run in both his starts last week. He tossed five innings on Sunday and then went seven five days later. Chen is now 2-0 with a sparkling ERA of 1.50.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Today @Carolina 6:15
Tuesday @Carolina 10a.m.
Wednesday @Carolina 6:15

Class-A Daytona Cubs – (4-6)
The D-Cubs have continued to hang around the .500 mark. They are loaded with exciting young prospects including Brett Jackson, D.J. LeMahieu, Kyler Burke and Josh Vitters.

On Thursday they took a 2-1 pitchers’ duel against the Tampa Yankees. Nelson Perez knocked in both Daytona runs. Alberto Cabrera only gave up one run in 6.1 innings. David Patton tossed a scoreless frame. Click for full box score.

Tampa won Friday’s game 8-4. Marwin Gonazlez’s three hits and two RBI were not enough for Daytona. Chris Archer and Ryan Searle were both hammered. The line on Archer: 3 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 3 BB. Click for full box score.

Saturday was the rubber match of the three-game set. The Cubs crushed the Yankees 9-0. Marwin Gonzalez picked up three more hits. Josh Vitters had a three hit night of his own to go along with a walk and two RBI. Kyler Burke continued to struggle going 0-for-5 as his average plummeted to .174. Brooks Raley and David Patton combined for six scoreless innings. Click for full box score.

Sunday’s series opener in Dunedin was postponed due to rain. It will be made up as part of a double header today.

Daytona Cubs Player of the Week: Marwin Gonzalez
Gonzalez enjoyed back-to-back three-hit nights to help his average rise to a team leading .371. The switch-hitting infielder got some work in during the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason. He joined the organization in 2006.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Today @Dunedin 4:00 (Rafael Dolis)
Today @Dunedin Game 2 (Dae-Eun Rhee)
Tuesday @Dunedin 6:00
Wednesday VS Tampa 6:05

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (6-5)
The Chiefs of the Midwest League are another club that has stayed around .500 so far this season. It appears that their bats are starting to wake up from hibernation as they’ve scored six-plus runs in each of the last four games. They’ve started off the home portion of the schedule with consecutive wins.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels beat Peoria 8-6 on Thursday. Designated hitter Greg Rohan has been swinging the bat well. He went 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI in the loss. Reliever Tim Clubb continued to struggle when he allowed three runs in his inning of work. Clubb’s ERA is now a beefy 18.00. Click for full box score.

Peoria got back in the win column on Friday when they topped Cedar Rapids 7-4 despite a three-run ninth inning rally from the Kernals. Justin Bour had a five RBI night while Hak-Ju Lee singled twice. Click for full box score.

The Chiefs won a 7-6 thriller in their Home Opener on Saturday. The Burlington Bees, a Royals affiliate, put together a five-run third inning but Peoria responded with six in the fourth to regain the lead. They went on to win it 7-6. Logan Watkins went 3-for-5. Click for full box score.

Rohan’s three hits and four RBI helped lift Peoria to a 10-3 win on Sunday. George Matheus had two hits and two RBI. Nick Stuck worked a nice game on the mound and got the win. Click for full box score.

Peoria Chiefs Player of the Week: James Leverton
This pick may come as a surprise, as most you (including me prior to Saturday) have never heard of this guy before. However, Leverton was impressive earning a two-inning save in his professional debut on Saturday. He was picked by the Cubs in the eighth round of the 2008 draft. Keep an eye out for this lefty!

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
Today VS Burlington (Ted Lilly)
Tuesday VS Kane County (Rob Whitenack)
Wednesday VS Kane County (Jeffry Antigua)

Rehab Updates
Ted Lilly’s start in Peoria on Monday could be his last before rejoining the Cubs rotation. Reliever Esmailin Caridad will join the Extended Spring Training team in Mesa to get some work in. Caridad is recovering from a strained right forearm.

Remember
If you have any questions or comments regarding my posts, feel free to email me at cubsblogmailbag@aol.com. All suggestions are welcome. Also, I write a blog where I post daily on the Chicago Cubs over at www.everythingcubs.blogspot.com. For more minor league updates you can follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/cubsfarmupdates.


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