Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 04/26/10

A familiar face has returned to the Iowa bullpen. The Smokies have the best record in MiLB. Several new names take home player of the week honors.

All that and more in today’s Down on the Farm Report.

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (7-10)
Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg has not had much luck this season. His AAA Iowa ballclub has a 7-10 record, which ranks last in the Pacific Coast League American North. However, the Iowa Cubs are just one game behind second place Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals) and 4.5 back of the Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers), who lead the four-team division. There is still plenty of time for them to jump right back into the race.

The I-Cubs received a boost to their bullpen on Saturday when Jeff Samardzija was sent down to make room for Ted Lilly on the big league roster. Lefty Scott Maine was demoted to Tennessee to open up the spot on the roster. Samardzija made his minor league season debut on Sunday at Principal Park.

The Memphis Redbirds scored a run in the bottom of the 11th to take Thursday’s contest 6-5. Mike Parisi allowed two earned runs in six innings of work. His ERA is now at 5.54. John Gaub allowed the winning run and received the loss. Welington Castillo’s two-run homer was part of a five-run first inning for the Cubs, but the offense was silent the rest of the night and the staff could not hold onto the lead. Click for full box score.

J.R. Mathes was brilliant in Friday’s 6-0 win. He pitched eight shutout innings, which led to his second win of the season. Brian Schlitter, a product of the Scott Eyre trade, came on the nail it down in the ninth. The offensive star was second baseman Matt Camp who had four hits. Click for full box score.

Saturday the Cubs returned home and they were scheduled to open up a four-game home stand against Round Rock. However, rain postponed the game at Principal Park. It will be made up as part of a double header today.

The top five hitters in the I-Cubs batting order went a combined 1-for-18 in a 5-1 home loss to the Round Rock Express on Sunday. Welington Castillo continued his power surge with a solo blast in the fifth. Jeff Samardzija’s wildness led to a pair of Express runs in the eighth. The Shark walked three in just one inning. Click for full box score.

Iowa Cubs Player of the Week: Matt Camp
Camp, a versatile infielder/outfielder, swung the bat well in the series against Memphis. He went 8-for-16 with two RBI. Matt leads the team in multi-hit games with seven. His batting average stands at .328. Camp got some work in during the Mexican Pacific League this offseason.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Today VS Round Rock 5:05 (Thomas Diamond)
Today VS Round Rock Game 2 (Casey Coleman)
Tuesday VS Round Rock (Mike Parisi)
Wednesday Off Day

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (14-3)
The Smokies, led by skipper Bill Dancy, have had nothing but success this season. Their 14-3 start is the best in all of affiliated minor league baseball! They have jumped out to a four game lead over Huntsville in the Southern League North. The team’s potent offense is led by young studs Starlin Castro and Ty Wright.

Jeremy Papelbon, a left-handed pitcher, was placed on the DL on Sunday. Papelbon is the brother of the Boston closer. Scott Maine, who came over in the Aaron Heilman deal, will fill the void on the pitching staff.

On Thursday the Smokies pounded Carolina 8-1. Starlin Castro went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs scored. Ryan Flaherty, Steve Clevenger, and Ty Wright had two RBI apiece. Asian righty Hung-Wen Chen continued his domination with six innings of one-run baseball. His ERA is at 1.50. Click for full box score.

Friday’s game was just as lopsided as Tennessee beat the Mud Cats 16-7. They never looked back after a five-run first. Starlin Castro turned in another spectacular day at the plate going 3-for-4 with three RBI. Starting pitcher Craig Muschko was touched for five earned runs but he contributed with the bat going 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Click for full box score.

The rain on Saturday cancelled play in Tennessee as well. The Smokies would have to wait until Sunday to open their series with the Birmingham Barons of the White Sox organization. The two teams split the double header. The Smokies wasted a seven-inning complete game from Andrew Cashner as they lost Game One 4-3. Click for full box score. They bounced right back with a 9-7 win in the second game. Robinson Chirinos homered in the first game and then went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI in the second. Click for full box score.

Tennessee Smokies Player of the Week: Ty Wright
Wright has emerged as a solid young hitter this season. The right-handed hitting outfielder is hitting .338 with 20 RBI in 17 games so far this year. He drove in seven of those runs during Friday’s game in Carolina. It was also the first two homer game of his career. He leads the club in RBI and ranks in the top five Smokies in all offensive categories.

Click to read a blog post from Smokies’ outfielder Tony Campana.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Today VS Birmingham 6:15 (Austin Bibens-Dirkx)
Tuesday VS Birmingham 10:30am (Hung-Wen Chen)
Wednesday VS Birmingham 10:30am (Craig Muschko)

Class-A Daytona Cubs – (7-11)
The Florida State League season has been a struggle for the Cubs so far. Daytona has a record of 7-11, which puts them in fifth in the FSL North. They are just 0.5 games ahead of last place Brevard County.

Josh Vitters owned Tampa Yankees pitching on Thursday. He went 3-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI, and three runs scored. He led his club to a 9-6 win. Righty David Patton allowed three earned runs in 1.1 innings. Click for full box score.

On Friday the Yankees hammered starter Brooks Raley. Raley was charged with 11 runs (8 ER) on 12 hits and four walks in 2.2 miserable innings. The Cubs had five starting position players who exited the night with batting averages under .210. The final score of the game was 11-3. Click for full box score.

Dae-Eun Rhee’s outing on Saturday went much better that Raley’s start. Rhee allowed just one hit in his six-shutout innings and got his first win of the season. A Nelson Perez solo homer was the difference in the game as Daytona won 1-0. Click for full box score.

Sunday’s 14-inning marathon finally came to an end when Chris Siegfried allowed the game- winning hit to a Brevard County batter. The Cubs fell 5-4 after scoring a run in the top of the 14th. Rafael Dolis worked six scoreless frames to drop his ERA to a microscopic 0.90. Click for full box score.

Daytona Cubs Player of the Week: Rafael Dolis
If this kid keeps it up, a call to Double-A could be on the horizon. His numbers speak for themselves: 1-1, 0.90 ERA, 4 G, 3 GS, 20 IP, 10 H, 6 BB, 12 K, 0.80 WHIP.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Today Off Day
Tuesday VS Lakeland 6:05
Wednesday VS Lakeland 6:05

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (10-8)
The Chiefs have lost three consecutive games, but they have hung on to third place in the Midwest League Western Division. The Chiefs are 4.5 back of first place Quad Cities. The team has a total of just one home run all season, dead last in the Midwest League.

On Thursday the Chiefs concluded a three game sweep of Kane County with a 6-4 win. Jesus Morelli went 3-for-3. Su-Min Jung went five scoreless innings and still has not allowed an earned run all season! Click for full box score.

Peoria travelled to the Quad Cities to start a three game series. They dropped game one to the River Bandits, who are a Cardinal farm club, 5-1. Larry Suarez made his first appearance of the season and surrendered one run in two relief innings. Click for full box score.

The Chiefs were also affected by the showers on Saturday, so a twin bill took place on Sunday. The River Bandits took both games, 3-1 and 1-0. Nick Struck gave up three runs in game one. Click for full box score. Jeff Antigua got the loss in the second game despite pitching five strong. Click for full box score.

Peoria Chiefs Player of the Week: Su-Min Jung
Jung leads the Midwest League in earned run average. In fact, it would be hard to top 0.00. The 20-year old South Korean prospect is 3-0 on the year. He signed with the Cubs in 2009 and had a 3.90 ERA splitting time between Boise and Mesa during his first season in America.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
Today Off Day
Tuesday VS Wisconsin (Trey McNutt)
Wednesday VS Wisconsin (Su-Min Jung)

If you have any questions or comments regarding my posts, feel free to email me at [email protected]. All suggestions are welcome. Also, I write a blog where I post daily on the Chicago Cubs over at For more minor league updates you can follow me on twitter at

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax