Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 05/03/10

The Cubs’ AAA affiliate has dropped nine straight games to a single opponent for the third time in franchise history. This streak dates back to 2009. In the mean time, the Cubs’ AA squad has also hit a rough patch. Even the organization’s top prospect has gone into a bit of a slump. Plus, one Cubs’ farm hand threw a no-hitter this week.

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

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (9-14)
The Iowa Cubs dropped four straight games to Omaha this weekend. The Cubs are towards the middle of the PCL pack in team batting average and ERA but they rank near the bottom of the league in wins nonetheless.

Thursday’s game in Omaha was completed early and resulted in an 11-7 O-Royal victory. Brad Snyder had a 3-for-4 game with three runs batted in. Snyder tripled, hit a two-run bomb, and was a double shy of the cycle. Designated hitter Bobby Scales also launched a two-run blast, part of a five run Cubs’ fifth. Mike Parisi surrendered eight runs (seven earned) in two innings and got the loss. Click for full box score.

After the offensive explosion from both teams on Thursday, it was only fitting that runs would be hard to come by on Friday night. The O-Royals won it 3-1. Jeff Samardzija and Blake Parker combined for 2.2 perfect innings in relief of J.R. Mathes, who went 6.1 strong. Click for full box score.

The I-Cubs showed patience at the plate on Saturday, drawing a total of eight walks. However, they only ended up with one run to show for it. Sam Fuld drew three of the free passes while Darwin Barney went 2-for-4. Click for full box score.

On Sunday, the Cubs had a 2-1 lead going to the eighth, but Jeff Stevens allowed two hits and two walks which led to three Omaha runs. Stevens’ ERA boosted to 5.40. Bryan LaHair hit a solo shot and Brad Snyder racked up two more RBI. Click for full box score.

On the injury front, Jason Dubois is still on the DL with back spasms. He will go to Mesa, Arizona to start his rehab later today.

Iowa Cubs Player of the Week: Bryan LaHair
LaHair has hit safely in nine consecutive games. During the first eight games of the streak he hit .407 with three doubles, and then added a long ball in the ninth game. Bryan now leads the team in batting average at .324 and is second to Bobby Scales in OBP at .420. The former Mariner signed a minor league deal with the Cubs this offseason.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Today @New Orleans 7:00 (Casey Coleman)
Tuesday @New Orleans 11:30am (Mike Parisi)
Wednesday @New Orleans 7:00 (J.R. Mathes)

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (17-7)
You really cannot complain about a record that is ten games over .500, but in the last six games the Smokies have not looked as sharp as they did coming out of the gates. In those six contests, Tennessee has a mark of 2-4. Starlin Castro has cooled off, but he’s still hitting .354 with an on-base percentage over .400.

First baseman/outfielder Matt Spencer was called up before Thursday’s game against the Lookouts. Spencer, who came over in a five-player deal with Oakland that sent Jake Fox and Aaron Miles the other way this winter, started the year on the DL before hitting .286 with two home runs in nine Florida State League games. He will take the place of Brandon Guyer, who will move to the DL.

The Smokies lost on Thursday by a score of 4-3. Chattanooga plated two runs in the ninth against David Cales to get the walk-off win. Robinson Chirinos and Ty Wright both hit first inning homers. Click for full box score.

Blake Lalli, Matt Spencer, and Robinson Chirinos each had two hits as part of the 12-hit Tennessee attack on Friday to beat Chattanooga 8-4. Spencer returned to the starting lineup with a bang going 2-for-3 with a double, a three-run homer, and four RBI. Chris Carpenter went five strong innings and got the win. Click for full box score.

The Smokies opened up the month of May with a 4-2 win. Nate Samson went 2-for-4 and drove in a run. Russ Canzler delivered a pinch-hit two-run homer in the seventh. That two-out long ball was the difference in the game. Andrew Cashner gave up just two earned runs in six innings. Click for full box score.

Tallies in the eighth and ninth were not enough on Sunday as the Lookouts took the game 4-3 to split the series. Starlin Castro and Tony Campana, the top two hitters in the Tennessee order, each reached base three times. Hung-Wen Chen got the loss despite a decent outing. Click for full box score.

Tennessee Smokies Player of the Week: Alex Maestri
Maestri has allowed just one earned run in a total of 4.2 innings this week, becoming the first reliever to earn player of the week honors this season. Maestri notched his first two saves of the year in his outings on April 26 and May 1. He is 2-1 with a 4.40 ERA overall. Alex has been in the Cubs organization since 2002.

Upcoming Games:
*All times CDT
Today @Chattanooga 6:15
Wednesday VS Mobile 6:15

Class-A Daytona Cubs – (8-16)
While none of the Cubs’ affiliates had great weekends, it’s the Daytona Cubs that have the worst record of them all. They have dropped five straight including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Threshers. The Cubs rank 10th in the FSL in batting average but they are sixth of 12 teams in run scoring.

Lakeland put up a three spot in the eighth on Thursday to take the lead at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona. They went on to win the game 4-3. Kyler Burke went 3-for-4 with an RBI. David Patton allowed two earned runs in 0.2 IP and was hit with the loss. Click for full box score.

Daytona made several adjustments to their pitching staff on Friday. Jeffrey Beliveau was promoted from Peoria while Ryan Searle was sent the other way. In addition, lefty Chris Rusin was activated from the 7-day DL.

The fresh arms were of no use in the game as the Clearwater Threshers beat the Cubs 4-3. Brett Jackson reached base four times including three hits. Josh Vitters had a big day of his own going 4-for-5 as the DH. Marwin Gonzalez, Kyler Burke and Nelson Perez enjoyed multi-hit games as well. Rusin worked three shutout innings in relief. Twelve Cubs were left on base. Click for full box score.

A new month didn’t mean a new result for Daytona as they lost to Clearwater 7-5 Saturday. Rebel Ridling went deep twice but it was not enough. Aaron Shafer went 2.2 scoreless innings in relief of Rafael Dolis. Shafer has yet to allow an earned run all season in 18.2 innings. Click for full box score.

Alberto Cabrera had been pitching well going into Sunday’s game, but he was hammered for seven runs on ten hits in four innings of work. Catcher Michael Brenly had three hits in five at bats in his team’s 8-4 loss. Junior Lake had two hits and an RBI. Hopefully this will get Brenly and Lake going, because both are hitting under .225. Click for full box score.

Daytona Cubs Player of the Week: Aaron Shafer
The relief-pitching theme continues! A 0.00 ERA cannot be overlooked! Shafer, a right hander, added to his 2010 resume this week by putting zeros on the board against Lakeland on Monday and Clearwater on Sunday. Aaron pitched a total of five innings this week and allowed just two hits. He recorded six strikeouts. Shafer was drafted by the Cubs in 2008 and was used as a starting pitcher in Peoria in 2009.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Today @Lakeland 6:00
Tuesday @Lakeland 9:30am
Wednesday @Lakeland 6:00

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (15-9)
The Chiefs went 9-0 at home in the month of April. Their home winning streak reached double figures on Saturday before it was snapped on Sunday afternoon.

Thursday’s game was at O’Brien Field, which meant of course that the Chiefs were victorious. They beat the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, a Brewer affiliate, to sweep a three game set. They won it 8-7 in dramatic fashion with a ninth inning run. Justin Bour had a three hit game including a pair of doubles. Click for full box score.

Nick Struck entered the Chiefs history books on Friday night when he did not allow a hit to the Clinton LumberKings in a 4-0 victory. However, his performance will have an asterisk by it because the game was called after five innings due to rain. Nonetheless, Struck was credited with pitching a no-hitter. He walked one. Richard Jones launched a homer, part of his 2-for-2 night at the plate. Click for full box score.

A run in the bottom of the eighth was the difference in the game on Saturday as the Chiefs won it by a score of 3-2. Jeffry Antigua fanned six over six strong innings but got a no decision. Click for full box score.

The winning streak was snapped on Sunday when Clinton came from behind to win it 4-3. Jones went deep again, this time a two-run job in the fourth. Trey McNutt worked four decent innings on the hill. Click for full box score.

Peoria Chiefs Player of the Week: Nick Struck
Nick’s no-no was the seventh in Chiefs’ history, the second at O’Brien Field. The last complete game no-hitter tossed by a Peoria player was in 1988. Struck has a 2.25 ERA so far in his first year of pro ball.

Upcoming Games:
*All times CDT
Today VS Clinton 6:30
Tuesday VS Cedar Rapids 6:30
Wednesday VS Cedar Rapids 6:30

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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