Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 05/17/10

The Iowa Cubs have completed their longest winning streak of the season. The injury bug has bitten some Cubs’ prospects. The Smokies are looking to wake up after hitting a bit of a rough patch and have seen their once comfortable lead in the Southern League North fall to a precarious two games.

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

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (18-18)
The Iowa Cubs are clicking on all cylinders. Last week they won six consecutive games for the first time this season. During the streak, they scored 59 runs, which is an average of almost ten per game! The I-Cubs got over the .500 mark for the first time this season with their win on Saturday.

Twelve Iowa hits on Thursday helped them to an 8-4 win over Las Vegas. Chad Tracy went 4-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI. Bryan LaHair got the start in left field and went 3-for-4 at the dish including a two-run homer, his fourth blast of the year. Thomas Diamond got the win despite allowing four runs in five innings. Click for full box score.

Friday the Cubs brought the bats again. They pounded out 13 runs on 19 hits. Jim Adduci led the way going 5-for-5 with four runs scored. Matt Camp went 4-for-5 to give the Cubs a total of nine hits from the eight and nine spots in the batting order. Casey Coleman was hit pretty hard, but three of the five runs he allowed were unearned. Click for full box score.

An eight run fifth inning, the biggest frame of the year, helped the I-Cubs top the Reno Aces for the second straight night. The final score was 11-1. Micah Hoffpauir, the only Cub who has not joined the offensive party, suffered his third straight hitless night. Micah’s average declined to .195. Tracy continued to sizzle with another four-hit game. Mitch Atkins got the win with five shutout innings. He has had a great season posting a 3-1 record and a 2.16 ERA. Click for full box score.

The hitters cooled down on Sunday in the 3-1 loss that ended the six-game winning streak. Matt Camp drove in the only run for Sandberg’s club. Jay Jackson pitched his second scoreless relief outing in a row giving up just one hit in two frames. Click for full box score.

Iowa Cubs Player of the Week: Chad Tracy
Since being sent down to AAA, Tracy has responded by tearing it up. Tracy, who was just 6-for-22 with the big league club before being sent down, is hitting .607 (17-28) with eight RBI in just six games for the I-Cubs. Chad had two four-hit nights last week (Thursday and Saturday) separated by a 3-for-6 game on Friday night. Iowa has a 6-0 record in games in which he starts (he was rested in Sunday’s loss). If Tracy continues to hit this well, he could earn his way back onto the Major League diamond very soon.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Reno 8:05 (Andrew Cashner)
Tuesday @Reno 3:05 (Thomas Diamond)
Wednesday Off Day

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (22-14)
The Smokies suffered their second three-game skid of the year last week when they dropped three straight home games to Carolina. However, the losing streak is history and Tennessee is still in a very good position early on. Several injuries have forced them to make some roster moves.

Mike Parisi underwent elbow surgery at the end of last week. The Cubs Rule 5 draftee was placed on the 15-day DL on Wednesday. Alberto Cabrera was called up from Daytona to take his place. On Thursday, Marcos Mateo was placed on the DL with a knee injury and Jeremy Papelbon was activated. Mateo will see doctors today but he may be headed for surgery. On Saturday, Brandon Guyer was disabled adding to the long list of injuries. Marquez Smith, who had been scuffling at AAA, was sent down to fill the roster spot.

Blake Lalli, Ty Wright, Tony Campana, Nate Samson and even starting pitcher Hung-Wen Chen all had successful days at the plate but it was not enough as the Smokies fell to Carolina 5-3 on Thursday. Samson went 3-for-4 while Chen doubled in his only at bat. Click for full box score.

Friday night’s contest was a slugfest, but Carolina came out on top 10-9. Robinson Chirinos reached in all five at bats including three hits and a homer. The catcher is hitting .336 with seven longballs. Alberto Cabrera gave up five earned runs on 10 hits in his Double-A debut. Click for full box score.

The offense went back to work in the series opener against Huntsville on Saturday. Four first inning runs set the tone for an 8-2 victory. Steve Clevenger went 3-for-5 with three RBI. Austin Bibens-Dirkx allowed only two hits and one run in his fabulous six inning start to earn his first win of the season. Click for full box score.

Sunday’s game against the Stars was postponed due to rain and will be made up as part of a double header today.

Tennessee Smokies player of the Week: Steve Clevenger
Steve hit .545 last week with seven RBI in just 11 at bats. He has been doing everything he can to get more playing time as a part of a catching core that also includes Robinson Chirinos. Clevenger is hitting .360 in 21 games this year, which leads the team among active players. He drove in two in a key pinch hit at bat against Carolina on Friday before leading the charge in Hunstsville on Saturday with three hits and three RBI.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Huntsville 5:00
Tonight @Huntsville After Game 1
Tuesday @Huntsville 7:00
Wednesday @Huntsville 1:00

Class-A Daytona Cubs – (14-23)
The D-Cubs have been without their best hitter this week. Brett Jackson, the usual leadoff man who’s hitting .330, has been sidelined since last Monday. He twisted his foot rounding second base, but the Cubs say that the injury is not serious. The D-Cubs are 2-3 without Jackson.

Bradenton scored once in the eighth and twice more in the ninth on Thursday to beat Daytona 3-2. Kyler Burke, Nelson Perez and Mark Reed all had hitless nights. All three have batting averages below .200. Chris Archer did not allow a run over five innings. Click for full box score.

Friday the Cubs went to Brevard County where they beat the Manatees 4-2. Jake Opitz had two hits including a bases clearing double in the seventh. Chris Rusin retired all 14 men he faced, but was removed in the fifth despite the fact that he was throwing a perfect game. Click for full box score.

Brook Raley’s start on Saturday was nowhere near as impressive as Rusin’s in the opener. Raley allowed four runs in four innings in the 6-2 Brevard County win. Jose Valdez, who was called up from Peoria early in the week, went 0-for-3 and fanned twice. Rebel Ridling has not hit well since coming off the DL. He went 0-for-4 and saw his average drop to .205. Click for full box score.

The D-Cubs fell 5-3 on Sunday. Rebel Ridling and Ryan Flaherty each posted multi-hit days. Jose Valdez went 2-for-4 as well and is hitting .300 since being moved to the Florida State League. Dae-Eun Rhee pitched five shutout innings. Click for full box score.

Daytona Cubs Player of the Week: Aaron Shafer
Shafer has continued to dominate working out of the bullpen for Daytona. A promotion to Tennessee could be on the way. Last week he did not allow a single man to reach base in 4.2 innings. Shafer has a sparkling 0.70 ERA (just two earned runs surrendered all year). He was the Cubs’ 65th round selection in 2008.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS St. Lucie 6:05
Tuesday VS St. Lucie 6:05
Wednesday VS St. Lucie 9:35am

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (22-16)
The Chiefs made a series of roster moves on Friday to start the weekend. Nelson Perez returned to Peoria after a stint with High-A Daytona. Reliever Yohan Gonzalez and infielder Charles Thomas have also joined the Chiefs from Extended Spring Training. Andres Quezada and George Matheus were sent back to Mesa to make room on the roster.

Peoria beat the Burlington Bees 7-1 on Thursday to end a five game losing streak. Matt Cerda went 3-for-5 and belted a three-run homer in the ninth. Justin Bour also homered, his came to leadoff the sixth. Trey McNutt pitched six shutout innings and struck out seven to notch the win. His ERA is just 2.18, which ranks best on the team among starters. Click for full box score.

They made it back-to-back victories when they topped the Bees 4-3 on Friday. The Chiefs came from behind with three in the seventh. Larry Suarez got his fourth hold with two scoreless relief innings. James Leverton got his third save when he retired the side in order in the ninth. Click for full box score.

Burlington’s John Lamb shut down the Chiefs in the Bees 4-0 win on Saturday. Hak-Ju Lee went 2-for-4 and is hitting .252. Thomas made his season debut after coming up from Arizona. He went 0-for-3 in his first career game above Rookie Ball. Click for full box score.

On Sunday Peoria bounced right back with an 8-1 win. Logan Watkins went 4-for-4 with two singles, a double and a triple. Jeffry Antigua got his first W of the season and did not allow a run in five innings despite walking four. Click for full box score.

Peoria Chiefs Player of the Week: Kenneth ‘Trey’ McNutt
Here is a guy that has been a picture of consistency all season. This week he just added to his strong 2010 resume by allowed no runs in six innings in Burlington to pick up his second victory of the year. McNutt’s ERA is 2.18 in his seven starts. The righty, who goes by his middle name of Trey, had a 0.98 ERA last year in 13 games split between Mesa and Boise. He is slowly starting to move up the ranks after being drafted in 2008.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Today Off Day
Tuesday @Wisconsin 6:35
Wednesday @Wisconsin 12:05

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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