With the First Year Player Draft coming up on June 7-8, the start of the Boise Hawks and Arizona Cubs seasons later in the month, and minor league All-Star games soon after that, the busy period for minor league baseball is about to begin. For now, three of our four farm teams are near or at the top of their division.
We’ll tell you all about it in today’s Down on the Farm Report.
The I-Cubs are in a neck-and-neck battle for the top of the PCL American North with the Nashville Sounds. The Cubs haven’t lost consecutive games since May 2. The pitchers have been dominating as they lead the league in ERA this month at 2.65. Andrew Cashner has been a key factor in the recent success of the pitching staff. Last week he was honored as the “Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week“.
Thomas Diamond was the victim of some bad luck and lack of run support on Monday as he got the defeat in a 1-0 I-Cub loss. They were edged by the Salt Lake Bees … an Angels’ affiliate. Chris Robinson was 3-for-4 while Brad Snyder picked up two hits of his own. Robinson’s still hitting under .200. Diamond allowed a run on five hits in six innings and Jay Jackson tossed three scoreless frames of relief. Click for full box score.
The offense came back to life on Tuesday in the 8-2 Iowa victory. The Cubs scored seven runs after two were out in the bottom of the third. Casey Coleman allowed two runs in six innings and got his third win of the year. Bryan LaHair doubled twice and drove in three. The relief corps (Justin Berg, John Gaub and Brian Schlitter) put three zeros on the board in the final third of the game. Click for full box score.
Salt Lake had their way with the I-Cubs on Wednesday in a 9-3 route. Chad Tracy hit a homer in the first to give the Cubs a short-lived lead. Mitch Atkins was charged with six runs (four earned) in five innings. Jeff Samardzija allowed a run on two hits over three innings. Blake Parker had a rocky ninth and was touched for two runs. Click for full box score.
Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Today VS Salt Lake (Andrew Cashner)
Friday @ Nashville (J.R. Mathes)
Saturday @ Nashville (Thomas Diamond)
Sunday @ Nashville (Casey Coleman)
AA-Tennessee Smokies – (28-18)
Last week Ty Wright led the Tennessee offense cranking four homers and knocking in 13 runs. These stats earned him Southern League “Hitter of the Week” honors. He was the second Smokie in a row to win the award. As a team, the guys are atop their division right now.
The Smokies got a 3-2 win on Monday when they hosted the Jacksonville Suns. A pinch-hit homer by Marquez Smith in the seventh tied the game at one, and then the Smokies rallied to win it with two in the ninth. Matt Spencer went 2-for-3 with a walk to boost his average over .300. Alberto Cabrera pitched well for the first time since moving up to Double-A. He went six innings and allowed a run on only four hits. Click for full box score.
The Smokies pounded out 17 hits on Wednesday, but somehow they scored only three times. Despite the all the men left on base, Tennessee pulled out a 3-0 win thanks to some great pitching. Austin Bibens-Dirkx allowed only two hits in his seven scoreless innings. Cales and Maine put goose eggs on the board in the eighth and ninth respectively to preserve the shutout. Blake Lalli and Steve Clevenger both went 3-for-4, each one of the out hitting the entire Montgomery club on their own. Click for full box score.
*All Times CDT
Today @ Montgomery 7:05
Friday @ Montgomery 7:05
Saturday @ Montgomery 7:05
Sunday @ Montgomery 2:05
Class-A Daytona Cubs – (23-25)
Brett Jackson is still looking to return to form after missing about a week due to a foot injury. The Daytona leadoff man is hitting just .167 in his last ten games. The results on the field have been very encouraging as of late, especially considering that the best D-Cub hitter is slumping. The Cubs hot streak has them out of the cellar in their division and closing in on the .500 mark after the slow start.
Daytona got a road win on Monday against Brevard County. A four-run fourth was all the D-Cubs needed in the 4-2 victory. Ryan Flaherty had three RBI and Mark Reed enjoyed a three-hit game. Chris Rusin got his first win of the season pitching five shutout innings and allowing just two hits. He struck out six Manatees. Click for full box score.
The Cubs made it four straight when they topped Brevard County 5-3. Michael Brenly, who’s scuffled at the plate this year, went 2-for-4. Brooks Raley’s six strong innings earned him the win. Kyler Burke had the big blow in the game, a three-run homer in the third. Click for full box score.
Three more hits from the red-hot Jake Opitz helped the Cubs extend their winning streak to five on Wednesday. They beat the Manatees 9-3. Jackson’s bat returned to life with a 2-for-4 day that included his second long ball of the year. Luis Flores, who was brought up from Extended Spring Training before the game, went 2-for-3 in his D-Cubs debut. Click for full box score.
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Jupiter 6:05
Friday VS Jupiter 6:05
Saturday VS Jupiter 6:05
Sunday VS Jupiter 5:35
Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (26-21)
The Chiefs have played well at home this season. They are 6-1 in series openers at O’Brien Field. Peoria has done just enough to hover above the .500 mark so far.
Peoria scored a run to take the lead in the top of the tenth on Monday, but the Quad Cities River Bandits responded with two in the bottom half to win the game. James Leverton allowed three earned runs in 1.2 innings. James was hit with the loss and blown save. Matt Cerda was 3-for-5 and Nelson Perez went 2-for-3. Jonathan Mota launched the homer in the tenth that put the Chiefs in front for the time being. Click for full box score.
Trey McNutt, Yohan Gonzalez, Steven Grife and James Leverton combined on a three-hit shutout in the Chiefs 3-0 victory on Tuesday. McNutt allowed just two hits in his five innings. Charles Thomas was used as the DH and drilled a solo shot. Click for full box score.
Peoria dropped Wednesday’s battle with Cedar Rapids 7-3. Su-Min Jung got the loss and Larry Suarez surrendered some middle inning insurance tallies. Richard Jones recorded his second multi-hit game in the last five days. Click for full box score.
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Cedar Rapids 6:30
Friday VS Beloit 6:30
Saturday VS Beloit 6:30
Sunday VS Beloit 1:00
Top Prospect Watch
Brett Jackson: .296 AVG, .418 OBP, 40 games at Daytona
Josh Vitters: .265 AVG in 15 games at AA
Andrew Cashner: 3-0, 0.95 ERA, 129 IP at AAA
Jay Jackson: 3-3, 1.99 ERA, 45.1 IP at AAA
Hak-Ju Lee: .274 AVG, .337 OBP, 41 games at Peoria
Logan Watkins: .257 AVG, .325 OBP, 39 games at Peoria
Chris Carpenter: 3-1, 3.98 ERA, 36 IP at AA
Ryan Flaherty: .343 AVG in 18 games at Daytona
D.J. LeMahieu: .258 AVG, .295 OBP, 44 games at Daytona
*Stats accurate going into play on 5/26
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 www.everythingcubs.blogspot.com. For more minor league updates you can follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/cubsfarmupdates.