Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 06/03/10

Andrew Cashner has broken into the big leagues. Micah Hoffpauir is still trying to earn his keep at AAA. Austin Bibens-Dirkx and the Smokies pitching staff have done a great job as of late.

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

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (27-24)
The I-Cubs have cooled off, dropping five of their last seven. The offense has started to slump, as they are hitting just .209 in their last nine games. Micah Hoffpauir now has sole possession of third on the all-time Iowa home run list, but we’re still waiting for him to totally heat up.

Early in the week Andrew Cashner’s call-up to the big leagues caused a series of roster moves throughout the organization.

Welington Castillo was activated from the disabled list. Chris Robinson filled in nicely behind the plate, the I-Cubs will be happy to have their everyday backstop in there again. Scott Maine will get another shot at AAA because he was promoted to fill Cashner’s spot in the bullpen. In addition, Jeff Gray’s groin injury has returned and has him on the 7-day DL. Gray suffered the injury on the first day of camp in Mesa.

The Nashville Sounds spoiled the I-Cubs’ Memorial Day with an eight run eighth inning to get an 8-0 win on Monday. Chad Tracy posted yet another two hit game to keep his batting average well over .400. A brilliant outing by Mitch Atkins (6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 0 R) was wasted by the offense and the ineffective Iowa bullpen. Click for full box score.

Micah Hoffpauir went 3-for-4 on Tuesday to lift the Cubs to a 3-2 win in the series opener against the Round Rock Express. Hoff nailed a solo homer in the ninth to break a 2-2 tie and put his club in front. Jeff Samardzija got the win with two perfect innings of relief work. Jim Adduci also showed off some pop, going deep for the first time this season. Click for full box score.

Wednesday’s game was postponed due to rain and will be made up as part of a twin bill tonight.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Round Rock 5:30 (J.R. Mathes)
Tonight @Round Rock Game 2 (Thomas Diamond)
Friday @Round Rock 7:05 (Casey Coleman)
Saturday VS New Orleans 7:05 (Mitch Atkins)
Sunday VS New Orleans 1:05 (Jay Jackson)

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (31-21)
A team that has been known for the most part for its potent lineup has quietly had some great pitchers so far this year. The Smokies staff includes Austin Bibens Dirkx (4-1, 2.05 ERA), Scott Maine (2.20 ERA that earned him a promotion), David Cales (4-1, 2.43 ERA) and Marcos Mateo (0.00 ERA in 6 games). After finishing a solid month of May, Tennessee opened up June with back-to-back wins.

Like the Iowa Cubs, the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate also had a damper holiday. The Smokies were pounded in a dreadful game in Birmingham by a score of 10-1. Brandon Guyer was one of the few bright spots going 3-for-4. Alberto Cabrera and Jeremy Papelbon were both hammered on the hill. Click for full box score.

The Smokies got the new month off on the right foot on Tuesday by beating the Barons 3-0. Marquez Smith launched a key two run homer in the third, his second long ball of the year. Austin Bibens-Dirkx allowed just one hit in seven masterful innings to notch his fourth win. Click for full box score.

After the pitching came through on Tuesday, it was the hitter’s turn to pick up the hurlers on Wednesday. Tennessee got a wild 8-7 win in an 11-inning game in Birmingham. Ty Wright went 4-for-6 with two doubles! The bullpen pitched well late in the game after Craig Muschko’s shaky start. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Birmingham 7:05
Friday @Birmingham 7:05
Saturday VS Huntsville 5:15
Sunday VS Huntsville 4:00

Class-A Daytona Cubs – (24-29)
One week the D-Cubs can’t lose the next they can’t win! Inconsistency has plagued this team. The Cubs were within a game of .500 and riding a seven game winning streak, but then one lost led to the next and all the sudden they’ve dropped four straight.

On Tuesday, the Cubs started a new month after a day off to rest up. The hitters did not appear to be rested however, as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Rebel Ridling and D.J. LeMahieu are two guys who have started to find their stroke. Both men had two hits. Dae-Eun Rhee gave up three runs in 4.2 innings and was hit with his sixth loss of the year. Click for full box score.

All-Star starter Rafael Dolis allowed just two runs in five innings in Wednesday’s loss by the same score of 4-1. Dolis did allow seven hits, but he struck out three. Chris Siegfried put two zeros on the board in relief of Rafael. Ridling and LeMahieu each picked up a pair of hits once again. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Charlotte 6:05
Friday VS Charlotte 6:05
Saturday @Palm Beach 6:05
Sunday @Palm Beach 4:05

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (29-24)
The Chiefs continue to hand around the middle of the pack in the Midwest League. They could see some new faces in town very soon once the First Year Player Draft takes places. They are also just over a week away from retiring Greg Maddux’s number at O’Brien Field.

Peoria had their second home rainout of the year on Monday in a game that was postponed due to rain. The Chiefs game against the Beloit Snappers was washed out and will not be made up.

The Chiefs went to Indiana for the first time this season on Tuesday to play South Bend. The Silver Hawks, an Arizona affiliate, took the series opener 6-5 in extras. The game saw a total of 31 base hits. Five different Chiefs had multi-hit games with Justin Bour leading the way and going 3-for-5. Click for full box score.

Peoria came away with an 11-3 blowout win on Wednesday. A seven-run seventh provided the Chiefs with a nice cushion. D.J. Fitzgerald had three hits including a three-run homer. Jae-Hoon Ha continued his hot start with a 3-for-5 game. Click for full box score.

Top Prospect Watch
Brett Jackson: .272 AVG, .396 OBP, 47 games at Daytona
Josh Vitters: .234 AVG in 20 games at AA
Andrew Cashner: 3-0, 0.95 ERA, 129 IP at AAA, Called up to MLB
Jay Jackson: 3-3, 2.28 ERA, 55.1 IP at AAA
Hak-Ju Lee: .255 AVG, .322 OBP, 47 games at Peoria
Logan Watkins: .259 AVG, .342 OBP, 46 games at Peoria
Chris Carpenter: 3-2, 4.15 ERA, 34.2 IP at AA
Ryan Flaherty: .344 AVG in 25 games at Daytona
D.J. LeMahieu: .272 AVG, .303 OBP, 50 games at Daytona
*Stats accurate going into play on 6/2

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Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne