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

One Cub affiliate put together a nice string of victories while another dropped three of four. The rest of the Iowa pitching staff, which was depleted by several call-ups, has been pitching well. Also, a flurry of Korean-born prospects have played well in Peoria. In the mean time, the Cubs are set to make the 16th overall selection in the MLB First Year Player Draft Monday night.

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

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (29-27)
With Jeff Stevens and Andrew Cashner promoted to Chicago, the Iowa pitching staff has really had to step it up. Several starters have done well all year including stud Jay Jackson, veteran Thomas Diamond and Casey Coleman. However, the results on the field have been only average as of late, with the I-Cubs splitting a four game series in Round Rock before exchanging victories in the first two games against New Orleans going into Monday’s rubber match.

The I-Cubs and the Express split a double header on Thursday. Two late runs were the difference in game one, which Iowa took by a score of 4-3. Brad Snyder launched his eighth home run of the year in the fifth, part of a 2-for-3 game. John Gaub got himself into a jam by allowing two hits and a walk in the sixth, but he worked out of it and was the winning pitcher. Click for full box score. Round Rock did not allow the Cubs to complete the twin bill sweep. They took the second game 5-3 despite a 2-for-3 day from Micah Hoffpauir, who’s finally starting to heat up. Thomas Diamond did not have his usual command as he walked three, which led to four earned runs in his four-inning start. Click for full box score.

A three-run rally in the ninth was not enough for Iowa to come from behind in Friday’s 6-4 defeat. Micah Hoffpauir picked up two more hits and Welington Castillo drove in two on a double. Castillo came off the DL last Monday after spending some time out with a hamstring injury. Casey Coleman was touched for five runs in his start and took the loss. Jeff Samardzija did not allow a run in an inning of relief. The Shark has an ERA of 2.37 since returning to AAA. Click for full box score.

The New Orleans Zephyrs were the opponent on Saturday as the Cubs returned to Principal Park to start a brief 4 game home stand. Iowa put together a couple of big offensive innings on their way to a 10-4 win in the series opener. Bryan LaHair, Jim Adduci and Darwin Barney all had two hit evenings. LaHair drove in three runs and has knocked in a total of 25 this year. Chad Tracy delivered a pinch hit double to plate two. Mitch Atkins was lights out allowing a run on three hits in six innings. Click for full box score.

It was the Zephyrs turn to put a double digit run total on the board on Sunday. They beat Jay Jackson and the I-Cubs 6-4. Jackson gave up six runs (five earned) in six innings. Sam Fuld hit a solo shot in the eighth inning, his first homer of the year. Chad Tracy also showed off his power with a three-run blast. Click for full box score.

Iowa Cubs Player of the Week: Brian Schlitter
Brian allowed two runs in his outing on Sunday and does have an ERA a touch over four, but the bottom line is he’s getting the job done. Schlitter got the save in all three of his outings last week. He has nailed down a total of seven games this year, which ties for fourth in the league in the save category. Schlitter, who came to the organization in the Scott Eyre trade late in the 2008 season, is a guy that we haven’t heard a lot about, but he could fit into a late inning role at the big league level at some point.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Monday VS New Orleans 7:05 (J.R. Mathes)
Tuesday VS New Orleans 12:05 (Thomas Diamond)
Wednesday – Off Day

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (34-22)
The Smokies have won on a consistent basis all year long under skipper Bill Dancy. That trend continued this week when they won five in a row to take control of the Southern League North division.

The Smokies offense went to work late in the game for a 6-2 win over Birmingham on Thursday. Ty Wright reached base four times via two hits and two walks. Designated Hitter Russ Canzler did just what his position would indicate- hit (4-for-5, two runs scored). Chris Carpenter worked around nine Barons hits and allowed only two runs in six innings. Jeremy Papelbon got an odd three-inning save. Click for full box score.

Hung-Wen Chen returned to form after a couple of mediocre outings in his start on Friday. He allowed just two runs in seven innings. Chen got his fifth victory of the season as the Smokies won in nail-biting fashion by a score of 3-2. The top of the order (Tony Campana and Nate Samson) went a combined 6-for-8. Both men are hitting well over .300. Click for full box score.

The winning streak extended to five on Saturday as Tennessee got great relief pitching and won the game 8-5. Dustin Sasser, Ryan Butcher and David Cales combined for 3.1 scoreless frames. The bullpen completely shut down Huntsville, as the Stars had just one hit against them. First baseman Blake Lalli had two singles, a double, a walk, an RBI and a run scored in the win. Click for full box score.

After a lengthy rain delay of nearly an hour and a half, Sunday’s game finally took place. The Smokies winning streak came to a halt because of a rare sloppy start from Austin Bibens-Dirkx. The Stars scored seven runs in three innings against Austin, and the Smokies could not come all the way back, losing 8-6. Matt Spencer went 3-for-4 with two runs driven in. Click for full box score.

Tennessee Smokies Player of the Week: Ty Wright
Wright continues to swing the bat with authority. He had at least one hit in every game last week, and posted three multi-hit contests. A 4-for-6 game on Friday highlighted his stellar week.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Monday VS Huntsville 6:15
Tuesday VS Huntsville 6:15
Wednesday VS Huntsville 6:15

Class A-Daytona Cubs – (26-31)
The season continues to be a struggle for the fifth place D-Cubs. They have dropped six of the last eight and are nowhere close to the top four teams in the division. Three Cubs will play in the All-Star Game next weekend, but outside of that there hasn’t been much to cheer about at The Jack.

The D-Cubs snapped their four game losing skid with a 6-3 win on Thursday against the Stone Crabs. Smaily Borges hit a three-run homer in the first and added a double later in the game. Chris Archer continued his good season with five strong innings to improve his record to 3-1. Click for full box score.

Chris Rusin pitched a masterpiece on Friday but he got no help from the sputtering Daytona offense and ended up with a no decision. The team lost to Charlotte 1-0 in a 12 inning pitching-dominated game. Seven of the nine men in the D-Cubs lineup went hitless (two 0-for-5, three 0-for-4, one 0-for-3, and one 0-for-2). Click for full box score.

Saturday the Cubs kicked off their road trip in Palm Beach with a 9-5 loss to the Red Birds. Brett Jackson, who has cooled off, went 0-for-4 and is hitting .269. Brooks Raley’s start was ugly (4.2 IP, 8 ER, 11 H). Click for full box score.

The D-Cubs got a much-needed win on Sunday with four in the ninth to top the Red Birds 6-2. Smaily Borges went 3-for-4 to climb his average over .200. D.J. LeMahieu, Jackson, Rebel Ridling and Junior Lake also posted multi-hit games. Dae-Eun Rhee’s start was very good as Palm Beach scored just once against him in 5.2 innings. Click for full box score.

Daytona Cubs Player of the Week: Smaily Borges
The 2010 campaign has been a struggle for Borges at the plate. Last week he had two of his best games of the year, so hopefully the Cuban outfielder is close to breaking out of his slump. Smaily went 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and three RBI in his first big night of the week before a 3-for-4 day on Sunday.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Monday @Palm Beach 6:05
Tuesday @Palm Beach 5:35
Wednesday VS Brevard County 6:05

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (31-26)
The Chiefs are hanging toward the middle of the pack in the Midwest League standings. Their hurlers have pitched poorly so far, with a team ERA of 4.31 that ranks third worst in the league. The offense has been good enough to make up for the pitching woes and earn the Chiefs a record upwards of .500.

Peoria dropped the rubber match of their three games in South Bend on Thursday 10-4. Matt Cerda went 4-for-4 with a triple and drove in two, but his great day at the dish was not enough. Larry Suarez had a dreadful outing where he was removed after retiring only two batters. He was charged with four earned runs. Click for full box score.

The Chiefs lost the series opener against the West Michigan Whitecaps of the Tigers’ organization by a score of 9-4. Justin Bour and Greg Rohan each picked up two hits and a walk. Cerda stayed hot going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Nick Struck pitched badly (4 IP, 8 H, 5 ER) and took the loss. Click for full box score.

Saturday’s contest was suspended due to rain, but then was completed on Sunday. The Chiefs scored four in the seventh for an 8-5 win. Jae-Hoon Hae drilled a triple, walked, and scored twice. He’s hitting .343 since being called up from Mesa a week and a half ago. D.J. Fitzgerald homered and drove in three. Su-Min Jung allowed only one run in five innings and got the win. Click for full box score.

The Whitecaps put up a tally in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday for a 3-2 walk-off win. Francisco Guzman enjoyed a three hit afternoon. Larry Suarez pitched three shutout innings in long relief. Click for full box score.

Peoria Chiefs Player of the Week: Matt Cerda
Cerda has been a key to the Chiefs hitting attack all year long. He’s hitting .271 with an impressive on-base percentage of .362. Matt, who’s played in 50 games this year mostly at first base, is hitting .480 so far this month. His amazing week was headlined by a 4-for-4 game against South Bend on Thursday. He is tearing up right handed pitching this year with a .306 average, but struggles against southpaws.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Monday – Off Day
Tuesday VS Lansing 7:00
Wednesday VS Lansing 7:00

MLB Draft Preview
The Chicago Cubs will have the 16th overall selection in the first round of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft tonight. The draft starts at 7:00pm CDT and is televised tonight on the MLB Network. The draft will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday. I will keep you posted on the Cubs’ selections all week on www.twitter.com/cubsfarmupdates.

The Cubs are expected to focus on pitching and catching in the draft. They also are reportedly looking at a lot of guys out of high school. Mymlbdraft.com has the Cubs taking right-handed pitcher Asher Wojciechowski out of The Citadel. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo also predicts that the Cubs will take Wojciechowski, who seems to be a better fit as a reliever than a starter. Baseball America thinks they will use the 16th overall pick on Karsten Whiteson out of Chipley High School. He has a good fastball, a nasty slider, and a solid changeup. We can only wait and see which direction the Cubs choose to go and who is available!

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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