Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 06/14/10

A few Cubs prospects played well in the Florida State League All-Star game. Jeff Samardzija did well as an emergency starter for Iowa. The Peoria Chiefs honored future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux on Friday as they retired his jersey number. The top two teams in the Southern League, Tennessee and West Tenn, faced off this weekend with first place on the line.

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

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (32-30)
Despite the fact that they’ve been over .500 for most of the year, Ryne Sanberg’s club has been in the cellar of the four team PCL American North. The division is stacked with solid clubs- Memphis, Nashville, Omaha, and Iowa. All four teams are within four games of each other!

On Thursday night the I-Cubs began a big series with the Memphis Redbirds. They started the weekend on a sour note, falling 7-2 despite racking up ten hits. Darwin Barney, Bryan LaHair and Matt Camp all had multi-hit games. Both of the Iowa runs were on solo homers- LaHair went deep in the ninth and Marquez Smith launched one in the fifth. Casey Coleman’s start was a dreadful one. He was charged with seven runs (six earned) on nine hits and three walks in just four innings of work. John Grabow made his second rehab appearance, allowing no runs and only one hit. Click for full box score.

Former Notre Dame football star Jeff Samardzija stepped up in his emergency start for Iowa on Friday. Mitch Atkins, the scheduled starter, was scratched during batting practice because of what turned out to be a call-up to the big leagues. Jeff’s four strong innings kept his team in the game and put them in position to win it 4-1 with three late runs. Justin Berg, Brian Schlitter and John Gaub all stepped it up and put zeros on the board in relief. Sam Fuld, Jason Dubois and Welington Castillo all went hitless. The trio of aforementioned I-Cubs are all hitting under .240. Click for full box score.

The Redbirds regained control of the series with a 6-2 Saturday win. Lefty Rich Hill, a familiar face to Cubs’ fans, got the win with two shutout innings in relief. Catcher Chris Robinson had a huge day at the plate going 3-for-4 with a double and a long ball. The I-Cubs continued to be plagued by lack of production from their outfielders as the four men went a combined 0-for-14 at the plate. Jay Jackson gave up just two hits, but he issued three costly walks. The John Grabow that we’ve been used to seeing at Wrigley this season showed up in Memphis as he allowed three earned runs on four hits in one inning. Click for full box score.

J.R. Mathes pitched a gem on Sunday in Iowa’s 4-0 win. Mathes did not allow a run in six one-hit innings. John Grabow faced four men and retired three of them, bouncing back from his bad outing a day prior. John is expected to be activated off the DL soon. Micah Hoffpauir and Sam Fuld have both struggled all year long, but they each contributed two hits against Memphis on Sunday. Welington Castillo drove in two. Click for full box score.

Outfielder Jim Adduci left the team on Saturday in order to be present for the birth of his daughter on Saturday night. The baby girl and her mother Lauren are both doing well. Adduci will rejoin the club when they return home tonight.

Iowa Cubs Player of the Week: Jay Jackson
One of the top pitchers left in the Cubs’ farm system, Jackson is a 6’1” righty that was drafted by the Cubs in the ninth round in June of ’08. He cruised through Boise, Peoria, Daytona, and Tennessee and found himself making a Triple-A start in just his second year of pro ball. Jackson made a great start on Saturday (7 IP, 3 R, took a no-hitter into the seventh) to earn Player of the Week honors. Jay ranks fourth in the Pacific Coast League in ERA at 2.90, first in WHIP at 0.98, and tied for second with a .211 batting average against.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Round Rock 7:05 (Thomas Diamond)
Tuesday VS Round Rock 5:00 (Casey Coleman)
Tuesday VS Round Rock Game 2 (TBA)
Wednesday VS Round Rock 7:05

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (38-25)
This weekend, first place was on the line with a big five game series at Smokies Park between Tennessee and the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, the former Cubs Double-A affiliate now a part of the Mariners chain. The Smokies are led by lead-off man Tony Campana, who’s on-base percentage is at .407!

The Diamond Jaxx crushed the Smokies in the first game of the series on Thursday 11-3. Robinson Chirinos was a key contributor going 2-4 with two runs batted in. Ty Wright delivered a solo homer in the eighth. It was his tenth homer of the year, so Wright was the first player in the organization (counting the big league club) to reach double digits in his home run total. Since then, Alfonso Soriano has reached 10, so the two are now tied for the organization lead. Alberto Cabrera was a mess (4.2 IP, 6 R, 1 ER, 1 BB). Click for full box score.

The Smokies were able to bounce back and win Friday’s game 7-3. Austin Bibens-Dirkx pitched well (6 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 R) and earned his fifth win of the season. Tennessee showed off their power with three homers. Matt Spencer went deep in the fourth to give the Smokies a 3-2 lead. Russ Canzler drilled his sixth of the year to make it 4-2. Brandon Guyer got in on the act with a three run bomb in the eighth that put the game away. Click for full box score.

West Tenn reduced the Smokies’ division lead back to 0.5 games on Saturday with a 7-5 victory. Blake Lalli went 3-for-5 to boost his average to .313 while Brandon Guyer suffered a 0-for-4 night. Craig Muschko gave up seven runs and got the loss to fall to 2-3. Click for full box score.

First place was on the line on Sunday, and the Smokies came through with a 7-5 win thanks to four runs in the seventh. The Smokies now lead the Diamond Jaxx by 1.5 games in the North. Tony Thomas had a fantastic day at the plate with a triple and a grand slam. Chris Carpenter worked around three walks and four hits and allowed just two men to cross the plate in six innings. Click for full box score.

Tennessee Smokies Player of the Week: David Cales
Minor league relievers often do not get the attention they deserve when they’re pitching well. Cales has gone nine straight outings without allowing a run. The last time the opposing team scored against him was on May 22. He allowed just two hits in three outings last week. David is 4-1 with a 2.13 ERA and 5 saves! Last year he was the Class-A Advanced reliever of the year going 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA in 37 games at Daytona.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS West Tenn 6:15
Tuesday @Mobile 7:05
Wednesday @Mobile 7:05

Class-A Daytona Cubs – (29-32)
The D-Cubs finished up the first half three games under the .500 mark and eight games behind first place Dunedin. While many of the Cubs enjoyed a much-needed break before the second half, some of the organizations’ brightest young stars competed in the Florida State League All-Star game.

To finish out the first on Thursday, Daytona lost to the Brevard County Manatees 12-8. The Cubs missed out on a chance to finish the first half within a game of a .500 record. The D-Cubs mounted a huge comeback with a total of seven runs in the late innings. However, four ninth inning tallies broke the 8-8 tie and won it for the Manatees. Ryan Flaherty and Rebel Ridling each drove in three runs, while D.J. LeMahieu went 3-for-5 with three runs scored. Brooks Raley turned in another rough outing- 4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB. Click for full box score.

The FSL All-Star game needed ten innings to decide an outcome on Saturday night. The North team, which included three Cubs, fell to the South 5-4. Brett Jackson, who batted first and started in centerfield, singled and had an RBI in his two at bats. Rafael Dolis came on to work the second inning. He allowed one hit but that was all in a shutout inning. Aaron Shafer, however, did not look as sharp. The Daytona reliever allowed two runs on four hits in the eighth inning. Click for full box score.

Henry Wrigley, a player in the Tampa Bay system, won the homerun derby before the All-Star game. Even though Henry’s last name sounds like he belongs in the Cubs’ system, he is not.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Today VS Lakeland 6:05
Tuesday VS Lakeland 6:05
Wednesday VS Lakeland 6:05

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (34-29)
The Chief’s pitching staff got the chance to learn from a legend on Friday night when ex-Chief Greg Maddux stopped by O’Brien Field. Maddux had his jersey #31 retired by the club before the game. He attended the ceremony with his family and took the time to sign autographs for fans. Greg made 25 starts for Peoria in 1985, going 13-9 with a 3.19 ERA.

The Lansing Lugnuts (another former Cub affiliate) had the Chiefs number on Thursday and won 7-3. Peoria outhit the Lugnuts 10-8 but they left more men on base. Nick Struck pitched well going six innings and surrendering just two runs. Click for full box score.

On Greg Maddux night Peoria fittingly got great pitching from starter Trey McNutt. He went five innings, did not allow a run, gave up only three hits, and K’d seven! McNutt is now 5-0 with an ERA of 1.65 as his team won the game against Great Lakes 5-1. Justin Bour went 2-for-4 with three RBI including a two-run homer. Click for full box score.

The Chiefs made it back-to-back Ws on Saturday when they beat the Loons 6-3. Another great number 31, this time Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, made an appearance at the park. Logan Watkins had a perfect 3-for-3 game. Bour went deep for the second straight night, a three-run bomb in the fifth to make it 6-0 at that point. Ryan Searle pitched five shutout innings and only two Great Lakes hitters were able to muster up base hits against him. Click for full box score.

Great Lakes ended their losing skid on Sunday afternoon with a 7-0 route. The Chiefs had no extra base knocks. Jeffry Antigua got the loss to fall to 3-5. Click for full box score.

Peoria Chiefs Player of the Week: Justin Bour
With homers in two straight games, the left handed hitting first baseman earned his title as the Player of the Week for Peoria. Justin now has five homers and 41 RBI on the year. He drove in seven runs in a two game span against Great Lakes on Friday and Saturday! Bour, who enjoys fishing and ping-pong, has developed well since he was selected in the 25th round of the 2009 First Year Player Draft.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Burlington 6:30
Tuesday @Burlington 6:30
Wednesday @Burlington 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.

Quote of the Day

"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." - David Brinkley
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