Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/05/10

Two Iowa Cubs have been named to the Triple-A All-Star Game. Three of the nine Smokies named to the Southern League All-Star Game will be in the starting lineup. After a rain out yesterday, the I-Cubs find themselves temporarily at the bottom of the pack in the PCL American North. A viral infection has prevented the Cubs top draft-pick from reporting to Boise.

All that and more as we recap the holiday weekend minor league news in today’s Down on the Farm Report.

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (43-38)
Shortstop Darwin Barney and right-handed pitcher Thomas Diamond have been named to the 2010 Pacific Coast League All-Star team. The Triple-A All-Star Game will take place at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA on July 14. It will be televised live on the MLB Network!

Thomas Diamond has been terrific on the rubber this year, going 5-2 with a 2.52 ERA so far. He leads the PCL in strikeouts with 87. Darwin Barney is hitting .289 and is superb defensively at short. As a team, Iowa is 43-38, which puts them 1.5 games back of Memphis for the top spot in their division.

The I-Cubs started the month of July with a 6-3 loss to the Omaha Royals. Bryan LaHair reached all four times with two walks and two doubles. Ty Wright was hitless in his first two games since being promoted, but he went 1-for-4 to notch his first hit at the Triple-A level. Jeff Samardzija was successful striking out three in two perfect innings. John Gaub was charged with two earned runs on three walks in one inning, which led to his third loss of the year. Click for full box score.

The Cubs halted the Royals 5-3 on Friday. Micah Hoffpauir, who has started to swing the bat with authority, doubled twice, homered, and drove in three. Casey Coleman pitched fantastically allowing only one run on four hits in six innings. After finding out he was an All-Star a day prior, Darwin Barney proved his keep with two hits. Click for full box score.

Homers from four different Cubs were not enough on Saturday in a 6-5 loss. Brad Snyder drew even with Jason Dubois for the team lead with his 11th homer in the eighth. A second inning blow from Bryan LaHair was the only multi-run bomb of the day. Sam Fuld and Bobby Scales, neither of whom are power hitters, hit home runs as well. Mitch Atkins was hurt by the walks (5) and the long balls (2) in his six-inning start. He still managed to limit the damage to three runs, all earned. Marco Carrillo allowed the Royals to plate the winning running in the bottom of the ninth. Marco was promoted all the way from Daytona in a roster move this weekend. Click for full box score.

Sunday’s game at Principal Park against the Isotopes was postponed due to rain. The I-Cubs are no stranger to double headers this season and they’ll play another one tomorrow.

Iowa Cubs Player of the Week: Micah Hoffpauir
Hoff is slowly but surely showing some signs of swinging the bat better. Micah had three big games last week. He went 4-4 with 4 RBIs in New Orleans to start the week on Sunday, 2-for-4 on Thursday, and 3-for-4 on Friday. Micah, who spent most of 2008 with the big league team but has not seen time in Chicago yet this season, is hitting just .249 on the year.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Today VS Albuquerque Game 1 4:30 (Jay Jackson)
Tonight VS Albuquerque Game 2 (Thomas Diamond)
Tuesday VS Albuquerque 7:05 (J.R. Mathes)
Wednesday VS Albuquerque 7:05 (Casey Coleman)
Thursday VS New Orleans 7:00

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (8-5)
Not only were nine Smokies named to the Double-A All-Star Game, but three of them will be in the starting lineup for the North when they meet the South on July 12. Blake Lalli, Tony Campana and Robinson Chirinos are all in Huntsville skipper Mike Guerrero’s tentative starting nine.

After a first half championship, the Smokies are enjoying an over .500 start to the second half.

The Smokies were overpowered by West Tennessee 6-0 on Thursday. Brett Jackson suffered his first hitless game since being advanced to Double-A. The Smokies had a total of only two hits, singles from Blake Lalli and Nate Samson. Hung-Wen Chen gave up six runs (4 ER) in four innings. Click for full box score.

The Diamond Jaxx were subdued in a 9-0 Tennessee win on Friday. Russ Canzler and Matt Spencer both hit two-run homers. Lalli (3-for-4, BB), Marwin Gonzalez (3-for-5, 3 RBI) and Brandon Guyer (2-for-5, RBI) also contributed to the offensive outburst. Chris Archer continued his stellar year, picking up the victory with 5.2 shutout innings. He allowed only three hits and struck out six in his Double-A debut. Click for full box score.

Rafael Dolis tossed six shutout innings as the Smokies continued to get good pitching in a 5-0 win on Saturday. The game was a lot closer than the final score would indicate, as Tennessee got all five of their tallies in the top of the ninth. A bases-clearing triple by Tony Thomas to score three highlighted the rally. Dolis issued only one walk and gave up just four hits. Click for full box score.

Robinson Chirinos provided the Fourth of July fireworks with a three-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to give the Smokies a 6-3 win over rival Huntsville. Austin Bibens-Dirkx was electric and worked five scoreless innings. Aaron Shafer surrendered all three Stars runs. Tony Thomas drilled his sixth homer of the year in the seventh to stay hot. Click for full box score.

Tennessee Smokies Player of the Week: Blake Lalli
The Smokies first base man Blake Lalli had a pair of three-hit games last week. In addition, he was named to North’s starting lineup in the Southern League All-Star Game. Lalli is a Southern League All-Star for the second straight year, after hitting .314 in 118 games with the Smokies last season. Blake has always hit for a combination of average and power, and this year is no exception with a .309 batting average, two homers, 30 RBI and 13 doubles.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Huntsville 6:15 (Chris Carpenter)
Tuesday VS Huntsville 11am (Hung-Wen Chen)
Wednesday @Jacksonville 6:05
Thursday @Jacksonville 6:05

Class-A Advanced Daytona Cubs – (40-40, 6-4)
A doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Yankees helped cool the Daytona Cubs down after a great start to their second half. Recently called up Trey McNutt has made an impact, and D.J. LeMahieu has been swinging the bat with more consistency.

After a suspended game on Thursday, the D-Cubs and Tampa Yankees were in for an interesting day of baseball on Friday. The Cubs lost 4-2 and 4-3, the latter of which took 14 innings to complete. In the marathon affair Chris Rusin got the start and allowed only one hit over three innings. Jonathan Mota (0-for-6, 5 Ks), Mark Reed (0-for-6), and Ryan Flaherty (1-for-7) suffered dreadful days at the plate. Click for full box score. Thankfully, the second game was only seven innings and took just over two hours to play. David Patton worked around three walks and two hits to get through two innings without allowing a run. Two hits and two walks were the only blemishes in Chris Seigfried’s 2.2 shutout innings. Michal Brenly went 2-for-3 with two RBI to increase his runs batted in total to 22. Click for full box score.

A solid outing from Trey McNutt helped the D-Cubs down Clearwater 5-1 on Sunday. Rebel Ridling and Junior Lake both enjoyed 3-for-4 days. Michael Brenly had another good day at the plate going 2-for-3 with two RBI. McNutt gave up one run on four hits in 5.2 innings. Click for full box score.

Daytona Cubs Player of the Week: Michael Brenly
The son of former big leaguer and current Cubs broadcaster Bob, Michael hit .555 last week for the D-Cubs. The younger Brenly had three RBI on Sunday, homered on Wednesday, and had at least two hits and an RBI in each of the four games he played during the week. His week of tearing the cover off of the ball boosted his average to .291. Michael is a catcher who was drafted in the 36th round of the 2008 MLB First Year Player Draft.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Clearwater 6:05
Tuesday VS Clearwater 11:05am
Wednesday VS Tampa 6:05
Thursday VS Tampa 6:05

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (41-38, 3-7)
The Chiefs are looking forward to a game at Wrigley Field this week. They will meet Kane County at The Friendly Confines on Wednesday night at 7:00. This will be the third ever Road to Wrigley game and the second time that Peoria will be involved. This year’s contest features a rematch of the first ever minor league game at Wrigley in 2008. The Chiefs are returning to an MLB ballpark for the third consecutive year as last season they played the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at Miller Park. The Chiefs will look to get a mental boost from the date at Wrigley after a subpar start to the second half.

The Chiefs and Cougars started a three game series in Kane County on Thursday, which resulted in a 4-2 Peoria pummeling. Justin Bour homered, walked, drove in two, singled, and scored twice. His eight homers lead the team. Elliot Soto, this year’s 15th round pick who is a Chicagoland native, joined the Chiefs after being promoted to take Francisco Guzman’s place on the roster. Guzman, an outfielder, suffered a hamstring injury that landed him on the disabled list. Soto did not see action in the win. Su-Min Jung went five innings, gave up only two runs, and struck out eight. Click for full box score.

The Cougars conquered the Chiefs 3-1 on Friday. Elliot Soto made his debut spelling Hak-Ju Lee and led off the game with a single. He came around to score the only Chiefs run of the night and finished the game 1-4. Greg Rohan (2-for-4) drove in the only Peoria run. Ronny Morla allowed no runs on one hit in three innings. Rob Whitenack (3 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 2 R) got the loss to fall to 6-6. Click for full box score.

Four runs against Larry Suarez in the bottom of the eighth was the difference in a 9-5 Kane County victory on Saturday. Even with a rough start from Jeffry Antigua (5 IP, 8 H, 5 R) the Chiefs were still in the game until Suarez’s woeful frame. Larry is now 0-3 with a 5.35 ERA. Greg Rohan went 3-for-4 including a solo homer while Hak-Ju Lee singled, doubled, and drove in two. Click for full box score.

A four run ninth doomed the Chiefs in a 5-3 loss to Clinton on Sunday. Justin Bour launched home run number nine, Nelson Perez had three hits, and Greg Rohan went 2-for-3. Nick Struck went six strong innings allowing only one run on four hits. Frank Batista gave up four runs in two innings and took the loss. Click for full box score.

Peoria Chiefs Player of the Week: Ronny Morla
Quietly, Morla has done a nice job in middle relief for the Chiefs this season. This week he pitched in two games, a total of five innings, and did not allow a run. Only two men reached against him all week, one on a hit and the other via a base on balls. Ronny is in his first year in the Cubs organization after starting out his pro career in the A’s chain in 2006.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Today VS Clinton 1:00
Tuesday VS Clinton 7:00
Wednesday VS Kane County @Wrigley 7:00
Thursday VS Kane County 7:00

Updates from Boise/Mesa
Carrie Muskat of Cubs.com reports that the reason number one draft choice Hayden Simpson has yet to report to Boise or Arizona is because of a viral infection. Simpson is expected to go through some workouts before joining the Hawks, but nothing will happen until he is healthy. Third round draft choice Micah Gibbs, a catcher out of LSU, has joined the Hawks. Gibbs stopped in Mesa and played one Rookie Ball game before making his Class-A Short Season debut. He went 0-for-4 as the DH in that debut, but he now has two hits in three games. Pierre LePage, a 13th round pick, had a much better first game with the Hawks posting two hits including a 3-run triple. Closer Corey Martin has six saves so far as Boise was in first place at 9-7 going into their late game Sunday night.

The Mesa Cubs are in third place in the AZL League East at 4-6. Second round pick Reggie Golden has yet to sign. If the Cubs do not reach an agreement with him by the mid-August deadline, they will receive a compensation pick one spot lower than where they selected him this year.

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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