Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/26/10

One Cub affiliate just finished up an 8-0 road trip. J.R. Mathes breaks an Iowa record for career wins with the club. The first half champion Smokies have moved into first place for the second half as well. The Iowa Cubs pulled out a win despite two costly errors from their shortstop. Brenly stays hot, Z’s rehab continues, Snyder comes through in the clutch, and second round pick Reggie Golden is signed.

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

Updated 12:22pm CDT – Josh Vitters broke his hand Sunday according to a tweet from Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com

Updated 1:21pm CDT – Update on Josh Vitters. It’s a broken middle finger, caused by a hit-by-pitch according to a tweet from Jonathan Mayo.

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (57-45)
Even without manager Ryne Sandberg, who was in Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame ceremonies, the I-Cubs put together a winning weekend. The staff was assisted by catching coordinator Marty Peavey and hitting coordinator Dave Keller, both of whom joined the team in Ryno’s absence. Bobby Scales is red hot, having reached base safely in 27 straight games! Veteran Jason Dubois recently returned from the DL, but the I-Cubs lost another outfielder in Jim Adduci, who is out with a head injury.

Marquez Smith went deep, Brad Snyder drove in three, and the I-Cubs pounced on the Express 10-2 on Friday night at The Dell Diamond. J.R. Mathes bounced back after a bad start last week with 6.2 innings of work allowing just two runs on five hits. Mitch Atkins and David Cales combined for 2.1 innings of shutout relief. Sam Fuld went 3-for-4 with a triple, two singles, two walks, and four runs scored! Mathes got the W to become the all-time wins leader in franchise history. Click for full box score.

Iowa almost let one slip away on Saturday, but in the end they won it 4-2 in 13 innings. Micah Hoffpauir homered in the fourth and Thomas Diamond pitched six shutout innings, but the lead was only one going to the bottom of the ninth. An error by all-star shortstop Darwin Barney led to a run against Jeff Stevens in the ninth to tie the game. In the top of the tenth, Sam Fuld drilled an RBI single to put his team back in front, but the Express tied it up once again on Barney’s second error in as many innings in the bottom of the tenth. Brad Snyder came through with two outs in the Cubs half of the 13th, launching a two-run homer that put his team in front for good. Carlos Zambrano allowed no runs on one hit in two innings of rehab, his second appearance at Triple-A and third overall in the minor league ranks. Big Z got an at-bat, singling in the eighth. Click for full box score.

The I-Cubs pounded the Express 14-2 on Sunday night. They had 19 total team hits, including three each from Snyder, Wright, and Castillo. Welington Castillo, the starting catcher, had two doubles and four RBIs. All nine Iowa players in the order had multi-hit games expect Darwin Barney who suffered an 0-for-6 evening. Casey Coleman allowed only one run in five innings to get his tenth win. Click for full box score.

Iowa Cubs Player of the Week: J.R. Mathes
Setting a franchise record at the minor league level is a bittersweet accomplishment. While it’s an honor to have pitched well enough to have the most career wins in the history of the Iowa Cubs, it’s also a negative that you’ve been at Triple-A long enough to set that mark. However, Mathes has had a great run spending the last four seasons with the I-Cubs and the last six in the organization. His 39 wins in an Iowa uniform attest to his hard work and dedication. Eight of those wins have come this season against six losses. The lefty out of West Michigan was selected in the 16th round of the 2004 draft. He has an ERA of 5.03 this season and has yet to appear in a big league game in his career.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Round Rock 7:05 (Jeff Samardzija)
Tuesday @Albuquerque 8:05 (Jay Jackson)
Wednesday @Albuquerque 8:05 (J.R. Mathes)

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (59-39, 17-13)
The Smokies were led by the three “Cs” earlier in the season and late last season, all of whom are now on the big league roster. Now, three more Cs have emerged as team leaders- Chirinos, Canzler, and Campana. There’s a good chance those three will be the next group of Cs to sport Cs on their hats in Chicago.

Tennessee scored five times in the third inning on their way to a 12-5 bashing of the Mississippi Braves on Friday. Marwin Gonzalez (3-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 R), Brett Jackson (1-for-5, BB, 2 R), and Russ Canzler (3-for-5, 4 RBI) all hit triples in the game. Canzler also homered and was a double shy of the cycle. Backup catcher Steve Clevenger also had a huge day at the dish going 3-for-5 with his first home run of the year and four RBI. Craig Muschko went six innings and notched his fourth win of the year. Click for full box score.

A rainy Saturday caused a twin bill on Sunday. The Braves took game one 7-6, but then the Smokies salvaged a split with a 4-0 win in game two. Tony Campana went 3-for-4 in the first game, and Robinson Chirinos delivered a grand slam in the loss. Tennessee rallied to tie it with four in the seventh (which is the last frame of a double header), but Mississippi scored to win it against Aaron Shafer in the bottom of the inning. Click for full box score. Chris Archer dominated game two allowing only one hit through six innings. He did walk four, but earned his fourth win at Double-A nonetheless. Matt Spencer and Steve Clevenger had two hits each. Click for full box score.

Tennessee Smokies Player of the Week: Russ Canzler
The 24-year old first baseman is having a terrific year with a .312 average, 12 homers, and 34 RBI in 73 Southern League games. Canzler started off last week sluggishly going 0-for his first seven, but then he bounced back with five hits in the first two games in Mississippi. He reached safely four times on Friday and drove in four in Saturday’s contest. In the second of those two big games, Canzler was a double shy of the cycle. He had a pair of two-baggers on Friday night. Russ was a very late draft pick, selected by the Cubs in the 30th round in ’04.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Mississippi 7:05 (Rafael Dolis)
Tuesday Off Day
Wednesday VS West Tennessee 6:15

Class-A Advanced Daytona Cubs – (54-46, 20-10)
The Daytona Cubs are on fire! They just won eight straight games on a perfect road trip with sweeps in Charlotte and St. Lucie. They will take a day off today before they look to continue the winning streak as they host Palm Beach tomorrow. The D-Cubs are now ten games over .500 in the second half, and they’ve finally taken the lead in their division. The Tampa Yankees are looming just 0.5 games back, with Brevard County only two games out.

The D-Cubs lashed St. Lucie 7-0 on Friday for their sixth consecutive victory. Michael Brenly had two hits, two walks, and two RBI to lead the way. Dae-Eun Rhee pitched masterfully, cruising through seven innings of four hit ball. It was his second straight great outing. Jeffrey Beliveau did not allow a hit or a run in the eighth or ninth. Click for full box score.

The D-Cubs won in blowout fashion once again on Saturday, beating the Mets 10-3. David Macias delivered a triple to drive in two in the fourth. Run scoring singles from Michael Brenly and Mark Reed accounted for the next two runs. Then, Ryan Flaherty broke the game open with a two-run homer in the sixth. Click for full box score.

Sunday’s 6-1 victory completed a perfect 8-0 road trip and extended the winning streak to eight. Junior Lake had a two-homer game, going deep in the seventh and again an inning later. Lake, who drove in four of his team’s six runs, now has seven home runs on the year. Click for full box score.

Daytona Cubs Player of the Week: Dae-Eun Rhee
Anytime you win every game during the week, it is a team effort. However, picking one Player of the Week was still not difficult as Dae-Eun Rhee’s fantastic pitching performances on Sunday in Charlotte and five days later in St. Lucie stood out. Rhee’s 4-9 season record is deceiving, because he has not gotten a lot of run support. His ERA is south of four. Rhee allowed only one run over 13 total innings in his two starts last week. He gave up only six hits and one walk in those two games, in both of which he was the winning pitcher. Dae-Eun is a good candidate for the FSL Pitcher of the Week, which will be announced today.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Today Off Day
Tuesday VS Palm Beach 6:05
Wednesday VS Palm Beach 11:05am

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (49-47, 11-16)
Peoria is suffering through a difficult road trip. They find themselves in the cellar of the Midwest League Western division, seven games and seven teams behind first place Quad Cities. This season has been a struggle for them as a team, but they’ve developed several talented players like Trey McNutt and Greg Rohan, both of whom have moved up to Daytona.

The Chiefs were nipped by the Fort Wayne Tin Caps on Friday by a final of 8-7. Jonathan Mota went 3-4 with a homer and four RBIs as the designated hitter in the loss. Francisco Guzman, Logan Watkins, and Nelson Perez all had two hit games as well. Rob Whitenack went six innings and surrendered only one run on four hits. The bullpen blew the game, starting with Ronny Morla who allowed Ft. Wayne to creep back into it with four runs in 0.2 innings. Click for full box score.

The Lake County Captains of the Indians organization shut down the Chiefs 3-0 Saturday. The Captains had only three hits, but one of them was a two run homer. Frank Batista struck out ten over 4.2 innings. The Chiefs were without an extra base hit, but they did get seven singles. Click for full box score.

Peoria rallied to beat Lake County 4-3 on Sunday, keeping their season record north of .500. The Chiefs scored twice in the eighth to take the lead after moving closer with a run in the seventh. Jae-Hoon Ha tripled and scored a run. Jeffry Antigua and Larry Suarez both went two shutout innings. Su-Min Jung served up two homers leading to three runs in his 3.2 innings on the hill. Click for full box score.

Peoria Chiefs Player of the Week: Nelson Perez
Peoria outfielder Nelson Perez hit .391 last week to boost his season Midwest League average to .302, which leads his team. Perez racked up eight RBIs and two home runs in his first three games of the week. He had four straight multi-hit games and owns a seven game hitting streak. Perez came to the organization before the 2007 season.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Lake County 6:00
Tuesday Off Day
Wednesday VS Wisconsin 7:00

Updates from Boise/Mesa
The Boise Hawks are 19-17 … a game and a half back of Spokane going into their late game last night. Pierre LePage has made his mark since being called up. He has an OBP of .409, which leads the team. Closer Corey Martin is back with the Hawks after brief stints with Peoria and as a roster filler for Triple-A Iowa. In Mesa, the Arizona League Cubs are three games under .500 and 6.5 back of first. Jeff Gray, who spent time with the big league team earlier in the season, is rehabbing with Mesa. He did not allow a run in two perfect innings in his last outing, which was late on Thursday night. Gray retired all six men he faced.

Second round draft pick Reggie Golden signed with the Cubs this week. He was drafted straight out of high school so he’ll probably start out in rookie ball. Golden, an outfielder who got a $720k signing bonus, should report to Mesa soon.

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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