Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/02/10

Kyle Smit fairs well in his Smokies debut after coming over from the Dodgers organization. Brett Wallach, who was 6-0 with the Loons of the Midwest League this season, is set to make his debut with the Peoria Chiefs. Bryan LaHair has a three-homer game and picks up seven RBI! All four of the Cubs top affiliates had a winning month of July. The Daytona Cubs continue their winning streak, while the Chiefs have a lengthy streak of their own going. Matt Szczur makes an impact right away with Peoria.

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

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (61-47)
Left-handed pitcher Scott Maine was added from the disabled list to help boost the Iowa staff. Maine, who came to the organization in the Aaron Heilman trade last offseason, has missed some time with various injuries this season. When he has been available, he’s been good with an earned run average of 2.88 in 37 games total between Double-A and Triple-A. The I-Cubs went 17-11 in July, which is nothing to be ashamed of, but their lead is still slim in the PCL American North.

The Iowa Cubs did all of their scoring in the eighth inning on Thursday to come from behind and beat the Isotopes 4-2. Bryan LaHair had a big single that drove in two runs. Thomas Diamond went four shutout innings, a start that impressed the organization enough to earn Diamond a spot in the big league rotation. Mitch Atkins got the win in relief to improve to 6-2 and Jeff Stevens nailed it down for his second save. Click for full box score.

The I-Cubs scored four times in the first inning on Friday to jump on Albuquerque early, but then the rain came causing the suspension of the game. It will be resumed on August 31.

The guys brought the lumber on Saturday to take the series opener in Oklahoma City 15-7. Bryan LaHair had a stunning night at the plate that included four hits, three home runs, and seven RBI! Jeff Samardzija labored through the third inning in which he allowed six runs. However, he had good stuff that rest of the day and allowed only the six tallies in five innings of work on his way to his eighth win at Triple-A this season. The only time the RedHawks scored outside of the third was against Jeff Gray in the ninth. Sam Fuld and Darwin Barney, both September call-up candidates, helped out with two RBI each. Click for full box score.

Iowa bashed the RedHawks again on Sunday, this time by a final of 9-5. Eight runs in the first two innings helped propel the Cubs to the W to start the month of August. Brad Snyder had three hits, two homers, and five RBI. Jay Jackson got the win despite not having his best stuff allowing four runs in six innings. Click for full box score.

Iowa Cubs Player of the Week: Bryan LaHair
LaHair has emerged as a solid outfield/first base prospect after signing with the Cubs as a minor league free agent last offseason. He had a terrific month of July, leading the league in slugging at .880 and OPS at 1.353. His three homer game allowed him to draw even with Micah Hoffpauir for the team lead. Both men have 17 long balls on the year. He also homered against Round Rock on Monday and against Albuquerque in the suspended game on Friday night.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Oklahoma City 7:05 (Casey Coleman)
Tuesday @Oklahoma City 7:05 (Austin Bibens-Dirkx)
Wednesday VS Tacoma 7:05 (J.R. Mathes)

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (64-41, 22-14)
The Smokies finished the month of July winners of three straight. That put them at 16-9 for the month, not bad considering six of those losses came in the first week. The First Half Champs made a few roster moves this week welcoming back Blake Parker on Friday. Parker was sent back to the Smokies after having a down year a Triple-A. He fills Ryan Butcher’s spot on the roster. Butcher, a Southern League All-Star reliever, was placed on the DL on Thursday. Kyle Smit, acquired as part of the deal that sent Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot to L.A., has been assigned to the Smokies. Smit is a right-handed pitcher. On Sunday the Smokies assigned Oswaldo Martinez to the Daytona Cubs to make room for Kyle on the roster.

The Smokies battered West Tennessee 9-3 on Thursday to even the four game set. Brandon Guyer went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored. He is quietly hitting .306. Tony Campana tripled, singled, and boosted his average to .327. Winning pitcher Craig Muschko allowed two runs on four hits in six innings. He recorded six strikeouts on his way to his fifth victory. Click for full box score.

Tennessee came out on top 5-3 on Friday with help from Matt Spencer (2-for-3, HR) and Jonathan Mota (2-for-3). Campana also rapped a double to drive in a run, and eventually scored himself. Luke Sommer and Marcos Mateo were both strong in their innings of work out of the pen. Click for full box score.

Chris Archer was finally touched for an earned run, but the Smokies still clobbered the Diamond Jaxx 9-1. Archer pitched five innings and allowed just the one run on three hits even though he did walk five. His ERA is now just 0.27. Parker was solid in his first Double-A outing of the year going two scoreless innings. Brett Jackson went 3-for-4 and was a homer shy of his second cycle of the season. Russ Canzler and Robinson Chirinos both hit two-run homers. It was the 15th of the year for both men. Click for full box score.

Kyle Smit was the winning pitcher in his organizational debut on Sunday as the Smokies beat West Tenn 6-4. Smit went 2.2 innings and allowed only one hit and no walks or runs. Rafael Dolis got the start and allowed only one earned run in 3.1 innings. Matt Spencer and Brandon Guyer both hit long balls while Blake Lalli nailed two singles. Click for full box score.

Tennessee Smokies Player of the Week: Luke Sommer
Sommer had a good week allowing only one run in three outings. He is a left-handed pitcher who has not gotten the attention he deserves this summer. Luke has an ERA of 2.13 in 22 games with the Smokies. He was a Southern League All-Star and has six saves. Sommer, who is 25 years old, was a late draft pick in 2007.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Montgomery 7:05 (Chris Carpenter)
Tuesday @Montgomery 7:05 (Craig Muschko)
Wednesday @Montgomery 7:05 (Jeremy Papelbon)

Class-A Daytona Cubs – (59-46, 25-10)
The Daytona Cubs are the hottest team in all of minor league baseball. They’ve won 13 straight games to improve to 15 over .500 for the second half. Their streak is one that the big league team in Chicago could really use. The only person who could slow down the D-Cubs at this point is Mother Nature. Yesterday’s game was postponed by rain, which means they’ll play two at the Jack tonight.

The D-Cubs scored seven runs in the first inning to run away with an 8-3 victory over Palm Beach on Friday. David Macias, D.J. LeMahieu and Jake Opitz all had two hit games. Dae-Eun Rhee allowed three runs on eight hits including two homers, but he still got the win. Click for full box score.

Daytona had 21 hits and hammered the Cardinals 11-2 on Friday. Rebel Ridling went 4-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI. Ryan Flaherty launched a two-run homer, his fourth dinger of the year. Kyler Burke (3-for-5, 2B, RBI, 2 R) and Michael Brenly (3-for-4, 3 R, BB) also had big days in the middle of the order. Brenly, who leads the team in hitting among guys on the active roster, has moved to the cleanup spot with his recent tear. Click for full box score.

The Bradenton Marauders of the Pirates chain had the task of trying to cool off the Smokies starting on Saturday. They were almost successful, but Daytona pulled out a 6-4 ten inning win. Ryan Flaherty, who was used as the DH, had another big day with two homers, four RBI and three runs scored. Trey McNutt went five innings without allowing a run. He gave up only two hits, did not walk a man and fanned seven. The Marauders pushed across a run in the top of the tenth to take the lead, but Flaherty’s second dinger of the day was a dramatic walk-off shot in the bottom of the frame. Click for full box score.

Daytona Cubs Player of the Week: Ryan Flaherty
Infielder Ryan Flaherty could find himself moving back out of the Class-A ranks soon. He has his average up to .285 and now has six homers after going deep three times in a two day span. He hit just .183 in 23 games at Tennessee earlier in the year, but the 2008 41st overall draft pick is still young enough to play at High-A ball. He had five multi-hit games last week to earn Player of the Week recognition.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Brevard County 6:00
Tonight VS Brevard County Game 2
Tuesday VS Brevard County 6:05
Wednesday @Jupiter 6:05

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (55-47, 17-16)
Brett Wallach, who was the second young right-handed pitcher netted in the trade with the Dodgers, has reported to Peoria. Wallach has yet to make his first appearance as a Chief. He was a third round pick in 2009 and had a 6-0 record with Great Lakes (also a Midwest League club) prior to the swap. The Chiefs as a team continue to battle to stay in the race, but they have not been able to keep pace with the top dogs in the Western division.

Peoria edged Wisconsin 3-2 on Thursday on a game-ending run scoring single by Matt Szczur in the bottom of the ninth. Szczur, a 2010 draft pick recently promoted from Boise, went 3-for-4 and was a long ball away from the cycle! Hak-Ju Lee also had three hits, while Logan Watkins and Jae-Hoon Ha picked up two each. Rob Whitenack cruised through six innings allowing two runs but only one was earned. Ronny Morla got the win with two shutout frames. Click for full box score.

Frank Batista, Stephen Grife, Daniel Keefe and Corey Martin all pitched well as the Chiefs upended the Timber Rattlers 5-2 on Friday night to complete the sweep. Mario Mercedes, D.J. Fitzgerald and Matt Cerda picked up two hits each. Logan Watkins singled and walked in the win. Click for full box score.

Saturday’s contest ended in a 7-0 rout over the Beloit Snappers. The Chiefs extended their winning streak to five as Su-Min Jung struck out eight in four innings to earn his sixth win. Jeffry Antigua also pitched well, allowing no runs on two hits in three innings. Luis Flores launched a two-run homer and Jae-Hoon Ha had three RBI. Click for full box score.

Peoria scored nine times in the first inning and never looked back on their way to a 10-7 win. The Snappers did try to creep back into it, knocking starter Marcus Hatley out after only 0.2 innings in his Chiefs debut. Hatley allowed three runs in his first start after being called up from Boise. Jae-Hoon Ha (3-for-5, 3 RBI), Matt Cerda (2-for-5, 4 RBI) and Nelson Perez all homered in the win. Matt Szczur did not get a hit but he did reach base twice via the base on balls. Click for full box score.

Peoria Chiefs Player of the Week: Ronny Morla
Good relief pitching is hard to come by in the Midwest League, and Ronny Morla provided some for the Chiefs this week. He did not allow a run in 5.1 innings over three different appearances out of the Peoria bullpen. Morla notched his first two saves on the year, slamming the door against Lake County and Beloit. He is 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA in 34 games in his first year in the organization.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Beloit 7:00
Tuesday @Wisconsin 7:05
Wednesday @Wisconsin 7:05

Updates from Boise/Mesa
The Hawks finished the first half of their short season 19-19, three games back of Spokane in the Northwest League East. They have dropped three of four to start the second half. Pierre LePage has had a fantastic start to his professional career. He’s hitting .349 with 22 RBI, a team leading OBP of .415, and a .476 SLG. Marcus Hatley was promoted to Peoria on Saturday, while Larry Suarez was sent down to Boise. Also, the Hawks placed lefty John Mincone on the DL and promoted Rogelio Carmona from the Arizona League. Speaking of the AZL, the Mesa Cubs are a game under .500 and six back in the East.

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

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did." - Mark Twain

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