Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/23/10

The three newest Cubs pitching prospects make their organizational debuts. One Cubs right-hander who started the year with Peoria will join the Smokies for their playoff run. The Iowa Cubs bullpen looks sharp as relievers vie for spots in the big league ‘pen in September. Esmailin Caridad is finally pitching again after months away from the mound because of an injury.

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

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (74-54)
The Iowa Cubs now have the best record in the Pacific Coast League! The staff of Ryne Sandberg, Von Joshua, and Mike Mason will be monitored closely the rest of the season, with some vacancies expected on the big league staff for 2011. Jason Dubois was activated off the disabled list this week to replace Sam Fuld on the active roster. Jim Adduci and Ty Wright are expected to receive more time at the top of the order until Fuld returns.

The I-Cubs picked up a 7-5 win on Thursday night in Sacramento. Marquez Smith doubled twice while Micah Hoffpauir, who is now eligible to be called up to the big leagues once again, had two singles. J.R. Mathes gave up three runs (2 ER) in five innings and ended up with the no decision. Brain Schlitter went two shutout innings and Scott Maine worked a scoreless ninth for his first save at Triple-A this season. Click for full box score.

Matt Camp delivered a sac fly in the eighth inning to break a tie and lift Iowa over the River Bandits 7-6 on Friday. Marquez Smith, who started at third base and moved up to the No. 2 spot in the order, went 3-for-4 with two walks and a home run. He’s making some noise for a September call-up with a robust .329 batting average at Iowa this season. Hoffpauir reached base five times as well, going 3-for-4 with a pair of bases on balls. David Cales continued to be ineffective since being promoted to Triple-A, allowing two earned in an inning of work. Jeff Stevens retired the side in order in the ninth for his fourth save. Click for full box score.

Two nights after Brian Schlitter got the win and Scott Maine the save, the two men reversed roles in a 4-3 Cubs’ win on Saturday in the series opener against Nashville. Maine did not allow a run in the eighth and ended up with his third win, while Schlitter put a zero on the board in the ninth for his 13th save. Starter Jeff Samardzija kept his team in the game allowing three runs on four hits and three walks in six innings. Smith stayed red hot by tying the game on one swing, a three run homer in the sixth. Click for full box score.

The Cubs rapped off their fourth straight win on Sunday, edging Nashville 3-2. Jay Jackson was the pitcher of record on the positive side, earning his tenth win of the year thanks to five strong innings. Ryne Sandberg’s bullpen was lights out again, as Hung-Wen Chen, Jeff Gray, and Jeff Stevens allowed a combined two hits in four shutout frames. Marquez Smith was cooled off, going 0-for-4 with two Ks, but Bryan LaHair picked him up with a 2-for-2 afternoon. Click for full box score.

Iowa Cubs Player of the Week: Marquez Smith
Was there any doubt about this one? Smith had his ten-game and 12-start hitting streak snapped yesterday, but he still has been earning his pay check lately. Marquez leads the Pacific Coast League in batting average in the month of August at .512, and his season average of .326 leads the team.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Monday VS Nashville 7:00 (Austin Bibens-Dirkx)
Tuesday VS Nashville 12:00 (J.R. Mathes)
Wednesday @Omaha 7:05 (Mitch Atkins)

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (78-47, 36-20)
The Smokies made a few tweaks to their pitching staff on Sunday. Chris Carpenter, rated one of the top pitching prospects in the organization, was promoted to Iowa. To replace the horse in the starting five, the Smokies added Trey McNutt from Daytona. McNutt started the year with Peoria and has now unexpectedly climbed all the way to the Double-A ranks. Esmailin Caridad was added to the Tennessee roster as well. He is on a rehab assignment that started with an appearance for the Mesa Rookie team.

Russ Canzler had the walk-off RBI and the Smokies walked away with a 5-4 win against Mississippi on Thursday. Matt Spencer (2-for-4) had a sixth inning home run, part of a four run rally that tied the game. Ty’Relle Harris made his Smokies debut pitching against his former team. He retired all six of his ex-teammates that he faced, working two perfect innings. Kyle Smit came on for some dandy relief work of his own, no runs on two hits in three innings. Click for full box score.

It was the M-Braves turn to do some late scoring, as they downed host Tennessee 7-4 on Friday. Blake Lalli drove in all four Smokies runs, three of them on a sixth inning long ball. The Braves grabbed the lead with three runs in the seventh on three hits and three walks against Ryan Butcher. Click for full box score.

The two teams continued to alternate wins when the Smokies dominated the fourth game of the series on Saturday 7-2. Steve Clevenger had one of the best days of his professional career, going 5-for-5 with two doubles, a home run, and five runs batted in! Marwin Gonzalez pitched in with three hits, while Russ Canzler delivered his 19th home run. Chris Archer, who will play in the Arizona Fall League in October and November, improved to 8-1 with six strong innings. Harris allowed two walks and a hit but no runs in 0.2 innings. Click for full box score.

Tennessee pounded Mississippi on Sunday 11-2 as they cranked 16 hits. Matt Spencer went deep and scored four runs on the day. Steve Clevenger was 3-for-3 with a homer and four RBI. Marwin Gonzalez had a big day as well, going 4-for-5. Esmailin Caridad allowed two hits, a walk, and a run in his inning of rehab. Click for full box score.

Tennessee Smokies Player of the Week: Chris Archer
Archer earned his eighth win of the season at Double-A and lowered his ERA to 1.45 last week! He is having the best year of any Cubs pitching prospect. He is 8-1 in ten starts with the Smokies so far. His record for the year is now 15-2 when you toss in his seven wins at Daytona that earned him the promotion. An Indians’ fifth round draft pick in 2006, Archer should pitch in Iowa next year and could be in the big league picture by the end of the 2011 season.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Monday @West Tenn 7:05
Tuesday @West Tenn 7:05
Wednesday @West Tenn 12:05

Class-A Advanced Daytona Cubs – (67-58, 33-22)
Things are not looking so good for the minor league team in Daytona, FL. The Cubs put together a winning streak that lasted two weeks in July, but since then they’ve had trouble winning with consistency. The Cubs are still 11 games over .500 in the second half, but they’re three games behind the division leading Tampa Yankees. With just two weeks left in the season, a strong finish is a must for Buddy Bailey’s squad.

The Daytona offense didn’t do much at Dunedin Stadium on Thursday in a 3-1 loss to the Blue Jays. Mark Reed had two of his team’s four hits and the only Daytona run scored. They wasted a good outing from Brooks Raley, who went 5.1 shutout innings and allowed only four hits. Click for full box score.

Rob Whitenack pitched a gem, and this time the D-Cubs got enough offense to beat Dunedin 5-1. Whitenack did not allow a run on five hits in 6.2 innings. Greg Rohan was one of five Cubs to have a multi-hit game, going 3-for-4 with two doubles. Click for full box score.

The Brevard County Manatees scored 12 times in the first inning on Saturday and held on for a 15-2 pounding of Daytona. Starter Dae-Eun Rhee, who only retired one man, was charged with six earned runs. Chris Seigfried came in and allowed a half a dozen more in that monstrous first. Junior Lake played hard despite the large deficit and went 2-for-4. Click for full box score.

The three game series was scheduled to continue on Sunday, but the game was rained out. The D-Cubs went three up and three down in the first, and then Alberto Cabrera retired the first two men he faced before the rain came. A double header will take place at the Jack tonight, with the Matinees receiving last at-bats in the first game even though they are on the road.

Daytona Cubs Player of the Week: Luis Flores
Flores, a catcher, has played in ten games since being called up from Peoria on August 6. He is hitting .304 in those games. While he didn’t do anything spectacular to earn the “Player of the Week” honors, he has been consistent on defense and made the most of his call-up. Luis was drafted by the Cubs in seventh round of the 2008 draft.

Daytona Cubs Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Monday @Brevard County (in Daytona) 6:05
Monday VS Brevard County Game 2 6:05
Tuesday VS Clearwater 6:05
Wednesday VS Clearwater 6:05

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (63-57, 25-26)
The Peoria Chiefs had a solid first half but finished in second place and missed out on a playoff berth. In the second half, they’ve played mediocre ball with a roster depleted by promotions. They find themselves a game under the .500 mark in the second half, with little hope of the postseason remaining.

The Burlington Bees prevailed 7-2 on Thursday as sloppy defense and bad bullpen work stung the Chiefs. Justin Bour went 3-for-4 plus an RBI. Corey Martin gave up four insurance runs, two of which were unearned, in the ninth to allow Burlington to pull away. Brett Wallach allowed two runs in five innings and did not factor into the decision. Click for full box score.

After the Friday night game at O’Brien Field was rained out, the Chiefs hit the road and outslugged Clinton 11-10 on Saturday. Bour had another huge day with three hits, a home run, and seven knocked in. Hak-Ju Lee went 3-for-5 and scored twice in a day full of offensive firepower. Jeffrey Lorick, acquired in the Derrek Lee trade, was clearly nervous in his Chiefs debut allowing four runs in 0.2 innings. The good news is his Peoria ERA of 54.00 can only go down. The lefty pitched very well with the Rome Braves this season. Click for full box score.

The LumberKings came out on top 4-2 as the four game series continued on Sunday. The Chiefs had 11 hits, but only two runs to show for their efforts. Lee doubled twice, Jae-Hoon Ha went 2-for-3, and Justin Bour enjoyed another multi-hit night. Robinson Lopez had a much more successful Chiefs debut than his fellow ex-Rome Brave, going two shutout innings and allowing just one hit. Click for full box score.

Peoria Chiefs Player of the Week: Justin Bour
The Chiefs slugging first baseman and middle of the order hitter now holds a .291 season average. He had three three-hit games and four total multi-hit games last week. Bour had three straight huge games over the weekend, including one where he drove in seven runs. His season RBI total is now 78 to go along with his 12 dingers.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Monday @Clinton 6:30
Tuesday @Clinton 6:30
Wednesday VS Cedar Rapids 5:00
Wednesday VS Cedar Rapids Game 2

Updates from Boise/Mesa
Jody Davis has not been able to get much out of the kids in Class-A Short Season this year. In the second half, his team has a 9-15 record. Alvaro Ramirez still leads the team in hitting, now at .327. Before joining the Smokies, Esmailin Caridad worked in a Mesa Rookie Ball game. He did not fare well, allowing a run on three hits in 0.2 innings.

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon