Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/26/10

A top-pitching prospect in the Cubs organization who has the same name as the St. Louis Cardinals ace is promoted from Double-A to Triple-A. The Daytona Cubs have pulled within two games of the division leaders in the FSL North. The Iowa Cubs see their lead get thinner and thinner in the PCL American North. Carlos Silva will join the Peoria Chiefs on a rehab assignment. Rob Whitenack had a very strong outing for Daytona. Plus, updates on all the prospects that the Cubs have netted in their recent trades.

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

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (74-57)
The Iowa Cubs have made a series of roster moves this week in conjunction with the big league squad. Welington Castillo, Sam Fuld and Justin Berg have all returned to Des Moines. Both Micah Hoffpauir and Scott Maine have been added to the Chicago roster. Chris Carpenter has made his Triple-A debut after a promotion from Tennessee. In the mean time, catcher Chris Robinson and left-handed pitcher J.R. Mathes have both been disabled. Robinson is out with a left knee injury, and Mathes went down with a left elbow issue.

There will be some excitement surrounding the I-Cubs the rest of the way, because they hold a slim edge over both Memphis and Omaha. What always makes a late season race even more interesting is when you play the team’s that are in your division and in contention. Ryno’s team just started a critical five game series in Omaha, and they will end the year with four against the Memphis Redbirds.

The Nashville Sounds scored three in the first and five more in the second on Monday. Iowa nipped away at the lead all night long, but in the end they came up short in the 8-6 defeat. Austin Bibens-Dirkx was charged with all eight earned runs on ten hits, but he did settle down after the first two innings and made it through the fifth. David Cales and Jeff Muyco tossed two scoreless innings each. Sam Fuld tripled and scored a run, coming off the bench in his return to the minor leagues. Robinson Chirinos had two runs batted in. Click for full box score.

The I-Cubs fell to Nashville again on Tuesday afternoon, this time by the score of 6-4. Christopher Carpenter made his Triple-A debut, going just three innings and allowing three runs on seven hits and four walks. Hung-Wen Chen allowed two more runs in four innings and took the loss. Brad Snyder went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, two RBI and two runs scored. Click for full box score.

The Omaha Royals moved to within 1.5 games by beating Iowa in a 2-0 11-inning heartbreaker. Bryan LaHair went 3-for-3 but the Cubs could not support their pitching staff at all. Mitch Atkins worked six shutout innings and allowed only two hits, but he did walk five. Jeff Muyco, Luke Sommer and Jeff Gray all put zeros on the board before the Royals won the game on a walk-off homer against Jeff Stevens. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Omaha 7:05 (Jeff Samardzija)
Friday @Omaha 7:05 (Jay Jackson)
Saturday @Omaha 7:05 (Austin Bibens-Dirkx)
Sunday @Omaha 1:35 (Chris Carpenter)

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (79-49, 37-22)
When the year finishes, the Smokies will have 80-85 wins, which is extremely impressive on a schedule that is much shorter than the 162-game big league season. On Wednesday, they made a roster move activating Jeremy Papelbon, brother of Jonathan, from the disabled list. He will take the spot on the active roster of Luke Sommer, who was promoted to Iowa to help with their playoff push. The Smokies have opened up their second half lead to a sizeable seven games, so all signs point to another division title and home field advantage throughout the postseason.

The Smokies were handed a 7-4 defeat at the hands of the Diamond Jaxx in West Tenn on Monday night. Tony Campana, Brandon Guyer, Steve Clevenger, and Tony Thomas all had two-hit games. Trey McNutt got the loss in his Double-A debut, allowing five runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings. Kyle Smit allowed six hits in 1.1 innings and was charged with two runs (1 ER). Click for full box score.

A three-run West Tenn rally against Blake Parker in the bottom of the ninth was not enough, as the Smokies held on for a 9-6 victory on Tuesday. Marwin Gonzalez went 2-for-5 with a triple and three RBI. Steve Clevenger went 2-for-4 and scored twice, one of nine different Smokies to have at least one hit. Click for full box score.

The Diamond Jaxx pushed across a run against Kyle Smit in the bottom of the ninth on Wednesday to knock off Tennessee 5-4. Jeremy Papelbon allowed one earned run in three innings. Esmailin Caridad continued his rehab assignment, giving up a run on three hits in 1.2 innings. Brett Jackson had drilled a solo homer to tie it in the eighth, but West Tennessee regained the edge shortly after. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Birmingham 6:15
Friday VS Birmingham 6:15
Saturday VS Birmingham 5:15
Sunday VS Birmingham 4:00

Class-A Advanced Daytona Cubs – (70-59, 36-23)
With only 11 regular season games remaining, the D-Cubs playoff future is still uncertain. They will need to finish strong in order to overtake the first place Tampa Yankees. The lead is far from insurmountable, but it is coming down to the wire for Bill Dancy and company. After losing rotation leader Trey McNutt to a Double-A call-up, Daytona will hope newcomer Nick Struck, promoted from Peoria, can help fill the hole in the starting five.

The Matinees and D-Cubs split a twin bill on Monday. Daytona lost 7-3 because of some sloppy bullpen work. Nick Struck came on with two outs in the first inning to make his Cubs debut after being called up from Peoria earlier in the day. He allowed four runs in 4.2 innings, before Alex Maestri came on and surrendered three more. Evan Crawford had his biggest day in a Daytona uniform, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Rebel Ridling and D.J. LeMahieu both drove in runs. Click for full box score.

Daytona took care of the Clearwater Threshers on Tuesday 8-2. The Cubs moved to ten over .500 thanks in part to a grand slam by Kyler Burke. Brooks Raley pitched six very strong innings, allowing only one run, which was unearned. Raley notched the win to improve to 7-6 on the year. Oswaldo Martinez allowed one run in three innings for his third save. Click for full box score.

Evan Crawford delivered a sac fly in the ninth to plate Jose Valdez and give the Cubs a 2-1 walk-off win over the Clearwater Threshers. Crawford had singled and scored in the third to tie the game at one. The Threshers grabbed the lead against Rob Whitenack in the top of the first, but he settled down and allowed nothing else over five three-hit frames. Jeffrey Belivaeu kept the game tied by working a perfect top of the ninth. He was credited with the win to improve to 4-1. With the victory, the Cubs have climbed to only two games behind first place Tampa. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Clearwater 6:05
Friday VS Lakeland 6:05
Saturday VS Lakeland 6:05
Sunday VS Lakeland 4:35

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (64-59, 26-29)
The Peoria Chiefs will welcome big league veteran Carlos Silva to O’Brien Field on Friday night as the big right-hander makes a rehab start. Silva, who went on the disabled list to have some testing done on his heart, is feeling fine and looks to get back into the Chicago rotation soon. He will hope to boost a Midwest League squad whose playoff hopes have all but vanished.

The Chiefs staff came up on the short end of a 3-1 pitchers’ duel on Monday. Peoria scored their only run of the night right off the bat, when Logan Watkins tripled in the first and scored on a Matt Cerda grounder. Chris Hatley was perfect in his 2.2 innings, recording three strikeouts. Third round pick from 2009 Austin Kirk made his first appearance since being promoted from Boise. He only allowed two runs on four hits, but the four walks and one home run given up was what hurt the lefty. Click for full box score.

Clinton defended their home field and drummed the Chiefs 10-5 on Tuesday evening. Nelson Perez went 2-for-4 with two runs driven in, while Matt Cerda had two hits including a three run homer in the ninth. Brett Wallach’s start was far from impressive (5 IP, 5 R, 3 ER, 6 H), but it was Ronny Morla’s struggles that sealed the deal. Morla gave up five runs, four of which were earned, in just 1.1 innings of work. Click for full box score.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels handed Peoria their third straight loss in the first of a double header on Wednesday. Ryan Searle was knocked around for six runs on 11 hits in 4.2 innings. D.J. Fitzgerald and Justin Bour both had good days at the plate to lead the club, but it was not enough for a W. Matt Cerda drilled his fifth home run of the year in the third inning. Poor glove-work plagued the Chiefs, as Fitzgerald, Tony Giansanti, and Logan Watkins all committed errors. Click for full box score.

The losing skid came to a halt after Wednesday’s second game, when Peoria jumped on the Kernels with a nine run first inning. Logan Watkins went 3-for-3 with three runs scored to lead the charge. Luis Liria let Cedar Rapids back in the game by allowing four runs in his first game since being promoted from the Arizona Rookie League. Three Kernel errors aided the Chiefs first inning outburst. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Cedar Rapids 6:30
Friday VS Cedar Rapids 6:30
Saturday VS Clinton 6:30
Sunday VS Clinton 1:00
Sunday VS Clinton Game 2

Updates from Boise/Mesa
The Boise Hawks have sunk to 9-17, now in the cellar of the Northwest League East. Their playoff hopes are all but gone, as they are eight games out with 12 to play. Eduardo Figueroa allowed five earned runs in a 7-0 Hawks loss on Monday. Then Jody Davis’ squad suffered another tough lopsided defeat Tuesday by the score of 5-1. Kyung-Min Na, not to be confused with Peoria outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha, is having a rough year at the plate with a .212 average in 55 games. Richard Jones is hitting .294 and launched his team-leading fifth home run last week.

The AZL Cubs are just a game under the .500 mark at 25-26, but they have been mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, 7.5 back with four to play. They will close out the season at Fitch Park against the A’s on Sunday. Second round pick Reggie Golden is hitting .333 in four games for the Mesa Cubs.

Recently Acquired Prospect Updates
Kyle Smit, part of Lilly/Theriot trade: 3-1, 2.00 ERA, 11 games at AA
Ty’Relle Harris, part of Lee trade: 1-0, 0.90 ERA, 7 games at AA
Evan Crawford, part of Fontenot trade: .263 AVG, 12 games at Daytona
Jeffrey Lorrick, part of Lee trade: 0.2 IP, 4 ER at Peoria
Robinson Lopez: 2 IP, 0 ER at Peoria
Brett Wallach: 0-2, 4.56 ERA, 5 games at Peoria

Top Prospect Watch
Brett Jackson: .285 AVG, .376 OBP, 5 HR, 22 RBIs, 51 games at AA
Josh Vitters: .223 AVG in 63 games at AA, disabled with a broken hand
Jay Jackson: 10-8, 4.27 ERA, 121.1 IP at AAA
Hak-Ju Lee: .281 AVG, .356 OBP, 99 games at Peoria
Logan Watkins: .249 AVG, .338 OBP, 93 games at Peoria
Chris Carpenter: 8-6, 3.16 ERA, 119.2 IP at AA; 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 3 IP at AAA
Ryan Flaherty: .282 AVG in 83 games at Daytona
D.J. LeMahieu: .305 AVG, .339 OBP, 110 games at Daytona
*Stats accurate going into play on 8/25

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Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein