Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 09/19/11

Special Playoff Edition

In the Southern League championship, Tennessee received great performances from Jae-Hoon Ha, Brooks Raley, and Nelson Perez. But it was not meant to be, as the Smokies ended up falling to Mobile 3 games to 1, ending the 2011 minor league season.

To find out how each game unfolded, take a look as this special edition of the Down on the Farm Report.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies
The Southern League Championship got underway on Wednesday, with the Mobile BayBears defeating Tennessee 6-3. Things looked good for the Smokies, as Jae-Hoon Ha blasted a solo home run in the first inning. Tennessee was starting the usually consistent Marco Carrillo, but his inability to get the third out in the third inning cost him. With two out, Carrillo surrendered a two-run single to put Mobile up 2-1. Then next batter took Carrillo deep to make the score 5-1. Oswaldo Martinez put out the fire, but after Steve Clevenger dropped a foul pop to start the fourth inning, Martinez served up a solo homer to make it 6-1.

Tennessee tried to bounce back, as Kevin Rhoderick, Dan Berlind, Jeffrey Beliveau, and Marcus Hatley held the BayBears scoreless the rest of the way. In the fifth inning, pinch-hitter Ty Wright delivered a two-run bomb to make the score 6-3 … and that’s how the game finished. Jae-Hoon Ha led the Smokies with a 2-for-4 night at the plate.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

On Thursday, three singles off of Rafael Dolis in the eleventh inning broke a 0-0 tie, with Mobile edging the Smokies 1-0. Tennessee needed the best effort from starter Brooks Raley, and they got it. Raley kept the Smokies in the game by giving up only one hit and striking out five in six innings. Jeff Stevens pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Raley. Jeffrey Beliveau then fanned three in two shutout innings to set up Dolis.

The best chances to score for Tennessee were in the first and eighth innings. James Adduci led off the game with a single, and then stole second. Adduci was out at third while trying to advance on an over-throw. Two batters later, Blake Lalli doubled, only to be left stranded. With two out in the eighth, Lalli doubled again and was lifted for pinch runner David Macias, who advanced to third on a wild pitch. However, Rebel Ridling grounded out to end the threat.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Faced with elimination on Saturday, Tennessee kept their fans in suspense before finally pulling away in a 4-2 thriller to stay alive. Ryan Searle started for the Smokies, and gave up two unearned runs in the first inning before finally settling in. Searle allowed only three hits over five innings while striking out three batters. Tennessee cut the lead in half in the third inning. Rebel Ridling led off with a walk, and came around on Nate Samson’s double.

That was now the score would stay until the bottom of the eighth inning, as Hung-Wen Chen and Jeffrey Beliveau shut down Mobile for three innings, allowing only two baserunners between them. With one swing of the bat, pinch-hitter Nelson Perez tied the game. Perez led off the eighth with a solo home run. James Adduci followed with a walk, and was sacrificed to second by Jae-Hoon Ha. An intentional pass to Blake Lalli put runners on first and second for Ridling.

Rebel Ridling singled in Adduci and put Tennessee ahead. One out later, Steve Clevenger walked to load the bases. Pinch-runner David Macias then scored, as a fielding error on a ball hit by Samson brought him home. Rafael Dolis made it interesting by giving up a two-out single, but got the final out to preserve the victory.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Needing another win to even up the series on Sunday, Tennessee fell short for the third consecutive year to claim the Southern League title, losing to Mobile 6-4. The Smokies’ youngest player, Jae-Hoon Ha did everything he could to keep the team in the game. In the bottom of the first, Ha drilled a 2-0 pitch into the left field bleachers for a solo home run. Starting pitcher Trey McNutt couldn’t hold the lead, serving up a two-run home run in the second inning.

That score would remain until the sixth inning, with McNutt going 4.1 innings and striking out three batters. Kevin Rhoderick got the final two outs of the fifth inning, setting things up for Marcus Hatley. A leadoff solo home run and two more earned runs later, Hatley was replaced by Jeff Stevens without recording an out. A James Adduci error led to another run to make the score 6-1 BayBears.

Tennessee tried to come back in the seventh, as Junior Lake drew a one out walk and Jonathan Mota singled. Pinch-hitter Nelson Perez delivered an RBI single, scoring Lake. One out later, Jae-Hoon Ha smacked a two-run double to make it 6-4, but the rally ended there. Dan Berlind struck out three in two perfect innings to keep up Tennessee’s hopes. However, Ha struck out after Adduci’s two-out single in the ninth, ending the Smokies’ quest for the championship, for 2011.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

News and Notes
Left-Handed pitcher Jeffrey Beliveau will join OF Brett Jackson in representing the United States in the Baseball World Cup, October 1-15, 2011 in Panama; and the Pan-American Games, October 14-30, 2011 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

The Arizona Fall League will begin play on October 4. The Dominincan Winter League will start on October 14. The Australian Baseball League begins in November 3. The schedules for the Mexican Pacific League, the Puerto Rican League, and the Venezuelan League are not available at this time.

This concludes ChicagoCubsOnline’s 2011 season coverage of the minor leagues. Coverage will continue with the beginning of the Arizona Fall League. Until then, for the Down on the Farm Report, this is Tom U., signing off.

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

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  • Anonymous

    No mention of Vitters… Did he slump through the entire series?  Or he just didn’t do anything of note?

    • Aaron

      he slumped in this series, but was decent in the previous one

    • Tom U

      Vitters hit .167 with 4 RBI in a three game series with Chattanooga. Then he went down to .107 with no further RBI against Mobile. 

      That said, you can never be sure (unless you happen to be there) whether Vitters slumped or it was Mobile’s game plan not to have Vitters beat them. Remember, Vitters was 8th in the league in RBI, so I’m sure Mobile’s coaching staff were also aware. 

      Mobile did take Jae-Hoon Ha and Nelson Perez lightly, and almost paid for it.

  • Aaron

     That Smokies defeat was unfortunate, but at least we get to see if the Cubs brass has any brain power left at all. If they do, they’d promote Clevenger, Ridling, and Dolis immediately.

    They can do this by putting Berg on the 60-day DL, and releasing Caridad (or putting him on the 60-day DL as well), or releasing Smit.

    Looking ahead to next year, I cannot fathom a winning team that has a 40-man roster including the likes of:
    Baker-will earn over $1 million, rookie can EASILY replace him
    Berg-need I say more?
    Byrd-$6.5 million for a CF with limited range that swings at EVERYTHING…oh, and hits below the Mendoza Line with RISP
    Caridad-who?
    Coleman-again…who?
    DeWitt-yet again….who? get the theme?
    Grabow-again…..
    Hill-again……if I’m asking the question, “who?”, then chances are they contribute NOTHING to this team.
    Johnson-resurgent year no doubt….problem is, he will be 35 next year, and he’s injured VERY often. This could turn into a Gary Gaetti situation, and that is NOT a stretch.
    Lopez-he’s given up 18 home runs in 91 IP…oh, and 112 hits…so…yeah….
    Ortiz-he’s not too far behind, giving up 6 home runs in just 30 IP
    Pena-for about a .230 and below average with about 30 hr, 85 RBI (where he’s likely to finish), plus 152 K’s…the Cubs could do a LOT better both internally (LaHair), or the FA market, considering he’ll want $10+million once again
    Schlitter-who?
    Smit-who?
    Soriano-the good? 24 hr, 81 RBI…the bad? poor defense, and a .288 OBP with 25 walks vs 107 K’s
    Zambrano-he’s as good as gone

    About the only guy from that group you’d feel comfortable going into 2012 with is Pena (mainly for his defense and clubhouse presence), but only at a contract below $10 million for one year ONLY.

    I’m just focusing on offense, but I could see a team that includes:
    C-Castillo, Clevenger
    1B-Pena
    2B-LeMahieu, Barney
    SS-Castro, M. Gonzalez
    3B-ARAM, Flaherty
    LF-LaHair
    CF-Jackson, Campana
    RF-Colvin

    I could also see a different combination like this:
    C-Soto, Clevenger
    1B-Ridling
    2B-LeMahieu, Barney
    SS-Castro, Gonzalez
    3B-Vitters
    LF-LaHair, Flaherty
    CF-Campana
    RF-Jackson, Colvin

    I just do not see the Cubs ponying up the cash to get Pujols, Fielder, or CJ Wilson.

    It’s possible they might take on guys like Edwin Jackson, Oswalt (if he still wants to pitch and is healthy), Broxton, Bedard, and Capps. It’s also possible the Cubs might go after Cuddyer, Kubel, Berkman, and Damon….for some OF help, but only if they unload Soriano and Byrd.

    I guess we’ll see. I just hope the Cubs get a young, fresh GM that does NOT count on veterans (especially those over 32 years old as hitters) to contribute much, and looks at them more as complimentary players kind of like Reed Johnson is this year.

    I hope they get Friedman or Epstein, but I would definitely settle for Cherington.

    • paulcatanese

      Very good Aaron and I agree with you thats a good start to a new beginning. And I do think Byrd is done, even starting to show on defense.

    • cc002600

      Do you like Beane ?
      I just have a hunch that he’s the guy
       

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        You asked Aaron, but I am going to chime in … How have the A’s done since Mulder, Hudson and Zito?

        • roseyc

          but look at this way here is a gm that had to move all three because budgetary concerns and when that happens you don’t get equal value in return. The A’s farm is very good and Beane rarely gets beat on trades even though he is playing from a position of having to move players because of money. What would he do with a team with no financial contraints. I like him and I think we need a gm that address not only the roster concerns but the conditions of playing with at Wrigley. The cold weather in April and the wind blowing in and day baseball. All these factors have to be seriously have to be looked at and Beane would be the one to take a practical look at these issues

        • cubtex

          That Tim Hudson deal didn’t work out too well for Billy Beane either. LH Dan Meyer never panned out for the A’s…OF Charles Thomas never did either and the other player was pitcher Juan Cruz. He got killed in that trade.

    • cubtex

      How can anyone justify MR. .150 being penciled in to start in RF for next year? If they cannot move Soriano next year, he will again be in LF. Everyone laughed at me last year…but if they cannot move Soriano…he should be at least looked at to see if he can handle 1st base. He played 2B for years and as long as he doesn’t skip off the base with that hop he does…..he might be adequate there. Maybe better there than lf.

      • Tom U

        Cubtex, I believe that based on ability, Colvin deserves a full chance (not a Hendry/Quade-type of chance) to compete for a starting position. However, I do feel he has to earn his way there.

        That means going to winter ball and playing a full season, working on finding his stroke. Then he has to come to spring training and perform up to the same standards set for all proposed starters, even the big contract ones.

        • Anonymous

          I also agree that Colvin deserves a full chance.  I think some of you get too caught up in batting averages and strikeout ratios.  RUNS win games.  The way I like to look at players is the number of plate appearances it takes for them to produce a run (runs+rbis -hr’s).  For example, Brett Jackson who tore up Iowa at a clip of  .297/.388/.551 produced 55 runs in 215 plate appearances through 48 games (3.91 pa’s/run produced).  In 50 games and  212 plate appearances at Iowa, Tyler Colvin produced 57 runs (3.72 pa’s/run produced).   And his line was a wretched .256/.270/.478

          I know this statistic has a lot to do with your position in the batting order, luck, and who bats in front or behind you (nor would it hold up in any real statistical means), but it gives you something to think about.  It is also the same reason why I am much higher on Flaherty (4.77 pa’s/ run produced in 49 games at an abysmal .237/.277/.399 clip) than Gonzalez (5.51pa’s/ run produced in 60 games) and Lemahieu (5.74 pa’s/run produced in 58 games). (Those stats were all from Iowa as well)

          Will these numbers carry over to the Cubs?  Most likely not.  But it is food for thought.

        • cubtex

          Tom…The way he has performed over the last year, I do not think he deserves a chance to start for any position at the major league level at the start of the year. I agree he should go to winter ball but with the understanding that he needs to play CONSISTENTLY at the minor league level before he deserves another shot at the bigs. He is blatantly overmatched against above average pitching and it is obvious.

    • Griffnbell

      I like your thinking. I have the same vision as you. Who do you see as suitors for Soto, Byrd, Soriano, and Z? Do you think we can get anything in return besides mid level minor leaguers? As far as the rotation I think we “might” be okay with Garza, Dempster, Cashner, Shark, and Wells. Would love to get Danks and Sanchez but not sure it’s possible without depleting whatever prospects we have left. I also think we should think about trading Garza, Marmol, and Barney. We may be able to get some good young pitching in return. Also, I really hope we can get Sandberg, only because I think we will regret not hiring him. He has a great future as a manager.

      • cubtex

        I don’t share your optimism with a rotation of Garza,Dempster,Cashner Shark and Wells. I think that could turn out to be disastrous. They need to add at least one…preferably 2 pitchers from outside the organization this offseason. If they can move Soriano…it will require the Cubs to pick up a huge chunk of his contract….but like I mentioned before, for 4 or 5 mil a year, Soriano would be a good DH for several AL teams. I would also look to move Marshall if that is what it would take to aquire a starting pitcher.

        • Griffnbell

          I’m not really optimistic about that rotation but unless our new GM makes some moves that is the best I could come up with. If Whitenack is healthy that would be an option. I DO hope we can get Danks and Sanchez and not Edwin Jackson. I would move Marshall too but only in a fair trade…maybe include him with one of our bums to get something of value in return. Soriano will be in the AL next year and I hope this stops us from any more 6-7 year deals.

          • cubtex

            I hope they can find a way to aquire either Danks, Anibal or Jonathon Sanchez. Since the Giants have a lot of starting pitching…maybe they can package Barney with one of the catchers(Soto,Clevenger,Castillo) and another prospect for Jonathon Sanchez. Danks and Anibal will be very pricey but they need pitching badly.

          • Griffnbell

            I’d make that trade in a heartbeat. Not sure if it’s possible but sounds like the White Sox and Marlins want Aram, so sign him and trade him for Sanchez or Danks. A combination of any two of the above mentioned starters would make this team look a lot better.

    • Brp921

      I like your idea for the outfield. My only problem with it is the fact that I really like Reed Johnson. He sets a great example for the younger guys on how to play the game. He plays great defense and is a good hitter as well. So my Idea would be to let Pena go and put Lahair at first base and keep Johnson.The problem with that though, is Quade, just like with Colvin last year, has not played him at first base enouph to evaluate his defense nor played him regular enouph to get an idea whether or not he can hit consistently at the major league level. As for Johnsons injury history I don’t see it as a problem if he’s a reserve outfielder.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Rafael Dolis and Steve Clevenger are expected to join the team today.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tom, thank you for a tremendous job this season.

    • studio179

      Here, here! I really enjoy the reports. 

    • Tom U

      Thank you for the opportunity. It’s been fun.

  • matthew8510
  • matthew8510

    tonights lineup
     
    castro,ss
    barney,2nd
    aram,3rd
    baker,rf
    soriano,lf
    byrd,cf
    pena,1b
    soto,c
    colman,p

  • Tom U

    Thanks to everyone for your support and your comments.