First Star – Sean Gallagher (.194)

Second Star – Mike Fontenot (.188)

Third Star – Carl Crawford (.171)

Turd of the Game – Carlos Marmol (-.458)



Well, the streak of not losing three straight is over. Man, is it just me or is anyone else coming out of this series with the Rays feeling like the sky is falling? I know we’re going to win the division, but it seems like everything went wrong this week and it doesn’t have me excited about this weekend. Am I wrong on that?

  • Sean Gallagher was outstanding, which helps ease the fears if Zambrano has to miss a start or two. I was thinking about who will replace Z for his next start and, looking at the 40 man roster, it seems like Sean Marshall is the only option now that Kevin Hart went down with a line drive to the head.
  • My goodness, the Rays pitchers are pretty darn good. Thank God we’re leaving Tampa. I don’t want to play those guys any more.
  • What the heck was up with Carlos Marmol? Walk, Walk, HBP, HBP!!! What the heck is that? Yuck Yuck Yuck. I know guys have off nights, but his frequency of use makes me nervous. I hope this wasn’t a result of that.
  • All that talk about Derrek Lee was answered yesterday. Lee got on base with great ease but no one managed to drive the poor guy in or even move him around the bases. What drives me nuts is that people are blaming a slump or poor play in general on his daughter. It’s not a new condition. Stop making excuses for someone. Everyone in life has issues in their life that are outside of their line of work and do their job just fine. Ray Allen had a great NBA Finals and his child has issues. Stop mentioning Lee’s daughter for any other reason than to talk about the donation you made to his charity.



Des Moines – Sean Marshall allowed just one run in eight innings of work as the Iowa Cubs defeated the New Orleans Zephyrs 4-1 at Principal Park Thursday night.

Marshall, making his second start since coming off the disabled list on June 9, kept Zephyrs batters off balance and away from the bases. The lengthy left-hander surrendered just four hits on the night and retired 12 in a row until Abraham Nunez led off the fifth with a single to right field.

The I-Cubs’ starter got plenty of help early on when Eric Patterson put Iowa ahead 1-0 when he laced his sixth home run of the season to lead off the third inning. Patterson finished the night 2-for-4.

Iowa added an insurance run in the fourth when Tony Richie drove in Casey McGehee with an RBI groundout to give the I-Cubs a 2-0 lead. Richie picked up his second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Jason Dubois connected on his seventh home run of the season in the seventh to give Iowa a 4-0 lead.

Marshall did the rest, allowing just four New Orleans base runners on the night, including two in the seventh. He worked out of a one-out jam with runners on first and second, getting Raul Casonova to line out to second baseman Bobby Scales who completed the double play with a toss to shortstop Andres Torres, catching Argenis Reyes away from the base.

The Zephyrs lone run of the night came in the eighth when Gustavo Molina connected on his fourth home run of the season to make it 4-1.

Reliever Jim Brower worked a perfect ninth inning to pick up his fifth save.

Marshall’s eight-inning outing tied the team’s mark for the longest outing of the season for an Iowa starter. Former I-Cub Randy Keisler also threw eight innings on May 23 against Oklahoma. Marshall struck out four, throwing just 87 pitches on the night.

New Orleans starter Willie Collazo was tagged with the loss (4-4), giving up three runs on eight hits in six innings on the hill.


Sevierville, TN

– Tyler Colvin’s ninth inning RBI single was the difference today as the Tennessee Smokies downed the Mobile BayBears by a 4-3 score. The late inning heroics thrilled the crowd of 3,920 fans as the Smokies improved to 2-1 in the early portion of the second half of the season.


Starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija was sharp today on the mound, and was staked to an early lead thanks to the Smokies offense. Center fielder Sam Fuld got the game started in great fashion for the Smokies, smacking a leadoff triple into the right field corner. Fuld scored shortly thereafter on a Colvin RBI single to give Tennessee a 1-0 lead. Jake Fox then came up with a double to score Colvin in the first, and the Smokies were off and running with a 2-0 lead.

Samardzija kept the BayBears offense at bay through the early innings, not allowing a hit through the first three innings. Mobile finally was able to get to Samardzija in the top of the fourth with two hits, which plated one run thanks in part to an RBI double by Rusty Ryal. Samardzija continued pitching through the seventh inning, but ran into trouble again in the top of the sixth. With men on first and third, Samardzija induced Ryal into a 6-4-3 double play, but the runner on third still came across to score to tie the game at 2-2.

Fox was able to pick up Samardzija in the bottom of the sixth with his fourth home run of the season. His towering shot over the left center field wall gave the Smokies the lead at 3-2 and put Samardzija in line for the win. He threw seven complete innings, allowing just two runs on five hits, walking three batters and striking out two.

Mobile was able to tie the game in the top of the ninth, however, scoring a run off Smokies reliever Jose Ceda (1-0). Ceda allowed three hits in the top of the ninth, with the tying run coming in an RBI single off the bat of pinch hitter John Hester. Ceda was able to work out of the jam to end the inning, with the score now 3-3.

Tennessee was able to rally once again in the ninth, with Joe Simokaitis leading off the inning with a walk off Abe Woody (1-2). He advanced to second on a well executed sacrifice bunt by Fuld, but stayed at second after Matt Camp failed in his attempt to move him over to third with another bunt. Colvin then delivered the game winning hit with two outs, a hard hit line drive over the head of right fielder’s Cyle Hankerd’s glove to bring home Simokaitis. Colvin was mobbed rounding first base as Simokaitis scored to give the Smokies their second win in three games.

Game four of the six-game series against the BayBears will take place on Friday night at 7:15 pm. The Smokies will send left-hander James Russell (2-1, 4.06) to the mound to face off against BayBears right-hander Hector Ambriz (3-9, 5.65). The series will conclude at Smokies Park on Sunday June 22nd.



DAYTONA BEACH – The second half arrived the same way the first half started; with the Brevard County Manatees. The Cubs were locked up in a rare pitcher’s duel with their down state rivals. Brevard County got the best of the Cubs tonight winning by the final score of 3-2.

Grant Johnson took the mound for Daytona, making his first start in nearly two years. He didn’t pitch long, but he set things up nicely for the bullpen. In all, Johnson pitched two innings of two hit, one run baseball. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out one.

The one run scored on a double play that ended the second inning. The problem is that it wasn’t a force-out double play and the run scored before the third out of the inning was made. Charlie Fermaint came into the score on the 4-3-6 twin-killing. Kenny Holmberg was tagged out by Darwin Barney after a brief rundown.

The Cubs prevailed in the bottom of the inning. Ty Wright continued his hot hitting by knocking a lead-off double. He then moved to third when Blake Lalli singled to leftfield. The Cubs then got some help from Manatees starting pitcher, Zach Braddock. With Russ Canzler at the plate, Braddock delivered a wild pitch that allowed Wright to score the tying run.

Daytona took the lead briefly in the fifth. With one out, Canzler got his second hit of the night when he doubled. Mark Reed then hit his second triple of the season to drive the second Cubs run. The lead wouldn’t last long.

Brevard County benefited from Taylor Green’s solo shot in top of the sixth. Green hit the pitch from Mike Phelps out to rightfield to tie the contest back up at two runs a piece.

Casey Lambert entered the game in the eight and gave up the lead for good. Back-to-back singles by Darren Ford and Lorenzo Cain put runners at first and third for Brevard County. Then, playing in his first game in 2008, Jonathan Lucroy hit a sacrifice fly the easily scored the speedy Ford from third. That made the score 3-2, which turned out to be the final.

Casey Baron earns the win in relief for Brevard County. Casey Lambert is charged with the loss. Mike McClendon pitched the ninth to earn his fifth save.



The Peoria Chiefs dropped the opening game of a four-game series 3-1 to the Beloit Snappers on Thursday evening at O’Brien Field. The loss drops the Chiefs to 0-1 in the second half and 30-39 overall on the year.

Beloit got on the board against Chiefs starter Dae-Eun Rhee in the third inning with an unearned run. Estarlin De Los Santos started the inning with an infield hit. De Los Santos stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Josh Donaldson. A walk to Mark Dolenc put runners on the corners with no outs. Rhee avoided a big inning by getting a 5-4-3 double play ball off the bat of Joe Benson; however, De Los Santos scored on the play to make it 1-0 Beloit.

The Chiefs answered back in their half of the third inning against Snappers starter Michael McCardell. With one out, Cliff Andersen tripled to the gap in left-center field, and he then scored the tying run when Nate Samson reached on a throwing error by the third baseman to make it 1-1.

The Snappers broke the 1-1 tie in the eighth inning against Chiefs reliever Chris Siegfried. De Los Santos homered to the berm in left-center to lead off the inning and put the Snappers in front 2-1. Siegfried allowed a base hit to Dolenc and walked Benson before departing in favor of Jordan Latham without recording an out in the eighth. After a sacrifice bunt by Paul Kelly moved both runners up, Chris Parmelee drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to extend the Beloit lead to 3-1. Peoria got the tying runs on base in both the eighth and ninth innings but hit into inning ending double plays.

Rhee pitched five innings, his most since returning from the disabled list, and allowed just an unearned run on three hits. He struck out three and walked three but did not factor in the decision. Audy Santana worked a scoreless inning out of the bullpen while allowing two hits and striking out one. Siegfried took the loss allowing two runs in an inning plus of work while striking out one and walking two. Latham worked two scoreless frames without allowing a hit and struck out a pair.

Player of the Game – Andersen (DH) – Andersen finished the night 2-for-3 with a triple, his third of the year, and scored the only Chiefs run.

Notes… Rhee has not allowed an earned run in 14 consecutive innings…The Chiefs lost the opening game of the second half in 2007 in Beloit also by a score of 3-1…Dustin Sasser was promoted to High-A Daytona following the game leaving the Chiefs with 24 players…Sasser was 1-4 with a 1.53 ERA and compiled four saves…The Chiefs are now 11-34 when scoring four runs or less…Peoria turned three more double plays to bring their total to a league-high 75…Dylan Johnston has hit safely in four straight games…Each team turned three double plays…The Chiefs are 12-4 over the last 16 games at O’Brien Field… The series continues on Friday evening at 6:30…The Chiefs players and coaches will be wearing 1908 replica Cubs jerseys that will be auctioned off throughout the game to benefit Make-A-Wish…The first 1,500 fans through the gates on Friday will receive a free Joe Girardi caricature t-shirt presented by Hardee’s… The first 1,000 fans attending Friday’s game will get a free copy of Baseball America magazine…Following the game will be another Pitch-In for Charity presented by Aquatech Pool and Spas and Little Caesar’s Pizza also with proceeds benefiting Make-A-Wish…There will be another spectacular post-game fireworks show following the game presented by CEFCU…Peoria will send RH Hung-Wen Chen (1-3, 3.34) to the hill while the Snappers counter with RH David Bromberg (4-4, 4.65)



BOISE, Idaho – Ryan Hill ripped a two-out, two-run single in the top of the eighth inning, sparking a four-run frame, as the Eugene Emeralds rallied for an 8-4 victory over the Boise Hawks before 2,796 fans at Memorial Stadium.

After a two-out error by Hawks shortstop Marwin Gonzalez loaded the bases, Hill took the first offering from Jake Muyco into right-center, providing the game-winner. Emmanuel Quiles would reach on an error, allowing a run to score, and Daniel Robertson provided an RBI single to cap the frame.

The Ems led 1-0 in the fifth, but the Hawks tied the score on a Rebel Ridling home run to left. Eugene would plate two in the sixth to take the lead, but Boise battled back, with Ridling’s two-run double giving the hosts the lead.

Former U.S. Marine Cooper Brannan got the win in relief for Eugene.

The two teams meet tomorrow night – with lefty James Leverton going for the Hawks, against lefty Geoff Vandel.

Notes – Boise added David Macias to their roster prior to the game, a draft pick out of Vanderbilt, as Tony Campana was sent to the Cubs training facility to rehab a broken hand, sustained on opening night.



Minor League Player Tracker

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Scouting Today’s Starting Pitchers

John Danks – admittedly had command issues Saturday night against the Rockies, but he didn’t surrender any runs in six innings. He allowed runners to reach third base in four of those innings, but managed to strand them each time. It’s a problem he said he would work on fixing after the game. In the meantime, though, Danks’ ERA fell to 2.90 and he hasn’t lost a start since May 24. Danks has never faced the Cubs in his career, but is 0-1 with a 5.31 ERA in four Interleague starts.

  • His change-up is great and his curve isn’t far behind, both complimenting his low-90s fastball. Has a good mind for the game.
  • Tends to leave his fastball up a little too often, leading to home runs. Command has been an issue. Gives up too many hits.
  • Can be a strong No. 2 or 3 starter.
  • 1-0, 2.66 in last 23.2IP
  • Pitch Breakdown (Usage) – Fastball (61%), Changeup (20%), Curve (14%), Slider (6%)

Ted Lilly – Although Lilly struggled with command during his last start, the left-hander was able to defeat the Blue Jays in what was one of his best outings of the year. While he did walk a season-high five batters, the left-hander allowed no runs on just one hit over six innings. It was the only start this year where Lilly has not given up a run. As well, the starter has shown signs of improvement lately. Over his last three starts, Lilly has now posted a 2.25 ERA. During that span, he has allowed just five runs on 12 hits over a total of 20 innings. He has struck out 21 batters in that time.

Series Tale of the Tape

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail