Archive for June, 2008

Colvin's Hit Wins Game For Smokies

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Sevierville Man About Town download , 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.

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Boise loses 9-4 to Eugene

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Angel Mercado gave Eugene the lead for good with an RBI single in the top of the ninth, part of a six-run frame, as the Emeralds picked up a 9-4 Northwest League victory over the Boise Hawks before a sellout crowd of 3,611 at Memorial Stadium

The Hawks took a 4-3 lead in the eighth on a long home run from Jake Opitz, but the Ems rallied – as the first eight men reached base in the ninth, batting around to earn their first win of the season.

Sawyer Carroll, Derek Shunk, and Mercado each had three hits for the Ems, part of a 15-hit attack. Josh Vitters went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles for the Hawks.

Game 3 tomorrow is set for 7:15 p.m. with Jose Pina meeting Rey Garramone in a battle of right-handers.

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Smokies Let Lead Slip Away in 7-5 Loss

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Sevierville, TN – The Tennessee Smokies brought a three run lead into the eighth inning tonight, but the bullpen could not hold it as the Smokies lost to the Mobile BayBears by a score of 7-5.  A stunned crowd of 3,351 watched the Smokies fall to 1-1 for the second half of the season.

After Mobile took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning off a solo home run by Bryan Byrne, the Smokies struck back in the bottom of the third to take the lead back.  Welington Castillo singled to center to start off the inning.  He scored later in the inning off an RBI single by Matt Camp to tie the score at 1-1.  Jake Fox continued his hot hitting with a two-run single to center field, and the Smokies took a 3-1 lead.

Smokies starter and newly acquired pitcher Esmailin Caridad was very effective in his first appearance at Smokies Park.  Caridad allowed just one run on three hits and two walks through six innings of work.  He left the game with a 4-1 lead, as Fox added his third RBI of the game in the fifth with a sacrifice fly to score Camp.

With the game in the bullpen’s hands, Mobile struck for five runs in top of the eighth inning to take the lead.  The inning was highlighted by a two-run double by Rusty Ryal off of Smokies reliever Michael Cooper (1-3) to take a 5-4 lead.  The Smokies were down 6-5 in the bottom of the eighth inning and looked to be mounting a comeback to regain the lead.  Fox walked the start off the inning, and then moved to second on a single by Tyler Colvin.  After moving to third on a Doug Deeds groundout, Fox scored off a wild pitch to pull Tennessee to within one run.  The Smokies would strand two runners to end the inning as pinch hitter Joe Simokaitis flew out to left field with the score 6-5 Mobile.

The BayBears got an insurance run in the top of the ninth to extend their lead to 7-5, which brought in closer Reid Mahon.  The Smokies were retired in order in the ninth inning, giving Mahon his seventeenth save of the season and preserving the win for Vince Bongiovanni (2-1).

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I No Like That

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

First Star – Carl Crawford (.243)

Second Star – J.P. Howell (.194)

Third Star – Kosuke Fukudome

Turd of the Game – Carlos Zambrano (-.269)

Those are the words of my 2 year old when he encounters something he isn’t a fan of. I thought they were appropriate words given the fact that we’re in danger of losing three straight for the first time tomorrow if we don’t start playing better against these Rays. Once again we had a chance late but couldn’t quite get it done.Carlos Zambrano this just wasn’t your night. Six innings of work and a less than desirable line of 5 runs, 3 BB, and 7 hits. Yuck. Not quite what we would have hoped for from the two pitchers we’re counting on to be 1-2 in the rotation in Z and Demp. Neither were particularly awful, but they were not exactly top of the rotation worthy either. I had a good idea that would be the case when Z had a rough first hitter. He fell behind 2-0 to Iwamura and then battled back to 2-2 only to throw two straight outside the zone prompting an angry catch by Zambrano on the throw back from Geo. He has those mini tantrums every once in a while and it’s never a good sign for the future. Oh and by the way, the stupid cramps strike again. GRRRRRR.

The Mark DeRosa is not an outfielder award goes to….Mark DeRosa.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. DeRosa, as much as I love the guy, is not an everyday outfielder and should not be out there with the regularity that he is. In the first inning he ran down an easy play and had the ball go off his glove, allowing Akinori Iwamura to score. Had that been Matt Murton who made that error it would have been the end of his tenure with the team, regardless of if they are trying to showcase him or not. What I can’t understand is why, if we really are trying to showcase Murton for a trade, are we not starting him as often as possible in Soriano’s absence? We call up Eric Patterson on two separate occasions this year only to demote him after a few days in favor of Murton. Then, we call up Murton and spot start him. Sometimes the moves we make internally just confuse the heck out of me.

Evan Longoria has really impressed me with his defensive play in the series. Tonight, in the first three innings alone he made two nice plays. One to start a 5-4-3 DP and another to get Zambrano as he had to make an off-balance throw. I know coming into the year, as a Rays fan, that Longoria would be the real deal with the bat, but I hadn’t realized how good his glove was. I saw him play last year in AA and was impressed with what I saw then. He seemed like a man among boys at that level and had a good interview presence about him when I talked with him after the game. Keep your eye on this kid because he’s going to be a good one.

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Daily Roundup

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
Scouting Today’s Starting Pitchers

Carlos Zambrano did not get a decision in his last start against the Braves, and no coolers were injured as well. The right-hander gave up two runs on eight hits and three walks over seven-plus innings and struck out three in the game, which the Cubs rallied to win. Big Z has quite the reputation as a hitter. The Braves switched pitchers against Zambrano in the seventh when the Cubs had two on and two outs. He’s hitting .362.

Andy Sonnanstine picked up his seventh win of the season Friday night against the Marlins after allowing three runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings worked. The right-hander is a master of deception, employing an array of pitches that he can throw from all different angles. But he has learned to primarily use his fastball to set up the other pitches. Sonnanstine will be making his first start against the Cubs.

  • His somewhat quirky delivery from the right side poses problems for right-handed hitters. Induces a lot of ground balls and pitches with poise.
  • Can only be effective if he pitches down in the zone, since his high fastball tends to get crushed over the fence. Must better neutralize lefty bats.
  • A solid mid-rotation starter.
  • 1-0, 4.50 in last 16 IP
  • Pitch Types (Usage) – Fastball (57%), Slider (21%), Curveball (14%), Changeup (8%)
All Scouting Info taken from,, and

News & Notes

  • Donald Veal pitched 7.0 scoreless innings
  • Jake Fox hit 3 extra-base hits
  • Diego Encarnacion pitched 5.0 scoreless innings
  • Ryan Keedy was 3-for-4
  • James Adduci was 3-for-4
  • Marcus Hatley did not allow a run in 4 innings pitched

Got a player you’d like to see added to the player tracker? Drop us a line in the comments


Organizational Roundup

(AAA) – Iowa Cubs – Lost vs. New Orleans (3-11)

(AA) – Tennessee Smokies – Won vs. Mobile (13-0)

(High A) – Daytona Cubs – Lost vs. Palm Beach (7-8)

(A) – Peoria Chiefs – No Game

(SS) – Boise Hawks – Won vs. Eugene (6-5)

(RK) – Arizona Cubs open their season June 22nd

(RK) – Dominican Summer League Cubs – Lost vs. Rockies (1-5)

View the full organizational report courtesy of First Inning here.

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Boise Hawks Win Opener 6-5

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Jake Opitz hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Boise Hawks to a 6-5 victory over the Eugene Emeralds before 3,519 fans on opening night at Memorial Stadium.

The 12th Round pick out of Nebraska made the most of his first professional at bat, ripping a hanging slider from Ems reliever Tyler Davis deep over the right field wall to send the sellout crowd into a frenzy.

Boise jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings – getting a Josh Vitters RBI groundout in the first, then added three runs in the second, keyed by a Carlos Perez RBI single. Kyler Burke added a solo homer in the third to give the Hawks the big lead.

However, Eugene rallied, getting an RBI triple from Sawyer Carroll and a two-run Bobby Verbick in the sixth to make it 5-3, then got a two-run Angel Mercado home run in the eighth to tie the score.

Converted catcher Jake Muyco got the win in his pitching debut, retiring all five batters.
A Christmas Carol dvd

The two teams meet tomorrow night at 7:15 p.m. – with Mark Pawelek on the mound for the Hawks against the Emeralds Pablo Menchaca.

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Smokies pound BayBears 13-0

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Sevierville, TN – Tonight was the official beginning of the 2nd half of the season for the Tennessee Smokies, and the home team got out to a great start in a 13-0 drubbing of the visiting Mobile BayBears. Donnie Veal (4-5) pitched his arguably best game of the season tonight in notching the win and sending the crowd of 3,076 home happy tonight.

The Smokies offense got off to a big start tonight to help out Veal, as they plated four runs in the first inning. It was a rough homecoming of sorts for BayBears starting pitcher Adam Howard (6-4), who spent his college career pitching for the nearby Walters State Senators. Howard was touched up for four runs in the first, although none of them were earned as the defense behind him faltered.

Tennessee kept the heat on Howard, scoring another run in the second and two more runs in the third. Jake Fox, who was 3-4 on the night, doubled home Nate Spears in the 2nd inning to give the Smokies a 5-0 lead. In the third, Veal helped out his own cause by smacking an RBI single to right field to score Doug Deeds and stake Tennessee to a 6-0 lead.

Veal continued to stay on his game through seven innings, showing the fans why the Cubs drafted him in the second round of the 2005 draft. Veal threw seven solid innings tonight, allowing just two hits and striking out six BayBears batters. He also walked only two batters on the night in earning his fourth win of the season. Newly acquired relief pitcher Jose Ceda was equally as effective, going two innings of scoreless relief and striking out four batters.

The Smokies finally got the offensive explosion they were looking for in pounding out fourteen hits on the night. Fox slapped his third home run of the year in the eighth inning and drove in four runs on the night. Deeds was also productive in going 3-4 and scoring three runs. Kyle Reynolds broke out of his recent slump with a four hit night, driving in three runs and scoring twice.

The six-game series versus the BayBears continues on Wednesday at Smokies Park with game time at 7:15 pm. The Smokies will send newly acquired right-hander Esmailin Caridad (0-0, 0.00) to the hill to face off against BayBears right-hander Brooks Brown (3-7, 3.88). The series will conclude at Smokies Park on Sunday June 22nd.

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The Game That Slowly Lulled Me To Sleep

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

First Star – Grant Balfour (.174)

Second Star – Ryan Dempster (.161)

Third Star – Kosuke Fukudome (.150)

Turd of the Game – Reed Johnson (-.204)


I went to bed last night after the Cubs hit in the 8th inning and came up empty. Down 3-1 at that point and no offense in sight, it made more sense to call it a night and get ’em tomorrow. If you’ve read the site for awhile now, you know I’m not a big fan of writing on games we lose. It’s mainly because I’m frustrated at the loss and would rather look forward. I’m going to muster the strength to instead award some special honors as we look ahead to game two tonight.


The Send Me Back to AAA Award goes to….Matt Murton.
A big 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a weak fly ball was what Matty could muster in his first game back in the lineup after being recalled from AAA Iowa. The first at bat was abysmal as he looked completely lost at the plate and missed awkwardly at each of the three pitches he saw. He managed to get some wood on the ball in the second at bat with some foul balls but was again struck out swinging. Thankfully there were no miscues in leftfield to compound the rough night.

The Charlie Hustle Award goes to….Reed Johnson
Reed made a double out of a single in the the 7th inning by hustling out of the box from the word go. If everyone on this team would do that , and I’m not naming names, we would see a lot more doubles and triples and in turn a lot more runs on the board that don’t come from the homerun. Thankfully it hasn’t been a huge issue this year, but it has in the past.

The Rey Sanchez Fielding Award goes to….Ryan Theriot
Rey Sanchez? He gets an award named after him? Of course he does. He was my favorite shortstop growing up. I used to think he was the best fielder and loved to watch him play. I swear I’m not still that naive. Ryan Theriot gets the award for the great play to go back on a low soft duck snort off the bat of Dioner Navarro in the 6th. He robbed him on a play that won’t make Web Gems on Baseball tonight, but at the time, kept the Rays from making more of the inning than the already had done with the Evan Longoria home run to lead off.

The What the Heck Award goes to….Scott Kazmir
After yesterday’s performance, his ERA at home is now a ridiculous 0.59. That’s insane and really makes you say “What the Heck?” Thank God we don’t have to face him again.

The I’m Thankful for the NL Award goes to….American League Baseball.
My god did that game seem like it took forever. There were no easy outs, no quick pitch innings. Say what you want about how the DH keeps pitches healthy, Hank Steinbrenner, but I’m sticking with NL ball. I’ll sacrifice a little offense to watch a quick moving, well pitched game any day of the week.

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Hank Steinbrenner is a complete idiot….seriously

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
Misc. Notes of Interest
  • If you haven’t had a chance to read the “State of Major League Baseball – 2008” post on The Biz of Baseball, stop what you’re doing and go there right now. – (Source)
  • Sidney Ponson was released by the Rangers. Anyone need a big, fat, bad starting pitcher? – (Source)
  • Peter Gammons mentions that the Indians are in the process of scouting eight teams in an effort to move C.C. Sabathia. The Cubs are on the list. Yeah Buddy!!!
  • Hank Steinbrenner is massively pissed off at his ace, Chen Ming Wang, getting injured while running the bases during the interleague play. His quotes had me wishing I could kick him in the groin. “My only message is simple. The National League needs to join the 21st century. They need to grow up and join the 21st century. Am I (mad) about it? Yes, I’ve got my pitchers running the bases, and one of them gets hurt. He’s going to be out. I don’t like that, and it’s about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s.” Seriously, Hank Steinbrenner is trying to be like his dad, which is fine as long as he actually has a clue what he’s talking about. This guy is a complete moron. – (Source)

Series Tale of the Tape

Scouting Today’s Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster – is right at home back in the Cubs’ starting rotation. In his last start, he threw a complete game, his first since Sept. 25, 2002. Not bad for a guy who was a closer for three seasons. He notched his ninth quality start and remained unbeaten at home. He may want to ask Lou Piniella to only pitch at Wrigley Field. Against the Braves in his last start, he struck out 11, and gave up two runs on four hits. It was the second time he reached double-digit strikeouts this year.

Scott Kazmir – The 24-year-old left-hander took his first loss of the season on Wednesday against the Angels, ending a streak that saw him earn six wins in six consecutive starts. Kazmir moved up a spot in the rotation to take James Shields’ spot while Shields serves a six-game suspension from the Rays’ June 5 fracas against the Red Sox. Despite moving up in the rotation, Kazmir will be pitching on his regular day due to the off-day on Monday. Kazmir will be making his first career start against the Cubs.

  • Boasts heat that tops out around 97 m.p.h, and he regularly pitches in the mid-90’s. Also has a great slider and emerging change-up. A strikeout artist.
  • Has work to do on his command and endurance. His smallish frame is a concern, because of the risk of serious damage to his arm down the road.
  • A potential staff ace with the stuff to dominate.
  • 3-1, 1.88 in last 28.2 IP
  • 70% of Kazmir’s pitches are fastballs and he throws first pitch fastball to 76% of hitters.
  • Has three pitches (frequency) – Fastball (70%), Slider (19%), Changeup (10%)

All Scouting Info taken from and

News & Notes

  • Marcos Perez only allowed one run in 6.0 innings pitched
  • Melvin Camarena was 3-for-3
  • Felix Pie hit 2 extra-base hits
  • Tony Thomas was 2-for-5 with a double
Got a player you’d like to see added to the player tracker? Drop us a line in the comments


Organizational Roundup

(AAA) – Iowa Cubs – Won vs. Nashville (8-4) & Lost (1-3)

(AA) – Tennessee Smokies – No Game

(High A) – Daytona Cubs – Won vs. Palm Beach (6-5)

(A) – Peoria Chiefs – No Game

(SS) – Boise Hawks open their season June 17th

(RK) – Arizona Cubs open their season June 22nd

(RK) – Dominican Summer League Cubs – Lost vs. Reds (1-2)

View the full organizational report courtesy of First Inning here.

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