On The Farm: Tennessee Advances; Great Falls Ousted

On The Farm: Tennessee Advances; Great Falls Ousted

Sunday Sept. 12, 2010
Posted: 9:05 p.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
CUBS Tennessee AA
Tennessee used a home-run barrage to stagger West Tenn in the previous two games of its Southern League playoff series so it was no surprise that the long ball was the difference Sunday night at Smokies Park.

Steve Clevengers two-run blast in the fifth inning proved to be the difference as the Smokies bested the Diamond Jaxx, 5-2, to capture the best-of-five series and advance to the Southern League championship.

Clevenger followed Matthew Spencers one-out single with a blast to tight after West Tenn had tied the score in the top of the fifth with a home run of their own, a Guillermo Quiroz shot to left. Marwin Gonzalez tacked on an RBI single in the eighth for good measure.

Craig Muschko started and picked up the victory after allowing two runs through six innings. A nine-game winner during the regular-season, Muschko went 7-0 in July, August and September. He provided a steady influence in the Smokies biggest game of the year, striking out four and not walking a batter.

The bullpen tandem of Kyle Smit and Luke Sommer proved to be too much for West Tenn to handle as they combined for three innings of one-hit, shutout ball. Sommer was perfect over his 1 23 innings, earning the save.
WHITE SOXGreat Falls Rookie
The Voyagers were the dominant team in the Pioneer League during the regular season, particularly over the last three weeks. The post-season proved to be an entirely different situation for Great Falls, though, which was handcuffed by Helena once again Sunday
evening.

The Brewers bested the Voyagers at Centene Stadium, earning a 9-5 victory to capture their opening-round playoff series in three games. Helena moves into the Pioneer League final while Great Falls heads home.

Helena scored five third-inning runs to take a 6-0 lead and it was never close thereafter. Steven Upchurch took the loss, allowing all six of those runs in 2 13 innings. The bullpen didnt fare much better.

Ross Wilson had two hits, including a homer and two RBIs while Mike Earley added a solo homer. Ryan Hamme had three hits and picked up an RBI.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

How Ozzie Guillen's harsh honesty resonated with Avisail Garcia

How Ozzie Guillen's harsh honesty resonated with Avisail Garcia

Ozzie Guillen delivered Avisail Garcia some tough love last winter that he figured the White Sox outfielder needed to hear.

They encountered each other during the Venezuelan Winter League season when Garcia played for the Tigres de Aragua and Guillen managed for the Tiburones de La Guaria. Guillen was so taken aback to find Garcia hitting low in the Tigres’ lineup that he offered an assessment on the spot.

For any number of reasons, Garcia has responded with a career season that has him on the verge of his first All-Star assignment. The right fielder is fifth in the American League fan vote as of Monday with 1,292,694 votes.

“About time,” Guillen said. “We've been waiting for this moment. A lot of people bet he would have failed. I know because at work, every week I talk about him. People keep waiting on him to be what he was. I think right now he has more experience. He doesn't live in the past, like 'oh it's the next Miguel Cabrera' or 'he's this guy, he's the best we've ever had.' That's why he got better. It's about time this kid. What he's doing right now I think it's fun. He's showing his potential. I see a lot of players with potential who never make it. I think it started getting too late for him, now he's back on the map.”

Garcia entered Monday hitting .331/.372/.532 with 11 home runs and 51 RBIs in 296 plate appearances. While he didn’t remember the specifics of their conversation, Garcia knows Guillen’s main intent was to help him forward. He’s encouraged that his fellow countryman has confidence in his abilities.

“He’s a great human and everything he said to me is going to work for me,” Garcia said. “I just listened. Always listen. I appreciated what he said. He gave me a lot of advice.

“He’s a great person. People that really know, know he is and we appreciate everything he does and that’s it.”

Guillen appreciates what Garcia has done this season after several years of middling play amongst high expectations. Through 72 games, Garcia has produced 2.3 f-Wins Above Replacement, giving him a career mark of 0.9.

Acquired in July 2013 from Detroit in a three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston, Garcia arrived with high expectations that he hadn’t been able to live up to thus far. Garcia has had those expectations since he first reached the majors when scouts nicknamed him ‘Mini Miggy’ after Cabrera. Guillen is glad to see Garcia has started to play up to his potential, especially after he was aghast to find him hitting in the bottom third of Aragua’s lineup.

“I saw him batting seventh and I was all over him,” Guillen said. “I said 'You should be embarrassed you're batting seventh in winter league, you have to be third, or fourth. This is winter league.' When you go to there and you play in the big leagues, it makes it easier. Now he's picked it up. Hopefully he will keep it up. Hopefully he'll keep it up and make some money. That's what we want. Some cash. Take it home.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon working on another potential White House visit

Cubs manager Joe Maddon working on another potential White House visit

WASHINGTON – Less than six months after the Cubs toured the White House as one of the final stops on their World Series victory tour, manager Joe Maddon is angling for another visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Maddon’s childhood friend from Hazleton, Congressman Lou Barletta, is working to arrange a private tour this week while the Cubs are in Washington for a four-game showdown against the first-place Nationals.

“I’m staying in touch with my boy Louie,” Maddon said Monday. “Who knows? We might end up going over there again.”

This wouldn’t be the East Room spectacle the Cubs enjoyed in January, when President Barack Obama’s final official White House event became a kind of farewell gift to his staffers with Chicago connections.

Barletta, a Pennsylvania Republican who made immigration a central part of his platform as Hazleton mayor, declined a position in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet. Barletta asked Maddon, who stays involved with his hometown through his Hazleton Integration Project, to attend a luncheon on Wednesday for young Republicans.

“And then maybe something else will be in the making after that,” Maddon said. “But for right now, the one thing I got in my back pocket is Louie.”