Bacon Serviceable; Theriot on a Mission?

Dwaine Bacon is keeping the seat warm rather nicely for injured center fielder Felix Pie; Ryan Theriot may be trying to stake claim to the title of "Best Player Not An All-Star."

Iowa blanked 5-0 by Round Rock

Lets face it: there isn't much to get excited about in regards to the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate these days. Todd Wellemeyer gave up three runs and five hits in his second start since being sent back down from the major league club. He didn't help his cause on June 24 by giving up a season-high five runs in the Cubs' embarrassing 12-2 loss to the White Sox. On the bright side, Wellemeyer's control problems have subsided since his first stint at Iowa in April. He fanned six batters on Wednesday night and has 11 strikeouts to three walks since re-joining the Triple-A squad.

Richard Lewis recorded his first two hits since being sent back up from Double-A. He batted .185 through 42 games at Iowa before a demotion in late May, then hit .246 at West Tenn before his most recent trip back to Iowa. All seven Cub hits were singles. The veteran club is batting .271 collectively, which is tied for 12th in the 16-team Pacific Coast League.

West Tenn loses 4-2 to Tennessee

Ryan Theriot seems dead-set on showing Southern League coaches that he was the most deserving player not named to this year's All-Star game in Mobile. He recorded his third three-hit game since June 28 (the day before all-star rosters were announced) and now has 15 hits in his last eight games overall while batting .316 for the year.

His teammates were especially surprised that the LSU product was snubbed.

"I was shocked that he didn't make it," said all-star right-hander Ricky Nolasco. "I think he's one of our best hitters, truthfully. He gets the job done and knows how to play the game. He also has a good average, lots of RBIs ... I'm shocked he didn't make it."

Dwaine Bacon doesn't have the hype (nor the all-around talent) of Felix Pie, but he has been more than serviceable in Pie's recent absense. Bacon picked up the fourth two-hit night of his current five-game hitting streak on Wednesday and has nine hits in his last 24 at-bats. At West Tenn, he has yet to hit below .300 at any point this season and is currently batting .339 since Pie went down on June 16.

Renyel Pinto allowed two runs and three hits in six innings for a no-decision, one start after suffering his first loss since being sent to West Tenn from Iowa. Pinto has gone at least five innings in all 11 of his starts with the Diamond Jaxx this season and, like Wellemeyer, has put Triple-A control problems behind him. In 67 1/3 innings, Pinto has fanned 69 while walking 31. (He walked 24 in only 22 2/3 innings at Iowa.)

The loss went to Thomas Atlee, his first since being promoted from Daytona last month. Atlee has allowed one earned run in each of his last three outings (the first time that's happened since mid-July through early August of last year) for a 5.59 ERA since being sent to Double-A.

Daytona falls 6-2 at Lakeland

Scott Moore's 16th home run highlighted a genuinely slow night for manager Richie Zisk's team. The home run was Moore's first since June 11. He tied his career-high in RBIs for a single season with no. 56 in the loss.

Chris Walker broke a 0-for-21 slump on Tuesday with two hits, but followed it up by going 0-for-4 on Wednesday. Walker is batting .282 - his average at the end of last season at Class-A Lansing - through 80 games atop the order.

J.R. Mathes (6-5, 3.27 ERA) started and dropped back-to-back outings for the first time this season. He allowed five runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Peoria loses again to Kane County, 3-2

Jesse Estrada got a no-decision, his first since May 28, after allowing two runs and nine hits in six innings. He has given up three runs or more in 14 of his 17 starts this season and now has a 5.13 ERA.

Tim Layden picked up his second loss in the past week in relief. The southpaw allowed one run (unearned) in two innings and has allowed just one hit to left-handed batters for a .038 opponents average. He has a 3.54 ERA for the year.

Luis Montanez hit his team-best 12th home run and also picked up his fourth double in the past two games. Montanez is batting .310 for the year. It's the first time in his career that he has batted above .300 this late into any full season of play. It's a start, I suppose.

It had to end some time for Sam Fuld, who went 0-for-5 to snap a 17-game hitting streak that catapulted his average from .239 to .281 at one point. Fuld was known for his outstanding plate patience in college at Stanford, which has carried over into his rookie season on the professional circuit. He has 27 walks to just 21 strikeouts in 73 games.

Boise scores nine, loses 16-9 to Emerald

Darin Downs lost his first game since joining the Hawks for a second stint following 2004, allowing six runs (four earned) in 3 1/3 innings. Downs was 2-0 entering the game and had given up one run over his first three starts, a span of 15 innings. Control is always a factor for Downs, however the left-hander has averaged only one walk per start with the Hawks.

From the bullpen, Luke Hagerty's alarming struggles continued. He surrendered his 10th earned run and walked two of the five hitters he faced. After walking seven in his first outing of the year, he has issued 14 free passes while notching two strikeouts. In addition, he has three wild pitches.

Davy Gregg tallied a season-high three hits atop the lineup with his 12th run scored. Gregg has six multi-hit games in his first 14 with a league-high 12 stolen bases in 16 attempts.

Another rookie and 2005 Cubs draft pick, Brandon Taylor, also recorded two hits. The third baseman from BYU picked up his fourth multi-hit night in the past week and is batting .340 (16-for-47) on the young season.

Kyle Reynolds, the Cubs' sixth round pick from Baylor, also contributed with two hits in his second game since joining the Hawks.

AZL Cubs Notes

The hot hitting continued for 3B-SS Luis Rivera in a 16-8 loss to the Brewers. He collected two hits and has six multi-hit games in his first eight with the rookie league club. CF John Defendis (29th round pick, Rutgers) picked up his fourth multi-hit game in the past week. He is batting .349 through his first 10 games.

Starting pitcher Jose Pina entered the day ranked sixth in the league with a 0.90 ERA in his first three starts. The right-hander and 19-year-old gave up two earned runs in four innings in his start on Wednesday. RHP Tyrell Moore gave up four runs in relief and has now allowed nine in his first three appearances--all out of the bullpen. In 2003, Moore led all of Division II with 126 strikeouts while at Albany State University (Ga.).

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