Down on the Farm: Pat Listach, Manager of the Iowa Cubs

Throughout the season, Vine Line Online will speak with players, managers and front-office personnel in the minor-league system. Today, “Down on the Farm” checks in with Pat Listach, manager of the Iowa Cubs, about the challenges of managing a Triple-A team. Keep coming to the blog for reports, player profiles, interviews and stories during the week.

Listach_Pat.jpgSince Opening Day, Chicago has made 11 transactions with its Triple-A affiliate, the Iowa Cubs. That is the equivalent of roughly one transaction every four games. The Cubs have had to deal with inconsistent play and injuries, and they have used the I-Cubs as their very own Hans Brinker, the legend who plugged leaks with his thumbs as they appeared. For Iowa manager Pat Listach, the amount of moves can be daunting, but he does everything he can to get his players ready for their chances at the big leagues.

“We have a lot of player movement already, and I think for the most part [our] players are major-league ready. It’s our job as a staff down here to make sure they are ready when they go to Chicago,” Listach said. “We are not too concerned about winning in Iowa but making sure they get their repetitions in and get their work in so that they are ready when Lou Piniella and his staff up there call for them.”

Listach managed at Double-A Tennessee last year and has changed his philosophy a little to better coincide with more experienced players, but he maintains the basics are the same.

“We are still teaching fundamentals and teaching them how to play the game and how to prepare for the game.” Listach said. “[But] when you look around and you have a team with Sean Marshall, Rich Hill, Sean Gallagher and Kevin Hart, you approach things a little differently because they’ve been in the major leagues and they know what they need to do to get back there. [My role is] just being available for them to get their work in.”

Even so, long bus rides and years of minor-league play can wear down any seasoned ballplayer, especially at the Triple-A level, where most of the players are in their fourth or fifth seasons. But Listach sees the ivy, red brick and green scoreboard as enough incentive for his players to continue to work hard.

“We’ve got some three and four o’clock in the morning wakeup calls, and we have to do some things different as far as getting work done on those travel days because everybody’s exhausted.” Listach said. “[But] at one point we counted that 17 players out of the 24 had been in the major leagues. … It’s pretty easy to motivate when they can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Zach Martin

Iowa Cubs (AAA): 22-24 Overalliowa cubs.gif
Northern Division 2nd Place (-2.0)

Omaha opened the contest with a four-run first inning and finished with a three-run eighth, beating the I-Cubs, 8-3.

LHP Sean Marshall (L 0-1, 4.02) 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

HOMERS – Jason Dubois (1)

? 2B Eric Patterson went 2-for-4 with a stolen base, raising his season average to .305 (32-for-105) … over the last five games, he is 12-for-23 (.522) with three doubles, a walk, three stolen bases, and two RBI.
? 1B Jason Dubois, who signed a minor league contract with the Cubs on May 19, connected for his first homer with I-Cubs, a solo shot in the fifth inning … in two games with Iowa, he is hitting .286 (2-for-7) with a homer and an RBI.
? RHP Mike Burns tossed 3.1 hitless innings of relief, walking two and striking out one, improving his ERA to 2.53 (12 ER/42.2 IP), good for fourth in the Pacific Coast League.

Tennessee Smokies (AA): 16-32 Overallsmokies.gif
North Division 5th Place (-14.5)

Mississippi silenced Tennessee’s bats as the Braves blanked the Smokies, 6-0.

RHP Mark Holliman (L 0-2, 8.66) 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K

? RF Tyler Colvin recorded Tennessee’s lone multi-hit game, going 2-for-4.
? 2B Nate Spears doubled in the third, picking up the Smokies only extra base hit … he is hitting at a .306 (15-for-49) clip at home, compared to a .224 (13-for-58) average on the road.
RHP Dumas Garcia tossed 2.0 hitless innings of relief, walking one and striking out two in his first appearance with the Smokies since being called-up from Daytona May 21.

Daytona Cubs (A+): 23-24 Overalldaytona.gif
East Division Tied 3rd Place (-6.0

Tampa handcuffed Daytona’s offense, shutting out the Cubs, 5-0.

RHP Jose Ceda (L 2-2, 4.71) 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

? SS Darwin Barney went 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to seven games … he is 10-for-29 (.345) with two walks, two runs scored, and two RBI over the stretch.
? CF Jim Adduci, who went 1-for-3 with a double, is hitting at a .326 (58-for-178) clip, good for fourth in the Florida State League … he is 16-for-45 (.356) with five walks and five RBI off left-handed pitching, compared to a .316 (42-for-133) average with 19 walks and 14 RBI against righties
? LHP Casey Lambert pitched 2.0 shutout innings, allowing one hit, walking none and fanning three, recording his 13th scoreless outing of the season .. he has struck out 25 compared to just eight walks over 24.0 innings of work.

Peoria Chiefs (A-): 17-30 Overallchiefs.gif
Western Division 8th Place (-16.0)

Peoria have won three straight for the first time this season, defeating the River Bandits, 7-1.

LHP Zachary Ashwood (ND 0-5, 4.96) 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

HOMERS – Elvis Lara (1)

? SS Nate Samson went 3-for-4 with a walk and a run scored, extending his modest hitting streak to five games … he is 8-for-21 (.381) with four walks, three runs scored, and an RBI over the span.
? 3B Jovan Rosa went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored to extend his on-base streak to 16 games … he is batting .368 (21-for-57) with eight doubles, one homer, nine walks, and nine RBI over the stretch.
? RHP Todd Blackford recorded his first win after throwing 3.0 shutout innings of relief, allowing one hit, one walk, and fanning one.

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