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April 11 Game Notes: Iowa Cubs at St. Paul Saints

April 11, 2024 - International League (IL)
Iowa Cubs News Release


Thursday, April 11 - 6:37 PM CT - CHS Field - St. Paul, MN

RHP Chris Clarke (0-0, 1.42) vs. RHP David Festa (0-0, 1.59)

TONIGHT'S GAME: Iowa and St. Paul will play game three of their six-game series tonight. The I-Cubs will send right-hander Chris Clarke to the mound to make his third start of the season. Clarke has thrown just 6.1 innings over his previous two outings but has been able to keep opponents relatively off the scoreboard with an ERA of 1.42. The 25-year-old is holding opponents to a .217 hitting clip so far in 2024 and has tallied five strikeouts compared to two walks. On the other side, right-hander David Festa will be the starting pitcher for St. Paul. Tonight will mark the third start of the season for Festa who owns a record of 0-0 and an ERA of 1.59. In 5.2 innings of work, Festa has six strikeouts and five walks. The 2021 draft picked faced off against Iowa once last season on Sept. 17 where he was credited with the loss in a starting role after 2.2 innings, allowing one run off three hits, two strikeouts, and two walks.

AGAINST ST. PAUL: With Iowa currently up in the series 2-0 after yesterday's win, the I-Cubs and Saints will play game three of their current six-game series and the third of 24 total games between the two teams this season. After yesterday's win for Iowa, the all-time series record between the two ballclubs sits at 39-46 in favor of St. Paul. In games that have been played at CHS Field, Iowa has a record of 22-27.

MEAT OF THE ORDER: Iowa received a big boost from the middle of its order to help secure its 4-1 victory over St. Paul last night. The 3-5 hitters in the I-Cub lineup, which consisted of Matt Mervis, Owen Caissie and Alexander Canario, combined to go 6-for-13 at the plate with a run scored, two doubles, a home run, and an RBI. The trio each delivered with a pair of hits against the Saints. Mervis and Caissie both smacked a double, while Canario launched his second home run of the season. There has been no doubt that the I-Cubs would need to rely on the talents of Caissie, Canario, and Mervis as all three are top prospects in the Cubs' system according to Caissie ranks the highest at No. 3, Canario ranks No. 10, and Mervis ranks No. 13. All three are living up to that promise through the first 11 games of the season and have the I-Cubs tied atop of the International League West standings. Mervis and Caissie lead the I-Cubs in hitting with averages of .361 and .324, respectively. Canario is a couple of spots below them at .231. Mervis and Caissie sit 1-2 in hits (Mervis-13, Caissie-12), and are among team leaders in doubles (both have five), and RBI (Caissie-2nd, 6, Mervis-4th, 5) as well.

FOUR IN A ROW: With the calendar turning to the month of April, the Iowa Cubs are seeming to find their stride winning four consecutive games. The four-game win streak by Iowa is its longest of the young 2024 season and doubles their previous longest winning streak of two games. Iowa has achieved the four consecutive victories by taking the first two games of the current series against the St. Paul Saints and downing the Toledo Mud Hens in the last two games of that series last week. With the four straight wins, Iowa's record on the year is now 7-4 and has it tied atop the International League West standings with the Omaha Storm Chasers. Looking at last season, Iowa achieved a four-game winning streak on four separate occasions. The longest win streak achieved by the 2023 I-Cubs was eight games from September 13-21.

SLAUGHTER ON A STREAK: One of the hottest bats on the I-Cubs squad is from infielder Jake Slaughter. In last night's contest against St. Paul, Slaughter delivered with a multi-hit game, his first of the 2024 season, going 2-for-3 with a run scored, a walk, and a stolen base. Slaughter has played in six of Iowa's 11 games and has recorded at least one hit in all six contests. Slaughter's six-game hitting streak currently ranks as the third longest active streak in the International League. Jose Devers of Jacksonville has the longest active hitting streak at eight games and four other players have active hitting streaks of seven games. Coming into tonight's contest against the Saints, Slaughter is hitting .304 (5-for-15) this season, which ranks fourth on Iowa, with a double, a home run, and one RBI. The 27-year-old also ranks second on Iowa with three stolen bases.

PANNONE IS ROLLING: Thomas Pannone was dealing for the I-Cubs again last night as he was credited with his second win of the season after 5.0 innings with one earned run allowed off three hits, one walk, and six strikeouts against the Saints. Pannone has made three starts in 2024 and has put up rather impressive numbers placing him at the top of multiple categories in the International League. Currently Pannone ranks first in the IL in ERA (0.57), fourth in strikeouts (17), first in games started, first in innings pitched (15.2), fifth in opponents average (.130), sixth in WHIP (0.70), and first in win percentage (1.000).

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