July 21 Game Notes: Iowa at Columbus
IOWA CUBS (27-37) @ COLUMBUS CLIPPERS (28-37)
Wednesday - 6:05 PM CT - Huntington Park - Columbus, OH
RHP Cory Abbott (1-4, 6.75) vs. RHP Kevin Herget (4-3, 4.96)
TONIGHT'S GAME: Iowa and Columbus meet for game two of their six-game set tonight with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 pm CT. Cory Abbott will toe the rubber for Iowa, in search of his first win since May 13 against St. Paul. He will face off against righty Kevin Herget for Columbus, who will be making his first start since June 27. Herget got the win against the I-Cubs back on June 10, tossing five innings of five-run ball. He allowed eight hits including one home run, while walking two and striking out seven in that game.
SCORE ALL THE RUNS: Iowa scored 15 runs last night for the second game in the month of July, previously doing so on July 9 in a 15-2 win over St. Paul. On July 9, the I-Cubs had four multi-run innings, a five-run first, while scoring three runs in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings. They also registered a season-high 22 hits, with seven members of Iowa's lineup recording multi-hit games. Last night, Iowa scored five runs in the third, three in the fourth and five in the eighth to make up their three innings putting up a crooked number. They had six players with multi-hit games, racking up 14 total hits as a team. In between Iowa's two 15-run games, they played eight games and scored a combined 21 runs, just six more than they scored in a single game twice.
BACK ON TRACK: Michael Rucker earned the win in his second consecutive outing last night, bumping him to 3-0 for the I-Cubs this season. The righty completed 3.0 innings against Columbus, allowing one run on three hits. The run - a solo homer off the bat of Trenton Brooks - is only the second Rucker has allowed over his last six games. He's pitched 12.2 innings for Iowa over that span, good for an ERA of just 1.42. He's also struck out 14 batters and walked only three. The stretch has been a marked improvement for Rucker, who had allowed at least one earned run in each of his previous six appearances. Over that span, he allowed 15 earned runs on 21 hits - including seven home runs - in 13.1 innings, good for an ERA of 10.13.
STARTING STABILITY: After months of instability in the starting rotation, the I-Cubs have finally seemed to settle into a consistent rotation over the past two series. They've stuck to a sequence of six starters in the same order for 13 games straight, only swapping Cory Abbott - who returned from Chicago on July 11 - into Ryan Kellogg's spot after Kellogg was sent to Double-A Tennessee. Despite the consistency, however, the starters have picked up only one win during that 13-game span. The starters are 1-6 over the last two weeks, earning only one of Iowa's six wins but six of their seven losses. They've pitched to a 4.85 ERA (30ER/55.2IP) over that span, which is half a point better than their season mark of 5.27 (163ER/278.1IP), and collected two quality starts, but it hasn't shown in their record. The bullpen, on the other hand, has gone 5-1 with a 3.20 ERA (19ER/53.1IP) over the last 13 games.
BOUNCE BACK: Iowa's starter Cory Abbott will be looking to bounce back tonight, after coming off of his shortest start of the season. Abbott threw just 2.2 innings against Toledo, surrendering six earned runs on five hits, five walks and one home run. He also hit a batter and struck out just three, a season low with the I-Cubs. Against Columbus on June 13, Abbott made a quality start, throwing six innings of three-run ball. He allowed five hits and one walk, compared to striking out eight. All three runs were scored on the long ball, a two-run blast by Andrés Giménez and a solo shot off the bat of Nolan Jones. Home runs have been a problem for Abbott, who has allowed at least one in every start but two with Iowa. He will go for another quality start against the Clippers tonight and try to earn his second win of the season after earning his first on May 13 in his second start of the year against St. Paul.
FITTING IN: Frank Schwindel made his first game as an I-Cub count last night, going 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI. Schwindel joined the team in Columbus after being claimed off waivers from the Athletics and assigned to Iowa on Sunday. He made his first start as a member of the Cubs organization last night at first base and picked off right where he'd left off with Triple-A Las Vegas. During his time with the Aviators, Schwindel hit .317 (60-for-189) with 16 home runs - good for second most on the team - and 41 RBI. He's a career .300 hitter at Triple-A (384-for-1278) with 68 home runs and 253 RBI over parts of four seasons.
QUITE THE STRETCH: Entering the game on July 15 against Toledo, Nick Martini was hitting .211 (24-for-114) and had registered just one hit in his previous 19 at-bats. The outfielder entered that game with seven multi-hit games out of the 34 he had played with Iowa, registering two or more hits in 21% of his games. Since then, he has played in five games, recording four multi-hit games, including a season-high three hits on July 15 against Toledo. He extended his season long hitting streak to five games last night, going 2-for-2 with a single and a three-run home run. He reached base in all five plate appearances last night, registering the two hits while walking twice and getting hit by a pitch. Over the last five games, he is hitting .625 (10-for-16) with four walks and two stolen bases, raising his average on the season to .262 (34-for-130).
AGAINST COLUMBUS: Columbus owned Iowa in their first six-game series this year at Principal Park, taking five of the six games the two teams played. The Clippers outscored the I-Cubs by 11 that series, 40-29 and scored six or more runs in every game except the one game they lost, only scoring two. They scored over six runs again last night, but fell 15-7 in the series opener at Huntington Park. Iowa now trails in the season series 5-2 and has been outscored by Columbus 47-44.
NOT WHAT YOU WANTED: Mike Hauschild had his fourth start of the season last night in which he hasn't made it through four innings. The righty tossed 3.2 innings, allowing a season-high six earned runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out two. He allowed a career-high four home runs in the game last night, including back-to-back long balls in the fourth, taking him out of the game. In his four short starts this year, he has now allowed 22 runs (15 earned) on 23 hits, 10 walks and now 10 home runs, while striking out just eight batters.
SHORT HOPS: Last night's victory over Columbus marked just the second win of the season for Iowa when their opponent registers 10+ hits, the other was on May 19 against Omaha in a 5-4 win...with a win tonight, Iowa could jump Columbus in the standings and move into fifth place for the first time since June 5...before his fourth inning home run last night, all eight of Nick Martini's hits in his hitting streak had been singles.
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