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September 28 Game Notes: Iowa Cubs vs. Toledo Mud Hens

September 28, 2022 - International League (IL)
Iowa Cubs News Release


TODAY'S GAME: The I-Cubs and Mud Hens are set to play the final game of the 2022 campaign today, with Caleb Kilian taking the ball for Iowa. Kilian is 5-4 with a 4.25 ERA in a team-leading 25 starts this year, allowing 49 earned runs on 104 hits and 57 walks over 103.2 innings pitched. The righty has struck out 121 batters over that span, good for the team lead as well as seventh among all International League pitchers. On the other side, Joe Navilhon is scheduled to take the ball for the Mud Hens, pitching in his sixth game of the year and making his third start for Toledo. Navilhon is 0-1 with a 5.19 ERA through those five games, allowing five earned runs on seven hits and five walks over his 8.2 innings pitched. In those 8.2 innings, he has struck out 11 batters and limited opponents to a .219 batting average.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Caleb Kilian will take the mound today to start the final game of the I-Cubs' 2022 season. It's a fitting spot for the right-hander, who has been a cornerstone of the rotation for the majority of the year. His first start with Iowa on April 9 served as his Triple-A debut, but it wasn't long before he was making an even bigger debut; on June 4, his contract was selected by Chicago, and he made a five-inning start that night in his first MLB action. With the exception of that start and two more MLB appearances in June, though, Kilian has taken the ball every fifth day for Iowa, anchoring a rotation that was often in flux. He enters today's matchup leading the team in starts (25), innings (103.2) and strikeouts (121). The starts and strikeouts totals also rank among the leaders in the International League, sitting third and seventh respectively. His 26th start of the year today will tie him with Colin Rea (2019) and Jen-Ho Tseng (2018) for the most starts by an Iowa pitcher in a season since 2016, when Drew Rucinski made 28.

HOME RUN RACE: Alexander Canario and Matt Mervis both enter today's game with 36 total home runs this season. Both Canario and Mervis have racked up the round-trippers at three levels: Advanced-A South Bend, Double-A Tennessee and Iowa. Both men hit seven home runs in South Bend and were keeping pace in Tennessee, but Mervis received his Triple-A promotion a month earlier. That gave him 14 Double-A homers and 15 Triple-A homers to compare with Canario's 24 at Double-A and five at Triple-A so far. All that power has put the pair at the top of not only the Cubs' system, but all of Minor League baseball. Mervis and Canario are currently tied for second in MiLB behind Moises Gomez, who has crushed 38 homers so far.

HE'S BACK: Jared Young returns to Iowa's roster today for the final game of the Triple-A season, fresh off his first taste of Major League action. After spending all season in Iowa, Young received the call from Chicago on September 14 and made his Major League debut two days later against Colorado. During his two weeks in the big leagues, Young appeared in six games and hit .263 (5-for-19) with two doubles and two runs scored. He'll return to the I-Cubs today as their leader in games played, with 108.

THE FINAL NINE: Today's game will mark the final game of the 2022 season for both Iowa and Toledo, wrapping up Iowa's 149 game season. They enter today's game with an overall record 67-81, going 37-37 here at Principal Park while going 30-44 away from home. Just three players lasted all season long on Iowa's active roster, the three being catchers John Hicks and Tyler Payne joined by infielder Trent Giambrone. Today's contest will be the final game at Principal Park until the start of the 2023 campaign on March 31 against Columbus.

JOIN THE CLUB: John Hicks went 2-for-5 with a run scored, a double, a home run and two runs batted in yesterday, putting him in the 20-20 club on the year. The double was his 25th of the season with Iowa, but his home run was his 20th, marking the first time in his career he has clubbed 20 home runs in a single season. The catcher is now hitting .261 (93-for-357) in 95 games with Iowa, one of just three players to stay on Iowa's active roster for the entirety of the 2022 season. He is one of just four catchers in all of professional baseball to have 20 doubles and 20 home runs this season.

THREE FOR THE TIE: Darius Hill enters today's game with 163 hits this year in his 132 games with Double-A Tennessee and Iowa. With today's game being the last of the year, the outfielder needs three more hits to tie for the lead among all Minor League players. Will Brennan, an outfielder in the Cleveland Guardians system, currently holds the lead with 166 hits this year. He recently had his contract selected by Cleveland on September 21, so his 166 hits will be where he ends the year. Hill would need a three-hit game to tie for the lead and a four-hit game to have the most hits in Minor League baseball this season. Although it sounds daunting, the 25-year-old has had three four-hit games this year including one against Toledo, while recording 10 additional three-hit games.

AGAINST TOLEDO: Iowa and Toledo are set to play the third and final game of their three-game series and the final game of the 2022 season, as both teams came up short of playoff contention. After back-to-back losses to start the series, Iowa is now 8-12 against Toledo this year, while going an even .500 at home, at 7-7. They dropped to 11-21 all-time overall against the Mud Hens and are four games below the even mark at home all-time, at 8-12. Their two losses to start this current series make it now four straight losses to Toledo dating back to their series in August, when the Mud Hens took the final two games of that series.

SHORT HOPS: Iowa enters today's season finale an even 37-37 in games at Principal Park this year...the season-long hitting streak for any opponent against Iowa is nine straight games with a hit and infielder Zack Short enters today's contest with an eight-game streak, just one away from tying LJ Talley of Buffalo...Wyatt Short set his single-game career high with seven strikeouts in yesterday's start, also setting his season high with 67 strikeouts this year.


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