The Sky Sox have taken a 2-1 series lead over the Fresno Grizzlies thanks to yet another late-inning comeback in yesterday’s affair. Colorado Springs trailed 5-4 heading to the 8th, but plated three runs in the frame and held on to win 7-5. It marked the eighth time the Sox had won when trailing after six innings and the sixth time the Sox had won when trailing after seven. No other team in the league has more than four wins in either instance.
Quick Hits can be found below today’s preview and you can read the Full Recap Here
Today, the Sky Sox look to clinch a series victory with a win in the series finale on this Memorial Day Monday. In hopes of doing just that, the Sox send RHP Jorge Lopez to the hill for his 10th start of the season, he’s 1-3 with a 6.25 ERA through his first nine. On the other side of the bump will be RHP Cesar Valdez who will make his third start and 14th overall appearance for the Grizz. He’s 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA. The Sky Sox went 1-2 against the Grizzlies last year, are 87-107 overall, and 38-59 on the road against them. Both teams are off to slow starts as the Sky Sox enter play at 21-25 and the Grizzlies come in with a 22-27 record.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (21-25) at Fresno Grizzlies (22-27) – 12:05 p.m. –Chukchansi Park – Fresno, California
Pitching Matchup: RHP Jorge Lopez (1-3, 6.25) at RHP Cesar Valdez (2-0, 2.79)
Sky Sox Pitcher: RHP Jorge Lopez is set to make his 10th start of the season today in Fresno (holy smokes, 10th start?!). Through his first nine, Lopez is 1-3 with a 6.25 ERA allowing 31 runs (28 earned) on 49 hits, 31 walks, and 32 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .299 against the righty from Puerto Rico. After not making it past the fourth inning in his first five starts, Lopez has tossed at least five in each of his last four, twice going six innings. Over the span of 22 innings, Lopez is 1-1 and has allowed 12 runs (10 earned) on 20 hits, 13 walks and 12 strikeouts. He’s dropped hitters batting average against from .358 to .299 and his ERA from 8.84 to 6.25 over that time. Lopez is in search of his first solid road outing as he has compiled a 0-2 record with an 8.49 ERA in three starts covering 11 2/3 innings. Lopez is regarded as the organization’s top pitching prospect and hopes to deliver on that again today in Fresno. Today will mark the 100th minor-league outing for the righty; he’s 31-30 with a 4.19 ERA over his first 99 and 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in his first two big league starts.
Last Time Out: 5/25/16 at Sacramento – Lopez went five innings for the fourth time in a row, but got stuck with the loss as he allowed 6 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits, 4 walks, and 4 strikeouts to the River Cats. All of the runs came home to score in the second inning against the righty. He threw 85 pitches, 53 for strikes in a game the Sky Sox lost 6-0.
2016 Game Log:
Grizzlies Pitcher: RHP Cesar Valdez gets the start today for the Grizzlies in the series finale. It marks the third start for the veteran righty and the 14th overall appearance of his season. He’s accrued a 2-0 record with a 2.79 ERA allowing just 9 runs on 26 hits, 6 walks, and 23 strikeouts across 29 innings of work. Opponents are hitting .245 against the righty this season. Valdez, 31, was originally signed by the Diamondbacks as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2005. He spent from 2006-2010 with the D-backs organization, parts of 2011 with the Pirates and Marlins Triple-A affiliates before pitching in the Mexican League from 2012-2015 before the Astros signed him in January 2016. The righty is 68-58 with 5 saves and a 3.98 ERA in 222 minor-league appearances and 1-2 with a 7.65 ERA in 9 big-league appearances with Arizona.
Last Time Out: 5/24/2016 vs. Oklahoma City – Valdez took the hill in his second start of the season and earned the win over the Dodgers allowing just 1 run on 2 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts in five innings of work. He threw 86 pitches, 58 for strikes in a game the Grizzlies won 14-3.
Last 10 Outings for Valdez:
Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 27th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he will have the call of tonight’s game from Chukchansi Park at 12:05 p.m. I’ll get Sky Sox Warmup all fired up at 11:30 MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Quick Hits from Sunday
The Sky Sox rallied with a three-run eighth and overtook the Fresno Grizzlies 7-5 in game three of the four-game series yesterday at Chukchansi Park. Taylor Jungmann got the start for Colorado Springs and continued pitching well on the road, turning in a five-inning performance in which he allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits, 5 walks, and 3 strikeouts. He did not factor into the decision, but left in position to win it as it was 4-2 Sox after 5. Fresno came back in the sixth and plated three runs against the Sox bullpen. Trailing 5-4 in the 8th the Sky Sox used three doubles and two walks to plate three runs and took the 7-5 lead. Will Middlebrooks cashed in a two-run two-bagger and Nate Orf picked up an RBI on a ground-rule double. Austin Ross blew the save, but earned the win thanks to the comeback and Jacob Barnes locked down his first Triple-A save. Fresno didn’t make it easy and brought the game-winning run to the plate with one out in the ninth, but Barnes induced a 1-4-3 double play to end it.
The Sky Sox picked up another double-digit hit game and out-hit the Grizzlies 11-7 in the third game of the series. Five of the 11 knocks were doubles.
The bottom five in the order did the most damage for the Sky Sox as Pinto, Cecchini, Middlebrooks, Reed, and Orf went a combined 9-for-18 with five doubles, six runs scored, and four RBI.
Nate Orf was without a doubt the star of yesterday’s game as he went 3-for-4 with 3 doubles, an RBI and 2 runs scored in the win. He also made the pivotal turn at second base on the game-ending double play. Orf is now hitting .333 (27-for-81) with 7 doubles, 2 triples, and 11 RBI in 23 Triple-A games.
Will Middlebrooks collected his second multi-hit game of the trip and went 2-for-4 with the go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning. He’s still riding the highway, but continues to inch closer to the Mendoza line and currently sits at .195.
Josmil Pinto also went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI at the dish. The production from the catchers this season has been tremendous between Pinto and Manny Pina. Pinto upped his average to .342 with the two knocks.
Taylor Jungmann turned in another solid road start as he went five frames and gave up 2 runs, 1 earned, on 3 hits, 5 walks, and 3 strikeouts. He lowered his ERA to 10.41 and is now 1-0 with a 4.80 ERA in three road starts as opposed to his 0-2 record and 20.52 ERA in three starts at home.
Austin Ross took over for the starter in the sixth and was rudely greeted by a barrage of hits and runs from the Grizzlies. Ross gave up a walk, RBI double and two-run homer in the sixth before bouncing back and retiring the side in order in the seventh. He was the beneficiary of the three run 8th for the Sox offense and improved to 3-1 with the win.
Jacob Barnes polished off the Grizzlies with two scoreless innings of work and collected his first Triple-A save.
Play of the Game
Will Middlebrooks stepped in with two on and two outs and crushed a double to centerfield by Andrew Aplin and to the wall. Both runners, Pinto and Cecchini scored and the Sky Sox took the 6-5 lead. Nate Orf followed two batters later and drove in WMB to make it 7-5 Sky Sox.
Pregame Interview with Dan Karcher and former Sky Sox/current Fresno pitching coach Dyar Miller Pt. 1 –
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,