Home. Sweet. Home. That is most certainly what the Sky Sox are saying as they get set to open up what is now an 11-day, 14-game homestand with a doubleheader this afternoon, following the 2-6 road trip they just completed. The time away from Security Service Field culminated with 5-0 shutout dealt to them by Deck McGuire and the Redbirds on Sunday. It marked the second shutout in a row, fourth shutout of the road trip, and eighth shutty turned in against them this season. Colorado Springs saw the Triple-A debut of Josh Hader spoiled, despite the southpaw going six innings, allowing 2 runs on 1 hits, 4 walks, a hit batter, and a season-high 9 strikeouts. Garin Cecchini had the Sox lone XBH, a double in the 8th. Orlando Arcia and Kyle Wren tallied the other two knocks in the loss.
Before we dive into the twinbill, the Brewers and Sky Sox have announced the following transactions:
ADD: RHP Michael Blazek on Major League Rehab
RHP Zach Jones on Major League Rehab
This afternoon, Colorado Springs opens up the 11-day, 14-game homestand with the first two of four against the streaky Iowa Cubs. The Sox come in having dropped the last two and six of their last eight, while the Cubs have lost four in a row and five of their last 10. Something has to give, right?! Well we certainly hope that it goes in the favor of the struggling Sky Sox. They enter this homestand with a 13-11 record within the walls of Security Service Field, while the I-Cubs are 13-12 away from Principal Park. The two teams squared off in a rain-shortened three-game series which closed out the month of April and began May. The Cubs took 2 of 3 from the Sox, who enter this series with an 82-100 all-time record and 46-45 home record against Iowa.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (27-31) vs. Iowa Cubs (29-31) – 4:30 p.m. – Doubleheader – Security Service Field – Colorado Springs, Colorado
Game One Pitching Matchup: RHP Michael Blazek (MLB Rehab) vs. RHP Michael Wagner (0-1, 5.32)
Sky Sox Pitchers for Game 1: Colorado Springs will be graced by the presence of two Brewers pitcher’s on rehab assignments. RHP Michael Blazek will start for the Sky Sox and throw one inning in game one. Blazek landed on the DL on June 1st with a right elbow impingement. today marks his first time in a game since the injury. RHP Zack Jones will follow with one inning of his own before the Sox hand the keys to Brent Suter. Jones was selected by the Brewers in December’s Rule-5 draft from the Twins roster. He landed on the DL following his Cactus League debut in March and has made three appearances since, all for Brevard County. He did not record a decision and allowed 3 runs on 2 hits, 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings.
Lefty Brent Suter will get the lion’s share of work in game one of the doubleheader and will make his 13th appearance overall in 2016 for the Sky Sox. He is 1-3 with a save and a 4.05 ERA in his first 12 game, allowing 24 runs on 63 hits, 6 walks, and 36 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings. The southpaw has been outstanding in his last seven outings going 1-1-1 with a 1.21 ERA allowing 4 earned runs on 24 hits in 29 2/3 innings. Suter was selected by the Brewers in the 31st round out of Harvard University. In 104 career minor-league outings, the lefty is 30-29 with 3 saves and a 3.42 ERA covering five seasons.
Last Time Out: 6/7/16 at New Orleans – Suter was again outstanding for the Sky Sox and turned in five-strong innings against the Zephyrs allowing 1 run on 5 hits, 0 walks, and 0 strikeouts. He threw 58 pitches and an amazing 41 of which went for strikes. He was the tough-luck loser in a game the Sky Sox lost 11-2.
Last 10 games with the Sky Sox:
I-Cubs Pitcher (Gm. 1): RHP Michael Wagner gets the call for the Iowa Cubs and is set to make his seventh appearance and sixth start for the ballclub after beginning the season throwing two relief appearances with the South Bend Cubs of the Midwest League. All told, in eight outings (five starts) this season, the righty from Las Vegas is 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA allowing 16 runs (14 earned) on 26 hits, 19 walks, and 25 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings. With the I-Cubs he is 0-1 allowing 15 runs (13 earned) on 24 hits, 17 walks, and 23 strikeouts in 22 innings. Wagner was drafted by the Cubs in the 15th round of the 2013 draft out of the University of San Diego. In his career, which is in his fourth season, Wagner is 7-11 with a 3.79 ERA in 78 outings, 15 of which have been in the starting role. Wagner was the college roommate of Cubs slugger Kris Bryant and filled the closer role as a sophomore for the Toreros, before returning to the rotation in his final year of college.
Last Time Out: 6/7/16 vs. Memphis – Wagner didn’t earn a decision, but pitched four-solid innings against the Redbirds at Principal Park. The righty allowed 3 runs on 4 hits, 4 walks, and a season-high 7 strikeouts. He threw 82 pitches, 50 for strikes in a game the Cubs ended up winning 6-5.
2016 Game Log for Wagner –
Game Two Pitching Matchup: RHP Tyler Cravy (1-1, 3.96) vs. RHP Pierce Johnson (0-2, 5.17)
Sky Sox Pitcher (Gm. 2) – RHP Tyler Cravy climbs the hill for the Sky Sox in the second game of the twinbill and will make his 7th appearance (5th start) with the Sky Sox tonight against the Cubs. The righty is 1-1 with a 3.96 ERA across his first six outings with Colorado Springs. In 25 innings he’s allowed 13 runs (11 earned) on 18 hits, 12 walks, and 27 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .198 against the California native. He has gone five innings in two of his last three outings and allowed 8 runs (7 earned), on 10 hits, 9 walks, and 15 strikeouts over the 14 1/3 frames. Cravy earned the win in the middle outing of the three. He spent 12-days on the DL following his May 27 start with a blister on his throwing hand. The righty is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in one home start this season. He has made two stints with the Brewers in 2016 as well, over which he is 0-1 with a 6.52 ERA in 9 2/3 innings of work. Overall in his career, Cravy has a 36-30 record with 3 saves and a 3.74 ERA in the minors and a 0-9 record with a 5.85 ERA in 20 big-league games. He was drafted by Milwaukee in the 17th round of the 2009 draft out of Napa Valley College.
Last Time Out – 6/9/16 at Memphis – Cravy climbed the hill in his fifth start, but couldn’t escape the fifth inning at AutoZone Park. The righty allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts to the Redbirds. He threw 87 pitches, 52 of which went for strikes in a game the Sky Sox lost in heartbreaking fashion 8-5, courtesy of a Kolten Wong walk-off grand slam.
2016 Game Log –
I-Cubs Pitcher (Gm. 2) – RHP Pierce Johnson has been activated from the disabled list and will make his fifth start of the season for the Iowa Cubs. Over his first four, the righty is 0-2 with a 5.17 ERA and has allowed 9 runs on 18 hits, 8 walks, and 20 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings. He has not pitched since May 2nd when he lasted three innings and took the loss at Nashville. Johnson attended Faith Christian Academy in Arvada, CO and was drafted by the Cubs in the Comp. A round of the 2012 draft out of Missouri State. The Cubs received the pick for losing free agent Aramis Ramirez. In his four-plus seasons, the righty is 22-15 with a 2.63 ERA in 69 career outings. He has been riddled with hamstring, lat, and back injuries, and was hit on the arm by a comebacker earlier this season.
Last Time Out: 5/2/2016 at Nashville – Johnson took the loss and lasted just three innings against the Sounds at First Tennessee Park. In the three frames he allowed 4 runs on 4 hits, 1 hit batter, and 3 strikeouts. He threw 52 pitches, 36 for strikes in a game the Cubs lost 5-1.
2016 Game Log for Johnson –
Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 27th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he and I will have the call of tonight’s game from Security Service Field at 4:30 p.m. Sky Sox Warmup will get off and running at 4:00 MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,