The road has served the Sky Sox trouble over the entire season, and it continues to stymie them up until the final few games. Iowa took home the 5-1 victory in the second game of the four-game set Saturday night at Principal Park. Wei-Chung Wang gave up the five runs over 4 2/3 innings and the offense scored one run on a double play in the third. The Cubs used an RBI single from Taylor Davis and a double steal for their two runs in the second inning and a sacrifice fly, a Jeimer Candelario RBI double, and a bunt single for their three-runs in the third. There was no more scoring after that third frame.
FULL RECAP HERE – Quick Hits can be found following the preview of today’s game
This afternoon, the Sky Sox and Cubs are ready to do battle in the third game of the final four-game road series of the 2016 campaign. REPEAT THIS IS THE FINAL SERIES OF THE 2016 SEASON. This is also the fourth and final series these two teams will play here this season. The Sky Sox enter play looking to return to their winning ways and get back towards the .500 mark. They come into the tilt with a road record 26-42. They are back to two games under .500 at 67-69 and sit in second place, 10.5 games in back of the Dodgers with their playoff hopes gone with the wind. In hopes of continuing the final week on the upslope, Colorado Springs will send righty Aaron Wilkerson to the hill against fellow right-hander Drew Rucinski. Wilkerson enters play having made 27 total appearances, 10 of which have come with the Sox to the tune of a 2-5 record with a 6.08 ERA. Rucinski is a tough 6-15 with a 6.17 ERA in 27 starts with the Cubs. Both teams have been eliminated from postseason play. The Sox are 6-7 against the Cubs’ top affiliate and have taken four of the last seven games of the season series, and have compiled an 87-105 all-time record against them and are 36-57 at Principal Park.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (67-69) at Iowa Cubs (65-76) – 12:08 p.m. – Principal Park – Des Moines, Iowa
Pitching Matchup: RHP Aaron Wilkerson (2-5, 6.08) at RHP Drew Rucinski (6-15, 6.17)
Sky Sox Pitcher: RHP Aaron Wilkerson is set to make the 11th start of his tenure within the Brewers organization tonight against the Cubs at Principal Park. The righty was acquired by the Brewers in early July in the deal that sent Aaron Hill to the Red Sox. He is a combined 8-8 with a 3.53 ERA in 27 appearances between Double-A Portland, Triple-A Pawtucket, and Colorado Springs. With the Sox he is 2-5 with a 6.08 ERA allowing 36 runs (34 earned) on 60 hits over 50 1/3 innings in the 10 starts. He’s been solid over his last three starts going a combined 17 1/3 innings allowing 8 earned runs on 14 hits, 4 walks and striking out 21. This will be his fifth road start with the Sox, he is 0-3 with a 6.53 ERA between away from Security Service Field. With the PawSox he went 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 9 games (8 starts) allowing 18 runs (13 earned) on 41 hits, 11 walks, and 54 strikeouts over 48 innings. He went undrafted out of Cumberland (TN) University and played in the Independent leagues in 2013-14 before the Red Sox purchased his contract. In 64 professional games the righty is 24-12 with a 3.06 ERA, between the Red Sox and Brewers.
Last time out – 8/30/16 vs. New Orleans – Wilkerson was given a six-run cushion in the first inning of his last start and ran with it, locking down his second win in a Sky Sox uniform. The righty went the requisite five frames and allowed three runs on five hits, walked two and struck out four. He threw 96 pitches and 61 of them went for strikes in a game he and the Sox won 13-5. He chipped in with a 2-for-3 night at the plate and added two RBI too.
Last 10 Games for Wilkerson:
Cubs Pitcher: Righty Drew Rucinski has been one of the mainstays in the I-Cubs rotation this season and he is set to make his 28th start of the season this afternoon. Over his first 27 the Neenah, Wisconsin native is 6-15 with a 6.17 ERA allowing 107 runs (101 earned) on 184 hits, 16 homers, 42 walks and 108 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .309 against the righty this season. Rucinski has faced the Sky Sox twice in 2016 and three times in his career. On May 1st he took the loss allowing 4 runs on 3 hits, including 2 homers at Principal Park and on July 10 he took the loss allowing one run on 4 hits over six innings at Security Service Field. Rucinski went undrafted out of Ohio State and signed with the Indians as a free agent in 2011. He has pitched in the Cleveland, Los Angeles (AL) and Chicago (NL) systems. He elected free agency following the 2015 season and was signed by the Cubs 10 days later. Over four-plus seasons. Rucinski is 27-30 with a 4.59 ERA in 102 minor-league games and 0-2 with a 6.82 ERA in 7 MLB games, all of which came with the LA Angels.
Last time out – 8/30/16 at Nashville – The righty went four innings and was tagged for five runs, all in the second inning. He allowed seven hits, walks a pair and struck out four and was hung with the loss. He threw 84 pitches, 58 for strikes in a game he and the Cubs lost 8-2.
Last 10 Games for Rucinski –
Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 27th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he will have the call of tonight’s game from Principal Park at 12:08 p.m. I will get Sky Sox Warmup off the ground and running at 11:30 MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Quick Hits from Saturday’s 5-1 Loss –
Hitting Notes –
The Sox picked up their one run on another seven hits. They have plated 3 runs on 14 hits over the first two games of the series.
Ramon Flores served as the table setter for the Sox and went 1-for-4 with the lone extra-base hit of the night, a double in the third. He scored the only run on a double play hit into by Andy Wilkins.
Nate Orf followed Flores and collected two hits in four trips to the plate.
Michael Reed reached base three times and went 2-for-3 with a walk.
Andy Wilkins and Garin Cecchini picked up singles to round out the offensive attack for the Sky Sox.
Pitching Notes –
Wei-Chung Wang started the game and gave up five runs over the second and third innings. He lasted 4 2/3 frames before the bullpen was called upon. He finished allowing the five runs on seven hits, he walked one and struck out four. He threw 93 pitches, 58 for strikes and took home his third loss with the Sky Sox this season.
Tim Dillard made the final appearance of his season and went 2 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed a hit and struck out four.
David Goforth pitched a scoreless eighth and walked one.
Play of the Game –
Albert Almora Jr. made a tremendous catch in left-center, robbing Ramon Flores of extra bases, check it out –
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Pregame interview with Dan Acheson and Cubs RHP Pierce Johnson –
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,