Sox Scribbles: It’s Here, It’s Here! Hader, Sky Sox Set for Opening Day Tangle With Storm Chasers

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Lefty Josh Hader gets the Opening Day nod for the Sky Sox as they play host to the Omaha Storm Chasers tonight at Security Service Field. (Photo: Bobby Stevens/MiLB.com)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Opening Day is a day like no other and for those that love Minor League Baseball, the long offseason is over. Here in Colorado Springs, Security Service Field will play host to the Sky Sox and Omaha Storm Chasers for the initial game of the 2017 season. The first of the newly fashioned 142-game Triple-A schedule that will be split with 71 games at home and on the road, respectively.

Tonight marks the first of a four game homestand for Colorado Springs, after which the Sox will embark on a 7-game road trip to Memphis and Nashville. Plenty of business to take care of between now and then however! You’ve got to win the games in April to play in the postseason!

Last year the Sky Sox finished second in the Pacific Coast Leagues American Northern Division with a 67-71 record, 12.5 games behind the first-place Oklahoma City Dodgers. Omaha finished in the cellar of the division with a 58-82 record, 22.5 games behind the Dodgers and 10 games behind the Sky Sox. The Sky Sox took 10 of the 16 matchups against Omaha outscoring them 87-78.

Tonight’s pitching matchup features a pair of southpaws going for their respective ballclubs. The Sky Sox will send Josh Hader to the hill against the Storm Chasers Jonathan Dziedzic. First pitch is slated for 6:40 p.m. so come on out!

On to tonight’s game!

Game Notes / Listen Live at 6:10 p.m. 

Probable Pitchers –

LHP Josh Hader (3-8, 3.03 ERA in 25 starts across AA/AAA in 2016) vs. LHP Jonathan Dziedzic (5-10, 4.05 ERA in 26 appearances/25 starts with Omaha in 2016)

Sky Sox Pitcher – Josh Hader is a familiar name for Sky Sox fans and fans of Minor League Baseball alike. He enters the season rated as the Brewers’ top pitching prospect by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. BA labels him as the second prospect int he org behind Lewis Brinson and Pipeline tabs him as the third best prospect behind Brinson and Corey Ray, and the 36th prospect in all of baseball. The lefty will make his 15th start in a Sky Sox uniform when he climbs the hill tonight at Security Service Field. Last season the Millersville, Maryland native was called up to the Springs on June 11th and made his Triple-A debut on the road against the Memphis Redbirds. He tossed 6 innings and allowed two runs on a hit and 4 walks while striking out 9. In his 14 starts with Colorado Springs he tallied a 1-7 record with a 5.22 ERA, allowing 42 runs (40 earned) in 69 innings, walking 36 and striking out 88. Prior to his time with the Sox, the southpaw went 2-1 with a 0.95 ERA in 11 starts with Double-A Biloxi.

The 22-year old is in his 6thprofessional season after originally being selected by the Orioles in the 19thround of the 2012 draft out of Old Mill High School in Millersville, Maryland. The Astros sent RHP Bud Norris to the Orioles in exchange for Hader in July 2013 and the Brewers acquired him from the ‘Stros in the Jul 30, 2015 deal that sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to Houston for Hader, Adrian Houser, Brett Phillips, and Domingo Santana. The lefty is 24-24 with five saves and a 3.03 ERA in 115 career outings, 83 of which have been starts in five professional seasons.

Storm Chasers Pitcher – Jonathan Dziedzic gets the nod to open the season on the bump for Omaha and will make his 28th appearance (27th start) in an Omaha uniform. Last year saw the lefty tally a 5-10 record with a 4.05 ERA in 26 appearances (25 starts). He logged 140 innings and allowed 77 runs (63 earned) on 134 hits, walked 63 batters and struck out 107. Opponents in the PCL hit .255 against him. The season saw him face the Sky Sox 3 times where he went 1-0 with an 8.22 ERA, giving up 14 runs on 21 hits in 15 1/3 innings. He walked 9 and struck out 7 Sky Sox. Two of the three starts came in the friendly confines of Security Service Field. He allowed 11 runs on 15 hits in 10 1/3 innings in Colorado Springs. He has been plagued by the long ball, allowing 24 combined dingers over the last two seasons combined.

He was selected by the Royals in the 13th round of the 2013 draft out of Lamar and has a career minor-league record of 23-24 with a 3.33 ERA over his first 89 outings, 86 of which have been starts. The Houston, Texas native is in his second full season with the Storm Chasers.

One interesting note about tonight’s game (and one that makes baseball so great) is that Hader made his home debut for the Sky Sox on June 17, 2016, against…? The Omaha Storm Chasers… and who just so happened to be the opposing pitcher on that night…? You guessed it, Jonathan Dziedzic! Awesome stuff. The Storm Chasers won that tilt 5-2 and Dziedzic picked up the win.

Tonight’s starting lineups –

Sky Sox –

  1. 28 – Lewis Brinson – CF
  2. 18 – Eric Sogard – 2B
  3. 7 – Ryan Cordell – LF
  4. 30 – Garrett Cooper – 1B
  5. 8 – Brett Phillips – RF
  6. 11 – Ivan De Jesus – 3B
  7. 6 – Nate Orf – DH
  8. 29 – Yadiel Rivera – SS
  9. 22 – Tyler Heineman – C

LHP – 17 – Josh Hader

Storm Chasers –

  1. 14 – Billy Burns – LF
  2. 2 – Ramon Torres – SS
  3. 4 – Whit Merrifield – 3B
  4. 33 – Peter O’Brien – DH
  5. 41 – Jorge Bonifacio – RF
  6. 21 – Ryan O’Hearn – 1B
  7. 6 – Bubba Starling – CF
  8. 34 – Cam Gallagher – C
  9. 3 – Corey Toups – 2B

LHP – 12 – Jonathan Dziedzic

Enjoy the game!

 

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