The Sky Sox took a 2-1 lead courtesy of a Brett Phillips solo homer in the seventh inning, but Nashville plated a pair in the eighth and another two in the ninth in the 5-2 game, Saturday evening at Security Service Field. Looking at the score, you wouldn’t think it featured a pitchers dual, but the game was 1-1 heading to the bottom of the seventh thanks to great starting pitching from veterans Hiram Burgos and Chris Smith. Each started gave up a run in the first, but settled in nicely afterward. Burgos went five innings and Smith left after six.
Play of the Game –
Brett Phillips Solo Homer in the seventh that put the Sox in front 2-1:
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (10-5) vs. Nashville Sounds (6-9) – 1:30 p.m. MST
Sky Sox Starter: Paolo Espino gets his fourth turn in the rotation and will make his first career start against the Nashville Sounds today at Security Service Field. Espino is 2-0 with a . 4.76 ERA through his first three starts and has allowed nine runs on 22 hits across 17 innings. He has walked just one and struck out 18. He has a very similar pitching style to fellow right-hander Hiram Burgos, who got the start in yesterday’s game vs. Nashville. He is currently riding a two-game win streak after taking the Redbirds down in consecutive outings.
Espino was signed by the Brewers as a free agent in November, marking the fourth franchise he has been with. He was originally selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 10th round of the 2010 draft and spent the first seven years of his career there before joining the Cubs’ franchise late 2013. He was released by Chicago prior to the 2014 season and signed with the Nationals as a free agent where he pitched 2014-16. He has yet to crack the big leagues. Last season saw the 30-year old righty go 8-11 with a 3.30 ERA in 26 Triple-A starts. Espino is 74-63 with a 3.74 ERA in 287 MiLB appearances, 187 of which have been starts.
Last time out – 4/18 Win vs. Memphis
Espino weaved his way through early trouble and completed five and one-third innings in the Sky Sox 14-4 win against the Redbirds in the homestand opener. Espino gave up three runs early, but was bailed out by the offense en route to the victory. He finished allowing four runs on eighth hits, including a homer, he hit a batter and struck out five, throwing 86 pitches, 57 for strikes. He also chipped in with two hits and three RBI at the plate.
Sounds Starting Arm: Zach Neal will counter for the Sounds. The righty from Columbia, SC is 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA through three appearances, two of which have been starts. In 14 and 1/3 innings he has allowed 6 runs (all earned) on 13 hits; he’s walked a pair and struck out eight. The righty went 7-2 with a 3.21 ERA in 11 starts with Nashville a season ago, made his MLB debut on May 11, 2016 and went on to tally a 2-4 record with a 4.24 ERA in 24 big-league appearances, 6 starts.
Neal was originally drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 17th round of the 2010 draft and signed to a minor-league deal by the Athletics in March 2013. This is his fourth season in which he’s seen Triple-A action, all of which has been in the Pacific Coast League. He is 22-20 with a 3.94 ERA in 55 games. In three career games against the Sox he is 1-1 allowing 8 runs, 7 earned, on 18 hits in 19 1/3 innings. Two of the starts came at Security Service Field.
Last Time Out: April 18 – W at Oklahoma City
Neal pitched the best outing of his season against the Dodgers his last trip to the hill. He logged two outs in the sixth before being lifted. Over the five and two-thirds innings he allowed two runs on six hits, he didn’t walk anyone and struck out five on 94 pitches, 66 went for strikes.
Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 28th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he and I will have the call of today’s game from Security Service Field in Colorado Springs at 1:30 p.m. Sky Sox Warmup gets going at 1:00 p.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,