Colorado Springs (and the I-Cubs for that matter) could not wait to get out of Des after a rainy , cold, raw, weekend that saw a five-game series turned into a three-game series. And to be honest, it seemed like they were lucky it wasn’t reduced to a two-game series because of yesterday’s conditions.
Regardless, the two teams did square off in the series finale yesterday afternoon and for the Sox, it was one that got away. They trailed 1-0 in the fourth thanks to a Jeimer Candelario solo homer, but climbed in front with timely two-out hitting in the sixth. Ryan Cordell began the inning with a double and scored two outs later on Yadiel Rivera’s RBI 1B. Rivera then scored on Nate Orf’s two-bagger and the Sox were up 2-1.
The lead would be short-lived as the Sox would make three throwing errors in the bottom of the seventh which resulted in two runs for the home team. Victor Caratini reached on a one-out single and then the Benny Hill theme song kicked in as Brent Suter threw a wild pitch, catcher Andrew Susac tried to nab Caratini advancing, but threw it in to center where Lewis Brinson collected the pearl and heaved it towards third, only to have it go off the netting and into the Cubs dugout which allowed Caratini to score the tying run. Mark Zagunis walked and Taylor Davis hit an infield single and Ivan De Jesus’ throw got away, which allowed the runners to move up for pinch-hitter Stephen Bruno. Bruno doubled in the go-ahead run and the Cubbies would hang on for the 3-2 win. It marked the first time in four series the Sky Sox have lost a series as they fell in two of the three games at Principal Park.
Hitting Notes –
The Sox offense picked up nine hits in the finale, but scored the fewest number of runs in any game. They had scored seven runs on nine hits in each of the first two games of the series.
Nate Orf led the charge for Colorado Springs with two hits and two walks. He tallied a single and RBI double (the lone multi-hit game) and was one of two Sky Sox to reach base more than once.
Brett Phillips was the other Sox to reach multiple times as he raked a double and walked.
Brinson, De Jesus, Cordell, Cooper, Rivera, and Espino each had a hit apiece.
Pitching Notes –
Paolo Expino was just what the doctor ordered for the Sky Sox after having two games washed out and an early start during the dreary day Monday. Espino got into a pitchers duel with Williams Perez as each went six frames. Espino gave up a solo shot to Jeimer Candelario in the forth , but that was it. He allowed three other knocks, didn’t walk anyone and struck out six. He did not factor into the decision and fired off 79 pitches, 49 of which went for strikes.
Brent Suter followed Espino in just his second appearance with Colorado Springs. He had the unfortunate luck of the three throwing errors committed behind him, which resulted in two runs on his line. He very well could have had a clean sheet, but only recorded one out before being lifted. He took the loss and dropped to 1-1.
Tim Dillard finished up the seventh, but allowed an inherited runner to score.
Michael Blazek rapped things up on the bump with a scoreless eighth.
Play of the Game –
Since there’s video, let’s go with Lewis Brinson’s two-bagger in the ninth:
Pregame Interview with Dan Karcher and Iowa Cubs President and GM Sam Bernabe –
The Sox have made the bus trip to Oklahoma City and are ready to open up a four-game set against the third place Dodgers tonight at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. And boy…does tonight’s pitching matchup look great on paper!
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (13-7) at Oklahoma City Dodgers (12-11) – 6:05 p.m. MST
Sky Sox Starter: Brandon Woodruff gets the call for the fifth time this season and will make his first career start against the Dodgers tonight in Bricktown. He enters tonight unbeaten after four starts with a 1.61 ERA. He faced the Sounds his last trip to the hill and turned in six scoreless innings, en route to his fourth win. In total he has allowed 6 runs (4 earned) on 16 hits, he has walked 6, struck out 17 and given up one homer. Woodruff has shown great command, held opponents to a .200 batting average against and is getting 11 groundouts for every 10 air outs. Not too shabby.
The righty had a tremendous 2016 season in which he combined to go 14-9 with a 2.68 ERA in 28 starts between High-A Brevard County and Double-A Biloxi. He allowed 51 runs (47 earned) on 121 hits in 158 innings. He walked 40 and struck out a Minor League best 173 opposing hitters. Drafted by the Brewers in the 11th round of the 2014 draft out of Mississippi State, Woodruff has compiled a career record of 23-18 with a 2.94 ERA. He is rated as the 7th best prospect and the labeled as the pitcher with the best fastball in the Brewers organization.
Last Time Out – 4/24/2017 – Win vs. Nashville
Woodruff made his third start of the season at home and was once again great. He retired the side in order in the first and never looked back. He picked up three runs of support, weaved his way through six innings on the bump limiting Nashville to five baserunners. Three hits, a hit batter, and a walk to go along with five strikeouts on 85 pitches, 64 of which went for strikes. He lowered his home ERA 2.08.
Dodgers Starting Arm: Right-hander Trevor Oaks has been equally as good as Woodruff and this shapes up to be a great pitching matchup on paper. The 24-year old is 0-1 with a 1.89 ERA through the first four starts of his season, one against Iowa and Nashville, two against the Redbirds. He has limited opponents to four runs on sixteen hits in 19 innings. He’s hit a batter, walked five, struck out 21 and limited opponents to a .242 batting average against. Oaks has a ground out to air out ratio of 1.38 this season and 2.28 for his career.
Oaks pitched across three levels last year and went a combined 14-3 with a 2.74 ERA in the 24 starts with Rancho Cucamonga (4), Tulsa (10), and OKC (10). He faced the Sox on one occasion last year and lasted two thirds of an inning and left with a trainer. The 24 year old was selected by the Dodgers in the 7th round of the 2014 draft out of California Baptist. In the first three years of his career he is 27-11 with a 3.04 ERA in 65 minor league games, 52 of which have been starts.
Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 28th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he will have the call of today’s game from Principal Park in Des Moines, Iowa at 6:05 p.m. I will get Sky Sox Wake Up going at 5:30 p.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,