Things were looking a little down for the Sox as they dropped three games smack dab in the middle of the eight game road trip, staring a 2-4 record in the face. BUT that all changed with a 3-2 win on Sunday afternoon and an 11-2 walloping of the Isotopes on Monday. All in all it was a hard-fought road trip against two teams the Sox only face one time this season and they finished 4-4 on it. High praise for this bunch that returns home 10 games above .500 and in first place by two games.
Monday’s affair began with Albuquerque taking the lead with a run in the second inning, but Colorado Springs said no mas and rattled off 11 unanswered runs in a six run sixth, four run eighth and a one run ninth.
The third began with a walk to Kyle Wren and back-to-back doubles by Ivan De Jesus and Ryan Cordell… 2-1… Garrett Cooper singled and Nate Orf walked to fill up the bases for Yadiel Rivera and Tyler Heineman. Rivera brought in a run by getting hit by a pitch, 3-1, and Tyler Heineman groundout out to make it 4-1. The big hit in the inning came off the bat of the pitcher, yes the pitcher, Michael Blazek, in the form of a two-run single to center.
All was quiet on the scoring front for both sides until the eighth inning when the Sox added another four, all with two outs. Orf drew a walk with the bases loaded to bring home the first run of the frame and Rivera cleaned the bases with a three-run double. 10-1. Kyle Wren and Albuquerque’s Dustin Garneau exchanged solo homers in the ninth to make it the 11-2 final.
Hitting Notes –
The Sox picked up 11 runs on 18 hits in the win, marking the fourth time on the trip that they got into double figure hits.
Garrett Cooper is back and picking up right where he left off prior to his stint on the DL and led the charge with a 5-for-6 day at the dish. It’s the first 5-hit game by a Springs player this season. He added two runs scored.
Ivan De Jesus continues to hit well and picked up three hits in six trips to the plate, including an RBI double. He’s hitting .333.
Kyle Wren had two hits including a solo homer. He added three runs scored and is up to .308 with his batting average.
Ryan Cordell tallied a 2-for-6 day with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored.
Tyler Heineman went 2-for-5 with a double and RBI.
Michael Blazek, yes the pitcher, went 2-for-3 with two singles and two RBI.
Yadiel Rivera had a hit and four RBI.
Nate Orf picked up the 18th hit for the Sox, plated one and scored a run too.
Pitching Notes –
The pitching was again outstanding and limited the ‘Topes to a pair of runs on six hits.
Michael Blazek took the mound in his third start of the season and went four innings for the second time. He allowed a run on four hits, walked one and struck out five on a season-high 68 pitches, 42 for strikes. He has a 2.53 ERA this season.
Tristan Archer was first out of the pen and picked up the win with two scoreless innings. He allowed a hit, walked one and struck out three. The W marked the first of Archer’s triple-a career.
Stephen Kohlscheen went two scoreless frames and did not allow a baserunner while fanning three.
Andy Oliver gave up the blast to Dustin Garneau in the ninth, but that was the only black mark in his one inning of work.
Play of the Game –
Pregame Interview with Dan Karcher and ‘Topes VP/GM John Traub pt2 –
A job well done indeed for the Sox as they split the road trip 4-4 and head home stringing back-to-back wins together. Tonight begins a brief four-game homestand for Colorado Springs as they welcome in the New Orleans Baby Cakes to Security Service Field for the first time this season…On to the preview!
Transaction: The Colorado Springs Sky Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers have announced that RHP Paolo Espino has been optioned from Milwaukee to Colorado Springs. In a corresponding move, RHP Angel Ventura has been transferred to Double-A Biloxi. Roster at 25.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (25-15) vs. New Orleans Baby Cakes (15-29) – 6:40 p.m.
Sky Sox Starter: Brandon Woodruff readies for his ninth start 2017, sixth at Security Service Field when he climbs the hill against the Baby Cakes this evening along the front range. He is 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA on at home allowing 10 runs in 28 innings. . He faced the Diablos (El Paso Chihuhuas) in his last start and took the loss for the second straight game. He gave up three runs on six hits in five and two-third innings. In total he has allowed 17 runs (15 earned) on 38 hits; he has walked 9, struck out 42, hit four batters and given up four homers. Woodruff has shown great command, held opponents to a .229 batting average against and has a 1.23 ground out to air out ratio. He has yet to face New Orleans in his career.
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 24-20 with a 3.02 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 – May 18 – Loss at El Paso –
Woodruff took the loss against the Diablos (Chihuahuas) and his second straight L. He allowed three runs on six hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out a season high eight in five and two-third innings. He threw 90 pitches, 62 of which went for strikes.
Baby Cakes Starting Arm: Right-hander Stephen Fife gets the call for the ninth time this season tonight against the Sox. He enters with a 2-2 record and a 4.32 ERA, allowing 23 runs on 56 hits in 41 2/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .327 against the righty who hails from Boise, Idaho. Away from the Shrine on Airline Fife has made four starts and it 0-2 with a 4.57 ERA allowing 12 runs on 21 2/3 innings. He’s coming off a win against Salt Lake at home. He has faced the Sky Sox on one occasion and took the loss at Security Service Field on 8/16/2012 allowing nine runs on 11 hits in four and two-third innings.
Fife was originally selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft out of Utah and has pitched in the Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and now Marlins organizations. He was traded, along with Tim Federowicz, to the Dodgers from the Sox on 7/31/2011, signed by the Cubs as a free agent in 2016 and the same with the Marlins this year. In 149 MiLB games he’s started 129 and has a record of 43-34 with two saves and a 4.43 ERA. He’s pitched 18 games in the bigs and has a 4-6 record with a 3.66 ERA.
Last Time Out – May 18 – Win vs. Salt Lake –
Fife took home his second win of the season with six innings of solid ball. He limited the Bees to two unearned runs on five hits, he didn’t walk anyone and struck out five. He threw a season-high 102 pitches, 65 of which 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 at 6:40 p.m. Sky Sox Warmup gets fired up at 6:00 p.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,