How sweep it is! The Sky Sox turned around a slow-starting homestand and reeled off four straight wins in three days over the Cubs, culminating with the 8-3 win on Sunday. The Sky Sox used five homers to blast the bears en route to the sweep. They finished the homestand 5-3 and hit the road with a 37-24 record and a three-game cushion over the second place OKC Dodgers.
Brent Suter started the series finale, but due to some clandestine workings between the Sky Sox and Brewers, he worked only five outs in 30 pitches before Tim Dillard came on in relief. Dillard retired the final out of the top of the second and picked up some immediate offensive support in the bottom half.
Garrett Cooper cleaned out an inside fastball from Aaron Brooks and put it over everything in center for a leadoff solo homer and Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed two batters later with a solo homer of his own to right-center, which made it a 2-0 game. Iowa would tie the game in the fifth and take the lead with a run in sixth, but the Sox bats brought the pop again in the sixth.
Nate Orf doubled to lead off the inning and scored on Ryan Cordell’s two run homer off the top of the wall in center, his third homer in two games. After Garrett Cooper flied out to left, Ivan De Jesus doubles in front of Nieuwenhuis who smacked his second homer of the game and made it 6-3 Sox. Garrett Cooper was back in the mix and salted the victory away with his second homer of the contest, a two-run shot which made it 8-3.
Tristan Archer picked up the win in relief with two innings of work. Wei-Chung Wang and David Goforth followed Archer as the fourth and fifth pitchers used on the day.
Hitting Notes –
The Sox banged out a season high five homers in the win, scoring all of the runs on blasts, three two-run bombs and two solo homers. In all they had the eight runs on 11 hits, bringing their homestand total to 66 runs on 108 hits in eight games. They went 39-for-112 with runners in scoring position, a cool .348.
Garrett Cooper continues to stroke it. I mean just when you think he’s at his peak, he elevates it, like he did Sunday. He went 3-for-4 with two homers a single, three runs batted in and two runs scored. It was his third multi-homer game of his career and first with the Sky Sox.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis is on a nice little roll now and lifted his batting average 68-points during the eight-game stay at home. His week finished with two homers and a three-hit day at the dish.
Ryan Cordell stayed RED HOT with a two-run homer a walk and two runs scored.
Nate Orf extended his hitting streak to nine games with two hits in four trips, with a double, single and a run scored.
Ivan De Jesus picked up the other two hits for the home team, both doubles. He’s now hitting .335.
Pitching Notes –
Brent Suter climbed the hill and went the first five outs in near perfect order. He allowed one hit and struck out three on 30 pitches, 21 of which were for strikes. He started for Brandon Woodruff in the big leagues today.
Tim Dillard was the first out of the Sky Sox bullpen and pitched three and one third strong innings. He allowed two runs in his final inning and that was it. In total he allowed the two runs on four hits; he walked one and struck out four.
Tristan Archer earned the win with two innings in which he allowed a run on three hits, he didn’t walk anyone and struck out one.
Wei-Chung Wang recorded four outs in quick order.
David Goforth gave up a hit and struck out one in two-thirds of an inning.
Play of the Game –
Pick a homer, any homer! The Sky Sox bashed a season-high five homers, so those collectively are our plays of the game.
Pregame Interview with Dan Acheson and I-Cubs OF John Andreoli –
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (37-24) at Memphis Redbirds (38-25) – 6:00 p.m.
Pitching Probables: RHP Michael Blazek (0-1, 3.41) at RHP Josh Zeid (2-2, 6.11)
Sky Sox Starter: Right-hander Michael Blazek readies for his seventh start of the season, his sixth in a row, and fifth appearance against the Redbirds. The Las Vegas native has a 0-1 record and a 3.41 ERA through his first 16 appearances of the season. He has given up 14 runs on 34 hits, walked 21 and fanned 37. Opponents are hitting .245 against the righty. He has been very good as a starter allowing nine runs on 24 hits in 26.2 innings. Four of his last five starts have come on the road where he is 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA.
Originally selected by the Cardinals in the 37th round of the 2007 draft, Blazek has pitched for both the Cardinals and Brewers organizations. He is 39-43 with 15 saves and a 4.10 ERA in 233 minor league outings, 94 of which have been starts, and 8-5 with a 4.09 ERA in 104 MLB games.
Last Time Out – June 7 – Loss vs. Round Rock –
Blazek pitched into the fifth inning against the Express and allowed seven runs on 10 hits including a homer. He walked three and struck out six on 100 pitches, 59 of which went for strikes.
Redbirds Starting Arm: RHP Josh Zeid (rhymes with tied) gets the call for the Redbirds in the first game of a four game series tonight at Security Service Field. The 30-year old will make his 10th start of the season and looks to get his second win of the season against the Sky Sox. He enters 2-2 with a 6.11 ERA allowing 36 runs on 58 hits, 14 homers, he’s walked 25 and struck out 45. He took home the win over the Sox at Security Service Field on April 21 and went 6 innings allowing a run on six hits, he walked two and struck out four.
Zeid was drafted by the Phillies in the 10th round of the 2009 draft out of Tulane and has seen action within the Phillies, Astros, Tigers, Mets, and now Cardinals organizations. Even though Zeid has been in the Pacific Coast League for 79 games, mostly as a reliever, he has faced the Sox on three occasions, April 13 and 15, 2014, and this year. He picked up two saves and allowed a run on two hits in two innings of work.
The righty has 270 minor-league appearances under his belt, 67 of which have been starts. He is 39-27 with 33 saves and a 4.41 ERA in those outings and 0-1 with 1 save and a 5.21 ERA in 48 MLB appearances, all with the Astros. He earned himself a chance with the Cards after a tremendous WBC in which he worked four games for Team Israel and went 1-0 with two saves and a 0.00 ERA. He didn’t allow a run on 5 hits, he walked six, struck out 10 and was named to the WBC All-Tournament team.
Last Time Out – June 7 – No decision at New Orleans –
Zeid went six innings and got a quality start allowing three runs on five hits, one homer; he walked one and struck out four on 81 pitches, 51 of which for strikes.
Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 28th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he will have the call of tonight’s game from AutoZone Park beginning at 6:00 p.m. I will get Sky Sox Warmup fired up at 5:30 p.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,