Welcome back, welcome back, welcommmmme baaaaack. Baseball is back in action following the all-star break and that is exciting news! Today marks the series opener between the Sky Sox and Iowa Cubs and marks game number 90 of the season. Holy smokes! We were supposed to get underway the last THREE nights, but Mother Nature came through and postponed all the games with rain. A doubleheader is now in store for this morning, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
A little bookkeeping is in store for the blog, before we dive into tonight’s pitching matchup. First, Garrett Cooper has been traded to the New York Yankees in exchange for left-handed reliever Tyler Webb. Cooper’s last impact in the PCL was helping the all-star team take down the International League All-Stars with an RBI single and great catch in Wednesday’s mid-summer classic. A game the PCL won 6-4.
According to Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman, Cooper will join the Bronx Bombers in Boston as they open up the second half against the Red Sox. Incredible! Great for Cooper who is primed to make his MLB debut at one of the Meccas. Best of luck Coop!
As far as the Sox, they finished the first part of the season 55-34 with back-to-back losses against Round Rock to wrap it up. The last game finished 8-4 in favor of the Express, a game that saw them score all of their runs on four homers.
Brett Phillips had himself a game with two tremendous catches and a home run, none of which were cut as highlights…thus we move on tooooooo….
…The start of the second half!
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (55-34) vs. Iowa Cubs (42-48) – 10:30 a.m. – Doubleheader
Sky Sox Starter: Right-hander Taylor Jungmann gets the call in the opener of the post-all star break series today against the Cubs at Security Service Field. In six starts and two relief appearances with the Sox he’s accrued a 5-1 record and a 2.45 ERA, allowing 12 runs on 27 hits, walking 26 and fanning 37. PCL opponents are hitting .191 against the 2011 first round pick. He opened the season with the Brewers and went two-thirds of an inning before being optioned to Double-A Biloxi. There he went 1-2 with a 4.36 ERA with the Shuckers in the Southern League. Jungmann has pitched on the road five of his eight outings with Colorado Springs and is 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA through 24 1/3 innings away from Security Service Field. In three home starts, the right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 16 innings, allowing six runs on 13 hits.
Drafted by the Brewers in the 1st round of the 2011 draft out of the University of Texas, Jungmann has made 129 MiLB appearances, 121 starts, and is 45-39 with a 4.10 ERA. He’s 9-13 with a 4.54 ERA in 30 MLB starts.
Last Time Out – July 5 – Win vs. Nashville –
Jungmann labored a little, but made it through the first five frames of a seven-inning contest and put himself in line for the win. He allowed five runs on six hits, including two homers, while walking a pair and striking out one on 75 pitches, 45 went for strikes.
Cubs Starting Arm: Right-hander Williams Perez will climb the hill for the 14th time this season and third against the Sky Sox. He has compiled an 5-7 record with a 5.35 ERA through his first 13 starts and has won his list five. He’s allowed 45 runs (39 earned) on 77 hits in 65 2/3 innings. Perez has yielded three homers, hit three batters, walked 29 and fanned 59. Opponents are hitting .297 against him. He went six innings against the Sox on May 1, but didn’t factor into the decision. He allowed two runs on eight hits, walked a pair and fanned five. He faced them in the Springs on May 9 and took the loss allowing six runs (three earned) on six hits, three walks, and five strikeouts.
Perez was signed by the Braves as a non-drafted free agent in 2009 and pitched within the Braves organization from 2009 to 2016 and was signed by the Cubs as a free agent this past offseason. In 131 career MiLB games he is 37-34 with a save and a 3.52 ERA. In 34 MLB games with the Braves he holds a 9-9 record and 5.18 ERA.
Last Time Out – July 6 – Win at Oklahoma City –
Perez went the first seven innings and kept the Dodgers’ potent lineup to two runs on six hits, including a homer. He hit a batter, walked one and struck out seven on a season-high 102 pitches, 67 of which went for strikes.
Sky Sox Starter: Right-Hander Paolo Espino readies for start number eleven with the Sky Sox and second of the season against the Cubs when climbs the hill tonight at Security Service Field. He enters play 4-1 with a 3.69 ERA in ten PCL outings and has held opponents to a .262 batting average against. He’s allowed 23 runs (22 earned) on 54 hits, walked eight and fanned 49 in 53.2 innings. Espino rejoins the Sky Sox for his second start in a row after spending a month in the big leagues and going 0-0 with a 6.11 ERA in six games, two starts. He logged 17 2/3 innings and gave up 13 runs on 17 hits, five homers, three hit batters, eight walks and 13 strikeouts. He made his big-league debut on May 19 where he went four innings for the Brewers at Chicago, he didn’t record a decision. He went six innings against Iowa on May 1 and allowed a run on four hits and fanned six at Principal Park.
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. Last season saw the 30-year old righty go 8-11 with a 3.30 ERA in 26 Triple-A starts with Syracuse. Espino is 76-64 with a 3.73 ERA in 294 MiLB appearances, 194 of which have been starts.
Last Time Out – July 6 – No decision vs. Nashville –
Espino worked four innings in his return to the PCL and allowed four runs on two Renato Nunez two-run homers. He allowed eight total hits and struck out one on 79 pitches, 49 went for strikes.
Cubs Starting Arm: Right-hander Casey Kelly is slotted in the starter’s spot for game two of the twin bill. He enters 5-2 with a 4.58 ERA in 11 games with the Cubs, 10 starts. He’s allowed 30 runs, 28 earned, on 67 hits, eight homers; he’s hit four batters, walked 22 and fanned 38. Opponents are hitting .309 against the right-hander. He has not faced the Sky Sox this season.
Kelly was originally selected by the Red Sox in the first round of the 2008 draft out of Sarasota, Florida. He has thrown for the Red Sox, the Padres, the Braves and now the Cubs Organizations. In 134 minor league outings, 116 starts, he’s compiled a 32-36 record with two saves and a 3.98 ERA. In 19 MLB outings, 9 starts, he’s 2-8 with a 6.39 ERA.
Last Time Out – July 9 – Bullpen appearance at Oklahoma City –
Kelly saved the Cubs’ bullpen and went 3 2/3 out of the bullpen in the final game prior to the all-star break. He allowed a run on three hits, including a homer, walked one and fanned two on 47 pitches, 29 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 tonight game from Security Service Field beginning at 10:30 a.m. Sky Sox Warmup gets fired up at 10:00 a.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,