This series certainly has not gone as planned for the Sky Sox, that is for certain. Heading into Thursday’s doubleheader the Sox had lost two of the first three games, both via shutouts. Game one started out perfectly, literally, but finished 1-0 Cubs. Game two was a little less perfect and the Cubs hauled that one in 6-0. Three straight losses, all shutouts, marking the first time in franchise history that has occurred. Four losses in the series, all shutouts. Time for the Sox bats to wake up!!! OKC took home the win in Omaha last night and gained a game and a half on the Sox, shrinking the divisional lead to six games. Magic number is still 13.
Game One Recap –
Game one was a pitchers duel to a T. I mean, my goodness one of the best games we’ve seen all season. Angel Ventura climbed the hill for the Sox and squared up against the outstanding Jen-Ho Tseng of the Cubs. The two pitchers combined to throw six scoreless innings, with Ventura going 18 up and 18 down. That’s right, six perfect innings.
The Sox had a chance in the top of the seventh with Jack Leathersich on the bump for Iowa, a pitcher the Sox have won two games in their final at-bat against. Nate Orf was hit by a pitch with one out and Kirk Nieuwenhuis singled behind him two put two on with one down in the final frame. Yadiel Rivera stepped up and struck out for the second out and Ventura was allowed to hit for himself, but he struck out to end the inning.
John Andreoli led off the bottom of the seventh and had a 1-1 count against him and blasted the next offering over the wall in left for the first Cubs hit, which doubled as the Cubs first baserunner, tripled as the Cubs first run, and quadrupled as the game ender. 1-0 Cubs, what a heartbreaker for Colorado Springs.
Game Two Recap –
Game two held a similar refrain over the first few innings with the two teams being scoreless after three innings. Hiram Burgos was pitching in his return to the Sky Sox and Williams Perez was on the other side, facing the Sox for the FOURTH time this season…but the fourth time was his best.
Hiram Burgos was tagged for three runs and Wily Peralta one in the fourth inning and the Cubs never looked back. In fact they added two more on back-to-back homers in the top of the seventh to cap off the 6-0 affair.
Williams Perez limited the Sox to two hits and walked two in the complete game shutout. Unreal pitching.
Play of the Games –
Without a doubt and unfortunately for the Sky Sox, John Andreoli’s solo shot to win it in game one takes the cake:
Pregame Interview with Dan Acheson and John Andreoli pt. 2 –
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (71-51) vs. Iowa Cubs (61-63) – 6:08 p.m.
Game Notes / Listen Live at 5:30 p.m.
Pitching Probables: RHP Michael Blazek (2-4, 3.73) at RHP Pierce Johnson (3-2, 4.76)
Sky Sox Starter: Right-hander Michael Blazek readies for his thirteenth start of the season, and 23rd overall appearance with the sky Sox tonight in the series finale against the I-Cubs tonight a Principal Park. Blazek was DFA’d on the 13th and outrighted to the Sox on the 16th. The Las Vegas native has a 2-4 record and 3.73 ERA through his first 22 appearances of the season. Blazek has been tagged for 31 runs (30 earned) on 74 hits, walked 27 and fanned 56 in 72 1/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .265 against the righty. He has been good in the starting role going 2-4 with a 3.63 ERA, but enters play today 0-2 with a 3.15 ERA in 13 road appearances, seven starts. He’s faced the Cubs twice at Principal Park, both in relief roles and did not allow a run in 2.1 innings.
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 41-46 with 15 saves and a 4.09 ERA in 239 minor league outings, 100 of which have been starts, and 8-6 with a 4.39 ERA in 109 MLB games.
Last Time Out – August 7 – Loss vs. Express –
Blazek tossed the first five innings and allowed five runs on nine hits, including two homers, he didn’t walk a batter and struck out one on 84 pitches, 54 of which went for strikes.
I-Cubs Starting Arm: Righty Pierce Johnson was born and raised in Arvada, Colorado and is set to make his first start of the season tonight at home in Iowa. Through the first 38 bullpen appearances, Johnson is 3-2 with eight saves and a 4.76 ERA. HE’s allowed 24 runs on 47 hits in 45 1/3 innings. He’s been tagged for three homers, hit four batters, walked 24 and fanned 59. PCL opponents are hitting .273 against him. The righty has faced the Sox in three games this season and has allowed a run in four innings on three hits, five walks and six strikeouts. Two of the appearances have been at Security Service Field with the other in Iowa.
Johnson attended Faith Christian Academy in Arvada, CO and was drafted by the Cubs in the Comp. A round of the 2012 draft out of Missouri State. The Cubs received the pick for losing free agent Aramis Ramirez. In his five-plus seasons, the righty is 29-21 with a 3.27 ERA in 125 career outings, 73 starts. He made his MLB debut against the Brewers on 5/19 and allowed two unearned runs on two hits and a walk in one inning.
Last Time Out – August 14 – Bullpen appearance at Omaha –
Johnson picked up eight outs in hitless, walkless, strikeoutless fashion his last time out and threw 30 pitches, 21 went for strikes.
Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 28th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he will have the call of tonight’s games from Principal Park 6:08 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,