The Colorado Springs Sky Sox control their own destiny, no bones about it. Win and they are in. That’s exactly what they bounced back and did on Saturday night, won and won handedly 10-2 over the New Orleans Baby Cakes, shrinking the magic number to clinch a playoff spot down to 2. It would be trimmed to one shortly there after with Omaha’s 4-0 victory over Oklahoma City.
The Sky Sox picked up three hits on Friday night, two of which never left the infield. That would not be the case Saturday as in the first inning with two down, Nate Orf connected on a solo homer and put the Sox up 1-0. They added three more runs against ‘Cakes starter Keyvius Sampson in the second and led 4-0. Brett Phillips sparked the rally with a leadoff walk, then moved to third on a Rene Garcia single. Nick Noonan plated a run with a ground out and Kyle Wren picked up two ribbies with a two out single to cap off the scoring.
New Orleans would return serve with a pair of its own against Bubba Derby in the home half of the second on a Christian Colon single and an Austin Nola sacrifice fly, 4-2 Sox.
From there it was nothing but a Sox onslaught. They added six runs across innings six (1), seven (2), and eight (3) to put away the home team. The scoring picked up again with a Mauricio Dubon single that scored Chris Colabello in the sixth. Continued with an Orf sac fly and Colabello solo shot in the seventh and finished with a three-run double from Kyle Wren in the seventh.
The pitching for the Sox was equally as good as the offense as three pitchers combined to limit the ‘Cakes to two runs on ten hits. Derby picked up the win with five strong frames, in which he allowed two runs on seven hits, walked three and fanned two. Tristan Archer held the home team scoreless through three innings of relief and Tyler Webb pitched a scoreless ninth.
Quick Hits…Chris Colabello had another monster game and went 2-for-4 with a home run, RBI, and two runs scored…Kyle Wren had two hits and five RBI…Nate Orf tallied two RBI…Rene Garcia had three hits and scored a run…Bubba Derby now sits at 5-0 on the season.
Play of the Game –
Without a DOUBT it is Berry’s catch from the seventh…
Pregame Interview with Dan Acheson and Sky Sox Athletic Trainer Aaron Hoback –
The Sky Sox haven’t played since SATURDAY, BUT they’ve clinched their first playoff spot in 20 years thanks to the Omaha Storm Chasers taking game one of a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon. To repeat, THE SOX ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (77-53) at Round Rock Express (61-70) – 6:00 p.m.
Sky Sox Starter: Right-hander Aaron Brooks is slated to make his Brewers and Sky Sox debut this evening against the Express in the series opener. He was picked up off waivers on August 23 and, with the trade of Paolo Espino, gets the call to start today. Brooks spent all of 2017 with the Iowa Cubs before coming to the Sky Sox. He went 8-9 with a 6.20 ERA in 24 starts, logging 138 innings, during which he allowed 102 runs (95 earned) on 181 hits. He’s walked 28, fanned 105 and allowed 27 homers, while allowing opponents to hit .320 against him. Brooks has faced the Baby Cakes FOUR TIMES this season and is 2-2, allowing 11 runs (9 earned), on 28 hits, six walks and 12 strikeouts in 21 innings.
The Montclair, California native was originally selected by the Royals in the 9th round of the 2011 draft out of Cal State – San Bernardino. He has pitched in the Royals, Athletics, and Cubs organizations. The Royals traded Aaron Brooks and Sean Manaea to the Athletics for Ben Zobrist in 2015 and the Cubs flipped Chris Coghlan for Brooks in February 2016. All told, the righty is 52-42 with a save and a 4.59 ERA in 142 games in the minors and 3-5 with a 8.38 ERA in 15 MLB games. He made 5 appearances in 2016 due to injury and hasn’t pitched in the bigs since 2015 when he did so for both the Royals and the A’s.
Last Time Out – August 14 – Win at Storm Chasers –
Brooks pitched into the sixth inning and allowed seven runs on 12 hits, but picked up the win against the Chasers. He allowed two homers, walked two, and struck out two in 5 1/3 innings.
Express Starting Arm: Righty Clayton Blackburn had a hectic start to his 2017 campaign, but has settled into his new home and enters play 6-2 with a 5.07 ERA in 18 appearances, 17 starts. He has allowed 50 runs (49 earned) on 96 hits, given up 5 homers, hit 5 batters, walked 24 and struck out 70 in 87 innings. Teams are hitting .281 against the righty. He began with Sacramento, but made one start then was DFA’d by the Giants and traded to the Rangers in early April. He picked up the win his last trip to the hill against Omaha and has faced the Sky Sox twice, and is 2-0 having allowed 7 runs on 13 hits in 9 2/3 innings.
Blackburn hails from Amarillo, Texas and was selected by the Giants in the 16th round of the 2011 draft out of Edmond Sante Fe in Edmond, Oklahoma. The righty is in his seventh season in professional baseball and with his second organization. He has compiled a 46-33 record with a 3.46 ERA in 143 appearances, 131 of which have been in the starting role. He has yet to make his MLB debut.
Last Time Out – August 22 – Win vs. Omaha –
Blackburn threw six innings and allowed just one run on four hits, hit a batter, walked one and struck out four on 90 pitches, 57 of which 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 game from Dell Diamond at 5:30 p.m. Sky Sox Warmup will get fired up at 6:00 p.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,