Game #76, Road Game #37
RH Randy Wells (6-2, 2.28) vs. RH Frankie De La Cruz (8-3, 3.72)
TONIGHT: The Iowa Cubs and the Albuquerque Isotopes open a four-game series at Isotopes Park. These teams are scheduled to square off ten times in the next nine days. After an off day on Wednesday, both clubs will travel to Des Moines and pick up the series on Thursday at Principal Park. The second half of this series will include back-to-back double-headers on Friday, June 27th and Saturday, June 28th to make up for two rainouts in early April at Principal Park.
LAST NIGHT: After a 40-minute delay for lightning, the New Orleans Zephyrs opened the finale of a four-game series at Principal Park with six runs in the top of the first inning. LH Rich Hill allowed all six runs on three hits, four walks, a hit batsman, and two wild pitches before being removed after two-thirds of an inning. The Zephyrs ended up with 12 runs on 14 hits against four different I-Cubs pitchers and had a 12-2 lead going of the bottom of the ninth inning before the Cubs made it a little more interesting with a six-run rally of their own. The Zephyrs held on for a 12-8 win and earned a split of the four-game set. Ruddy Lugo pitched seven innings for the win. 1B Jason Dubois and RF Josh Kroeger connected on home runs for the Cubs. Pedro Feliciano had three hits, three RBI, and scored three runs to lead the Zephyrs.
BOMBS AWAY: 1B Jason Dubois has homered in three straight games to tie Micah Hoffpauir (currentyly with Chicago) for the longest homer streak by an I-Cub this season. Hoffpauir went deep in three straight games May 12-15. With records only available back to 2000, the longest streak for games with a home run by an I-Cub is four: Ronny Cedeno and Scott Moore did it in 2007 and Keith McDonald in 2003. Dubois has eight home runs in 22 games since joining the Cubs as a free agent on May 19th. He's averaging a home run every 8.1 at-bats and every 9.4 plate appearances in a Cubs' uniform. RF Josh Kroeger leads the team with nine home runs after leading off the bottom of the ninth inning with a solo shot last night. Kroeger and Dubois are tied for third in the Pacific Coast League with six home runs this month (Chris Davie, OK - 9, John Lindsey, LV - 7). The Cubs are fourth in the league with 24 home runs in June and already have more this month than April (18) and May (24) with 11 games left.
TOP OF THE HEAP: The I-Cubs lead the Pacific Coast League's American North Division by five games over Memphis. The Cubs have held at least a share of the division lead for 22 straight days this year and 33 overall. In addition to leading the division, the I-Cubs have the league's best home record (25-14) and the best record for the month of June (14-6). The Cubs' pitching staff leads the league with a 3.93 ERA for the year and a 3.68 mark in June. The Cubs also lead the PCL with 25 saves and are on pace to beat the franchise record of 46 set in 2001.
GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD: The I-Cubs have outscored their opponents 55-41 in the first inning, 141-101 in the first three innings, and 258-193 in the first six innings. The Cubs have the best record in the PCL when leading after six (40-3) and after seven (38-1).
VS. ALBUQUERQUE: This season series is tied 1-1 after the I-Cubs and Isotopes split two games and were rained out of two more April 7-10 at Principal Park. The Cubs won the first game 8-4 on April 7th and lost 2-1 on April 9th. Last year, the Cubs won the season series 9-7 over the Isotopes, but Albuquerque took five of eight at Isotopes Park, including a four-game sweep June 30-July 3. Since joining the PCL, the all-time series is tied 63-63, with Albuquerque holding a 33-27 advantage in their home ballpark.
I-CUBS INFO: The Cubs' six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning last night matched the total amount of ninth inning runs that team had scored for the entire season going into last night's game...LH J.R. Mathes (2.48) ranks second and RH Mike Burns (2.61) is third in the PCL in ERA...The Cubs have four of the top 15 pitchers in ERA for June: Mathes (4th - 1.17), RH Randy Wells (7th - 2.12), Burns (10th - 2.35), and LH Sean Marshall (15th - 2.81)...RH Hector Carrasco is tied for the league lead with three wins in June...CF Felix Pie is batting .429 (12-28) with four runs, eight RBI, three doubles, a homer, and a stolen base in his last eight games...In eight appearances with the I-Cubs, RH Jim Brower has five saves, two wins, and a hold in eight victories...LH Carmen Pignatiello allowed two hits in 1.2 scoreless innings on Wednesday night. He hadn't allowed a hit since May 28th and still hasn't allowed a run in his last eight appearances (8.2 IP.
ROSTER MOVES: Chicago placed RHP Carlos Zambrano on the disabled list today and called up 2B Eric Patterson for the third time this season. The Cubs have also assigned 1B Daryle Ward to the I-Cubs on a rehab assignment. He's on the Major League DL since May 18th with a bulging disc in his lower back.
UPCOMING PROBABLES (times CT)