HELLO, MY NAME IS...: For the second straight season, the Iowa Cubs set a franchise record for transactions. Last year, the Cubs finished with 153 transactions and 59 different players appeared in a game. This season, the club made 172 transactions and used 62 different players. Of those 62 players, 33 were pitchers, 29 were position players, and 31 spent time in the big leagues. The following players all appeared with both Iowa and Chicago this season: Jake Arrieta, Darwin Barney, Brian Bogusevic, Julio Borbon, J.C. Boscan, Michael Bowden, Alex Burnett, Alberto Cabrera, Steve Clevenger, Rafael Dolis, Kyuji Fujikawa, Matt Garza, Alberto Gonzalez, Justin Grimm, Junior Lake, Brent Lillibridge, Chang-Yong Lim, Darnell McDonald, Donnie Murphy, Blake Parker, Zach Putnam, Brooks Raley, Henry Rodriguez, Zach Rosscup, Chris Rusin, Eduardo Sanchez, Dave Sappelt, Ryan Sweeney, Hisanori Takahashi, and Logan Watkins. Guillermo Moscoso joined the San Francisco Giants after leaving the I-Cubs, but didn't pitch for Chicago.
THE AMAZING RACE: Despite a losing record, the Cubs remained in the hunt for a berth in the post-season until the final weekend of the season. At 66-78, the Cubs finished in third place, just four games behind the Omaha Storm Chasers (70-74) in the American Northern Division. Memphis (69-75) finished one game behind Omaha in second place. The Storm Chasers became the first division champion with a losing record in Pacific Coast League history and went on to win the league title and the Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game against the International Leauge champion Durham Bulls. The Cubs finished 12-4 head-to-head against Omaha this year.
FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS: This was the 45th season of Triple-A baseball in Des Moines, Iowa and the 16th year for the club as a member of the PCL. The Cubs enjoyed a 13-win improvement from 2012, but finished with a losing record for the third straight season. The franchise's all-time record is 3,135-3,210 (.494) and 1,151-1,134 (.504) in PCL play. This was Iowa's 33rd season as the triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The team is 2,334-2,366 as Chicago's top affiliate.
HOME IMPROVEMENT: The Cubs finished 44-28 at Principal Park, second only to Oklahoma City (47-26) for the league's best home record. It was a great turnaround from last season when the Cubs finished 29-43 at home, posting a losing record at Principal Park for the first time since 2000. This year's home win total was the club's best since 2009. The Cubs have an all-time home record of 1,728-1,460 (.542).
THE BROKEN ROAD: The Cubs won just one road series all season and finished 22-50 on the road this season, marking the third straight year the organization has finished with the worst road record in the PCL. This was a franchise record for the most road losses in a season. The previous high had been 48 in 1981, 1989, and 2000.
RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY: The Cubs had six of their first 21 home games postponed due to rain and snow this season and had another four games delayed by rain during the year. The team made up one opening with a split double-header on Saturday, June 8, but five openings lost matches the high set in 2008 when flooding devastated all of downtown Des Moines.
ARMS RACE: The Cubs ranked 14th out of 16 teams in the PCL with a 5.77 ERA (132ER/206.0IP) in 24 games in April. From May 1 until the end of the season, the Cubs posted a 3.96 ERA (463ER/1053.1IP) and finished fourth in the league with a 3.56 ERA (106ER/268.0IP) in August. Overall, the club finished seventh in the league with a 4.25 ERA (595ER/1259.1IP) for the year, marking the team's lowest season ERA since a 4.14 mark in 2009. The staff tied for third in the league with 11 shutouts on the year, the most for a Cubs' pitching staff since recording 12 in 2004. The bullpen boasted a 3.91 ERA (211ER/486.0IP) for the year and the league's best save conversion rate, finishing 42 of 51 save opportunities on the year.
SHOOTING BLANKS: The Cubs were shut out a league-high 14 times during the season, tying the franchise record set in 1972 and matched in 1990. Twelve of the 14 shutouts came on the road where the Cubs hit .244 as a team compared to a .257 mark at home.
BROKEN BATS: The Cubs finished 15th out of 16 teams in batting and runs scored for the year. Only New Orleans had a lower team batting average (.248) and fewer runs scored (546) than the Cubs' marks for .250 and 565 respectively. These are the lowest offensive marks for the Cubs since joining the PCL in 1998. The previous lows were both set in 2006 with a .262 team batting average and 609 runs scored.
EARLY EXITS: A Cubs' player or coach was ejected from a game 22 times during the season. In the last eight years, the Cubs' highest previous total for ejections was 11. Manager Marty Pevey was ejected eight times during the year. The entire team total was eight in both 2006 and 2009. There were six games that featured multiple ejections, including three on May 30 at Nashville.
HOMETOWN HEROES: Algona, Iowa native Brad Nelson was the only player to be active for the Cubs for every game during the season. He led the team with 20 home runs and 71 RBI, marking his fifth career season with at least 20 home runs. Nelson hit his 200th career home run on August 20 at New Orleans. Cedar Rapids, Iowa native Ryan Sweeney hit .337 with six homers and 16 RBI in 23 games to begin the season before getting called up to Chicago.
TRACK MEET: The Cubs were last in the league in controlling the running game. The Cubs caught just 17% (31-for-179) of runners trying to steal on the year. Only Nashville (157) allowed more stolen bases than the Cubs' 147. Las Vegas led the league, throwing out 41% (54-for-133) of runners trying to steal.
NORTHERN EXPOSURE: The Cubs finished 27-21 within the American Northern Division, second to only Memphis (28-20) for the top mark. The Cubs' 12 wins against Omaha was the league's top win total against the PCL champs this year and the Cubs recorded their only series sweep against the Storm Chasers in the final four home games of the season, August 26-29. The Cubs finished 9-7 against Nashville and 6-10 against Memphis. The PCL will realign next year with Tucson moving to El Paso. Iowa and Omaha will remain in the American Northern Division, but will be joined by Colorado Springs and Oklahoma City. Memphis and Nashville move to the American Southern Division with New Orleans and Round Rock.
SAVINGS ACCOUNT: Blake Parker and Brian Schlitter etched their names into the record books out of the Cubs' bullpen this year. Parker entered the season tied with Michael Wuertz (2002-04, '06, '08) and Jim Bullinger (1991-93) for the franchise's career record with 34 saves. Parker recorded his 35th save on April 10 at Round Rock and finished with seven saves before getting called up to Chicago to set the new career mark at 41. Schlitter took over the closer's role following Parker's promotion and finished with 20 saves. He also had 13 saves for Iowa in 2010, so he is now tied with Laddie Renfroe (1987-88, '90-92) for fourth on Iowa's carer list with 33. Schlitter's 20 saves also ties him with Bullinger for fourth on the single-season saves list. Bullinger saved 20 in 1993. The single-season record is 25 set by Jermaine Van Buren in 2005.
EIGHT IS GREAT: IF Ian Stewart had a career day on June 8 vs. Round Rock, belting three home runs and tying an Iowa franchise record with eight RBI. Larry Haney set that record on August 15, 1971 vs. Wichita in the American Association and Larry Egan tied that mark on July 13, 1973 - also against Wichita.
GO THE DISTANCE: Three Cubs' pitchers turned in complete-game efforts this season, including two over nine innings. LH Chris Rusin was the first and his was also a shutout on June 17 vs. Omaha. Rusin became the first Cubs' pitcher to throw a nine-inning complete game since J.R. Mathes did it on June 11, 2007 against Omaha. Rusin was also the first Cubs' pitcher to have a nine-inning, complete game shutout since Sergio Mitre on August 13, 2004 against Albuquerque.
RH Barret Loux pitched a complete game, but lost on July 6 at Albuquerque. It was a seven-inning game and he allowed one run in six innings and lost 1-0. RH Yoanner Negrin limited Omaha to one run on six hits over nine innings on August 26 in a 2-1 victory. It was the first career complete game for all three pitchers. Three complete games is the most for a Cubs' team since the staff recorded four in 2004. LH John Koronka went the distance twice that year while RH's Shawn Sedlacek and Mitre each had one.
STRIKING PERFORMANCE: Six Cubs' pitchers combined to set a franchise record with 21 strikeouts against New Orleans on June 1. The previous record was 19, set in a nine-inning game on July 27, 2004 vs. Tucson and matched again on June 27, 2011 in a 15-inning game vs. Albuquerque. Starter Guillermo Moscoso struck out 10 in 5.2 innings. Zephyrs' outfielder Kevin Mattison tied a PCL record by striking out six time out of the leadoff spot in their order.
DOUBLE DIPPING: The Cubs tied a franchise record by turning five double plays on May 13 at Reno. It was the sixth time in franchise history that the Cubs turned five double plays in a game. The last time had been July 20, 2004 at Nashville.
RARE OCCURRENCES: On July 21 at Round Rock, Jae-Hoon Ha hit into a triple play. With runners on first and second base, he hit a bouncing ball to future Cub, Mike Olt, who started the 5-4-3 inning-ending play. The last time the Cubs had hit into a triple play was June 3, 2011 at Nashville. That triple play was started by Edwin Maysonet, who spent his first season in the Cubs' organization this year. On June 21 vs. Nashville, Brian Bogusevic raced around the bases with an inside-the-park home run when Cole Garner missed an attempt at a sliding catch on his sinking line drive into center field. The last Cub with an inside-the-park home run was Dave Sappelt on April 21, 2012 vs. Memphis.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The Cubs allowed more runs in the first inning (98) than any other inning and were outscored 98-75 in the opening frame for the year. The Cubs finished 26-60 when their opponent scored the first run of the game.
CALL IT A COMEBACK: On July 4 at Albuquerque, Tim Torres hit a two-run, pinch-hit home run in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game before the Cubs won 9-5 in 10 innings. It was the Cubs' first victory when trailing after eight innings since August 17, 2011 at Salt Lake, breaking a streak of 113 consecutive losses when trailing after eight. The Cubs' last victory of the season on September 1 at Nashville also came with a ninth-inning rally. Greg Rohan belted a solo homer in the top of the ninth to tie the game and the Cubs won 3-2 in 10 innings. Those were the Cubs' only extra-inning wins of the year as the team finished 2-8 in extra frames.
STREAKS: The Cubs started the season 0-6 for the first time in franchise history lost a season-high nine straight games from July 26-August 3. It was the team's longest losing streak since a nine-game skid from August 18-28, 2006. The Cubs tied a franchise record with 12 straight road losses from July 19-August 3. That record was set in 1975. The Cubs won a season-best five straight games from May 23-26. The Cubs won 20 of 29 games from June 8-July 5 and had a four-game lead in the division race on July 3 and July 5. The Cubs had at least a share of first place June 20-July 26.
YOU'RE IN THE BIG LEAGUES NOW: Of all the players called up from Iowa to Chicago this season, only three were called up to make their Major League debuts this season: Junior Lake (July 19 at Colorado), Logan Watkins (August 4 vs. LA Dodgers), and Zach Rosscup (September 3 vs. Miami).
ON THE MEND: Chicago assigned six players to rehab assignments with Iowa this season. 2B Darwin Barney played in three games from April 13-15 and was 5-for-10 with a double and four runs scored. IF Ian Stewart started with the Cubs on rehab from April 14-May 2 and was activated and optioned to Iowa when the assignment expired on May 3. He ended up playing 40 games wtih Iowa overall. RH Kyuji Fujikawa pitched a scoreless inning in game one of a double-header on May 5. RH Matt Garza made starts on May 6 and May 16 with Iowa. He earned a win and allowed one run in 9.1 innings for a 0.96 ERA. C Steve Clevenger played in 15 games, June 3-21 and hit .327 (17-for-52) with five doubles, three home runs, and 11 RBI. OF Brian Bogusevic played one game with Iowa on rehab on August 18 at New Orelans and went 1-for-5.