TODAY'S GAME: The Iowa Cubs and Nashville Sounds play game three of a four-game series to complete the Cubs' first home stand of the 2014 season. The Sounds are the Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. This is the seventh game of an eight-game home stand.
The Cubs lost three of four against the Memphis Redbirds to start the season.
FIERS BURNS BRIGHT TO BEAT CUBS: RH Mike Fiers limited the Cubs to one run on three hits while striking out nine in the Sounds' 4-1 victory over the Cubs last night. Fiers struck out seven consecutive Cubs with the final two outs in the second innings, all three outs in the third, and the first two outs in the fourth. That was one shy of a PCL record for consecutive strikeouts in a game. Fiers has made four career starts against Iowa and is 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA (3ER/28.0IP). The Cubs finished with a season-high 14 strikeouts in the game as Donovan Hand and Rob Wooten combined for five punchouts over the final three innings.
RUSIN REBOUNDS: LH Chris Rusin suffered his second loss in as many starts last night, but rebounded from a rough outing on Opening Night to post his first quality start of the year. He allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits in six innings, didn't walk a batter, and struck out five. The big hit against him was a two-run double by Eugenio Velez with two outs in the third that followed an infield single on a dribbler by Pete Orr that could've been the final out of the inning. Last night also marked Rusin's 100th career minor league start.
THE .500 CLUB: Last night's loss kept the Cubs from getting back to the .500 mark in the early season. The Cubs had won back-to-back games after losing three straight to open the year. The Cubs haven't had a .500 record since last year on July 12 when the team was 48- 48 and had a two-game lead in the American Northern Division standings. The Cubs went 18-30 from that point to finish last season at 66-78. The Cubs boasted a winning record for a total of nine days in 2013.
BOOK OF ELI: C Eli Whiteside has two hits this season. Both are RBI singles in the fifth inning in each of the last two games.
VS. SOUNDS: This series is tied 1-1. These two teams are no longer division rivals, but are scheduled to meet 16 times this year. The Sounds will come back to Principal Park for a second four-game series, May 10-13. The Cubs will visit Greer Stadium in Nashville for four-game sets, May 2-5 and May 31-June 3. This is the Sounds last season playing at historic Greer Stadium before opening
a new ballpark for the 2015 season. Last year, the Cubs won the season series 9-7 against Nashville, including a 7-1 mark at Principal Park. Last night's loss snapped a five-game home winning streak for the Cubs against the Sounds. Nashville leads the all-time PCL series 126-99, but the Cubs hold a 58-56 edge at home.
DOUBLE DIP: The Cubs turned a pair of double plays last night, giving the team seven through the first six games of the season. Reno leads the league with nine double plays on defense.
DAY DREAMING: Today is the Cubs' first of 14 weekday day games at Principal Park this season. Last year, the Cubs were 15-10 in day games at Principal Park, including a 9-4 mark during weekday noon starts.
STEALING THE NIGHT AWAY: The Cubs stole four bases on Monday night with Logan Watkins, Arismendy Alcantara, Chris Coghlan, and Brett Jackson each swiping their first bags of the year. Four steals matched the Cubs' season-high from last season. The team reached that mark in three games in 2013. The Cubs haven't had more than four steals in a game since June 17, 2009 when the team stole six bases in a game at Oklahoma City. The late Ryan Freel stole three bases in that game.
TRIPLE THREAT: OF Brett Jackson snapped an 0-for- 12 start to the season with a triple in the bottom of the fifth inning on Monday night and scored the Cubs' first run. It was the 18th triple of Jackson's Iowa career moving him into a tie for fifth on the franchise career list with Robin Jennings (1996-99) and Felix Pie (2006-08). Billy Hatcher (1984-84) and Chico Walker (1985-87, '90) share the franchise record with 23. Jackson led the PCL with 12 triples in 2012.