TONIGHT'S GAME: The Iowa Cubs and New Orleans Zephyrs play the final game of a four-game series. The Zephyrs are the Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Miami Marlins. This is the fourth game of an eight-game home stand. The Cubs will host the Round Rock Express for a four-game series starting tomorrow night. The Express are the PCL affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
WINNIN' UGLY: The Cubs committed a season-high six errors, but beat the Zephyrs 5-4 yesterday afternoon at Principal Park. It was the most errors in a game for the Cubs since July 21, 2004 at Nashville. The Cubs committed six errors that day and lost 16-3 against the Sounds. SS Logan Watkins and SP Eric Jokisch each committed two errors in the game. Jokisch leads all PCL pitchers with four errors through three starts. He also leads in total chances (14), and assists (8). The Cubs have committed 16 errors in 14 games and are tied with Memphis and Salt Lake for the most errors in the league. The Iowa franchise record for errors in a game is eight set in 1974 and matched again in 1978.
ELEMENTARY MY DEAR WATKINS: IF Logan Watkins didn't let a couple of early miscues on defense distract him from continuing his hot hitting. He was 2-for-2 with an RBI, a run scored, and a sacrifice bunt yesterday, extending his hitting streak to five games. That ties Arismendy Alcantara for the longest hitting streak for a Cub this season. Watkins was 0-for-13 through his first six games of the year, is batting 6-for-14 (.429) with five runs scored and four RBI during this streak.
HERE HE COMES TO SAVE THE DAY: RH Brian Schlitter allowed a run in the top of the ninth inning yesterday, but earned his second save in as many days in this series. Yesterday's save was the 35th save of his Iowa career, moving him into sole possession of second place on Iowa's career saves list. Blake Parker is the all-time leader with 42, including one earlier this season before getting called up by Chicago.
HOLD ON: RH Neil Ramirez pitched a scoreless eighth inning yesterday and was credited with his third "hold" in middle relief. Ramirez is one of five pitchers in the PCL with three holds on the season. Yesterday was his fifth appearance of the year.
VS. ZEPHYRS: The Cubs lead this series 2-1. These two clubs are scheduled to meet 16 times this season. The Zephyrs will return to Principal Park for another four- game series, July 21-24. The Cubs will visit Zephyr Field in Metairie, May 6-9 and July 29-August 1. Last year,
the Zephyrs won the season series 11-5, including five of eight at Principal Park.The Zephyrs have won the season series and the series at Principal Park in each of the last two seasons. The Zephyrs lead the all-time series 111-110, but the Cubs hold a 66-51 all-time mark at home.
WINNING WAYS: After an 0-3 start, the Cubs have won eight of their last 11 games and are two games over .500 for the first time this season. The Cubs haven't been two games over .500 since July 4 last season when a comeback win at Albuquerque extended the team's record to 45-43. The Cubs are one win away from matching their April win total for three of the last four seasons. The Cubs haven't had a winning record in April since a 13-8 mark in 2009.
LAIK EFFECT: IF Chris Valaika was 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored yesterday. He has hit safely in seven of his last eight games, batting .440 (11-for- 25) with four doubles, a home run, six RBI, and three runs scored during this stretch. Valaika ranks sixth in the PCL with a .476 (10-for-21) average since April 10.
NO BULL FROM PEN: After allowing 14 runs (13 earned) in 13.2 innings over the first three games of the season, the Cubs bullpen has settled in. Over the last 10 games, the relievers have allowed seven runs in 33.0 innings for a 1.91 ERA and have allowed six walks while recording 35 strikeouts. RH Alberto Cabrera pitched an inning and a third of scoreless relief yesterday and picked up the win. He has earned a win in each of his last two appearances.
ROSSCUP RETURNS: LH Zac Rosscup returns to the Iowa bullpen tonight. He was recalled by Chicago for game two of their split double-header in New York against the Yankees on Wednesday night. Rosscup pitched the final 1.2 innings of the nightcap. He didn't allow a baserunner and struck out one. Rosscup has not allowed a run in 5.2 innings with Iowa this season and hasn't allowed an earned run in 13.1 innings in his Iowa career.