TODAY'S GAME: The Iowa Cubs and Nashville Sounds play game three of a four-game series. The Sounds are the Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. This is the third game of an eight-game road trip for the Cubs. Following tomorrow's game, the Cubs will travel to New Orleans and start a four-game series against the Zephyrs on Tuesday night. The Zephyrs are the PCL affiliate of the Miami Marlins.
SOUNDS STYMIE CUBS OFFENSE: Four Nashville pitchers combined to allow the Cubs just four hits in the Sounds' 3-1 victory last night. RH Johnnie Lowe fanned six and allowed one hit in four innings as the starter. Lefty Brent Leach (2-0) fanned four and allowed one hit in three innings to earn the win. The Cubs scored their lone run against RH Jeremy Jeffress in the eighth. RH Dustin Molleken struck out two in a perfect ninth to earn his first save of the season. Through two games in this series, the Cubs have collected a total of four hits and haven't scored in the first six innings of the games. After last night's game, the Cubs dropped back into last in the league with a .234 team batting average, behind New Orleans at .235.
ROLLER COASTER RIDE: The Cubs have lost three straight games, matching their longest losing streak of the season. This is the third time the Cubs have lost three straight games this season. This streak comes on the heels of a season-best seven-game winning streak that started on April 21 and ended in game two of a double-header last Thursday at Principal Park. Oklahoma City also lost last night, so the Cubs maintain their half-game lead in the American Northern Division entering play today.
LET THE SUNSHINE IN: The Cubs are 9-2 in day games this season, including a 2-0 mark on the road. The Cubs are 2-1 on Sunday afternoons to begin the year.
DIAL-UP CONNECTION: The Cubs struck out 13 times last night and have struggled making contact lately. The Cubs have struck out at least 10 times in four straight games and five of their last six for a total of 67 strikeouts in this stretch. The Cubs had fanned 10 or more times in a game a total of seven times in their first 21 games. The Cubs are third in the league with 246 strikeouts on offense this season behind Round Rock (254) and El Paso (252). Tacoma (167) has the fewest strikeouts on offense.
VS. SOUNDS: The Sounds lead this series 2-0. The season series is tied 3-3 after the Cubs won the opening set at Principal Park, April 7-10. The Sounds return to Principal Park again, May 10-13, and the Cubs make a final visit to Greer Stadium, May 31-June 3. Last year, the Cubs won the season series 9-6 over the Sounds, but were just 2-6 at Greer Stadium. The Cubs have lost the season series in Nashville each of the last three seasons. The Sounds lead the all-time PCL series 128-101 and hold a 72-41 all-time advantage at home.
NOT A SHOCKER: CF Logan Watkins batted leadoff for the second time this year and had one of the Cubs' three hits last night. Watkins has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games and is batting .353 (18-for-51) with three doubles, a homer, seven RBI, 16 runs scored, 10 walks, and four stolen bases during this stretch. The Kansas native passed up a scholarship offer to Wichita State to sign with the Cubs out of high school.
LARS AND IN CHARGE: 1B Lars Anderson drove in the Cubs' only run last night with a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning. He is 2-for-3 coming off the bench this season and has hit safely in five of his last six games. During this stretch, he is batting .615 (8-for-13) with two doubles, a home run, five RBI, a run scored, and three walks. He was 2-for-28 (.071) in his first 12 games before starting this hot streak with a pinch hit on April 24 at Colorado Springs.
CALL A CAB: RH Alberto Cabrera pitched a perfect eighth inning last night in relief for the Cubs. Cabrera has allowed just eight hits in 13.2 innings and his opponents' batting average (.163) ranks fourth among PCL relievers. The only walk he has allowed was an intentional pass. He ranks second among relievers in fewest baserunners per nine innings (5.93) behind teammate Marcus Hatley (4.09). Hatley has not allowed a hit to a right-handed batter yet this season (0-for-21).
HAIL SZCZUR: OF Matt Szczur has hit safely in a season-high five straight games and is batting .500 (9-for-18) with a triple, two runs scored, five RBI, and a stolen base during this streak. He has at least one RBI in each of the last four games.