TODAY'S GAME: The Iowa Cubs and Salt Lake Bees play the final game of a four-game series. The Bees are the Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. This is the last game of an eight-game home stand for the Cubs. The Cubs are 1-6 on this home stand after losing the first series against the Las Vegas 51s.
AD-"VANCE"-D APPROACH: 2B Vance Albitz was 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs, leading the Bees to a 7-5 victory over the Cubs last night. The homers were his first in 46 games with Salt Lake this season. He also had one at double-A Arkansas this year. Coming into this series, Albitz had four home runs in 171 career games. He is the ninth player to have two home runs in a game against the Cubs this season. 3B Luis Jimenez also homered and finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored in last night's game for Salt Lake.
UNLUCKY 13: LH Chris Rusin (7-13) was charged with six runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings last night and suffered his third straight loss. Rusin is tied with Justin Germano of Round Rock for the league-lead with a career-high 13 losses this season. It is the most losses for a Cubs' pitcher since Jay Jackson lost 14 games in 2011. Rusin is one of five pitchers tied for fourth on the franchise list for most losses in a season. The record is 16, set by Bill Earley in 1982.
HOME INVASION: The Cubs have lost four straight games and 11 of their last 12 home games. Last night's loss guaranteed that the team will lose three consecutive home series. The Cubs were swept in a five-game series by Memphis, July 25-27 and lost three-of-four against Las Vegas to open this home stand. Prior to this stretch, the Cubs hadn't lost consecutive home series all season. This is the Cubs' worst home stretch since the team dropped six in a row, June 11-16, and went 2-11, June 11-28, 2012. The Cubs finished 29-43 at Principal Park that season. That is the club's only losing home record since 2000.
UNLOADING: 2B Logan Watkins had two doubles last night, including one with the bases loaded to drive in three runs. Watkins is 6-for-9 with three doubles and a team-high 16 RBI when batting with the bases loaded this year. He has hit safely in six of his last eight games with four doubles, six RBI, five runs score, and four stolen bases.
VS. SALT LAKE: The Bees lead this series 3-0. This is the only regular season series between these two clubs this year. Last year, the Bees swept the Cubs in the a four-game series in Salt Lake, July 30-August 2. Salt Lake's last visit to Principal Park was May 17-20, 2012 and the Bees won the final three games of that series to take the set 3-1. The Bees have won 10 straight games after the Cubs had won the previous five. Salt Lake leads the all-time PCL series 52-47 and lead 26-25 all-time in Des Moines.
AMAZING RACE: Omaha and Oklahoma City both won last night. Omaha has won four straight games and Oklahoma City has won five straight. With 13 games left in the regular season, the Cubs are in third place in the American Nothern Division, three games behind the Storm Chasers. The last time the Cubs were in third place and as far as three games back of first was on June 23. The Cubs don't play Omaha any more this season, but will host Oklahoma City for a four-game set to finish the regular season.
FOOT FAULT: 3B Kris Bryant is day-to-day with a bruise on his left foot. He did pinch-hit last night and drew a walk. He has walked his last two plate appearances. Bryant leads the PCL with 18 home runs and 47 runs scored since he joined the Cubs on June 19. In his first full season of pro ball, Bryant is batting a combined .333 (148-for-444) with 40 home runs and 103 RBI in 125 games between double-A and the I-Cubs this season. Bryant leads all of minor league baseball in extra-base hits (73), total bases (301), slugging (.678), and OPS (1.119). Bryant is tied with Joey Gallo of double-A Frisco for the minor league lead in homers.
ROTATION AND ALIGNMENT: The Cubs' starting staff has posted a 6.02 ERA (27ER/40.1IP) and allowed 51 hits on this home stand. The team has a 4.86 ERA (82ER/152.0IP) in August, which ranks eighth in the PCL. The Cubs have not posted an ERA above 3.98 in any the previous four months.
FANNING THE FLAMES: The Cubs struck out 12 times last night. It was Iowa's 53rd game striking out 10 or more times this year. The Cubs lead the league and have set a new franchise record with 1,165 offensive strikeouts this year. The previous record was 1,093 set in 1999.