Iowa Cubs (18-21) vs. Tacoma Rainiers (25-14)
RHP Jake Buchanan (1-2, 5.71) vs. RHP Rob Whalen (0-1, 5.79)
7:08 pm | Principal Park | Des Moines, IA
TONIGHT'S GAME: Iowa and Tacoma play game the first game of a four-game set at Principal Park tonight. Iowa has now won three games in a row for the the first time since the opening series against Oklahoma City and grabbed a series win against Las Vegas for the first time since that same series against the Dodgers. Tacoma has played double-headers two straight days going 2-2 in its' last series against Omaha.
FRANK-LY ASTOUNDING: Last night's starter for Iowa Seth Frankoff is having one of his best seasons of his career through the first month and a half. Through six starts and two relief appearances, Frankoff holds a 3.28 ERA over 35.2IP. Last night, Frankoff dominated Las Vegas hitters by allowing only one run on six hits in 5.2 IP. Frankoff also struck out seven while only walking two. Frankoff now owns a 2.85 ERA over his last four starts.
HOMECOMING: Tacoma's Daniel Vogelbach and Jean Machi both suited up for the Iowa Cubs in 2016. Vogelbach, the Cubs' second round draft pick in 2011, was traded to Seattle at the deadline last season. At the time of the move, Vogelbach paced the PCL in walks (97) and was second in on-base percentage (.417). Machi appeared in 20 games for Iowa, pitching to a 2-1 record with a 3.68 ERA (12ER/29.1IP). He was released in June and signed with the Giants organization.
PAT THE GREAT: Tacoma's manager Pat Listach was Iowa's skipper in 2008, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 83-59 record and its' most recent playoff appearance. The I-Cubs lost to Oklahoma City three games to two in the semi-finals. Listach was named the PCL Manger of the Year following the season. He was the second to win the award in Cubs' history (1998, Terry Kennedy).
ZIG-ZAG ZAGUNIS: Despite struggling to hit consistently throughout the season, Mark Zagunis is making an impact in other ways. While only hitting .243 on the season, Zagunis owns a .408 on-base percentage, tied for 14th in the PCL. His 28 walks lead the PCL and are tied for sixth in all of Minor League Baseball.
23 CARAT MAGIC: 23-year-old catcher Victor Caratini has found his mojo, hitting .381 (37-for-97) since April 17. With last night's 1-for-4 performance, the catcher has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games (20-for-46, .435) and leads the Cubs farm system with 29 RBI. He has 14 multi-hit games on the season. He also has the best average in the Cubs farm system and sixth-best average in the PCL (.355).
AGAINST TACOMA: Iowa and Tacoma played one four-game series in 2016 at Tacoma. The Rainiers swept the series outscoring the I-Cubs 26-12. This year's season series will take place at Principal Park where the I-Cubs lead the all-time series 26-17. Tacoma leads the all-time series at their park 19-29. Overall, Iowa is 45-46 against the Rainiers all-time. Iowa will look to pull-ahead in the all-time series this weekend, and look to sweep the Rainiers in Des Moines for the first time since 2010.
GRIMM REAPER: Right-hander Justin Grimm has been dominant since being sent down to Iowa. In three appearances totaling 4.0IP, Grimm has not allowed a run, has only surrendered one hit, all while striking out six and only walking four. He has also earned the save in two of those appearances, making it the first time he has recorded a save at the minor league level. He was 0-1 in previous save opportunities while in the Rangers organization. It is also the first time Grimm has earned multiple saves in a season since 2015 when he got three saves in six opportunities while with Chicago.
MOVING ON UP (ISH): Iowa has spent the majority of the season in the lower-half of the PCL when it comes to batting average. As a team, Iowa is hitting .299 since the beginning of May, good for second-best in the PCL behind Reno. Iowa hit only .245 in April, tied for worst in the league with Oklahoma City in that time. The I-Cubs are now hitting .269 as a team, putting them right in the middle of the PCL. Iowa however ranks second-to last in the league in ERA at 5.84, only ahead of Fresno. The team ERA dropped from 5.46 in April to 6.35 in May.
DEFENSE FIRST: Iowa is last in the PCL when it comes to defense. The I-Cubs lead the PCL in errors with 43, good for only a .971 fielding percentage. Tacoma, their opponent for the next four games is second in the league with only 23 errors, good for a .983 fielding percentage. Of Iowa's 43 errors, 13 have come this month, putting them on pace to commit fewer errors than they did in April.
SHORT HOPS: Iowa won its third straight game for the second time this season...their previous three-game win streak came at the start of the season when they started 3-0...Seth Frankoff only allowed one run last night, making it the third time in six starts that he has only allowed one run...Taylor Davis has reached base in 20 straight home games dating back to August 18, 2016 (20-for-70, .286, 12 BB...Through 16 games with Iowa, Chris Dominguez has yet to record a hit at Principal Park.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.