Iowa Cubs (52-38) @ Round Rock Express (52-38)
Thursday, July 11 • 7:05 p.m. • The Dell Diamond • Round Rock, TX
RHP Trevor Clifton (3-7, 4.73) vs. RHP Akeem Bostick (4-4, 6.47)
TONIGHT'S GAME: The I-Cubs meet for the third series with Round Rock this year. The I-Cubs are 10-3 in their last 13 contests and will look to extend their division lead. Iowa's 14 games over .500 ties its best mark of the season.
BREAKING RECORDS: At the All-Star break, the I-Cubs are 14 games over .500 with a 52-38 record and a 10.0 game lead in the division. The 2008 club is the most recent team to be 10 games over the .500 mark at the break, going 20 games over at 60-40. Since 2000, just four other I-Cub teams have led the division at the break, and only two of those have led by five games or more. The 10-game division lead held by the 2019 I-Cubs is the largest at the break since at least 2000.
ZACK ATTACK: Zack Short extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-4 performance on Sunday. He is hitting .367 (11-for-30) with Iowa this season and has recorded a hit in each game that he has recorded an at-bat with Iowa. Short was sidelined on April 9 after being hit the hand with a pitch in his first at-bat of the game. He missed nearly three months before rejoining Iowa's roster on July 4.
SCORE EARLY, WIN GAMES: The I-Cubs have scored in at least one of the first two innings in a season-best nine straight outings. Iowa holds a 32-18 record when scoring in at least one of the first two innings, but are 6-3 over the nine-game stretch. The I-Cubs have also scored in the first inning in each of the last three games, the longest stretch this season.
SLAP HAPP-Y: Over his last six games, utility man Ian Happ is on a season-high six-game hitting streak. He his hitting at a .455 clip (10-for-22) with five runs scored, two doubles, a triple, two home runs and six RBI over that streak. He has drawn seven walks to just five strikeouts, good for a .586 on-base percentage in that stretch.
LIGHTS OUT: The I-Cubs bullpen got a much-needed rest over the All-Star break after spinning 15.1 frames over the final three games. The bullpen pitchers have been excellent since June 22, posting a 1.91 ERA (12ER/56.2 IP) with seven scoreless outings in 16 games. James Norwood has picked up a save in three of the last seven games and his six saves on the year leading the I-Cubs and has him tied for sixth in the PCL. The I-Cubs have spread 26 saves between nine pitchers thus far in 2019, ranking second in the PCL and three more saves than the 2018 I-Cubs had.
AGAINST ROUND ROCK: Round Rock holds a 5-4 lead in the season series. The I-Cubs and Express split a four-game set in Round Rock on May 30-June 2 and the Express won the rubber match of a five-game series at Principal Park on June 20-24. On the scoreboard, the teams are tied at 39 with near identical in average at .239 for Iowa and a .242 mark for Round Rock. The I-Cubs have displayed more power, hitting two more triples and three more home runs than the Express, but Round Rock has reached base more frequently with a .344-.297 lead in on-base percentage.
FAMILIAR FACES, NEW PLACES: RHP Felipe Paulino already has a couple of games against his former club this season. Paulino signed with the Express out of independent-league Sugar Land on June 20, pitching with Round Rock in Des Moines on June 23-24. In 2015, Paulino posted a 5-9 record and a 4.93 ERA in 20 starts with the I-Cubs. He remained in Triple-A with Columbus in 2016, but was released. He spent 2017-18 between the Mexican League, Atlantic League and Venezuelan Winter League. This season with the Atlantic League's Sugar Land, he posted a 2-0 record with 1.96 ERA over 23.0 innings prior to getting a contract with Round Rock.
WICK-ED: RHP Rowan Wick spun his eighth-straight scoreless outing with Iowa on Saturday. The streak dates back to May 30, with a pair of call-ups to Chicago in between. Each of the eight outings has been just one frame. In those eight innings, Wick has surrendered just five hits, all in different games. He has struck out nine and walked just one batter over the stretch.
CUBBIE KILLER: Round Rock's Josh Rojas tore up the I-Cubs pitching staff during the five-game set at Principal Park. Rojas homered in each of the last four games of the series, the most consecutive games with a homer by an I-Cub opponent this season. No other Express player has multiple home runs in the nine games played between the clubs.
SHORT HOPS: Trent Giambrone extended his hitting streak to six games with his team-leading 19th homer of the year on Sunday, tying him for 11th in the PCL...Colin Rea leads the league with 10 wins and is top-five in innings pitched, ERA, opponent batting average and WHIP...at the break, the I-Cubs pitching staff has combined for a 4.10 ERA, the second-best mark in the PCL, holding three of the top-15 qualified pitchers in the league by ERA.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.