Iowa Cubs (34-27) vs. Albuquerque Isotopes (27-34)
Friday, June 6 • 7:08 PM • Principal Park • Des Moines, IA
RHP Adbert Alzolay (1-1, 3.00) vs. RHP Ryan Catellani (2-4, 7.86)
TONIGHT'S GAME: Iowa welcomes Albuquerque to Principal Park for their first meeting of 2019. Both teams were swept in three games by their previous opponents coming into Friday's game. The I-Cubs suffered their second sweep of the season at Principal Park against El Paso, while the Isotopes suffered their third sweep of 2019 at the hands of Omaha.
BESTED BY THE BULLPEN: The I-Cubs put up a healthy amount of runs against the Chihuahua starters with 11 runs over the three-game set, but struggled to get anything going against the El Paso bullpen. The Chihuahuas' bullpen staff spun 11.0 innings in the sweep, allowing a single unearned run. Iowa only mustered just four hits in that span, while striking out 17 times.
PLAYING WITH FIRE: After starting the season with Chicago, Mark Zagunis has returned to Iowa on a mission. The outfielder has reached base safely in all eight games he has played with Iowa, batting at a .345 (10-25) clip with five doubles.
WICK FLICK: Since being optioned to Iowa on May 24, RHP Rowan Wick has been lights out, dealing 6.1 innings while allowing a single earned run, including 1.0 scoreless frame against El Paso, the best offensive team in the PCL. The performance amounts to a 1.42 ERA, while accumulating five strikeouts.
MEKKING A COMEBACK: Reliever Dakota Mekkes has rebounded from a difficult start to his 2019 campaign. After holding a 5.11 ERA in his first 11 games, Mekkes has returned to his 2018 form by posting a 1.59 ERA (11.1 IP/2ER) in his last eight games. Over that stretch, he has surrendered eight hits, good for a .190 opponent batting average, while striking out 14. He is tied for the team lead with three saves in 2019.
DUCES: Jim Aducci returned to the I-Cubs roster yesterday after a brief stint in Chicago. The first baseman reclaims a five-game hitting streak during which he is batting .400 (8-for-20) with five runs, one double, three home runs and 10 RBI. In eight games since May 17, Adduci is 12-for-28 (.429).
AGAINST ALBUQUERQUE: Friday opens the first and only series between the I-Cubs and Isotopes in 2019. Iowa hosted the only meeting between the clubs in 2018, with Albuquerque taking two of three. The Isotopes lead the all-time series with a 125-118 mark, but Iowa holds a 70-53 record in Des Moines.
COMMON THREADS: Albuquerque's roster includes former I-Cub Elliot Soto. Soto appeared in 110 games with Iowa in 2014 and 2017. Pat Valaika also comes to town with the Isotopes. The infielder is the brother of former I-Cubs hitting coach and current Cubs Minor League Hitting Coordinator, Chris Valiaka. Iowa's pitching coach Rod Nichols was born in Burlington, IA, but spent much of his childhood in Albuquerque. Nichols attended the University of New Mexico.
BATTLE TESTED: After running into one of the league's top offensive teams in El Paso, the I-Cubs face another top-five offensive team with Albuquerque. Though the Isotopes are tied for fourth in the league with 97 homers, they are in the bottom half of the league with 38 road home runs, while holding the third-best mark of 59 homers at home.
HOME-NOT SO SWEET-HOME: Iowa is tied for the league-lead with 23 road wins in 2019, holding a 23-10 record while scoring 5.5 runs per game and allowing just 4.0. At Principal Park, it's a different story for the I-Cubs. They hold an 11-17 mark at home and have the fourth-fewest home wins in the PCL. They have scored 4.1 runs and allowed 4.9 per game at Principal Park in 2019. Many teams in the PCL have struggled on their home field, with only one team (San Antonio, 20-9) five or more games over .500 in home games.
SHORT HOPS: Junichi Tazawa surrendered his first earned run with Iowa when former I-Cub Jason Vosler took him deep on Thursday...At 19 years old, Luis Vazquez ties Carlos Zambrano (2000) as the youngest Iowa player to hit a home run...Robel Garcia hit his eighth home run with Iowa and his 14th overall to lead all Cubs-affiliated players...The I-Cubs had the fewest strikeouts with the bases loaded entering last night's game, where they did so twice.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.