Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
Triple-A Affiliate
The Official Site of the Iowa Cubs Iowa Cubs

June 9 Game Notes: Iowa vs. Columbus

June 9, 2021

IOWA CUBS (10-19) vs. COLUMBUS CLIPPERS (11-19) Wednesday, June 9, 2021 • 6:38 PM • Principal Park • Des Moines, IA RHP Matt Swarmer (0-1, 23.63) vs. LHP Kirk McCarty (4-0, 4.04)


Wednesday, June 9, 2021 • 6:38 PM • Principal Park • Des Moines, IA

RHP Matt Swarmer (0-1, 23.63) vs. LHP Kirk McCarty (4-0, 4.04)

TONIGHT’S GAME: Iowa will take on Columbus in the second game of the six-game series tonight, looking to end their five-game losing streak. Matt Swarmer will make his 2021 Principal Park debut after joining the team for his first start in Omaha last week. He’ll face off with lefty Kirk McCarty, who has yet to lose a game for Columbus.

BOUNCE BACK: Matt Swarmer is set to make his second start for Iowa this season, after making 25 starts in 27 total games for the I-Cubs in 2019. Swarmer made five starts for Double-A Tennessee before joining Iowa’s roster on June 1. In his first outing with Iowa, he surrendered seven runs on nine hits over just 2.2 innings pitched. It was his shortest outing since June 7, 2017, when he spun two innings of relief for South Bend. Swarmer will look to keep the ball in the park tonight, as the long ball bit him once again in his last start. He gave up three home runs to the Storm Chasers on Friday, accounting for four of the seven runs he allowed. Home runs were a problem in 2019 for the righty, allowing 36 on the year, setting a single-season record for an Iowa Cubs pitcher.

STARTING NOW: Iowa’s rotation has seen a lot of turnover so far this season, with 12 different pitchers receiving starting assignments in the first 29 games, and the instability has led to a relatively inexperienced current rotation. When the I-Cubs opened the season, their rotation featured a combined 599 career professional starts, including 160 in the Major Leagues and 100 at Triple-A. Conversely, the last five active players to start a game for the I-Cubs - Robert Stock, Matt Swarmer, Scott Effross, Adrian Sampson, and Cory Abbott - have combined for just 291 career starts, including the ones they’ve pitched for Iowa so far in 2021. Over half of those starts belong to Sampson, who is also the only one of the group with MLB experience. Of the five most current starters, two of them made their Triple-A debut this season (Abbott and Effross), two of them have less than ten career starts overall (Stock and Effross), and only one of them - Abbott - has won a game for Iowa. The five of them are a combined 1-5 for Iowa with a 6.43 ERA (39ER/55.1IP) in 12 starts.

THREE UP, THREE DOWN: In his Triple-A debut last night, Ben Leeper struck out one Columbus batter on his way to a perfect ninth inning. Leeper was signed as a minor league free agent by Chicago on June 21, 2020, out of Oklahoma State University. In his first professional season, Leeper started the season with Double-A Tennessee. In 10 games with the Smokies, the reliever held a 1.26 ERA (2 ER / 14.1 IP) with just four walks and 22 strikeouts, which led the Tennessee bullpen through the first 28 games. He was an All-Big 12 honorable mention with Oklahoma State in 2019 and was 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in six games in 2020 before the season was cancelled.

BEHIND THE EIGHT BALL: After losing 8-5 in last night’s game to the Columbus Clippers, Iowa has allowed eight or more runs in four of their last five games. Spanning over the I-Cubs’ first 16 games, from the beginning of the season on May 4 to May 23, the pitching staff allowed eight or more runs just once. Since then, over a 13-game span, they have allowed eight or more runs five times. Furthermore, in Iowa’s first 13 games of the season, they didn’t allow more than six runs once, allowing six once on May 12 against St. Paul. Since May 21, in 16 games, the I-Cubs have allowed six or more runs 10 times.

NO RELIEF: Iowa’s bullpen allowed seven runs on eight hits last night, marking the fifth straight game in which relievers have combined to allow three or more runs. The bullpen opened the season with a streak of 13 straight games in which they allowed two runs or less, but they’ve allowed three or more in eight of the 16 games since then. They are 2-4 with a 6.75 ERA during that span.

FROM THE TWO-HOLE: Andrew Romine has hit out of the two-spot in the lineup in each of the past two games. In those games, he is hitting .714 (5-for-7) with two runs scored, a double, a triple, two runs batted in and has taken one free pass. Before hitting second in the lineup, he spent the majority of his time hitting from the bottom of the order, starting seven games from the seventh spot in the order and 15 games out of the eighth spot. He has seen a jump in production since June 2, getting at least one hit in five of his six games over that span. Romine has also had four multi-hit games over that six game span, one more than he had in his first 23 games. In all, the infielder is hitting .524 (11-for-21) with six runs scored, four extra-base hits, three runs batted in and two walks in his last six games.

TRAYCE ON TIME: Since joining the I-Cubs in early May, Trayce Thompson has been a reliable and productive presence in the lineup. He has hit for a .266 average (21-for-79) over 22 games - all but two that Iowa has played since he was added to the roster. Thompson’s power has also been a welcome force in what has been a depleted lineup, especially in the last few series. He currently leads the I-Cubs in slugging percentage at .506, powered by a team-leading seven doubles and four home runs, which also leads the active roster. Thompson’s 16 RBI are good for second place on the team behind Taylor Gushue, and his 12 walks lead the active roster as well.

HE’S NUMBER ONE: Nolan Jones, the Indians’ No. 1 prospect and MLB’s No. 29 overall ( went 3-for-5 with three doubles last night, marking his first three-hit game with Columbus. Jones made his Triple-A debut at the start of the 2021 season, and coming into this series had been hitting just .172 (16-for-93) with six doubles and a home run in his first 28 games. With his performance last night, Jones boosted his average to .194 (19-for-98) and drove in his ninth run on the season. He’s the second highest ranked prospect Iowa has faced this season, following LHP Daniel Lynch who is currently with Omaha and ranks No. 23 overall.

AGAINST COLUMBUS: Iowa and Columbus will play their second of six games at Principal Park tonight. The Clippers are in search of their first series win since opening week, when they defeated Louisville 4-1 on the road. Iowa’s last series win came May 18-23, when they bested Omaha three games to two. The I-Cubs face the Clippers for a total of 12 games this season.

SHORT HOPS: With Iowa’s loss to Columbus, the I-Cubs dropped into last place in the division for the first time... they sit half a game back from the Clippers and 10.5 games out of first... Iowa is now 2-4 in series openers, including a 1-3 mark at home... Tony Wolters' catcher interference error on Tuesday extended the I-Cubs’ streak to nine straight games with an error.