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May 13 Game Notes: Iowa vs. Omaha

May 13, 2022

IOWA CUBS (17-15) vs. OMAHA STORM CHASERS (15-17) Friday, May 13, 2022 • 7:08 • Principal Park • Des Moines, IA RHP Caleb Kilian (1-0, 1.46) vs. LHP Austin Cox (0-2, 4.40)

IOWA CUBS (17-15) vs. OMAHA STORM CHASERS (15-17)

Friday, May 13, 2022 • 7:08 • Principal Park • Des Moines, IA

RHP Caleb Kilian (1-0, 1.46) vs. LHP Austin Cox (0-2, 4.40)

TONIGHT’S GAME: Taking the mound tonight will be two top prospects for each Chicago and Kansas City, respectively. Caleb Kilian ranks as the top pitching prospect in the Cubs’ organization and the No. 4 overall prospect, while Austin Cox comes in as the Royals’ No. 18 overall prospect. Kilian will be making his seventh start of the year coming off his first win, a game in which he spun five scoreless innings. In that game, he allowed four hits and two walks while striking out five. Cox is 0-2 with a 4.40 ERA over six games including five starts for the Storm Chasers. The southpaw has allowed 14 earned runs on 32 hits over 28.2 innings pitched. He has walked 10 and struck out 19 batters over his six outings.

ON PITCH: While the Iowa hitters have been putting up some of their best offensive numbers of the year so far this series, the pitching staff has been keeping Omaha on the opposite end of the spectrum. Yesterday was no exception, as three pitchers combined to complete the first shutout of the season for the I-Cubs. Starter Luke Farrell set a strong foundation by completing five innings and allowing only one hit and two walks. He became the second starter this series to go at least five innings and allow only one hit, as Matt Swarmer accomplished the same feat in Tuesday’s opener. All said, the starters have already combined for 15.1 innings against Omaha, which is a season high through the first three games of a series, and allowed only twelve baserunners. Those strong showings have helped take the pressure off the bullpen, and they’ve been even more impressive. In their first 11.2 innings of work this week, Iowa’s relievers have combined to go 2-0 with two saves and only one earned run. As a whole, the staff has limited Omaha’s lineup to a .130 average (12-for-92) and a .216 on-base percentage this series while racking up 30 strikeouts compared to just eight walks.

MORE THAN A BACKSTOP: Erick Castillo went 2-for-3 in yesterday’s game, bringing his average on the year to .444. This series, Iowa’s catchers have been dangerous offensively, combining to hit .636, going 7-for-11. Tyler Payne started off the series with a 4-for-4 effort on Tuesday, followed by John Hicks’ 1-for-4 game on Wednesday. If you date back to Sunday, Payne added a 3-for-4 game, bringing I-Cubs’ catchers average in the last four games to .667. Over those four games, they are hitting 10-for-15 with three runs scored, a double and three runs batted in.

RO-BOMB’S FOR THE WIN: For the third straight game yesterday, Robel Garcia went deep. It marked his fourth home run this series, and fifth home run in his last six games. The switch hitter is now just one home run shy of the team lead with seven on the season. He ranks second in the International League with a .658 slugging percentage and first in OPS at 1.067. Garcia has his average up to .289 on the year, good for fourth on the active roster among players with at least 10 at-bats. His four-game hitting streak ties his season long, set back on April 5-8, the first four games Iowa played. In 2019, the infielder his .281 with 21 home runs in 76 games with the I-Cubs, hitting home runs in three straight games three different times that season. In addition to those three games, he recorded back-to-back games with home runs three times.

MAKE IT FIVE: Dating back to their final game against St. Paul on Sunday, Iowa is currently riding a four-game winning streak. Over the four games, they have outscored their opponents by 16 runs, at 27-11. Their four-game streak ties the longest streak last year’s team had all season. The 2021 I-Cubs had just two four-game winning streaks from May 16-21 and September 14-17. Oddly enough, each of those streaks included Omaha, and the first streak from May 16-21 identically matched the current streak Iowa is on right now. In both scenarios, Iowa won the final game of the series against St. Paul on the road and took the first three in the series against Omaha at home. The second streak of the 2021 season came in the first four games of a series against the Storm Chasers at Werner Park. Iowa is now two games over the .500 mark at 17-15, tying the furthest they have been over even all season.

KEEP IT ROLLING: Caleb Kilian is set to toe the rubber for the I-Cubs tonight, entering the game with a 1-0 record and a 1.46 ERA. He earned his first win at the Triple-A level in his most recent outing on Sunday against St. Paul. That win started the winning streak that Iowa is on, currently sitting at four games. Kilian, the No. 4 overall prospect in Chicago’s system has had great success early in his Triple-A career. Just six starts in so far, the right-hander has never allowed more than one earned run in any start. In each of his last five contests, he has thrown at least four innings, reaching five in two of those games. Kilian has had control issues at times this year more so than years past, surrendering a free pass to two people in each of his last three games. He has walked two or more batters in a single game four times this year now, doing so just six times in his entire professional career. The righty walked just 13 batters all of last season and has 10 entering tonight’s game. With one more out, he would have qualified for league leading statistics, in which he would be ranked first in all of Triple-A with a 1.46 ERA, 17 points higher than the current leader, who holds a 1.63 ERA.

AGAINST OMAHA: The I-80 rivalry will continue today, in game four of the six-game series between Iowa and Omaha. The two teams will see each other for a total of 21 games this season, after playing each other 40 times in 2021. With their victory yesterday, Iowa guaranteed a split of the current series, winning each of the first three games so far. With a victory tonight, they would earn their second series win of the season. Iowa now holds the all-time advantage over Omaha with a record of 311-289, going 170-132 all-time at home.

SHORT HOPS: Yesterday marked the first time all season that Iowa has scored first at Principal Park and won the game, they were 0-1 when scoring first at home entering yesterday’s contest…yesterday was Narciso Crook’s first multi-hit game of the season, recording a double and a triple…three of Omaha’s four hits yesterday were doubles, giving them six doubles this series, good for half of their hits; the Storm Chasers also have two home runs this series, meaning eight of their 12 hits have gone for extra bases.