Iowa Cubs (29-20) at New Orleans Baby Cakes (27-22)
Saturday, May 25 • 6:00 PM • Shrine on Airline • Metairie, LA
RHP Trevor Clifton (1-2, 4.32) vs. RHP Dustin Beggs (2-1, 3.79)
TONIGHT'S GAME: It's the end of an era as Iowa and New Orleans meet for the final time this season and in the two team's history as New Orleans will move its franchise to Wichita for 2020. Iowa enters the game coming off a 3-1 series victory in Omaha.
BOOTED: Iowa made two errors last night - throwing errors by Trent Giambrone and Robel Garcia. It was just the fifth time this season that the I-Cubs have made two or more errors in the game with the team going 1-4 in those contests. Iowa still tops all of Triple-A with a .985 fielding percentage and is tied with Indianapolis with the fewest errors with 26. Conversely, Iowa has the fifth-fewest double plays turned among the 30 teams with 30.
WALK THE LINE: Iowa's bullpen did not walk a batter last night for the sixth time in its last 10 games. As a team, the I-Cubs have the fifth-fewest walks served up in the PCL with 167. The bullpen averages 3.76 walks per nine innings, while the rotation is averaging a 3.80 mark.
ILLEGAL ACTIVITY: Iowa is one for its last five stolen base tries as Johnny Field was caught on the basepaths last night. The I-Cubs are second from the bottom in the PCL with a 63% success rate (27 SB, 16 CS) in steal attempts. Round Rock paces the league with an 82% success rate (44 SB, 10 CS). Trent Giambrone leads the I-Cubs with six swiped bags.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Iowa boasts a Triple-A-best 18-6 record in road games this season. Iowa's road winning percentage is the fourth-best in all of Minor League Baseball, trailing Advanced-A DownEast (18-4) and Single-A Delmarva (19-4) and Greensboro (17-5). The I-Cubs batting average is a similar .245 at home and .252 on the road, though the team's slugging mark rises from .399 at Principal Park to .453 as the visiting team. The I-Cubs have blasted 36 home runs on the road compared to 22 at home and have allowed just 21 on the road and 35 at home. The staff's 4.66 home ERA falls to 3.84 in enemy territory.
AGAINST NEW ORLEANS: New Orleans holds a 4-7 series edge over Iowa heading into the final six games between the two teams. The I-Cubs' 3-5 clip vs. the Baby Cakes at Principal Park this season was its worst home record against New Orleans since matching the score in 2013. In the current season series, Dixon Machado has thrived against his spring training team, going 7-for-25 (.280) with three of his seven homers on the season. The shortstop has batted in nine of Iowa's 31 runs in the matchup.
CLOSING COMMITTEE: Tim Collins earned the save in Thursday's victory to become the eighth I-Cub to earn a save in 2019. It was his first save since July 28, 2014 at New Orleans while pitching for Omaha. Iowa has saves in three of its last five games and four of its last seven after going seven games without a save.
FROM THE START: Trent Giambrone took a 1-1 pitch from Foster Griffin over the fence for a leadoff homer last night. It was the first leadoff smash for an I-Cub since Chris Coghlan on Aug. 11, 2018 at New Orleans. Iowa is 14-5 this season when scoring first.
STRONG ARMED: Matt Swarmer recorded his team-leading fourth quality start of the season Thursday, snapping a streak of 12 games without a quality outing for the I-Cubs. Iowa has 11 quality starts on the season and is 8-3 in those games.
ROSTER ROTATION: Today, the Chicago Cubs recalled RHP Tim Collins and RHP Dillon Maples from Iowa. Both are joining Chicago for the second time this season. To make room on the roster, OF Mark Zagunis and RHP James Norwood were optioned.
SHORT HOPS: Dakota Mekkes has spun 5.1 scoreless innings through four outings and has allowed just two hits, walked none and fanned six through this span...Iowa has homered in five-straight games and is 23-11 when hitting one out...Iowa's 16 hits allowed last night marked a season high and the 15 hits tagged to starter Alec Mills were a career high.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.