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September 25 Game Notes: Iowa @ St. Paul

September 25, 2021

IOWA CUBS (51-72) @ ST. PAUL SAINTS (63-60) Saturday, September 25, 2021 • 6:05 PM • CHS Field • St. Paul, MN LHP Luis Lugo (1-4, 5.40) vs. RHP Drew Strotman (2-2, 7.28)

IOWA CUBS (51-72) @ ST. PAUL SAINTS (63-60)

Saturday, September 25, 2021 • 6:05 PM • CHS Field • St. Paul, MN

LHP Luis Lugo (1-4, 5.40) vs. RHP Drew Strotman (2-2, 7.28)

TONIGHT’S GAME: Iowa will give the ball to Luis Lugo looking to bounce back from consecutive losses to the Saints in game four of their five-game series tonight. The southpaw is 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA in six starts with Iowa this year, allowing 18 earned runs on 29 hits in his 30.0 innings pitched. Six of those 29 hits have been long balls, while he has walked 17 compared to just 18 strikeouts. Lugo will look to bounce back against St. Paul, after allowing six earned runs on seven hits in just four innings against them in his first start with Iowa. That outing back on August 21 marked his shortest start this year as a member of the I-Cubs. Opposite of Lugo will be Drew Strotman taking the ball for St. Paul in tonight’s matchup. Strotman is 2-2 with a 7.28 ERA in 10 starts with St. Paul, and was 7-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 12 starts with Triple-A Durham. With the Saints, the righty has allowed 38 earned runs on 55 hits including nine home runs. He has walked 25 compared to 38 strikeouts, while opponents are hitting .291 against him. Iowa is hitting .341 as a team against him in their two games, scoring five runs on 15 hits.

GETTING IN HIS GROOVE: After recording his first two Triple-A hits on Thursday night, Christopher Morel extended his hitting streak to two games last night against St. Paul. In his second game with Iowa on Thursday, Morel went 2-for-3 with a run scored. In his first at-bat in the second inning, Morel singled for his first Triple-A hit. He manufactured a run for the I-Cubs to extend their lead to 2-0, stealing second and scoring from second on a hard hit single to the outfield. The utility man spent the entire 2021 season with Double-A Tennessee, hitting .220 (81-for-368) with 17 doubles, five triples and 17 home runs. He walked 41 times compared to 124 strikeouts, while stealing 16 bags. Last night, the 22-year-old added another single to lead off the fourth inning. Since being assigned to Iowa on September 22, Morel is now 3-for-10 in his first two games. The No. 20 overall ranked prospect in Chicago’s system by has also swiped two bases already with the I-Cubs.

SPREADING IT AROUND: Eight of the nine batters in Iowa’s starting lineup reached base safely at least once in last night’s game. Seven of the nine recorded hits, with Abiatal Avelino accounting for two, the only player for either team to have a multi-hit game. Caleb Knight, the nine hitter, did not record a hit, but did take a walk to reach base safely. The only player in Iowa’s starting lineup that didn’t reach base last night was their leadoff hitter, Johneshwy Fargas. In all four of his at-bats, Fargas flew out to centerfield, accounting for half (4/8) of Jimmy Kerrigan’s put-outs last night.

A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: In the ninth inning last night, infielder Levi Jordan was pinch hit for by Ian Miller. Entering the at-bat, Miller was a perfect 3-for-3 with two walks in pinch-hit appearances on the year for Iowa. Last night, with a runner on first and one out, Miller flew out to left, marking the first time all year his pinch-hit at-bat resulted in an out. His .750 batting average when pinch-hitting this season is the best for any Iowa player with at least four at-bats.

A LITTLE SOMETHING COOKING: Entering Sunday’s game against Omaha, Brendon Little had allowed all seven runners that he inherited to score. In that game against the Storm Chasers, the southpaw got out of a jam, stranding the two runners he inherited for the first time all year with Iowa. On Thursday night, Little inherited a bases-loaded jam and recorded back-to-back swinging strikeouts to keep the I-Cubs in the game. The lefty looked dominant in his 1.2 innings, allowing just one hit while striking out four batters, lowering his ERA to 2.93. In his last two outings, he has thrown 3.1 innings, allowing two hits while striking out seven. The multi-strikeout game marked his sixth game out of 11 at the Triple-A level in which he has two or more strikeouts. He has at least one strikeout in nine of those 11 contests.

A BIRTHDAY STREAK: Levi Jordan celebrated his 26th birthday yesterday by recording another hit against St. Paul, giving him at least one hit in four straight games. It is the longest hitting streak of the year for the University of Washington alumni in his time with the I-Cubs. Since September 18, Jordan is hitting an even .500 (6-for-12) with a double, triple and three runs batted in. He has struck out four times, including one last night, but has also walked twice, raising his on-base percentage to .533 over the streak. After starting the month of September hitting just .091 (2-for-22) in his first eight games of the month, he is hitting .474 (9-for-19) including three multi-hit efforts in his last seven games. 3-2-5-4-2-8-6

A QUANTITY OF QUALITY: Joe Biagini threw six innings and allowed only three runs last night, giving him his fifth quality start for Iowa this season. Last night’s start was Biagini’s second straight quality start and his third in his last four outings. The righty is now tied with Matt Swarmer and Cory Abbott for most on the team. Those three pitchers have been the cornerstones of Iowa’s rotation for most of the season, with their 53 combined starts accounting for 43% of Iowa’s starting assignments and their 15 combined quality starts making up 58% of the quality starts Iowa has received. Though they’ve been mostly reliable, it has not always paid off, as the I-Cubs are an even 13-13 when they receive a quality start. Biagini himself has been a little less lucky still; at 1-2, he is the only one of the group of three to hold a losing record when giving a quality start. His .333 winning percentage after submitting a quality start is second worst on the team, trailing only Mike Hauschild, who is 0-3.

AGAINST ST. PAUL: Iowa and St. Paul are set to play game four of their five-game series tonight, with St. Paul owning the upper-hand. After winning 3-1 last night, the Saints lead the current series two games to one, and lead the season series 21 games to 12. All three of St. Paul’s runs last night came on a three-run blast from Jose Miranda, giving the Saints 45 home runs this year against Iowa in 33 games. Over that same 33 game stretch, Iowa has hit just 19 home runs against Saints pitching. Iowa will look to close in on a .500 record against St. Paul when the teams meet at CHS Field, currently trailing 12-9 on the road.

SHORT HOPS: With his double last night, Brennen Davis has now reached base safely in all nine of his games with Iowa since joining the team on Tuesday, September 14...Iowa fell to 41-15 on the year when they out-hit their opponents, dropping yesterday’s game 3-1 despite out-hitting St. Paul eight to five...the I-Cubs have a chance to end the year at an even .500 record when playing night games on the road, entering the game with a 27-28 record...after Joe Biagini’s loss last night, Iowa’s starting pitchers this year are now 20-50 and have allowed 110 home runs...Iowa is 4-13 this year in Saturday games. Four wins is the lowest number for any day of the week, following Thursday, in which they have seven wins.