Iowa Cubs fall to Memphis Redbirds 8-1; now 0-2 on the year


Pimentel hit hard as I-Cubs fall to Memphis

A rough start from right-hander Carlos Pimentel and a lack of offense proved costly on Friday night, as the Iowa Cubs dropped their second-straight contest to the rival Memphis Redbirds – this time by a 8-1 final.

Memphis (2-0) got going early on, scoring seven of their runs in the first two innings. Redbirds outfielder Stephen Piscotty, who is ranked as the organization’s top prospect, continued his hot start to the season, clubbing a solo blast in the bottom of the first. A double off the bat of Greg Garcia pushed the lead to 2-0 before the inning drew to a close.

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For Pimentel (0-1), things only got worse from there. The first of the five second-inning tallies for the Redbirds scored via a bases-loaded base-on-balls and first baseman Xavier Scruggs followed later in the frame with a grand slam – making it 7-0 Memphis.

The Iowa right-hander lasted just 3 2/3 innings on Friday, allowing five earned runs (seven total) on six hits. He also struck out five Redbirds hitter – but walked four and allowed a pair of long-balls.

Iowa (0-2) pushed across its lone run in the top of the third, already trailing 7-0, when a throwing error by Memphis catcher Cody Stanley allowed Mike Baxter to score, while Junior Lake took second base. The club managed just five base hits – while going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Pimentel’s counterpart Tim Cooney was dominant all night-long in his first start of the season. Cooney (1-0) scattered four hits, allowing just one unearned run in six innings of work, striking out three in the process.

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Addison Russell and Kris Bryant combined to go 1-for-8 on the night. The Iowa third baseman is now batting .125 through the first two games, while Russell has an impressive .375 clip early-on.

What Stood Out:

Iowa’s offense was sporadic once again, but for me, the story was the defense. For the second-straight contest, the Cubs’ defense made an error – and the team has three miscues already. Russell, the Iowa shortstop, has two of those three – including one in each contest.

It’s early on – and far too soon to start losing our cool over things like this – but it’s worth taking note of – especially given how temperamental Cubs fans can be about the shortstop position after watching some of Starlin Castro‘s fielding miscues over the last five years. Given that Russell is the heir apparent, he’ll have plenty of attention on him this season both at the dish and in the field.

What’s Next:

Iowa (0-2) and Memphis (2-0) will continue their four-game set on Saturday night in Tennessee, with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT.

Left-hander Eric Jokisch (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will get the ball for Iowa, making his first start of the 2015 campaign. He will be opposed by Memphis right-hander Zach Petrick (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who pitched to a 4.62 ERA last season with the Redbirds.

Next: I-Cubs drop opener by a 7-4 final to Memphis