I was in Iowa over the weekend to watch the Colorado Springs Sky Sox take on the Iowa Cubs. The two teams were rained out on Saturday, but were able to dodge the raindrops long enough on Sunday to get a seven inning game in before having the second half of their doubleheader postponed. The Sky Sox got home runs from Orlando Arcia and WIll Middlebrooks as they topped Iowa 4-3. Here are a few of my notes from Sunday’s contest.
Orlando Arcia – I’ve seen Arcia play many times, so not much should be surprising at this point but he really does stand out on the diamond. He made some crazy athletic plays defensively and people are going to love watching him when he gets to Miller Park. He plays with so much energy and is constantly in the middle of the action. His home run was pulled to left and was a high,arching shot that cleared the wall.
Will Middlebrooks – Middlebrooks had the play of the day when he came up with a clutch three-run home run in the top of the fifth to put the Sky Sox ahead to stay. It was his lone hit on the day as he went 1-for-3 with a strikeout. He had some questionable strike calls go against him however as the umpire seemed to expand his zone at times (perhaps in an effort to get the game in). He played sound defensively at third base, showing nice range and an arm that was right on the money with his throws to first.
Michael Reed – Reed’s been in a bit of a slump at the plate, but without looking at the numbers it would be hard to know that. He put together solid at bats and managed to draw one walk for the Sky Sox. Nothing he did really stands out, but he’s just one of those fundamentally sound guys who will make a nice fourth/fifth outfielder with his ability to play all over the outfield and consistently give opposing pitchers headaches. He was in left field for this one and things were pretty uneventful for him defensively.
Garin Cecchini – Cecchini got the start at first base but didn’t look totally comfortable there. He had one ball get by him that a more experienced defender may have had a play on. Offensively, he did manage to draw a walk ahead of Middlebrooks’ big three-run homer.
Manny Pina – Hitting in the five spot in the Sky Sox lineup, Pina had the lone multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 including a triple that he legged out after splitting two Cubs defenders and finding a big open hole in their outfield alignment. He had one stolen base go against but that appeared to be more on the pitcher and otherwise was solid defensively
Nate Orf – Orf didn’t do much offensively, but he did manage to put the ball in play in all three of his trips to the plate. His biggest contribution came in the field at second base, where he made a nice spinning throw in the seventh inning, ranging into shallow right field then turning to throw out the runner at first to help snuff out an ICubs rally.
Tyler Cravy – Cravy looked like he might have added some weight from when I had seen him in the past and didn’t appear to have his “A” game. His fastball was sitting around 92-93 mph, but he was having trouble locating, especially early in the game. The control issues could be chalked up to the lousy weather conditions and Cravy eventually settled in, striking out six in 3.2 innings of work and allowing two runs.
Jacob Barnes – Barnes was sitting mid 90’s with his fastball and turned in an impressive 1-2-3 frame in his lone inning of relief. He had some late wiggle on his pitches that seemed to give the Cubs hitters a bit of trouble and he appeared to have the best stuff of any of the four Sky Sox pitchers that worked in this game.
Damien Magnifico – Magnifico came on for the save in the seventh and, as usual, was throwing smoke. From what I remember from watching him previously, his hard stuff was fairly straight, but on Sunday there appeared to be a little more sink to some of his pitches, which was encouraging. He allowed a couple of baserunners and got himself into a jam, but did a nice job of bearing down from the stretch and working his way out of trouble to record the save.