The Iowa Cubs combined on a team no-hitter on Sunday, winning 2-0 to take the first series of the season against the Pirates Triple-A affiliate Indianapolis Indians. Hey, at least someone is succeeding against the Pirates today.
Shelby Miller, Tommy Nance, Brad Wieck and Ryan Meisinger teamed up on an absolutely dominating afternoon, striking out 15 Indians batters while walking just three. Extra kudos to right fielder Rafael Ortega who made a nice sliding grab in right field for the 27th out. It’s the Iowa Cubs’ 15th no-hitter in franchise history, and first since Chris Rusin pulled it off in 2014.
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) May 9, 2021
Miller was in Des Moines on his first rehabilitation outing since suffering a back strain in April, and he pitched a clean three innings to start the game. As is usually the case with Miller, he was extremely fastball-heavy in this one, commanding and getting whiffs aplenty with the 92-94 mph offering. The offspeed feel looked better as the game progressed. Miller is out of options, so he’ll have to return to the Cubs roster at the completion of his rehabilitation assignment.
Next came Tommy Nance, the 30-year-old reliever who was a surprise inclusion in big league camp this Spring Training. We saw why today. Nance was dominating over three quick, efficient innings of work. He was 95-97 mph with the fastball and mixed in two breaking balls in the mid-to-high 80s. Nance also drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to center field, in what was, amazingly, the first plate appearance of his professional career. The I-Cubs would add an insurance run in the eighth when Abiatal Avelino singled in D.J. Artis (who is in Iowa as an injury replacement).
Brad Wieck then pitched two innings of perfect baseball, striking out five of the six he faced. With Jake Marisnick likely headed to the IL, and most of the other 40-man options not really options for the big league roster (like Miguel Amaya or Brailyn Marquez), I wonder if this extremely well-pitched outing might have Wieck headed to Cleveland on Tuesday.
There was a little drama in the ninth outing, as Ryan Meisinger gave up one hard-hit ball to first base that first baseman Taylor Gushue was able to knock down. And with two outs, Meisinger gave up a little flare to right field off the bat of Kevin Kramer, but Ortega had a perfect read on it.
Great stuff out of Des Moines today, and perhaps meaningful to a Chicago roster that keeps racking up injuries.