Explorers (5-8, 5th in South, 2.5 GB) vs. Dogs (8-4, 2nd in North, 0.5 GB)
Friday, 5/31: RHP Eric Karch (0-2, 7.36 ERA) vs. RHP Trevor Simms (0-1, 6.48 ERA)
Saturday, 6/1: RHP Taylor Jordan (0-2, 9.00 ERA) vs. LHP Jake Dahlberg (1-0, 3.27 ERA)
Sunday, 6/2: RHP Jason Garcia (3-0, 0.50 ERA) vs. LHP Austin Wright (0-2, 7.94 ERA)
SERIES NOTES: Series Notes May 31-June 2 vs. SC
ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Chicago Dogs won their third series of the 2019 season over the Sioux Falls Canaries and welcome another South Division opponent to Impact Field in the Sioux City Explorers for a three-game weekend series. Game starts are 7:05 PM on Friday, May 31, 7:05 PM on Saturday, June 1, and 1:05 PM on Sunday, June 2.
Sitting at 8-4 and just half a game behind the first-place Winnipeg Goldeyes, the Dogs have climbed to the top of the American Association offensive leaderboards, sitting in first place in batting average (.296), slugging percentage (.487) and OPS (.861), tied for first in home runs (15) and third in runs scored (68). The bats continued to find production in all areas of the lineup with Trey Vavra, Kelly Dugan and Victor Roache all heating up at the right times to propel the Dogs’ offense. Dugan hit his first home run of the year and raised his average 54 points during the series, while Victor Roache used a 7-for-10 series with two home runs, one of which was a walk-off winner, to take the team’s average (.386) crown and move into second in OPS (1.095) behind Tony Rosselli.
On the pitching side of things, Chicago’s staff brought its ERA down to 3.79 after registering its first shutout of the season in a 1-0 walk-off win in game two of Wednesday’s doubleheader. D.J. Snelten and Luke Westphal continue to be the one-two punch of the Dogs’ rotation, combining for 12 strikeouts, eight hits and just two runs in the doubleheader sweep. Westphal’s hitless streak ended at 11.2 IP at the hands of Canaries leadoff man Brett Vertigan, but has racked up 20 strikeouts in his last two outings and still carries a scoreless streak of 17.2 IP. Josh Goossen-Brown continued to impress in high-leverage, late-inning situations, picking up the win in game two after two shutout innings of work. The win is the first of the season for him to go along with two saves and a 1.69 ERA.
SCOUTING THE EXPLORERS
It has been a tale of two seasons for the incoming Sioux City Explorers, who last season finished 71-29, the best mark in the Association by nine games, and now sit at 5-8. They carried a 2-8 record into their most recent series against the also-bottom-feeding Texas AirHogs but came away with a home sweep at Lewis and Clark Park. As a team, they rank in the bottom third in almost every batting and pitching category, but an unquestionable bright spot has been Sunday’s starter Jason Garcia, who has allowed one run over 18 innings in three starts and zero extra-base hits.
Nate Samson, now in his fifth season with the Explorers, has hit safely in every game but one this season and brings a .300 average and two stolen bases with him as he leads the Explorers into Impact Field against the Dogs. Luke Bonfield and Michael Lang each have one of the team’s three total home runs, but used the team’s combined 26-4 series sweep of the AirHogs to boost their individual averages over .300.
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