Dogs (47-34, 3rd North, 5.5 GB) vs. Goldeyes (47-35, 4th North, 6.0 GB)
Thursday, 8/15: LHP Jake Dahlberg (6-6, 5.62 ERA) vs RHP Joel Seddon (2-4, 6.53 ERA)
Friday, 8/16: RHP Carlos Zambrano (2-0, 5.23 ERA) vs. RHP Kevin Hilton (0-1, 3.86 ERA)
Saturday, 8/17: LHP Austin Wright (5-6, 4.31 ERA) vs. LHP Mitchell Lambson (11-2, 2.86 ERA)
SERIES NOTES: Series Notes Aug. 15-17 WPG
WINNIPEG, MB, Canada — The Chicago Dogs kept pace in the North Division playoff hunt on the back of their second straight series win, taking two of three on the road from the Lincoln Saltdogs. The starting pitching was dominant, and Keon Barnum hit a home run in every game of the series to extend his lead in the home run chase to seven. His 26 homers in 81 games have him on pace to break the American Association single-season home run record (30) by two.
Chicago (47-34, 3rd North) saw starter D.J. Snelten extend a streak of starts in which he has thrown seven or more innings, struck out at least five, walked two or fewer and allowed just one earned run to three in a row with a dominant showing on Wednesday night in Lincoln. He hit new season bests in strikeouts (10) and hits allowed (two) in the 8-1 win. Chicago’s bullpen stayed hot as well during the series against the Saltdogs, striking out a combined 15 batters in nine innings in which they allowed just two runs on three hits and two walks.
Offensively, the headline was Keon Barnum’s three home runs and six RBI, the last of which was a grand slam which propelled him to the top the league leaderboards in runs driven in with 79 on the season. Gustavo Pierre also had a stellar series, going 5-for-8 and lifting his average to .315 on the year. Kelly Dugan tallied five hits as one of four Dogs that registered three-hit performances during the midweek set.
Chicago now continues their road trip with their final regular-season trip to Shaw Park to face the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Thursday night’s game will start at 8:00 PM, Friday’s game is slated to start at 7:00 PM and the finale will kick off at 6:00 PM on Saturday night.
LHP Jake Dahlberg will start the series opener for the Dogs against Winnipeg. Dahlberg was tagged for five runs in just under six frames his last time out against the first-place Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, getting only two runs on four hits of run support in the loss. The two-time Horizon League Pitcher of the Year’s command has been on the mark this year, allowing just 23 walks in 83.1 IP, and never more than three per outing, a mark he has only touched twice in 15 appearances.
RHP Carlos Zambrano is slated to start game two on Friday night. Zambrano made his first start on Sunday afternoon in a 14-7 win over the RedHawks. He gave up two earned runs on five hits and struck out three in a three-inning, 85-pitch effort. At his best, Zambrano has been dominant out of the bullpen, pitching to contact and limiting walks. Through his first 25 appearances (32.1 IP) of 2019, the former Cub had just five walks to his name.
LHP Austin Wright will start the series finale for Chicago. Wright posted his third double-digit strikeout performance of 2019 with 11 strikeouts in six innings in a 5-4 win over Lincoln on Monday to go with just one walk. He has also walked three or fewer in three straight starts, bringing his strikeout-to-walk radio to a deadly 108-to-34. His 108 strikeouts leave him just three away from the top spot, which fellow Dog Luke Westphal occupies with his 111 whiffs induced on the year.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEYES
The Winnipeg Goldeyes (47-35, 4th North), like the Dogs, have been jockeying for a playoff spot in the North Division all season. Having recently dropped two of three to the St. Paul Saints at CHS Field, they enter the series a half-game behind Chicago.
Winnipeg’s starting rotation boasts two 11-game winners in Kevin McGovern (11-6, 3.65 ERA) and Sunday starter Mitchell Lambson, whose 2.86 ERA is the lowest among all American Association starting pitchers, and whose 110 strikeouts put him just one behind Westphal for the league lead.
As far as league ranks are concerned, the Goldeyes offense is middling, but Willy Garcia and Wes Darvill, who are both hitting above .300 on the year, have been powerful. They also have three bats that have hit at least 10 home runs with Garcia, Kyle Martin and American Association veteran Reggie Abercrombie. The hallmark of this Goldeyes team, however, is their league-best defense. With a .988 fielding percentage, Winnipeg is not a team that will hamstring itself with miscues in the field.
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