Winnipeg, MB. – Fresh off their first series victory in franchise history and having pitched 24 consecutive scoreless innings, the Chicago Dogs travel to Winnipeg, MB for a three-game weekend set with the Goldeyes.
Winners of consecutive games for the first time this year, Chicago will square off with the Goldeyes for the second weekend in a row. Winnipeg took two of the three games the teams played in their first ever meeting June 1 through June 3 at Impact Field.
The series in Rosemont was a close one throughout. Winnipeg won game one 6-3, a ninth inning solo home run from Grant Heyman allowed the Goldeyes to win game two 6-5, and a Craig Maddox seventh inning RBI single allowed the Dogs to take game three 6-5.
Close games have been a theme for both teams throughout the year. Eight of the 19 games the Goldeyes have played this season have been decided by one run, with Winnipeg having gone 4-4 in those contests. 11 of Winnipeg’s 19 games have been decided by two runs or fewer. Conversely, ten of Chicago’s 18 games have been decided by two runs or fewer.
Winnipeg features an offense laden with speed and extra-base pop, both of which were on display in the first series between the two teams. The Goldeyes, who lead the American Association in doubles with 41, are second in triples with seven, and are fourth in stolen bases with 20, produced 12 extra-base hits and nine stolen bases in the three games with the Dogs last weekend.
The Goldeyes will have to solve a Chicago pitching staff in the midst of its best stretch of the season. After seeing a starting pitcher throw at least six innings just once through their first 14 games, a Dogs starter has lasted six or more innings three times in the last four games. Scott Barnes tossed six shutout innings in a no-decision during the Dogs 1-0, extra-inning victory over Sioux Falls on Tuesday, while Connor Root twirled eight scoreless frames in Chicago’s 8-0 victory over the Canaries on Wednesday.
Strikeouts have been the catalyst for the recent dominance of the Dogs staff. Through six games in June, Chicago pitchers have struck out 61 batters, good for 9.31 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. The Goldeyes, who at 160, have struck out the second most times of any team in the American Association, punched out 30 times in their three-game set with Chicago last weekend.
The Dogs bullpen has been sparkling in the month of June so far as well. After pitching to a 5.93 ERA in May, Chicago relievers possess a 1.54 ERA so far in June through 23.1 innings pitched. The Dogs pen allowed just one earned run over 10.1 innings pitched in their three-game series against Sioux Falls.
The Goldeyes have been paced so far this year offensively by Kevin Garcia and Heyman. Garcia enters the series third in the American Association in hitting with a .381 batting average. Meanwhile Heyman, who homered twice in the series with Chicago last weekend, sits tied for fourth in the league with five long balls overall.
Chicago utility-man Treysen Vavra continues to fuel the Dogs offense. After seeing his 18-game hitting streak snapped on Tuesday night against Sioux Falls, Vavra began a new one with a 2-3, four RBI night on Wednesday. Vavra, who has now reached base safely in every game Chicago has played this year, also enters the series with five home runs, and is fourth in the league with a .379 average.
Two staffs prone to the long ball will meet this weekend, as Winnipeg has allowed the second most home runs in the league with 18, and Chicago has allowed the third most with 17. Charle Rosario makes the game one start Friday night for Winnipeg, while Michael Wagner counters for Chicago. Each pitcher started a game in the series between the two teams last weekend, with Rosario taking a loss and Wagner receiving a no-decision. In an all left-handed matchup, Winnipeg southpaw Kevin McGovern will matchup against Chicago left-hander Kylin Turnbull on Saturday. The Dogs will then turn to Josh Goossen-Brown for Sunday’s finale. Winnipeg has yet to announce a Sunday starter.
Each game of the series will be broadcast at www.thechicagodogs.com/broadcasts/