St. Paul, Minn. – After dropping their first series in franchise history to the Sioux Falls Canaries over the weekend, the Chicago Dogs head to St. Paul, Minn. to wrap up their inaugural road trip with a three game set against the St. Paul Saints.
The Dog bats were quieted in Sunday’s series finale in Sioux Falls, as Chicago collected just four hits in a 4-2 rubber match loss. Despite wrapping out 12 hits in the season opener Friday, Chicago finished the series with just a .231 team average and a .273 team on-base percentage. Both of those marks rank in the bottom fourth of the league after the opening weekend of games.
Conversely, the Saints have had no trouble getting the offense going through their first three games. St. Paul scored 17 runs in three games against the Gary SouthShore RailCats over the weekend and hit .307 as a team. Both numbers were good for second in the league.
The Saints have spread the wealth around so far offensively, with six different players having hit .300 or better through the team’s first three games. Former New York Yankees farmhand, Dante Bichette Jr., has paced the team with six hits in his first 14 at-bats, while six-time all star, and second-year Saint, Brady Shoemaker has reached base eight times through his first 15 plate appearances.
On the mound, the Dogs excelled in some areas over the weekend, but struggled to ultimately translate those successes to run prevention. The Chicago staff finished the weekend with the fourth most strikeouts in the league as well as the second lowest batting average against at just .219. However, a league-leading five home runs allowed translated to a 5.04 opening weekend staff ERA—the second worst mark in the league.
St. Paul pitching struggled in their opener Friday, allowing 10 runs to Gary SouthShore, but the Saints arms rebounded nicely, allowing just three runs apiece in each of the final two games of the series.
St. Paul is the second straight North division foe that the Dogs will make initial acquaintances with. The Saints slogged through a down year in 2017, winning 48 games and missing out on the playoffs. However, the two seasons before that saw the Saints win 61 and 74 games respectively, making the playoffs in both seasons. 2018 marks the 25th season of Saints baseball, making them and the Sioux Falls Canaries the two oldest franchises in the American Association.
Monday’s pitching matchup sees Connor Root go for the Dogs against Matt Solter for the Saints. The Dogs will send lefty Tommy Thorpe to the hill Tuesday against right-hander Vinny Nittoli for St. Paul. And the series finale Wednesday will pit opening day starters Josh Goossen-Brown for the Dogs against Jake Esch for the Saints.
Each game of the three game series will be broadcast online at www.thechicagodogs.com/broadcasts/ Monday’s first pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m., while the final two games of the series each get underway at 7:05 p.m.