Rosemont, Ill. – The Chicago Dogs continue their six-game homestand with a three-game series against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks beginning Monday night at Impact Field.
The series opener will be played on a Mustard Monday at Impact Field as the Dogs celebrate their chief condiment with a mustard themed night at the ballpark. Tuesday’s 11:35 a.m. game will play host to a Lunchbox Special featuring a hot dog and soda/beer with purchase of a $16 ticket. Wednesday’s series finale will feature free hot dogs to the first 500 fans at Impact Field as part of the Dogs’ celebration of National Hot Dog Month.
Tickets for all three games are on sale now in line at the Impact Field Ticket Office and online at www.thechicagodogs.com/tickets/
The Dogs (24-36) and RedHawks (32-27) meet for the second time this month after Chicago swept a three-game set from Fargo-Moorhead in the final weekend in June. The sweep was the first, and only to-date, in Chicago franchise history. The Dogs outscored the RedHawks 17-5 in the series. Fargo-Moorhead enters the series in a tussle for first place in the American Association’s Northern division. The RedHawks sit one half game behind first place Gary SouthShore. The Dogs meanwhile, enter the series in last place in the North, nine games out of first.
Fargo-Moorhead has been a consistently good club both offensively and defensively throughout the year. The RedHawks enter the series in the top three in the American Association in team batting average (.287) and team earned run average (3.86), and have the best run differential of any team in the North division at plus 47. The next best run differential in the division belongs to Gary SouthShore at plus 22.
The RedHawks have decent splits at home, on the road, inside the division, and outside the division this year. Fargo-Moorhead has a team road batting average of .284 to go along with a 15-14 record, and a team home batting average of .290 to compliment a 17-13 record. Additionally, the RedHawks have a home ERA of 3.87 and a road ERA of 3.86.
Both Chicago and Fargo-Moorhead have played in home run filled games throughout the month of July. In 20 games played in July, Chicago pitching is tied for the most long balls allowed with 23. Conversely, Fargo-Moorhead pitching has given up the fourth most home runs in the month with 20. The Dogs allowed eight home runs to Sioux Falls in a series victory over the weekend at Impact Field. Each of the two teams has also hit 17 home runs in the month as well, ranking them both in the top half of the league during that time.
At the dish the RedHawks are perhaps the most balanced club in the league. Fargo-Moorhead features three of the top 20 individual batting averages in the league and six of the top 30. No other team in the American Association has more than four players in the top 30 in the league in hitting. The RedHawks don’t have any qualified hitters in their lineup whose average sits below .250. Kansas City and Sioux City are the only two other clubs with that distinction.
The RedHawks have been hot at the dish of late as well, having hit .305 as a club over their past ten games, with 11 home runs during that span.
Leobaldo Pina paces the RedHawks offensively with the fourth best average in the American Association at .346. Tim Colwell is also tied for eighth in the league in hitting with a .327 average. Additionally, Colwell is tied for fifth in the American Association with 13 stolen bases in 16 attempts.
For as balanced as the RedHawks are offensively, Brennan Metzger is their spark plug. Metzger enters the series against Chicago with a .313 batting average, but is second in the league in walks drawn with 41, and holds the fourth best on-base percentage in the league at .440. Metzger was the only RedHawk with hits in all three games when Chicago and Fargo-Moorhead met earlier in the season, going 5-12 with a home run, two doubles, and a walk.
On the mound the RedHawks achieve their run prevention by limiting traffic on the bases. Fargo-Moorhead pitching has issued the third fewest walks (187) in the American Association, and carries the fifth lowest opponent’s batting average into the series at .261. However, RedHawks pitchers have allowed 46 hits and 24 walks in over their past six games entering the series with the Dogs.
Chicago has enjoyed a record-setting week at the plate entering the series with the RedHawks. The Dogs wrapped out 36 hits in their three-game series with the Canaries over the weekend, and have produced 66 hits over their past seven games combined. The Dogs have scored 33 runs over their past four games, the most in a four-game span in franchise history. Chicago is hitting .283 as a team in the month of July, and has a .353 on-base percentage in the month as well.
The Dogs have been buoyed over the past week by a handful of players including Matt Dean. Dean carries the highest average in the American Association over the past seven games into Monday, having gone 9-18 in that span with one home run and five RBI. Rubi Silva and Jonathan Moroney also enter the series with Fargo-Moorhead in the midst of hot streaks. Silva has hit safely in his past four games, going 8-20 with seven extra-base hits, and five RBI. Moroney meanwhile, is 11-21 during a modest four-game hitting streak of his own entering Monday.
Chicago has been on a torrid extra-base hit pace of late as well, especially in the triples department. The Dogs lead the American Association with 23 triples as a club, after sitting in last place in the league in the category as recently as June 19. The Dogs have produced 21 triples over their past 30 games, and have raised their overall team slugging percentage 37 points from .359 to .396 in that span.
On the mound the Dogs have been backed all month by a stellar bullpen. In the month of July, Dogs relievers possess a 6-2 record and five saves to go along with a 1.48 ERA in 73 innings. The Dogs bullpen ERA on the season sits at 2.66, while their starter’s ERA is at 5.02. Remarkably, the Chicago bullpen has 227 strikeouts this year—11 more than Dogs starters—despite logging 95 and one-third less innings.
Not a single active pitcher in the Dogs bullpen possesses an ERA north of 3.34, and Jared Cardiff and Chad Girodo each have earned run averages below 2.00 entering the series with the RedHawks.
When the Dogs and RedHawks met in the final weekend of June, Chicago received perhaps their best starting pitching effort in a series all year. Dogs starting pitchers combined to throw 20 and two-thirds innings against Fargo-Moorhead and earned three consecutive victories for the first time all year. However, Dogs starters have been beleaguered of late, having allowed 38 earned runs in 51 innings over their past 11 starts. Chicago starters have gone six innings just one time in the last 11 games, and have pitched to a 6.71 ERA in that span.
The Dogs will send Josh Goossen-Brown to the mound to start game one of the series. The right-hander will be countered by southpaw Sebastian Kessay, whose 2.58 ERA ranks second amongst all American Association pitchers. Tuesday’s pitching matchup will feature left-hander Evan Smith for Chicago against right-hander D.J. Brown for the RedHawks, and Wednesday’s finale will pit southpaw Scott Barnes for the Dogs against left-hander Will Solomon for Fargo-Moorhead.
All three games of the series will be broadcast at www.thechicagodogs.com/broadcasts/