Dogs (39-30, 4th North, 5.0 GB) vs. Saints (44-26, 2nd North, 0.5 GB)
Friday, 8/2: LHP Austin Wright (4-5, 4.26 ERA) vs. RHP Benji Waite (1-1, 4.30 ERA)
Saturday, 8/3: LHP D.J. Snelten (4-3, 4.22 ERA) vs. RHP Ryan Zimmerman (4-2, 3.48 ERA)
Sunday, 8/4: LHP Jake Dahlberg (5-5, 5.53 ERA) vs. LHP John Kilichowski (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
SERIES NOTES: Series Notes Aug 2-4 STP
ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Chicago Dogs were swept by the division-leading Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in their recent midweek series, dropping the Dogs to five games out of first in the North.
Chicago (39-30, 4th North) stayed in the thick of every game against the RedHawks despite losing all three contests. The offense racked up a respectable 15 runs over the three games, and Keon Barnum became the first player in the league to reach the 20-homer plateau. However, the early-season defensive inconsistency that had plagued Chicago reared its ugly head over the course of the series as the Dogs tallied seven errors against the RedHawks, including four in the 7-4 loss on Thursday.
Now, they gear up for the home stretch, which starts with a pivotal three-game series against the second-place St. Paul Saints, a team they have not seen since late May. Friday and Saturday’s contests are both scheduled for a 7:05 PM first pitch, and Sunday’s finale will start at 3:05 PM.
LHP Austin Wright will start the series for the Dogs on Friday night. After a run of dominance stretching back to late June, Wright got banged up against the juggernaut Cleburne offense for six runs on six hits in five frames. His strikeout numbers stayed high, however, and was able to climb into a tie for second in the Association with his eight strikeouts during that outing, running his total to 85.
LHP D.J. Snelten is set to go on Saturday night. Cleburne tagged Snelten for five earned runs in five innings, but Snelten’s stuff looked as dangerous as ever as he tallied seven strikeouts, tying a season-high that he had not hit since a June 3rd start against Gary SouthShore. The tall lefty also walked only one batter, stretching a streak of starts in which he has walked two or fewer batters to seven consecutive outings.
LHP Jake Dahlberg will start the series finale on Sunday afternoon for the Dogs. He was most recently on the wrong end of a heartbreaking 9-8 loss to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in the series opener. Like Snelten, however, he has posted seven straight starts in which he has surrendered two or fewer free passes, and has yet to walk more than three batters all season.
SCOUTING THE SAINTS
The St. Paul Saints (44-26, 2nd North) are one of the most complete teams in the Association. They’ve stayed within striking distance of the North crown all season, doing so with a 3.87 staff ERA that has allowed the second-fewest runs of any team at 301. The pitching staff has chucked five shutouts on the season, second only to Sioux City’s seven. The Saints have also been helped out by a defense that ranks second in fielding percentage, only committing 46 errors in 2019.
Offensively, Dogs pitchers will be dealing with another juggernaut. The Saints have clubbed a league-leading 79 HR, and rank in the top four in every offensive category. Dan Motl’s .348 average is the second-highest in the league, and infielders Josh Allen and Brady Shoemaker have combined for 29 HR alone, with Shoemaker’s team-high 54 RBI pacing the St. Paul offense.
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