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AA Week in Review: 54 runs on 63 hits and eight errors

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After a couple weeks of wild games, it’s all a guess from here.

Canary Bird on a Lilac Branchlet, 1819. Artist: Tolstoy, Fyodor Petrovich (1783-1873) Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Apologies for missing last week’s weekly review of the American Association. Sometimes life gives you lemons, sometimes life gives you the opposite of lemons.

After a couple of weeks into the regular season of the AA, there’s really no teams pulling away. The standings are still close, Player and Pitcher of the Week honors have been awarded by the league, and some tight contests have been played. Here’s a few highlights of what you may have missed!

Fighting off brooms

On Thursday, July 9, the St Paul Saints were hosting the Sioux Falls Canaries at Sioux Falls Stadium in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. SIOUX FALLS. The Saints were looking to avoid a sweep coming into this contest, losing the first two games 5-3 and 3-0 at the Birdcage. Although the game was close, it was a high-scoring affair as the teams combined for 23 runs and 34 hits on four errors.

Eddie Medina started for St Paul and won the battle of the starters, allowing five earned runs over six innings of work. He also notched eight strikeouts. The Canaries countered with Tyler Herron, who could only go four innings, allowing five earned runs on ten hits and only four strikeouts. Unfortunately for Medina, he would not get the W as Paul Voelker came out of the bullpen to pitch two innings and allowed seven earned runs. Damek Tomscha hit a three-run shot for Sioux Falls in the top of the seventh to tie the game. He also was a part of some small ball in the top of the eighth that put the Canaries ahead for good.

However, that doesn’t go without saying that the Saints attempted a comeback. A Chesny Young RBI single and a Troy Alexander two-run homer put St Paul within one, but it was not meant to be. Sioux Falls swept St Paul and it proves critical to the Canaries’ position in the standings right now.

Spinning a gem

St Paul found themselves in a different situation at the tail end of the next series. After hosting the Canaries in Sioux Falls, they traveled over to Franklin, Wisconsin, to take on the Milwaukee Milkmen. A 7-4 win by the Saints on the Friday night game and a 12-4 blowout win by the Milkmen resulted in a Sunday matinee rubber batch.

Two of the Milkmen’s four hits came in the first inning, resulting in two runs off of Saints starter Ryan Zimmerman. Outside of the first inning hiccup, Zimmerman spun up six more innings of solid work, allowing only two more runs and a walk alongside nine strikeouts. Taylor Ahern did his part for the Milkmen, going five innings and allowing two earned runs, also in the first inning.

The Saints put together some hits in the top of the eight, getting the bases loaded for Justin Byrd. Byrd hit a single and drove in what would be the game-winning run. Jameson McGrane came in for St Paul to close the door for his fourth save of the season and secure a series win.

These guys may have walked 500 miles...

If you thought 23 runs and 34 hits on four errors was a lot, try 31 runs on 29 hits and four errors. After getting washed out in Rosemount, Illinois, the night before, the Canaries and Chicago Dogs played one more game before moving on to the next series. And played, they did.

Walk, single, single, passed ball, reached on error, passed ball, passed ball, walk, single, walk, double, double, strikeout, strikeout, 4-3 putout. After that, Sioux Falls led 8-1 by the time Chicago hit the bat racks in the second. However, the Dogs were not deterred as a K. C. Hobson RBI triple, a Tyler Ladendorf RBI double, and a three-run homer by Hobson brought the ketchup-hating ballclub to tie with the Canaries after four innings.

Each team tallied up six more runs by the end of the eight inning and the game would go to extras, tied at 14 runs each. 14 pitchers had already been used by the time regulation ended. Canaries second baseman Ryan Long said the game was going on too long and hit a bases-clearing double in the top of the 12th. Keaton Steele came in to pitch the bottom of the frame, allowing no runs, and apparently not earning the save because the official scorer must have been sleep-deprived.

Both teams allowed/drew a total of 21 walks, more than the total number of strikeouts in the game. The game lasted five hours and five minutes. Get Robby Manfred on the phone, amirite???? (Just kidding, please don’t.)

Coming back after a comeback

The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks came into Chicago needing a series win to try to climb the standings. The series was split at one game apiece going into Sunday’s contest at Impact Field. Could F-M get that series win?

They certainly wanted to as they put up three runs in the first frame of the game. A Drew Ward RBI single, Leo Pina sac fly, and Christian Ibarra RBI triple brought in those three runs. Bradin Hagens started for the RedHawks and pitched five clean innings, but ran into a wall in the sixth.

After a two-run homer off the bat of Tyler Ladendorf, Chicago put together a walk, fly-out, and two RBI singles to chase Hagens from the game. another RBI single was charged to the starter and Fargo-Moorhead found themselves down 5-4, which was the score until the top of the ninth.

With two men on, Dario Pizzano hit an RBI single off of Adam Choplick. A costly error by Edwin Arroyo allowed a bases-loaded situation, and Brennan Metzger and Trey Hair each hit RBI singles to take a 7-5 lead. Mitchell Osnowitz took the mound in the bottom of the frame and earned his fourth save of the season.

Weekly hono(u)rs

The American Association names a position player and pitcher of the week and of the month. Chicago infielder Edwin Arroyo won Player of the Week honors for the week ending July 12. He batted .480 with a .618 OBP and a 1.498 OPS during the week, notching four doubles, two homers, and eight RBIs while drawing seven walks.

Pitcher of the Week honours went to Winnipeg Goldeyes southpaw Mitch Lambson. He started two games and earned the win in both contests. Lambson, who is in his fourth season with Winnipeg, pitched 12 innings and allowed one earned run with eight hits, issuing three walks against ten strikeouts.

For this past week, infielder Drew Ward of the RedHawks won Player of the Week. He earned the honors after batting .375 with two doubles, three home runs, and seven RBIs in six games. Ward joined the F-M club from the Washington Nationals farm system after the MiLB season was cancelled.

On the pitching side, Saints pitcher Mike Devine’s lone start for the week earned him Pitcher of the Week. He struck out a career-high 10 batters and allowed only one earned run in seven innings of work. This performance comes on the heels of a fantastic 2019 season in which he put up a 2.00 ERA in 37 relief appearances, earning a 4-3 record with four saves.

Coming up

Chicago will be in Milwaukee for a three-game set and then travel to Chicago for another three-game series this week. The Canaries host the Saints and then the two will switch sides as St Paul will play host in Sioux Falls. Fargo-Moorhead will host Winnipeg for four games, including a Thursday double-header (seven innings each game), and then also switch sides, with Winnipeg playing as the home team in Fargo.

Standings

Team Record GB
Team Record GB
Milwaukee Milkmen 9-5 --
Sioux Falls Canaries 9-5 --
Winnipeg Goldeyes 8-7 1.5
St Paul Saints 7-8 2.5
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 6-9 3.5
Chicago Dogs 4-9 4.5