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AA Week in Review: Goldeyes and Canaries start to pull away

Almost halfway there and the standings start to shake out.

MiLB: JUL 26 Class A Advanced - Ft. Myers Miracle at Tampa Yankees
Matt Tomshaw as a Fort Myers Miracle, c. 2014.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The standings haven’t changed much from last week when I just kept writing about the Winnipeg Goldeyes and then realized I needed to actually recap some games. The Goldeyes still hold first place in the American Association thanks to two series wins, including a sweep of a doubleheader over the St Paul Saints.

The Goldeyes bus experienced a malfunction of sorts on their way up to Fargo from Rosemont, Illinois, home of the Chicago Dogs, forcing a doubleheader of seven-inning games on Saturday. Pitching was the name of both games, and both favored Winnipeg. Long-time Fish southpaw Kevin McGovern went the distance in the first game, giving up only two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Eddie Medina also went the distance for the Saints, but allowed seven runs on nine hits to get tagged with the L. Left fielder Jordan George put the final nail in the coffin by hitting a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth. Goldeyes won 7-2.

The second game saw St Paul split the workload in half as Nick Belzer started and went three innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on five hits. Matt Quintana finished off the game, holding Winnipeg to one hit over the final three innings and striking out seven batters. However, a costly error by third baseman Chesny Young eventually lead to three unearned runs in the bottom of the third. Frank Duncan held the Saints to two runs on six hits and Victor Capellan swooped in for his sixth save of the season.

Sioux Falls and Chicago played a barn-burner on Sunday night at The Birdcage on Sunday night. Righty Tyler Herron started for the Birds and had quite the rough outing in his 5.2 innings of work. 14 hits and 10 earned runs later, he was pulled from the mound and D.J. Sharabi issued a walk and a strikeout to get out of the inning. For the Dogs, Eddie Butler didn’t fare any better, pitching 4.1 innings of seven-hit, seven-run (four earned) baseball. He gave way to a slew of bullpen arms that lead to Adam Choplick allowing two runs in the bottom of the ninth - one on a dropped third strike and another on a single. The two teams went to the tenth knotted at 12 runs apiece. Chicago outfielder Victor Roache hit a solo homer to take the lead and an RBI-single gave fans the final score as Wes Helsabeck closed the door for his first save of the season. The loss dropped the Canaries to two games behind the Goldeyes in the overall standings.

Weekly honors

As is tradition, the American Association announced the Batter and Pitcher of the Week honors for the week ending August 2. For their performances last week, Goldeyes catcher John Nester and RedHawks lefty Matt Tomshaw won the award for their respective categories.

Nester played six games in the past week, going 10-for-22 (.455) with four homers and 11 RBI, notching at least one RBI in each game he played. Three of his home runs came in back-to-back-to-back days and if that isn’t enough, he was called to the mound to pitch the final inning in a blow-out loss to the Dogs, where he recorded a strikeout, among other stats that don’t really show how great he was outside of pitching.

Nester has previously spent time in the Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres farm systems from 2010 to 2014. He played for the now-defuct Wichita Wingnuts when they were in the AA in 2015. For the following two years, he was a catching instructor in the Padres’ minor-league system and then joined Wichita again in 2018. He also spent time with teams in the Atlantic League as well as the Cleburne Railroaders, who are idle in the American Association’s limited 2020 season.

Tomshaw threw seven innings of shutout baseball for Fargo-Moorhead on Saturday, giving up only four hits and issuing four walks against five strikeouts en route to a 7-0 victory against the Milwaukee Milkmen. The southpaw has not allowed a run in his last 14 innings of work and currently is within the top five in strikeouts (30) in the league. The win on Saturday was the first win earned in his 2020 season.

If the name is familiar, you have a good memory! Tomshaw was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 42nd round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He worked up to Class High-A Fort Myers and then landed with the Miami Marlins organization in 2015. He’s spend the past two years with the Chicago White Sox farm system, pitching in both Class AA and AAA in 2019, yielding a combined 2.90 ERA (3.30 RA9) in 17 starts and 112.2 innings of work. His per-nines are definitely worth looking at if you want to see them here: 8.1 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 1.6 BB/9, 9.5 K/9.

Standings

Team Record GB
Team Record GB
Winnipeg Goldeyes 18-10 --
Sioux Falls Canaries 15-11 2.0
Milwaukee Milkmen 13-13 4.0
Chicago Dogs 12-13 4.5
St Paul Saints 12-15 5.5
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 10-18 8.0