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AA Week in Review: And down the stretch they come!

A pair of former Twins farmhands win the weekly awards.

Boston Red Sox v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

With the standings tightening up in the American Association recently, some teams took advantage of their schedule while some fell flat on their face. Here’s the latest action and notes from this past week in the only independent league running in 2020:

The Winnipeg Goldeyes went to Fargo with a two-game losing streak. They left town with a nine-game losing streak, surrendering their first-place spot in the standings and falling into a third-place tie with the St Paul Saints. The full sweep was at the hands of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, which included a doubleheader.

The first game of the twinbill saw the Fish commit four errors in the fifth inning alone, allowing the RedHawks to score five runs and take the lead for good. The lead knocked Goldeyes starter Brandon Cumpton out of the game after the inning, allowing five hits on seven runs (only two earned) with two walks and a pair of strikeouts. Correlle Prime went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run for F-M.

The second game of the doubleheader was a heartbreaking walkoff. The Goldeyes took the lead in the top of the fourth after being down 2-0. Darnell Sweeney hit a solo shot and was followed by a Jonathan Moroney triple and a Kyle Martin RBI single to bring him in. Some more small ball allowed another run to come across home to make the score 3-2. In response, catcher Nick Kahle tied the game at three runs apiece in the bottom of the frame for Fargo-Moorhead with his first homer of the season, a solo shot. After trading zeros for a couple more innings, Forrestt Allday came up to bat with one out in the bottom of the seventh and stroked a 1-0 pitch over the fence to clinch the win for the RedHawks. After this week, Fargo-Moorhead owns a seven-game winning streak.

The St Paul Saints looked to break even on the week going into Sunday’s matchup with the Sioux Falls Canaries. The starter for each club did their job and kept their respective team in the game for six innings. Tyler Danish (6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) started for the Birds while Matt Solter (6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) took the bump for the Saints. Each bullpen would allow one more run in the seventh inning, and the Canaries won by a score of 3-2 and take the week of games against the Saints four games to two. Jabari Henry went 2-for-3 including an RBI for the Birds; John Silviano went 1-for-3 with an RBI, a run, and a walk.

Weekly Honors

Former Minnesota Twins farmhand Adam Brett Walker II won Batter of the Week honors from the league for his production. He went 10-for-23 (.435) with six homer and eight RBI in the past week. The Milwaukee Milkmen oufielder is hitting .282/.333/.638 (.971) with 20 homers and 45 RBI this season and has been a big part of helping the Milkmen move up the standings. The voice of the Goldeyes, Steve Schuster, notes via Twitter (includes video of all 20 homers) that Walker is the fastest player in AA history to reach 20 homers in a season.

RedHawks southpaw Matt Tomshaw - another former Twins farmhand - earned his second weekly honor after being named Pitcher of the Week yesterday. His complete game performance on Sunday against the Fish (9.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) was his third complete game on the season as he continues to be the only pitcher in the league to notch multiple CGs for the year. He also has the third-best ERA (2.78) in the league. His week consisted of two starts, totaling 17.0 innings of work. The lefty earned the W in both starts, allowing a total of three runs and 11 hits.

Notes and transactions

  • The league announced this past week that the Championship Series will be a seven-game series instead of the scheduled five-game series, which allows for even more baseball. The top two teams in the standings at the end of the regular season will move on to the Championship. This is the first time that the AA will have a seven-game playoff series.
  • The Sioux Falls Canaries have activated their pitching coach from the Injured List. Grady Wood is now on the active roster after being sidelined after a start on July 29 with back pain. He’ll move into their bullpen with his 4.66 ERA/5.90 RA9 to help the Birds make a push to the playoffs.
  • After a dismal week, the Goldeyes inked a contract with former major league pitcher Josh Lucas. He saw time with the St Louis Cardinals, Oakland Athletics, and, most recently, the Baltimore Orioles. Last season with the Orioles, he posted a 5.74 ERA/4.17 FIP in nine appearances with a 9.2 K/9.

Coming up...

With each team having nine games left on their schedule (with the exception of Sioux Falls and Chicago, who have ten remaining) and nobody officially eliminated, this week is critical for all six clubs.

  • Chicago is now in the cellar and will look to take advantage of the Goldeyes’ slump when they host them for the first three games this week and then head off to Sioux Falls to take on the Canaries.
  • The Goldeyes will go to Chicago and then host St Paul at CHS Field for a three-game set.
  • The RedHawks look to continue their push to the playoffs by hosting the Canaries in Fargo before traveling to Milwaukee and taking on the first-place Milkmen.
  • The Milkmen will take on the Saints in St Paul to maintain their lead and keep the Saints out of playoff contention before going home to host F-M.

Standings

Team Record GB GB2
Team Record GB GB2
Milwaukee Milkmen 29-22 -- --
Sioux Falls Canaries 27-23 1.5 --
St Paul Saints 25-26 4.0 2.5
Winnipeg Goldeyes 25-26 4.0 2.5
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 24-27 5.0 3.5
Chicago Dogs 22-28 6.5 5.0