Dogs Bullpen Shuts Down DockHounds
By Michael Barthelemy, Chicago Dogs
ROSEMONT, Ill. – Life is all about sacrifices. The Chicago Dogs learned that with a gritty victory over the Lake Country DockHounds, 7-3.
The Dogs scored four of their seven runs on plays resulting in an out. Chicago fought back from down 3-1 through a series of scrappy runs and smart baseball.
Second baseman Grant Kay gave an all-around strong performance. The former Rays farm-hand went 2-for-4 with a solo home run that tied the game. Defensively, Kay was all over the place diving and sprinting for every ball in his vicinity. He supplied a web gem to end the third inning by leaping to his left and quickly firing to first base.
Coming off of a month-long stint on the injured list, starter Mickey Jannis was utilized more as an opener. The righty knuckleballer threw two innings and allowed two runs, one earned, off of one hit and a walk. Right-handed swingman Johnathon Tripp pitched two innings following Jannis and allowed one unearned run off of four hits.
It was the bullpen afterward that stole the show. The series of James Reeves, Paul Schwendel, Jeff Kinley and Brian Schlitter allowed no runs off of two hits in five innings of work.
Charlie Tilson opened the game with a leadoff walk and Michael Crouse followed up with a single into center field. The pair advanced off of a passed ball and once Danny Mars grounded a ball to the third baseman, Tilson scored off of the fielder’s choice. The DockHounds ended up doubling up Chicago with the force out of Ryan Lidge and then tagging out Crouse at home, much to his dismay.
However, there was a clear learning curve to catching Jannis. The top of the first was jumpstarted by a Tristen Carranza home run, his third of the year. Aaron Takacs followed that up with a walk, but that quickly became an issue after two passed balls. A third passed ball in the next at-bat scored Takacs.
Tripp entered in the third and allowed two singles to Jake Snider and T.J. Bennett. They then took a base from an error by Tripp, and Snider was driven in by a Gabriel Noriega sacrifice fly.
Similar to Jannis, Lake Country starter Jesse Remington was on a short leach after he was pulled in the fourth. Against reliever Mitch Sparks, Mars doubled on a line drive into left field. Mars missed the previous two games, but came back in a big way. Kay singled and Connor Kopach reached aboard to load the bases with no outs. In a tough spot, Sparks was able to get Harrison Smith to ground to the third baseman Bennett for a double play. The ball scored Mars, but at the cost of a rally. Cosimo Cannella ended the inning with a groundout.
The Dogs entered the sixth inning down one and into each team’s bullpen. Chicago is 2-11 when down after the sixth, making this frame crucial. Kay answered the call with his team-leading fifth home run of the year over the Vienna Beef sign in right center, a solo shot that tied the game. Kopach followed that up with a double and advanced to third off of a wild pitch. With one out, Cannella skied a sacrifice fly into center field that scored Kopach and gave the Dogs the lead.
In the eighth, Lake Country turned the ball to Matt Valin. Valin allowed three earned runs over his previous two outings off of five hits, making it a bold call in a one-run game. That move turned out to bite manager Jim Bennett. Two walks and a single loaded the bases with nobody out and Tilson hungry at the dish. The man at the top of the order continued to pass the bat with an RBI single into left field that scored two runs and broke the game open.
The Dogs went on to tack on a third run from a sacrifice fly and brought the game to 7-3 and Schlitter with the ball. The newly-signed, big-bearded righty is never shy of a save opportunity and he made quick and efficient work of the DockHounds in the ninth to finish the game off.
Chicago appears to be all the way back from their rut with this two-game win streak. The Dogs will look to finish off a Father’s Day weekend sweep of the DockHounds tomorrow, with the ball in the hands of Jordan Kipper. Kipper was lights out in his first two starts, but was rocked by Milwaukee for six runs in his previous outing. For Lake Country, they will turn to righty Duncan Snider for his third start and tenth total appearance. The 24-year-old has struck out 28 hitters in 22 innings, but possesses a 6.95 ERA to go alongside.