LINCOLN, Neb. — No matter how dominant a team is playing, wins never come automatically, and last night proved just that for the Dogs. Despite winning 10 of their last 11 games, the second matchup in Lincoln was a forgetful one for the Dogs.
Of course, the task of facing Greg Minier, the league’s current leader in ERA, is treacherous. Minier dealt 5.2 scoreless innings to earn his eighth win.
Offensively, the Saltdogs’ scoring started in the bottom of the first inning with 2twoouts and Josh Altmann at the plate. Altmann hit a pop-fly that K.C. Hobson was unable to secure. That opened the floodgates for Lincoln as two runs would result on four consecutive singles.
The game continued to spiral against Dogs starter Christian Friedrich in the 2nd inning, when Lincoln added a run thanks to a sacrifice fly from Ryan Long. The Dogs responded with base runners of their own in the third until a double play ended their momentum.
But a three-run deficit didn’t seem so daunting until David Vidal’s two-out, three-run blast in the 3rd put the Dogs in a 6-0 hole.
And the Saltdogs appear to move differently with Minier on the mound. In 10 of his starts, Lincoln has outscored their opponents 35-7 in the first 3 innings.
For the Dogs, after 4.1 innings, manager Butch Hobson handed pitching duties to the trusty reliever Justin Goossen-Brown to calm the situation down before calling rookies Christian Day and Zack Miednik to finish the job. The Dogs would eventually chase Minier in the 6th but were unable to score any runs from relievers Jesse Stallings, Carter Hope and Tyler Anderson.
The Dogs have reiterated all year that baseball is a game of highs and lows. For example, an early August four-game skid was followed by the recent run of 10 wins in 11 games. So while this may seem like a low, the Dogs will avoid a deflated feeling.
Tomorrow at 6:05 p.m., Chicago sends RHP Jordan Kipper to the mound with an opportunity to win the series against the Saltdogs in Lincoln, and keep pace with the Milwaukee Milkmen, who lead the North Division by a half game.