St. Paul Saints Drop 9th Straight, Limp into Gary: Saints Summary
The St. Paul Saints dropped their ninth straight game Sunday afternoon, a new club record. This was not only their longest losing streak in their 22-year history, but they also dropped their sixth home game in a row, their third longest home losing streak for the organization. It has not been a pleasant last ten days, and things don’t look brighter on the horizon.
For the third game in a row, the Saints dropped a contest to Can-Am team New Jersey Jackals. While the first two games had some semblance of the Saints being in the game, this was not the case for Sunday’s game at all. St. Paul trailed early and seemed to never mount any kind of rally to get into the contest.
This has been one of the issues during the nine-game streak – finding different ways to lose each game. Friday the New Jersey Jackals won by outslugging St. Paul 7-5. It was a pitcher’s duel on Saturday, until the eighth, when the Jackals scored five in the final two innings to pull away. Sunday, Saints starter Anthony Claggett got into trouble early, giving up runs in the first and second inning, before settling down to blank the Jackals in the third and fourth. However, in the fifth New Jersey broke it open with four runs. Claggett gave up all four runs before leaving, and at that point the game was basically over.
The Saints did get two runs in the sixth when LF Willie Cabrera hit a two-run home run. It was his 10th of the season, but by that point the game was 7-2, and a comeback was not going to be had this day.
Michael Antonini pitched extremely well for New Jersey in the win. He gave up just four hits in six innings, without walking anyone. He also struck out six, and the only two runs he yielded came on Cabrera’s home run. Ty Kelly and Eric Beaulac closed out the game for the Jackals in the 8-2 win.
This was a series that the team would love to forget, but which is a prime example of why they are struggling so mightily. The team never led in this three-game series even once. On Sunday the three Saints pitchers combined to set a team record with four hit batsmen. Saints pitchers gave up 21 runs in the series, while their hitters could muster only seven, and just two in the last two games combined.
This team is really struggling to hit. The Saints had just 17 hits in the series, and several of their batters are in funks that are dragging the team down. All-Star Henry Wrigley is a prime example. Going into the All-Star break he was hitting .318 and had a slugging percentage of .541. Since then he has dropped nearly 30 points on his average and over 70 on his slugging percentage. He is just 11-61 in the 15 games since the break, a .180 average.
He is not the only one struggling however. Since a three-hit game against Kansas City on August 4, Angelo Songco has gone 7-41 (.170) with no home runs and six RBI in those 11 games. These are the No. 4-5 guys in their lineup, and with the two struggling so mightily it is difficult for the team to score runs.
Claggett has seen his struggles as well. Since pitching two shutout innings in the All-Star game he has made three starts, yielding 16 runs in 17.1 innings pitched with 27 hits allowed. The righty has won just once since June 17, and his struggles seem to have no end in sight. Claggett is the guy the team relies on to be their ace, and right now he is struggling to put it all back together.
The Saints head to Gary with the slimmest of chances of winning this division. They virtually have to win every game left if they are going to win the North Division. That is quite unlikely, but stranger things have happened before. Just as quickly as they have lost nine straight, they could win nine or ten in a row. The Saints have 15 games left in the season, all against teams that are still in the pennant race themselves. For the Saints the playoffs begin now.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA