Bowden , Dogs Bullpen Shutout Explorers. 8-0
By Jack Ankony, The Chicago Dogs
Michael Bowden knows how to pitch. That is the simple, yet meaningful explanation Dogs manager Butch Hobson has given after each of Bowden’s two most recent starts.
After six efficient innings of shutout baseball, Bowden proved yet again on June 8 against the Sioux City Explorers that he frankly knows what he is doing when he toes the rubber. Bowden allowed just one hit over six innings, while striking out seven batters and walking one in an 8-0 Dogs win.
When Bowden took the mound on Tuesday night, he faced a Sioux City team that sat atop the American Association with a 12-6 record. And before the Dogs 12-6 win on Monday, the Explorers had won four games in a row behind sluggers Jose Sermo and Jared Walker.
But Bowden commanded the strike zone against a Sioux City team that is leading the league in home runs and second in runs scored. Bowden’s sinking four-seam fastball has always been his most reliable pitch, but on Tuesday he was firing on all cylinders, mixing in his curveball and splitter masterfully.
Bowden likely could have gone deeper into the game, but the Dogs’ hot offense allowed Bowden to take it easy during the final three frames. As Bowden walked off the mound in the sixth inning, he made sure to high five and fist bump each Dog defender for their efforts in the field.
After belting six home runs on Monday night, the Dogs scored eight runs on Tuesday without hitting a home run. It was Michael Crouse’s first game back with the Dogs after leaving temporarily for the Olympic qualifiers, and his impact was immediately felt.
Crouse was slotted right back into the leadoff spot for Hobson’s Dogs and went 3-for-6 with three RBI and two runs scored. Crouse hit two doubles and used his speed to leg out a triple, igniting the Dogs lineup.
Anfernee Grier, Grant Kay and Ryan Haug provided a spark towards the bottom of the lineup, as each recorded two hits and combined for five runs scored. Tuesday’s win proved the Dogs non-reliance on the long ball and their ability to generate runs in a station-to-station manner.
The Dogs now move to 13-8 on the season, which puts them in a tie for first place in the American Association North Division with the Milwaukee Milkmen. The Dogs will look to produce the same kind of run support and Connor Grey earns the start on Wednesday, looking to clinch a series victory over Sioux City.