Winnipeg Goldeyes Earning Respect with Play on Field: Goldeyes Gazette
Many may not be aware of this, but the team with the longest current winning streak in the American Association is the Winnipeg Goldeyes. For real. They have won eight straight games. Just as a reference, the next longest winning streak in the league is one. This is a team playing hot, that just clinched their division and has the second most wins in the American Association. So why are they not getting the same respect that Wichita or Laredo is getting?
Maybe it is because their home field is across the border in Canada? Could it be that Winnipeg is not thought of as a hot-bed of baseball activity? Maybe it is because many Americans who don’t follow hockey don’t have the slightest idea where Winnipeg even is? Whatever the reason, this team isn’t worried about grabbing headlines and twitter tweets. They want their play on the field to do the talking for them, and right now, this team is yelling at the top of their lungs.
With an 11.5 game lead over the St.Paul Saints the Goldeyes have already clinched the North Division. They had done so last week as they were just getting their current win streak underway. They are just one win away from becoming the second team in the American Association to reach 60 wins this season. They have an extremely impressive .641 win percentage, which is 41 points ahead of the third best team in the league. On the field they have done exactly what they need to do to make a statement every night.
So what makes the Goldeyes so good? Even a cursory look at their team shows a roster filled with players having phenomenal years, both at the plate and on the mound. This is a team that has the talent to compete with any team in the league, and it starts with their superstar first baseman Casey Haerther.
The 26-year-old is in his second season with Winnipeg and has quickly established himself as a leading candidate for the league MVP. Haerther is leading the league with a .380 average, and has proven to be the model of consistency as he has not hit below .373 since June 30, a span of 51 games. Along with his league leading batting average he has 65 RBI, ranked seventh in the American Association, and 11 home runs. He has looked more comfortable at the plate as the season has gone along, and keeps rallies going.
Hitting just in front of Haerther in the lineup is Tyler Kuhn, who has raised his average to .361 and has 65 runs scored, ninth most in the AA. During the eight-game win streak the left-handed batting Kuhn has gone 14-34 (.412) with six runs and seven RBI. The two complement each other so well in the 3-4 spots in the order.
Several other players have stepped it up during this win streak, including Brock Bond and Jake Blackwood, but this team would not be where they are without the amazing work of their bullpen. The Goldeyes Gazette did an in depth examination of the team’s bullpen, and so a more thorough examination can be seen there, however, an additional mention is important to add to explain why this team is so good.
Taylor Sewitt, Gabe Aguilar, Chris Kissock, Brendan Lafferty and Taylor Bratton are the primary men coming out of the bullpen these days, and during this run they have been dominant. They have combined to pitch 14 inning,s yielding just two earned runs on nine hits and two walks. Of the eight games won in a row, Kissock has saved three of those and Lafferty one. They are ending rallies before they can begin, and ensuring that quality starts by their rotation are not wasted.
Speaking of rotations, this team has put together an extremely dominant one. Nick Hernandez is tied for the league lead in wins with 11, and has just two loses. He has shown great command when he takes the mound, posting a solid 3.13 ERA and walking just 20 batters in 112.0 innings pitched while striking out 88. Hernandez has won seven straight games, including two during the team’s win streak. In three of his last four starts he has held opponents scoreless and may be the best starter in the league right now.
Chris Salamida is the workhorse of the team, making 18 starts covering 120 innings pitched. He has four complete games, and has a 7-4 record with a quality 3.20 ERA. This is his fourth season with the team, and has become one of the most reliable starters for the team. During the win streak he has made just one start, but it was a scoreless 7.2 inning outing where he gave up six hits and two walks.
Ethan Hollingsworth has made 12 starts for the Goldeyes, and he has made the most of them, going 7-1. He has a very respectable 3.63 ERA, and has shown good control, walking just 19 in 79.1 innings pitched. Like Salamida, he has made one start during this streak, but it was a scoreless outing as well, as he went the distance on a two-hit shutout.
While the Goldeyes have some outstanding players, it is the sum of all parts that makes them so difficult right now. During their eight-game win streak their pitching staff has thrown four shutouts and allowed just 16 runs. At the plate they have scored 52 runs, and have won every game by at least two runs.
With a win today the Goldeyes will reach 60 victories. They have guaranteed the No. 2 playoff spot and have shown that they have what it takes to make a run all the way to the championship. With the way their pitching staff is shaping up, and the dominant way that their bullpen has performed this will be one of the favorites. They may not be the most talked about or hyped team in the league, but one thing is for sure – they know how to let their play do the talking for them.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA