St. Paul Saints, Dog Days = Playoff Push
Image courtesy of courtesy of Szer DesignSalina Stockade (July 21st-23rd)
After their last rough patch of games, the Saints bounced back in a big way versus Salina, sweeping the Stockade in their only trip to CHS Field this season. In the first game the home team, ending their five-game losing streak, used power to score runs in bunches, blasting four home runs in the 10-2 victory. Game three’s sweep-clinching victory also earned pitcher Mark Hamburger his league-leading tenth win of the year, his second straight season with double digit victories for the Saints.
All-Star Game (July 25th)
This year’s All-Star Game was held at RCGT Field in Ottawa in a game featuring the American Association taking on the Can-Am League. The Saints sent three representatives to the festivities: Mark Hamburger, Anthony Gallas and Tony Thomas.
Hamburger started the game for the American Association and pitched one inning, giving up one run and striking out two. Gallas started in left field and went 1-3 with a double, a run scored and a walk. Thomas did not play due to injury.
The Can-Am All-Stars won the game 3-2.
Sioux City Explorers (July 26-27th Home, July 28th-29th Away)
After the quick All-Star break the Saints returned to action in one of the odder scheduled four-game series you will see anywhere in baseball, a home and home series, with the first two games in St. Paul and the last two in Sioux City.
The Saints continued their winning ways in the first game, outlasting the Explorers in a fourteen-inning, 4:45 minute game that finally ended with a walk-off home run by Kes Carter and a 5-4 Saints victory.
The second and third games, one here and one there, were both slugfests with the Explorers coming out on top 9-7 and 9-8.
The series finale, in Sioux City, saw the Explorers bats turn cold while the Saints continued to swing for the fences en route to a big 13-1 victory. Every Saints starter scored at least one run and the thirteen totals runs matches the team's season high.
Lincoln Stockade (July 30th-August 1st)
Dazed and confused, the Saints departed Sioux City for a three-game set against the Stockade in Lincoln, NE. The Saints dropped the first two games, 8-4 and 13-2, before salvaging the last game behind another gem by Hamburger. I bet they can’t wait to return home after this series is over.
After an off-day The Saints return to CHS Field Thursday, August 3rd for a four-gamer versus the North Division rival Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks. Following the showdown with Fargo, the Saints immediately board their bus and take a trip to Gary for three against the Railcats.
With the All-Star break and the “half way point” of the season behind us it’s time to start looking at the playoff picture, especially in the North. As of August 1st, the North is a complete log jam with none of the four teams more than 6.5 games out of first and the top three teams separated by only a game and a half.
38-29 Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks
38-29 Winnipeg Goldeyes
37-31 St. Paul Saints (1.5 GB)
31-37 Sioux Falls Canaries (7.5 GB)
The wild card race, which goes to the best overall record of non-division winners, is also a jam up with four teams within 2.5 games of the final playoff spot, including the Saints.
It’s summer in Minnesota and there is a playoff race. Do you really need another reason to get out to the ballpark? Come on everybody, let’s go cheer on the Saints!
Promotions for the upcoming home stand include, Superhero Night (Aug 3rd), Friday Night Fireworks (Aug 4th) and Jack Morris Silver Season Bobblehead giveaway (Aug 5th).