Riveting baseball is being played as the American Association is nearing the end of the regular season. Here are five clutch takeaways for your local cream city nine.
1) After a rough August, the race for the north division has tightened
— American Association (@AA_Baseball) August 17, 2021
Since July 30th, the Milkmen are 7-10 in which they have been on receiving end of sweeps by the Winnipeg Goldeyes & the Lincoln Saltdogs. While Milwaukee was able to sweep the Houston Apollos over this last weekend, the fact remains that other division opponents have been able to get back into the race.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Dogs are playing their best baseball of the season. Winners of five consecutive games and nine of the last ten, the Dogs have chased down the Milkmen. The Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks are also not be forgotten as they in striking distance by sitting 3 games back.
As the race comes down to the wire, there is extra motivation to finish as the division winner as the American Association made a major mid-season adjustment.
2) More Playoffs!
On August 4th, the board of directors for the American Association announced they had expanded postseason play to include a one-game play in for the 2nd and 3rd seed teams in each division. The winner of the play-in game would travel to play the division victor for a best of five series. The winner of each division would move onto the finals for one last best of five series.
For example, if the standings were to hold the Dogs would host the Redhawks & the Saltdogs battle the Railroaders. The winners of those play in games would battle the division leader in their respective divisions (Milwaukee for the North, Kansas City for the South).
While it may seem strange modify the postseason more than halfway through the season, it certainly is not the first time the league has made that decision. In the truncated 2020 season, the league chose to expand the AA finals from a best of five series to a best of seven.
Commissioner Joshua Schaub commented on the change:
Unprecedented times have allowed the American Association to be innovative in many aspects of our league play and presentation, while increasing the number of playoff participants as we enter the final month of the season. The American Association continues to showcase our league’s ability to pivot and be nimble while maintaining a high level of competition on the field and top entertainment for our fans.
As a fan of the league, it will be exciting to see the additional drama of adding a seed in each divisions!
3) This team is still resilient
Though the Milkmen have struggled as of late, this team has the capability to end the season strong.
Exhibit A: July 31st
In a matchup of divisional foes, Boo-vine’s crew found themselves down by two runs going into the ninth inning to the RedHawks.
With the Redhawks closer on the mound, Christian Correa would take a walk and be pitched ran by Jay Charleston. After an Aaron Hill fly out, Chirst Conley would also draw a walk to put the tying run on first. With two outs and the game on the line, leadoff man Brett Vertigan would single to score Charleston to make it a one run game. Immediately after Logan Trowbridge hit a single to right field to bring in the tying run.
Now with the game tied at six & the summer rain saturating the field it was Adam Brett “walk-off” Walker to be the hero!
ICE IN HIS VEINS 🥶️
— American Association (@AA_Baseball) August 1, 2021
While it has been a tough stretch of baseball, there is no reason to count them out just yet. With 20 games left to play, this should be an exciting finish.
4) Reinforcements on the way
As the league has garnered more attention from Major League Baseball, there has been a steady increase of players being picked out and signed to minor league deals. The Milkmen have also seen this throughout the season.
However, this also allows teams to continue to add:
August 2nd, Milwaukee made a swap with the Lexington Legends to acquire Cole Sturgeon. The outfielder provides additional depth to the lineup as he had a scorching .335 average and .996 OPS while with the Legends.
August 10th, the Milkmen picked up right hander Christian Young. Young in his college career had a 10-4 record with 102.1 innings pitched and 119 strikeouts.
In addition to new faces, some old friends who left earlier in the season are back. Infielder Mikey Reynolds and Left hander David Holmberg have re-joined the team to add some championship caliber depth.
5) Smith continues to lead the pitching staff
It cannot be stated enough: Myles Smith is having a spectacular season.
He was recently named the pitcher of the week after two starts in which he struck out 22 batters and only yielding 2 earned runs. As far as league leaders, Smith leads the league in wins (12) and strikeouts (109). His earned run average is 3.12 which is third in the league behind leader Greg Miner of the Lincoln Saltdogs.
22 strikeouts in one week⁉️
— American Association (@AA_Baseball) August 16, 2021
Whether it is in a five game series or a one game playin, it is hard to think of anyone besides Smith getting the ball in a decisive game.
20 games left…
In the last two in a half weeks of baseball, the Milkmen will look to hang on to the top spot in the division. Milwaukee will need to be able to do so with only seven games at Franklin Field and the rest out in Kansas City, Lincoln, and Gary South shore.
Stay tuned for more updates as the season concludes!
Numbers and Statistics courtesy of Pointsteak.com & the American Association.
Follow me on Twitter @WordOfThe_Weiss! Check out our merch page as well. Use promo code WISCO at checkout for $1 off! To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here!