Milwaukee Milkmen endure first rough stretch of the season
You know the saying: the baseball season it is a sprint, not a marathon. When you do find yourself in amidst of a long sprint, eventually, you cool down and need to drink a tall glass of Milk.
This is the best way to describe the last two weeks for the other local cream city nine. The Milkmen rose to the top of the league after playing some phenomenal baseball. They however cooled off and endured a tough nine game stretch in their schedule. The Milkmen would drop 6 of 9 in those games. But with a “Don’t panic” mindset, they were able to course-correct and win 5 of their next 6.
During the difficult portion of their schedule, Milwaukee was without a couple of key players in their lineup. Shortstop Mason Davis is still inactive and first basemen David Washington has hit the injured list.
Yet with those injuries, the Milkmen continue to see production from key players like Adam Brett Walker who leagues the American Association in homeruns and runs batted in.
If you haven't witnessed Milwaukee's native son hit a baseball you are certainly missing out. Adam Brett Walker II has 21 home runs in 46 games. Oh, and there is the .337 batting average and .747 slugging percentage.
— Rich Rovito (@rrovito) July 10, 2021
Walker is having a far stronger season this year then when he won player of the year honors in 2020! It makes one wonder, “when is this guy going to get signed by a major league baseball team?” Fortunately for the Milkmen, the Milwaukee native is still in uniform and feasting on opponent pitching wherever he goes.
Next men up
But it has not just been Walker to carry the team with Washington and Davis out. Third basemen Logan Trowbridge is quietly putting together a very solid season at the hot corner. Defensively, he has been stellar but offensively he holds a slash line of .299/.386/.487 for a cumulative OPS of .873. He also has an impressive 18 stolen bases.
The pitching has begun to see a resurgence, particularly from left hander David Holmberg. In a start against the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, Holmberg could not make it out of the 2nd inning before giving up 7 runs on 7 hits. In his starts since, he has pitched two nine inning complete games compiling an era of 1.50. For his efforts, he was rewarded with “Pitcher of the week” honors for the association.
The Milkmen passed a real test of the season; though they took some loses, they responded well and are in good shape to make the postseason and defend their title.
June 29th-July 1st (game 3 resumed on July 14th). Milkmen and Dogs split the first two games before game was suspended due to a fireworks show. The Dogs took an early lead in game three before a wild comeback by the Milkmen would give them the series (9-1, 0-5, 13-10)
- Myles Smith went 6.2 innings and yielded two hits, seven walks, but zero runs in game one. Catcher Christian Correa lead the scoring with a grandslam in the fifth inning.
- The Dogs, in game two, countered with Left hander Jake Dahlberg who stifled the Milkmen bats and threw a complete game shoutout.
- In the rubber match, the game was full of fire works both on the field. On the field, 5 homeruns were hit between both teams; Walker had a grandslam in the 5th inning to bring the Milkmen within a run. Off the field, there would be a fireworks show that would suspend the game until a later date (oops). The game would resume almost two weeks later with the Milkmen down 6-10. Correa would be clutch once again and single in 3 runs. In the 9th, the Milkmen would add 4 more runs to complete 13 day comeback, 13-10.
Logan Trowbridge (@TrowDog7) hit's a MASH off of his own face and the reigning champ @mkemilkmen are in sole possession of 1st in the North 🏆#WePlayToWin pic.twitter.com/otm7co8be3
— American Association (@AA_Baseball) July 14, 2021
July 2nd-4th, Fargo-Moorhead would exact some needed revenge on the Milkmen by taking all three games in the series (4-14, 3-4, 3-13).
- Milwaukee had dominated the season series thus far taking 6 of 7 against Fargo-Moorhead. You couldn’t blame the Redhawks for being extra motivated. In game one, the Red Birds soared for 14 runs on 12 hits. 7 of those runs came off of Milkmen southpaw David Holmberg. Adam Walker would hit 2 homeruns in a one sided affair.
- In a closer matchup for game two, both teams would be tied at 2 in the sixth inning. However, the RedHawks were able to scratch 2 more runs off pitcher Matt Solter and hold on to win.
- In the finale, the Hawks attached Myles Smith and tagged him for 8 runs on 12 hits. For the first time all season, the Milwaukee Milkmen were swept (Gasp!).
July 6th-8th, Milkmen came home to host the Cleburne Railroaders. Cleburne came into town on a hot streak and were able to snag two out of three from the Moo-Crew (5-6, 1-6, 6-0).
- The story of the series appeared to be whoever could score 6 runs first would come out victorious. Ryan Zimmerman yielded 6 runs (5 earned) in game one. The Milkmen made it interesting by scoring 5 runs, but ultimately the Railroaders pitching held together.
- Righty Jeheyson Manzueta pitched a stellar game for the team from the south by working 7 innings and only yielding a run. Brett Vertigan would provide the only run for Milwaukee.
- Now in a the midst of a 5 game losing streak, the Milkmen turned to their ace. Holmberg pitched his most dominate performance of the season: a complete game shut out with 8 Ks on the day. Trowbridge and Walker would each hit solo homeruns which was more then enough for the Milkmen to end the losing streak.
David Holmberg only needed one opportunity on the bump this week ⚾️
1 CG | 2 H | 1 BB | 8 SO | 0.00 ERA | W#WePlayToWin | @MKEMilkmen pic.twitter.com/f4G7WhqRKI
— American Association (@AA_Baseball) July 12, 2021
July 9th-11th, The Houston Apollos came to Milwaukee with the worst record in the league (7-39). Despite their record, they came to play but the Milkmen would hold serve and sweep the series (5-4, 3-2, 3-2).
- Milwaukee jumped out to an early 3 run lead, but the Apollos chipped away and tied the game at 4 in the eighth inning. The game was decided in extras where Adam Brett Walker would double over the Apollos left fielder to score the the winning run in the eleventh.
- In the second game, both teams would trade a pair of runs in the second inning to make it a tie game until the sixth inning. From there, Aaron hill would get a clutch base hit to bring in teammate Trey Martin which would end up being the go-ahead run.
- The Apollos gave their best effort to steal game three by posting a run in the first and third inning. But in the sixth, ABW would pick up his league leading 56th and 57th RBI by bringing Vertigan and Trowbridge in to tie the game. In the ninth, shortstop Anibal Seirra would take on the hero role via a clutch single to score Aaron Hill.
NORTH DIVISION: Milwaukee and Chicago continue to trade positions at the top of the division. After a recent bout where the Milkmen took two of three, the lead is a half a game with half the season to go. The Redhawks are still in striking distance as they are behind by only 3.5 games. The Kane County Cougars and Winnipeg Goldeyes are both 6.5 games back while the Gary SouthShore Railcats are a distant 9 games out.
SOUTH DIVISION: After winning 9 of 10, the Kanas City Monarchs have risen to the top of the division. The Railroaders have also been playing better ball as of late and now see themselves out from the bottom and in playoff contention as they are 3.5 games behind. After leading for a majority of the season, the Sioux city Explorers find themselves in a rough stretch and back 3.5 games. As for the bottom three of the division, the Lincoln Saltdogs, the Sioux Falls Canaries, and Houston Apollos are 8, 12, & 25 games behind, respectively.
IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY: The Milkmen would play host to the Chicago Dogs for what could be a fascinating division series. The Monarchs would host the Railroaders for a battle of the south.
The Next Two Weeks
The Milkmen have already gone to Chicago to Impact Field (for the next update). Now they come home for three games to host Gary SouthShore Railcats before hosting The Dogs. Once that series concludes, the Milkmen will travel to Kane country for three games against the Cougars.
Numbers and Statistics courtesy of Pointsteak.com, BaseballReference.com, and the American Association.
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