Two weeks into 2021 American Association season & the Milkmen have a 6-6 record and sit in 4th place of the North division in the “way-too-early” standings. However, their .500 record does tell not us the whole story of their solid play thus far. In 12 games, the other cream city nine own a +14 run differential. Four of their six losses came late in highly contested games. The offense, as well as starting pitching, is key to the early success for the Milkmen as many contributors from last year’s championship team are already carrying the load with some help from a couple of new additions.
Milkmen open the season against GarySouthshore Railcats
It was opening night across the league for the association, and after a year where only six teams played in a truncated 60 game season, the league was back at full strength.
On opening night, the Milkmen wasted no time in announcing themselves as the incumbent champions. The Milkmen would unload for 10 runs in game 1, 6 runs in game 2, and 9 runs in game 3 in large part of 2nd basemen Aaron Hill’s power surge. On opening night, Hill amassed 2 HRs and 5 RBI which earned him the AA player of the day honors. Hill however did not settle; he would follow up 2 homeruns in as many games. Hill, in his second season with the Milkmen, hit 3 homeruns in 2020. At the end of the 3 game series, he would hit 4.
Other offensive contributions were brought upon by the 6’5” California 1st basemen David Washington who in tandem with great defense at first-base launched a couple of homeruns as well. Ace David Holmberg followed up his championship winning performance with a quality start. The Milkmen would take 2 of 3 (10-2, 6-4, 9-10) in this opening series, with their loss coming in a 13 inning back and forth affair.
Milkmen travel to Sioux City to take on the Explorers for a 3 game series
Ryan Zimmerman, formerly of the St. Paul Saints, made an impressive debut for the Milkmen in game 1 of the series. Zimmerman’s line for the night was 7 innings, 2 hits, and 7ks. Tied at 1 going into the 7th, the Milkmen would get a clutch 2-run homerun from reigning player of the year Adam Brett Walker and take game 1. In game 2, Sioux Falls would take a 4-2 lead into the 6th inning before the collective offensive efforts would see the Milkmen score 5 runs total in the 5th, 6th, and 7th to take a 7-6 lead. Sioux City would salvage the final game of the series, scoring 2 runs in the 8th for a 7-5 victory.
2 road series wins (4-2) to begin the season, and the Milkmen would come home to Franklin Field to host the Winnipeg Goldeneyes in a 3 game matchup.
The championship banner would be raised on a windy opening night at Franklin Field in front of a limited capacity crowd of sixteen hundred fans. The Goldeneyes, with some help from the wind & a Max Murphy 2-run homerun, would sour the night with a 3-1 victory. But just as milk and revenge are best served cold, the Milkmen would score 11 runs in game 2. Myles Smith would get the Win after going 5 innings, and RBI contributions by Logan Trowbridge and David Washington would make this a one sided affair. The rubber game would be rained out and will be played on a later date.
RailCats would come to Franklin Field for a 3 game series
Due to some ugly weather, the first 2 games in the series would turn into a 7-inning doubleheader on Saturday May 30th. The Milkmen’s offense wasted no time in unloading on Gary Southshore once gain as the they scored 1 run in the 1st, 1 run in the second, 2 runs in the 3rd, 2 runs in the 4th, and 4 runs in the 5th. Adam Brett Walker had 4 RBI on the day and Ryan Zimmerman had himself another quality performance as he threw 6 innings scattering 4 hits for 1 earned run and 6 strikeouts.
In the nightcap, the offense was a little harder to come by for both teams. Jake Matthys for the Milkmen would go 6 innings with only giving up a run while David Griffin would counter with 5 innings and only allowing an early run in the 1st. In the 10th inning, the Railcats pushed across 4 earned runs off of Seth Beard and snatched the game with a of final 5-1. In the rubber game, while David Holmberg had himself another quality start and only give up 3 runs, the Railcats pitching held the Milkmen to 2 runs. Bo-Vine’s crew had their chances but left 8 men on base for the day.
Milkmen now entertain the Sioux City Explorers for another 3 game matchup.
The Explorers were coming in hot since their first meeting with the Milkmen. Now with a 7-4 record, both teams would see a Memorial day matchup go in tied at 3 entering the 9th. The team from Iowa would score 5 runs to take the game 8-3. Karch Kowalkczyk would take the loss for the Milkmen.
The next two weeks
The Moo-men will finish their homestand with the Explorers before going on a 7-game roundtrip to play the Winnipeg Goldeneyes for 3 games and division leader Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks for 4 games before coming home to host their first series against the crosstown rivals Chicago dogs.
Though not mentioned in the series summaries, Shortstop Mason Davis is off to a fantastic start offensively for the Milkmen. By himself, he has created 9 runs and owns a slash line of .381/.435/.500. Walker is also off to a great start; in addition to his 2 homeruns and 9 RBI, his .346 average is second on the team. Aaron Hill’s hot start helps him carry a line of .278/.458/.639 start, with an isolated power percentage of .361 & 10 runs created. He holds the homerun lead for the team. David Washington leads the team with 14 RBIs. Ryan Zimmerman thus far pitching well, leading the team with a 1.38 ERA after 13 innings pitched. Nate Hadley, a rookie to the league, in 5 games and 7 innings pitched as a reliever has not given up a run and struck out 11.
The season is only getting started!
Around the league, plenty of great baseball is being played. Both divisions are fairly tight, except for perhaps the Houston Applos who begin the season 1-10. The Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks are off to a 10-4 start and currently sit in 1st place in the North Division. Sioux City, leaders of the South Division, own a 8-4 record.
Numbers and metrics courtesy of Pointsteak.com
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!