The Winnipeg Goldeyes will open their home portion of the 2018 schedule by hosting the Sioux Falls Canaries. The team went 4-2 on their season opening road-trip through Texas. The Goldeyes (4-2) sit second in the American Association North Division, trailing the division-leading St. Paul Saints (5-1) by one game in the early season. The Canaries sit fourth in the six team division, with a record of 2-4. The Goldeyes are winners of their past 4 games, while the Canaries have lost three straight.
The Fish will send 29-year old left-hander Kevin McGovern to the mound tonight. McGovern finished last year with a 13-3 record and an incredible 118 strikeouts. His 2.56 ERA is the best among Goldeye pitchers with at least 140.0 innings pitched. He held opposing hitters to a minimal .125 average with two outs and runners in scoring position last year. The Canaries will counter with rightie Dylan Thompson. The 25-year old Snow Camp, North Carolina native was an American Association All-Star as a reliever in 2017. The former Colorado Rockies’ draft pick (31st round in the 2014 MLB draft) moves into the Birds’ starting rotation in 2018. All signs point toward a very good pitching matchup tonight at Shaw Park in Downtown Winnipeg. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
There was a scare of showers earlier in the evening but here at Shaw Park the weather seems fine (knock on wood) and it appears to be a wonderful night for some baseball. Pretty healthy crowd on hand to watch the Goldeyes 2018 Home Opener. Goldeyes in their traditional white home uniforms with the red names and numbers on the back, Canaries in blue uniforms with yellow numbers, no names on the back. 2017 Champion Goldeyes are now out to raise the Championship Flag.
Top of 1st:
Mother Nature seems to be holding up, player introductions underway. And we are underway! Batter for the Canaries is the shortstop Blake Schmit. Kevin McGovern’s first pitch is right down the middle for a strike. Schmit is down on strikes as McGovern picks up his first strikeout of the night on four pitches. DH Chris Grayson steps up to the plate. He swings for the fences on the first pitch but misses for strike one. He hammers the second pitch to deep right field but it is right at Victor Cruzado and there are quickly two men down. The very dangerous Burt Reynolds steps up. Reynolds earns the walk and there is a runner on first with two gone for Jabari Henry. Henry with the grounder to short and it’s fielded by Andrew Sohn and thrown the short distance to second to force out Reynolds and end the inning.
Bottom of 1st:
Andrew Sohn, who had an MVP-calibre year last season for the Fish leads things off and is quickly ahead of Thompson 2-0. Thompson fights back to even the count and Sohn swings and misses and is down on strikes. Here comes Grant Heyman. Heyman hammers the first pitch deep to the warning track, but the left fielder gets under it, and makes the catch while stumbling down to the ground. Reynaldo Rodriguez is now up. Rodriguez was named the MLB’s #1 prospect in 2009. And he smack one deep to the gap at left-centre field and is on with a two out double for fan favourite and former Major Leaguer Reggie Abercrombie. And Reggie will ground out to end the inning.
Top of 2nd:
Leading off for the Canaries is Patrick Fiala. Fiala with a short one hopper right in front of the Goldeyes’ catcher Garcia, and he is thrown out at first easily. Chris Jacobs is now up for the Birds. Jacobs falls behind 0-2 but works a full count. On the sixth pitch of the at-bat he grounds a tough ball towards third, but Josh Mazzola is there to field it and throw out Jacobs. Mike Hart, who had a nice stumbling catch last inning, steps up. And McGovern strikes out Hart for a three up, three down half-inning! Fish up to bat.
Bottom of 2nd:
Victor Cruzado to lead off. And Cruzado draws a four pitch walk, and slugger DH David Bergin steps up with one on and no one down. AND BERGIN LINES THE FIRST PITCH INTO THE GAP AND THERE’S RUNNERS ON FIRST AND SECOND FOR THE GOLDEYES’ CATCHER, KEVIN GARCIA. Garcia hitting a very nice .450 early on this year. AND GARCIA CRUSHES ONE TO THE WALL. CRUZADO ADVANCES TO THIRD. Bergin is caught overrunning second and is out, but Garcia advances to second on the run down. A very productive at-bat for Garcia and here comes 2012 Champion Josh Mazzola with one man out and runners on second and third. And Mazzola draws the five pitch walk to load the bases for the very dependable Jordan Ebert. Ebert with a sharp grounder that takes a funny bounce, CRUZADO COMES HOME FOR THE FIRST RUN, AND EBERT BEATS OUT THE THROW TO FIRST. 1-0 Goldeyes. Bases still juiced with only one man down for Andrew Sohn. SOHN HITS IT HARD, AND GARCIA COMES IN SAFE AT HOME FOR A 2-0 LEAD. The speedy Sohn beats out the throw to first and the bases are loaded for Grant Heyman. HEYMAN HITS HARD TO THE FIRST, IT BOUNCES OFF CHRIS JACOBS’ GLOVE AND ALL RUNNERS ARE SAFE. 3-0 GOLDEYES. Rodriguez steps up with the bases still jacked and only one man down. No error to Jacobs on the play. AND RODRIGUEZ HITS A SINGLE TO THE GAP AT LEFT AND DRIVES IN EBERT. IT IS 4-0 GOLDEYES! Mound visit for the Canaries as Reggie Abercrombie steps up. Bases are loaded, and one man down. AND REGGIES HITS A NICE SINGLE PAST THE DIVE OF THE SHORSTOP AND DRIVES IN 2 RUNS. THE GOLDEYES WILL BAT AROUND AS CRUZADO COMES TO THE DISH. RUNNERS ON FIRST AND SECOND AND STILL ONE MAN DOWN. Cruzado battles some iffy balls and hits it Fiala who throws out Abercrombie going to second. However Cruzado beats out the relay to first and that will be scored as a fielder’s choice. Runners on the corners with two down for David Bergin. Bergin draws the walk to reload the bases, and that fourth ball nearly hit him. Loaded bases and two outs for Kevin Garcia who is up for the second time this inning. GARCIA WITH THE FOUR PITCH WALK, AND THERE’S SEVEN HOME IN THE INNING FOR THE GOLDEYES, IT’S 7-0! Mazzola is up with the bases still loaded. Mazzola with a hard at-bat but he ultimately flies out to right, and that’s the inning. The Goldeyes sent 11 men to the plate, there were 7 runs and 7 hits, and they left the bases loaded.
Top of 3rd
The Goldeyes have built a nice 7-0 lead, but the game is still young. The Canaries will look to chip away at that lead in this inning. Maxx Garrett, the catcher will lead it off for the Birds against leftie Kevin McGovern. And Garrett will cut into that lead with a no-doubt-about-it solo shot to left field, and the Canaries have their first hit and first run and it’s 7-1. Dan Motl grounds out first pitch swinging on the next at-bat and here comes Blake Schmit. Schmit hits it sharp to right and it is a bit of a chase for Cruzado, but he gets under it and there’s two away for the DH Chris Grayson. Grayson draws the full count walk, and the Canaries will hope for some two out magic here as Burt Reynolds steps up with a runner on first. In the end though, Reynolds grounds out to Mazzola at third and the inning is over. The Canaries are able to chip away a bit, with Garrett’s solo homer. It’s 7-1 Goldeyes as we head to the bottom half.
Bottom of 3rd:
Jordan Ebert will lead off the home-half. And Ebert will be called out on strikes, so here comes Andrew Sohn. Sohn grounds out on the first pitch, and Grant Heyman is at the plate now. Thompson is having a very good bounce-back inning thus far, as he tries to hold the Canaries in. Heyman crushes one to deep right, but Mike Hart gets under it and it’s a very quick, nice bounce-back inning for Thompson and the Canaries.
Top of 4th:
Jabari Henry to lead off. Henry hits it high and he hits it hard, but he hits it toward second and Jordan Ebert camps under it and records the out. Patrick Fiala is back up for the Canaries with one out and nobody on here in the fourth inning. Fiala with a tough hit past the dive of Mazzola BUT IT’S BACKED UP NICELY BY ANDREW SOHN WHO MAKES THE FAR TOSS TO FIRST AND RODRIGUEZ DOES THE SPLITS TO DIG IT OUT NICELY AND FIALA IS OUT AT FIRST. MY GOODNESS WHAT A PLAY BY SOHN! There are two outs and no one on base for the first baseman Chris Jacobs. AND JACOBS IS SAT DOWN BY KEVIN MCGOVERN. THAT’S A STRIKEOUT AND THE INNING IS OVER. We will head to the home-half of the fourth and the Fish will come to bat up 7-1.
Bottom of 4th:
Reynaldo Rodriguez steps up, and hits a nice blooper to center on the first pitch, and here comes Reggie Abercrombie with a runner on first. Abercrombie falls behind 0-2 but hits a single and there’s runners on first and second with no outs for Victor Cruzado, who is 0-1 with a run scored tonight. Cruzado is struck out, so David Bergin will get a crack here with one man down and runners on one and two. AND BERGIN CRUSHES A HOME RUN TO CENTRE, AND IT’S 10-1 GOLDEYES. DAVID BERGIN HAS DONE IT AGAIN! 20 HOME RUNS LAST SEASON, AND ANOTHER THREE IN THE PLAYOFFS, AND NOW HE HITS ONE IN THE GOLDEYES’ HOME OPENER. Still no activity in the Canaries’ bullpen, as Kevin Garcia steps up for the Fish. Garcia strikes out, and now there’s two men down for the veteran Josh Mazzola. Mazzola is struck out and the inning is over. But, it’s another good inning for the Fish, as David Bergin’s home run tacks on 3 runs and it is 10-1 for the Winnipeg Goldeyes over the Sioux Falls Canaries.
Top of 5th:
Kevin McGovern has looked steady thus far tonight and he is up for a fifth inning of work. Utility man (and tonight’s left-fielder for the Canaries) Mike Hart will lead things off here in the 5th, as Maxx Garrett, who homered his last at-bat, waits at the on-deck circle. Hart hits it nice and well to right field near the foul-line, but Cruzado sprints to get under it and gets the out. Garrett, who hit a home run last time up,has the Canaries only hit of the game. That was Garrett’s first at-bat of the season, so he has a perfect batting average for the moment. This time around, McGovern manages to get Garrett to ground out, and there are two men down for the center-fielder, Dan Motl. Motl hits it similar to Hart, but to left, and Heyman gets under it to record the out, and Kevin McGovern and the Winnipeg Goldeyes have a 1-2-3 inning.
Bottom of 5th:
Jordan Ebert leads things off, and he is hit by the first pitch he sees. There’s been a few pitches tonight that have been to close to hitting Fish batters, and this one does indeed hit the second baseman and Andrew Sohn will step up. There is now some activity in the Canaries’ pen, it’s 25-year old Trevor Jaunich getting loose for the Birds. Sohn with a swing and a miss and there is one on and one out for Grant Heyman. Heyman hits a short ball toward Fiala who fields and goes to second for one, but Heyman beats out the throw to second, so there’s one on and two down for Reynaldo Rodriguez. Rodriguez hits the first pitch right back up the middle for a single and there’s runners on first and second with two down for Reggie Abercrombie. AND ABERCROMBIE HOMERS. IT WAS A LONG AT-BAT BUT REGGIE ABERCROMBIE HITS ONE TO RIGHT, SAME LOCATION AS BERGIN’S SHOT IN THE LAST INNING, AND REGGIE ABERCROMBIE HAS A 3 RUN JACK TO BUT THE FISH UP BIG, IT’S 13-1. That’ll spell the end of Dylan Thompson’s night. The 2017 All-Star reliever is on the hook, after giving up 13 hits and 13 runs in four and two-third innings. Trevor Jaunich will come in to relief him for the Birds, and he will face Victor Cruzado first. Cruzado fouls off quite a few pitches, but is eventually called out on strikes to end the inning. The Goldeyes do take on another 3 runs, it’s 13-1 for the defending champs.
Top of 6th:
Blake Schmit will lead things off here against Kevin McGovern. Schmit grounds out. We are into the sixth inning here, and so far McGovern is working on a one-hit game. Chris Grayson comes up and pops out into foul ground and that brings up Burt Reynolds as McGovern has quickly recorded two outs already this inning. Reynolds smacks a pitch super duper high, but it doesn’t go very far as Cruzado gets under it in shallow right for the third and final out of the inning, and Kevin McGovern has now gone 6 strong innings, with home run to Garrett being really the only blemish he has had thus far.
Bottom of 6th:
It appears that Trevor Jaunich will come out for another inning of work, after retiring the only batter he faced last inning. DH David Bergin, who has one of the two home runs that the Goldeyes have hit tonight, will lead off. Bergin was very aggressive in that at-bat, but he ends up striking out, so here comes catcher Kevin Garcia. Garcia continues his hot start to the year with another single, and Josh Mazzola will come up. Early on, Garcia has looked like quite a find for Rick Forney and company. Mazzola hits a grounder and Garcia is just out at second on the fielder’s choice and Jordan Ebert will come to bat with Mazzola on first and two men down in the inning. Ebert hits it to right field, but Jabari Henry dives and makes the catch. Very nice play and effort by Henry to take away a potential extra base hit.
Top of 7th:
Kevin McGovern is still on the mound into the 7th, and why not? He has looked really good tonight, and is sitting on a 12-run cushion. He will face Jabari Henry, who just made that nice catch last inning. Henry gets some good wood and hits it hard to right, but Grant Heyman runs under it, and McGovern, like he has been doing all night, induces another fly out. There is one man gone now for Patrick Fiala. Fiala, much like Henry, hits a fly ball, this time to center, and Reggie Abercrombie jogs to it and makes the catch and there are two outs and no one on the bases for the first baseman, Chris Jacobs. Jacobs finally gets something going for the Birds, as he hits the first pitch sharp and deep to right. He rounds first, but the speed of Victor Cruzado to get that ball and cut it off, as well as the strength of Cruzado’s arm, keeps Jacobs to first, when he really should have been looking at extra bases. Just all around very good defense by Cruzado. Hart comes up next and battles, and hits a tough ball toward second base, but Jordan Ebert sprints to get under it and makes the off-balance catch to record the third out and it is stretch time here at Shaw Park in Downtown Winnipeg. To the bottom half we go.
Bottom of 7th:
Trevor Jaunich is back out for the Birds. He will face the top of the order, in Andrew Sohn, Grant Heyman and Reynaldo Rodriguez. Sohn is quickly retired as he hits the baseball directly at a Canary and Heyman is up. Heyman flies out high to Henry in the outfield, and Rodriguez will come to the plate. Rodriguez hits it hard toward third, but is ultimately the victim of a groundout and the inning is over. Trevor Jaunich has really settled in nicely for the Canaries, and we will head to the 8th.
Top of 8th:
McGovern back out. He is still looking great on the mound, and with six outs remaining, coupled with a large lead, McGovern has a real shot at a complete game victory. Catcher Maxx Garrett, whose solo home run back in the third inning represents the only run for the Canaries thus far, steps up. He hits a hard ball toward Josh Mazzola, who throws across the diamond to first for the put-out and there is one man down for Dan Motl. Motl hits it nice to center and REGGIE ABERCROMBIE LEAPS UP INTO THE AIR MAKES A CIRCUS CATCH, SECURING THE BALL AS HE TUMBLES TO THE GROUND. TWO AWAY IN THE INNING. McGovern has looked great, and his fielders have backed him up with some some defensive play. Blake Schmit hits a single and Chris Grayson will bat with one on and two out. Grayson hits a bloop, and Abercrombie sprints and is just unable to get under it, and now the Canaries have runners on first and second with two down for Burt Reynolds. This has really been the greatest threat for the Canaries. Reynolds hits a mile high pop-up and is retired by the first baseman Rodriguez and McGovern gets out of the inning unscathed. Goldeyes will head to bat in the bottom half of the eighth, looking to add to their 13-1 lead.
Bottom of 8th:
Tyler Wolfe, who is listed as an infielder on the lineup card, appears to be the pitcher for this inning. Perhaps the thinking here for Canaries’ manager Mike Meyer is, it’s a long season, and this game appears lost, so why not save the bullpen? Abercrombie led off, and he was very aggressive, looking to capitalize on a positional player as pitcher. However, Wolfe holds his ground and strikes out Reggie and that brings up Victor Cruzado. Cruzado hits a bit of an oddball, which, after taking a funny curve in the air, ends up as a bloop single. Matt McCann will come in to pinch hit to David Bergin with Cruzado on first and one down. Goldeyes first base coach for tonight is Goldeye legend Donnie Smith, as Rick Forney is away attending his son’s graduation. Wolfe, meanwhile, picks up his second strikeout, and looks good on the mound. Kevin Garcia comes up, and like he has all night, picks up a base hit. He is starting to become something of a Kryptonite for this Canaries’ pitching staff. Runners on first and second with 2 men down for veteran slugger Josh Mazzola. Mazzola flies out directly to center, and all in all, Wolfe has a very respectable inning, especially as a positional player. We will head to the 9th, and it’s the last chance for the Canaries.
Top of 9th:
New pitcher for the Goldeyes is 25-year old right-hander Jack Charleston. McGovern will leave the game after pitching eight strong innings, and giving up just four hits and one run. Not much else that you can ask for from your starting pitcher. McGovern is in line to get a well-deserved win. Charleston will try to finish the Canaries off for the Goldeyes. Jabari Henry will start things off for the Sioux Falls Canaries. Henry hits it at Mazzola at third and nearly legs out an infield single, but the ball arrives at first JUST before him and he is retired for the first out of the inning. Up now is Patrick Fiala. And Fiala grounds out to Andrew Sohn and there’s quickly two outs and Chris Jacobs is the last hope for the Canaries. He hits it softly to first and Rodriguez fields it and steps on first base himself and THE GOLDEYES WIN. The Goldeyes improve to 5-2, while the Canaries drop to 2-5. Kevin McGovern picks up the victory after pitching eight strong, and on the other side Dylan Thompson will take the loss.
Couldn’t ask for a much better home opener for the Goldeyes, as they will celebrate this victory with fireworks! The Fish are back for more tomorrow against these same Sioux Falls Canaries, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. It will be the electric Edwin Carl on the hill for the Goldeyes tomorrow. Carl is in his fourth season as a Goldeye and was the winning pitcher in last year’s Championship clinching game against the Wichita Wingnuts here at Shaw Park.
In the end, Mother Nature ended up doing us a solid, as the storms stayed away. The Fish bats were on fire, and Kevin McGovern was lights out on the pitching mound tonight. The final score for tonight, the Sioux Falls Canaries 1, and the WINNIPEG GOLDEYES 13. Thank you for joining us on our live blog, and have a good night!