Saints Match Up With North Division Rival Winnipeg Goldeyes In Playoff Division SeriesST. PAUL, MN September 6, 2016
Entering the postseason as North Division Champions for a second straight season, the St. Paul Saints will see a very familiar opponent in the Division Round of the American Association playoffs when they take on the Winnipeg Goldeyes. After meeting 17 times during the regular season, the Saints and Goldeyes will square off in a best-of-five series starting on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Shaw Park in Winnipeg.
The two Division rounds are based on geography, with the teams closest to each other facing off, pairing the North Division Champion Saints with the Wild Card Goldeyes. The Central Division Champion Sioux City Explores will match up with the South Division Champion Wichita Wingnuts. With the better record, the Saints elected to host Games 3-5 and start the series on the road for Games 1 and 2.
In their 17 meetings during the regular season, the Saints were 8-9 against the Goldeyes. 10 games were decided by two runs or less including six games that were decided by just one run.
This season the Saints have been led by centerfielder Alonzo Harris who finished the season hitting .307 with 15 home runs and 58 RBI. Harris led the league in stolen bases and set a new franchise record with 43 steals. He also finished fifth in total bases with 191 and sixth in hits with 120. He was named to the 2016 American Association All-Star team. Additionally, Harris earned Postseason All-Star honors as an outfielder.
Veterans Tony Thomas and Nate Hanson also helped bolster the Saints offense this year. Thomas hit .296 with 13 home runs and 65 RBI, finishing tied for sixth in the league in doubles with 25. Thomas was named to the 2016 American Association All-Star Game. Meanwhile, Hanson hit .304 with 12 home runs and 63 RBI. On defense, Hanson was the best fielding third baseman in the league, setting a new American Association record with a .968 fielding percentage, committing just seven errors in 216 total chances.
On their pitching staff, the Saints have two of the most dominant hurlers in the American Association with starters Mark Hamburger and closer Ryan Rodebaugh. Hamburger has been the workhorse of the Saints staff, posting a 12-6 record with a 3.29 ERA. He finished the season first in the league in innings pitched with 158.2 and complete games with seven, both American Association records. Hamburger also ended the year tied for first in the league in wins with 12 and tied for seventh in ERA. He was named to the 2016 American Association All-Star game and started for the North Team, earning the win after pitching 1.0 scoreless inning.
Coming out of the bullpen to lock down Saints victories, Rodebaugh ended the year 3-2 with a 1.85 ERA. The 27-year-old led the league in saves with 23, converting 23 of 25 save opportunities this year. He also finished first in the league in reliever points with 69 and tied for second in games finished with 37. He was named to the 2016 American Association All-Star Game and pitched 1.0 perfect inning of relief. He also garnered Postseason All-Star honors when he was named Reliever of the Year.
The Goldeyes strength this season has come from their offense. Winnipeg led the league in runs scored with 594, finished third in overall average at .283 and fourth in home runs with 85.
Leading the charge was All-Star first baseman David Rohm who hit .339 with seven home runs and 71 RBI. Rohm finished the year tied for fourth in the league in hits with 124 and batting average. He was also tied for fifth in RBI. He was named to the 2016 American Association All-Star Game and was named the MVP after going 2-4 with a double and two RBI. Rohm was also named to the Postseason All-Star Team at first base.
The acquisition of former Saint Willie Cabrera helped spark the Goldeyes in their push to the playoffs. Cabrera was traded to the Goldeyes from Joplin on July 7 and made an immediate impact for Winnipeg, hitting .324 with nine home runs and 34 RBI in 45 games. Overall, Cabrera finished the season second in the league in RBI with 77 and eighth in batting average, hitting a combined .318 between Joplin and Winnipeg. He was named a 2016 Postseason All-Star as an outfielder.
On their pitching staff, left-hander Kevin McGovern has been the ace for the Goldeyes, posting an 8-3 record with a 3.56 ERA. McGovern finished the season second in the American Association in strikeouts with 125, tied for fourth in complete games with three and sixth in innings pitched with 129.0.
Here is a breakdown of the two teams in some major statistical categories:
Average .275 (4th) .283 (3rd)
Runs 571 (4th) 594 (1st)
Home Runs 106 (2nd) 85 (4th)
Stolen Bases 119 (4th) 136 (2nd)
ERA 4.24 (6th) 4.52 (7th)
BAA .260 (4th) .262 (5th)
Strikeouts 639 (10th) 713 (3rd)
Below is the schedule for the series with pitching match ups:
Game 1: Wednesday, September 7 @WIN, 7:00 p.m.
STP: RHP Mark Hamburger (12-6, 3.29) vs. WIN: RHP Mikey O’Brien (10-4, 4.34)
Game 2: Thursday, September 8 @WIN, 7:00 pm.
STP: RHP Robert Coe (11-3, 4.24) vs. WIN: RHP Edwin Carl (10-6, 4.70)
Game 3: Saturday, September 10 @CHS Field, 7:05 p.m.
STP: TBA vs. WIN: LHP Kevin McGovern (8-3, 3.56)
Game 4 (if necessary): Sunday, September 11 @ CHS Field, 5:05 p.m.
STP: TBA vs. WIN: TBA
Game 5 (if necessary): Monday, September 12 @ CHS Field, 7:05 p.m.
STP: TBA vs. WIN: TBA
Saints fans can listen to Game 1, 2, 3 and 5 on Club 1220 KLBB (game four will not be on radio). Saints fans can watch Game 3-5 on the Saints Cable Network cable access channels in the Twin Cities and at saintsbaseball.com and online at americanassociationbaseball.tv.
Fans can purchase tickets to game three on Saturday, September 10 at 7:05 p.m. during normal box office hours Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. by calling 651-644-6659, in person at the box office or online anytime at saintsbaseball.com.
Ticket prices for the playoffs are the same as the regular season: $5 for berm seating (available only on day of game in person at the box office), $6 for bleacher seats, $12 for the drink rail, $14 for outfield reserved, $16 for infield reserved and $18 for home plate reserved. Tickets purchased on the day of the game are an additional $2 per ticket. Children under the age of 12 and seniors 65 and older receive $1 off the admission price. Children under 2 that don't require a seat are free.