Game of the Week: 57’s @ Miller Express
By IAN WILSON
It’s a battle of Saskatchewan teams when the East Division-leading Moose Jaw Miller Express host the Swift Current 57’s in the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) Game of the Week.
The Miller Express sport a 20-13 record on the season, but they’re mired in a five-game losing streak. The 57’s come to Ross Wells Park with a 16-19 record and are five games back of Moose Jaw in the standings. Swift Current has lost two games in a row, so the team that prevails will snap a losing skid.
The squads have met five times thus far in 2022, with the Miller Express claiming victory in four of those matchups.
Moose Jaw’s offence is the best in the East Division, where they sit tops in batting average (.289), slugging percentage (.416), on-base percentage (.391), total bases (483), runs batted in (207), home runs (23), base hits (335), and runs (240) in 33 games played. Swift Current trails the Miller Express in those categories, but they are the best base-stealing club in the division, racking up 58 swiped bags so far this summer.
Both teams would like to see their pitching improve during the second half of the WCBL season. The 57’s have a collective 6.11 earned run average (ERA) while the Miller Express have posted an ERA of 5.06. Stepping into the batter’s box against both teams can be an adventure – the 57’s lead the WCBL in wild pitches (68) and the Miller Express have hit more batters (58) than any other squad. Each team is also susceptible to the long ball, with Moose Jaw allowing 19 homers and Swift Current yielding 23 round trippers to opposing hitters.
There is plenty of star power on both Saskatchewan rosters.
The Miller Express have six players who were named East All-Stars, while the 57’s are also sending a half-dozen players to the 2022 All-Star Game and Home Run Derby in Okotoks on Saturday, July 23rd at Seaman Stadium.
Among the Moose Jaw representatives are a trio of pitchers – Kellan Voggesser (3-3, 3.72 ERA, 34 strikeouts in 38.2 innings); Tim Carlson (3-1, 3.03 ERA, 28 Ks in 35.2 innings); and reliever Jesse Scholtz (3-1, five saves, 1.93 ERA, 19 strikeouts in 32.2 innings).
Miller Express batters getting the nod include catcher Brian Reyes (.356 batting average, 28 runs, 28 RBI in 28 games); outfielder Nate Mensik (.333 average, 11 stolen bases, six homers, 32 runs, 26 RBI in 32 games); and infielder Zach Campbell (.288 average, 11 stolen bases, 37 runs, nine doubles in 33 games).
Swift Current players to keep an eye on include All-Star pitchers Kenny Jinks, a lefty with 36 Ks over 31 frames and a 4.36 ERA; starter Adam Golby, who has 31 strikeouts through 29.2 innings; and righty reliever Trent Greek, who has a 3.86 ERA and 15 Ks in 18.2 innings.
The 57’s have three hitters who were named to the East All-Star squad: backstop Logan Grant (.279 batting average, 10 stolen bases, 20 runs, 18 RBI in 32 games); shortstop Tejean Smith (.285 average, 23 runs, 20 RBI in 32 contests); and infielder Thomas Collins (.310 average, 27 runs, seven stolen bases).
The WCBL Game of the Week between the Swift Current 57’s and Moose Jaw Miller Express takes place at 7:05 p.m. at Ross Wells Park on Tuesday, July 12th.