June 9: Detroit 1, Toledo 0. Sam Goerts (8-3) throws seven shutout inning. This is the fourth straight start in which he hasn’t allowed a run. It’s been 33 2/3 innings since he last allowed a run—an unearned run—and 46 2/3 innings since he last allowed an earned run.
The Architects fall back to the pack, following their 22-3 April with a 10-18 May. The order of the American standings does not change this month, but things tighten up considerably. Milwaukee does the most to improve their position, going 16-10 and moving to within two games of the Wild Card. The league awards Batter of the Month to Detroit’s Jon Harrison and Pitcher of the Month to Traverse City’s Scott Banda. Gray Dijkstra repeats as Rookie of the Month.
Defending champion Chicago begin the new season with 13 straight wins. Duluth loses 14 straight, Detroit wins 8 straight, and Windsor loses 8 straight. Thunder Bay signs some big names and seizes first place in Canada. Pitching dominates, with league ERAs around 3.00.
Godzilla Garcia is not only threatening to hit .400, but he is actually raising his average as this past week saw his batting line go from .420 to .423. In last evening’s contest he went 3-for-4 against the Neptune’s with a double. Toledo managed to win 6-1 as their challenger for the batting title, Carl MacNiven, went 2-for-4 with his own double to ease his average back up to .389, yet at the same time quieting conversation about whether he might hit .400.
After 59 games he was hitting .395. Having played 106 games, Carl is now at .396 and definitely capturing the attention of stat freaks all over the Great Lakes area. Is the 36 year old second sacker distracted with all the media attention?
Carl had this to say: “Are you serious? We’ve got a pennant to win. Anything else is back seat stuff, mister.”
Tied for the league with 24 is Dave ‘Mustache’ Teague. He’s been an All Star every season, won three Lake Erie Awards, was twice the MVP in the Canadian Playoffs, is hitting .304 with a .974 OPS, and plays three different positions. Throw in 47 BB/50 K ratio and you have quite an offensive force. Teague has a lifetime 124 dingers and has hit less than 20 just one time. Many pick him to win the home run crown while vying for League MVP.
The Toronto Maples seemingly own the Hamilton Mounties by virtue of their 14-8 edge over the season. The last time the Maples visited Hamilton they dropped the first two games of the series but somehow pulled out a 3-2 win in the finale managing but 2 hits as the Mounties wasted a fine performance by Tate Crosby (8 IP/2 hits/1 BB/8 K’s….but 2 HR’s). Prior to that contest Hamilton had a 5 game lead over the 37-39 Toronto club. But, things have flipped since that June afternoon.
Hamilton will have to do without their big bat and 4 time All Star Dave Teague for this series. Meanwhile, the Maples will do without a bevy of players and not the least their big first baseman Stephen Gilbert (22 HR’s in 116 games).
How close are these teams? Toronto has a season run differential of +17 while Hamilton one of +19. The Maples are 28-20 post all star while the Mounties have struggled with a 22-25 record. The teams are separated by 2.5 games so clearly Hamilton must win at least 2 of 3.
The Mounties have been averaging +37,000 crowds during their 30-24 home season and tickets will be scarce for this set. The Maples actually play better on the road at 35-29. Should be a good one!
The Toronto Maples are looking every bit like a playoff team for the first time in their history. After a typical April/May where they played 26-31 ball June ‘changed their tune’ with a 14-9 record and July ‘they let it fly’ (thanks Paul Simon) going 19-10. This morning their record is 59-51 as they find themselves 5 games back of the league leading Windsor Vigilantes.
The Maples lead the Canadian League in Runs Scored, OBP, and Batting Average. The Starting Pitching is ranked 3rd.
Kevin Thomas…just 1 HR but a .343 BA and a .432 OBP means he’s the ultimate table setter. His 135 hits is only second to one player in the league.
Hilton Madore, LF, leads both leagues in Hits with 146 and he has 15 HR’s.
Henri Francois, quite possibly the pitching face of the GLBL has not missed a beat since he defected from the World Champion Milwaukee Eagles as he has a 12-3/ 1.96 ERA line for Toronto.
Stephen Gilbert 1b in his 3rd season with Toronto gets better and better with the bat as he has turned in a .284/.377/.513 line up to now.
When it comes to closers, lights out closers, River Guiterrez is the man. River is practically unhittable as he has allowed 26 hits and 8 walks in 46 innings pitched which translates to a 0.38 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP. No surprise as this guy has turned in WHIP’s of 0.76 and 0.77 in previous years. His K/BB ration is 12.9.
The Hamilton Mounties trail Toronto by 4.5 games so the fortune of the Maples could go either way. Some big Sunday – Tuesday series coming up this week and next as Toronto faces Hamilton next week and Windsor the week after.
Some of you may remember our discussion in 2017 that revolved around the defense, or lack thereof, of the Milwaukee Eagles. Kevin Boivin, acquired early in the season from the Traverse City Bears was playing 1B for the Eagles. Or, trying to play might be a better description. Boivin committed a whopping 23 errors in 123 games at first for Milwaukee and even added a single error in 3 innings of play in RF.
Well, Milwaukee sought another direction in the off-season and on Oct. 16 Kevin found himself a free agent and he stayed that way until March 9 when the Hamilton Mounties inked him to a one year deal ($8M).
Boivin has given the Mounties the offense they were seeking when they signed him (.264/.384/.488), pretty much his career average from the dish.
What is a bit surprising is that while playing three positions (mostly 1B) he has not committed a single error all year long. Twenty six games at first and a total of nine games in the OF and Kevin is flawless.
Maybe it was the change of scenery, or could it be he is happier in Canada???; it’s hard to say but he clearly is a player worthy of the ‘past results do not guarantee future performance’. Could this man actually win a gold glove in what can only be termed a defensive renaissance year for him? A long way to go but you can’t count him out.
In the bottom of the 16th inning, with the score tied, 4-4, the Toronto Maples, having used every arm in their bullpen, turn to starter Wayne Conboy. He gets two outs but gives up two singles, and Kingston Comet second baseman Octávio Orozco comes to the plate. Orozco fouls off pitch after pitch after pitch and works the count full. On the 10th pitch of the at-bat, Orozco grounds a single to left. Bob Hawkins scores from second, and the Comets win a thriller, 5-4.
It was the second straight night that two teams went to extra innings, and it was the second straight night that Kingston came out on top by a score of 5 to 4. But the previous night’s game was, by comparison with tonight’s, downright speedy. It lasted only 11 innings.
Tonight’s game went 16 innings, took nearly 5 hours to play, and ended just two minutes before the stroke of midnight. 15 different pitchers threw 489 pitches. Toronto backup catcher Pete Lee was the only position player on either side not to see action.
The game also featured Clerc and Leclerc. Toronto’s Jean Clerc opened the scoring with a solo home run in the 3nd inning. In the top of the 15th, Clerc singled in the leading run. (Unfortunately, in his other at bats, Clerc managed to strike out 5 times.)
Cyrille Leclerc twice saved his Comets. With his team down, 3-1, in the bottom of the 9th, Leclerc deposited a two-run home run deep into the right-field bleachers, tying the game and forcing extra innings. With his team down, 4-3, in the bottom of the 15th, blooped a single to short right field, driving in the tying run.
Toronto rookies Hilton Madore and Jason Townsley combined to score two runs in the 7th. Madore singled and Townsley hit his first major league home run. Left-fielder Madore later, in the 11th inning, threw out a would-be winning run at the plate.
Young Toronto reliever Phil Jones lived up to his nickname, Smooth, and had perhaps the best line of the night. He threw just one pitch but got two outs, getting his batter to hit into an inning-ending double play. Smooth, indeed.