Fish hitter red-hot
Goldeyes open first homestand with Rohm batting .471
THE t rip was long and the baseball wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough to bring the Winnipeg Goldeyes home with a winning record.
Just as important, the 6-4 season-opening road trip gave manager Rick Forney a chance to test the firepower of his weapons. Sure, there are still some kinks to work out both on the mound and at the plate, but some big potential surged out of the gate.
Want to see some hitting? Consider the superheated start for outfielder David Rohm, who sits atop the American Association with a .471 average. Hungry for stolen bases? Adam Heisler has got it covered, with 10 such thefts in as many games — and his .405 batting average isn’t too shabby either.
What about lights-out pitching? Look no further: through his first two starts, returning southpaw Kyle Anderson is holding a 2-0 record and a rockbottom 0.68 ERA. He was outstanding in Sunday’s 4-2 matinee victory in Lincoln, allowing the Saltdogs just two hits and zero walks in seven innings.
Now, it’s time for fans to see the same. After 17 days away, the Goldeyes were set to roll back into Winnipeg this morning, hours before their home opener at Shaw Park. With only six returning players from last year’s campaign, it’s time for this bunch to show the home crowd what they’ve got
“Everybody’s just ready to get back home,” returning outfielder Heisler said Sunday, on the bus out of Lincoln. “We’ve played in a few places that the fan support is nothing like it’s going to be back home. I’ve been telling the guys that the excitement level takes it up.”
Which prompts the question: with so much baseball yet to play, how much does a strong start matter?
In 2015, the Goldeyes limped home after going 4-6 through their season-opening roadie. That record wasn’t immediately worrisome so early in the campaign, but it was a drop from 2014’s hot 7-3 start. As it turned out, it was also an early indication last year’s Fish weren’t clicking as intended.
They did win their home opener against the Sioux Falls Canaries, but lost the next two games of the series. It was the first fans would see of a seasonlong trend that saw them record fewer wins at home (22-27) than on the road (25-25). In a disappointing June, they went 4-10 at home.
“We got off on the wrong foot and never really caught up from it,” Heisler said. “So we’ll take the six now, and just continue doing it. I think our offence is not where it’s going to be... we have athletes all over the field. I’m excited about this team and what’s going to happen once we get going.”
Already, there is some momentum. Batting in the middle of the order, Rohm has been the offence’s engine, and Sunday afternoon he extended his hitting streak to a perfect 10 games. Heisler respected Rohm’s swing when they were opponents in affiliated ball; now, he gets to benefit from the powerhouse behind him.
“We really feed off it,” Heisler said. “I was just saying to Rick before the game today, with the way Rohm’s been hitting it feels like if we just get on base we’re going to be dangerous through this whole lineup.”
When only 10 per cent of the season is in the books, . nothing is written in stone. Some hitters who are cold right now won’t likely stay that way; some of the hot pitchers will probably hit cool spots. Things will change — and yet, there is something about the way a season starts that lends a lasting tone.
“It’s important,” Forney said. “We’re coming off the trip 6-4 and easily could have been 8-2 if we hadn’t made some mistakes. We did, and it cost us some games, and hopefully we’ve learned from it. At the end of the season, if you’re a game or two out, you start looking back and saying ‘ah, we shoulda won this one.’ ”
Winnipeg Goldeyes left y Kyle Anderson is 2-0 with a bare-bones 0.68 ERA to star t the season.