The Winnipeg Goldeyes have been studs on the road all season, but this particular road trip has proven to be an early test for the North Division leaders.
The Fish (21-13) are six games into their 10-game tour of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball (CanAm league). They are 3-3, not bad by any means, but know they can be better, a lot better. They're a team that prides itself on knowing how to win ball games on the road, where they boast an outstanding 12-6 record.
'Any time you can come here and bounce back and help your pitchers get back on track it's good thing for us.'
Last week they met with the New Jersey Jackals for a three-game series that nearly ended with the Fish being swept for the first time this season. After losing the first two games by close scores, the Goldeyes managed to squeak out a huge 2-1 win on Day 3 to avoid the sweep.
Turn the page to the Quebec Capitales, where the Fish took Game 1 decisively, 11-5, thanks to a five-RBI night from Josh Mazzola. In Game 2 the Fish got into trouble in the sixth inning, giving up two runs, which allowed the Capitales to hold on for a 6-5 win.
"Last night we probably should've won," manager Rick Forney said Sunday after another seesaw game against the Capitales, where the Fish came from behind and pulled in three runs in the 11th inning to win 9-7.
"There was two plays where routine grounders took bad hops and well, it ended up leading to them scoring two runs... Yeah it's been a tough road trip, we're not getting a whole lot of breaks go our way."
Forney noted the lack of familiarity they have with these CanAm teams is also part of the challenge. "I think when we were in New Jersey, I would say it was because we weren't too familiar with their pitchers and we just looked baffled for three days," he said.
On the brighter side, out fielder Reggie Abercrombie has been hitting a solid .333 with two home runs and six runs batted in on the trip, which puts him in the team lead for RBIs. Despite the early challenges, Abercrombie said the team is in good shape.
"Any time you go out there and get a loss, and lose the game in the last couple innings it's a pretty big blow for us," Abercrombie said after Sunday's series-clinching win over the Capitales. "Our pitching has been good all season so, you know, any time you can come here and bounce back and help your pitchers get back on track it's good thing for us."
Abercrombie said the Goldeyes are not worried about playing teams they've never played before. "These group of guys, you know, we stick together," he said.
"So any time you can go on the road and be together like we are at home, and bond like we bond (it's good). Anywhere we go, I feel like we can win anywhere, on the road or at home."