A miserable weekend forced two consecutive postponements at Canwest Park and an abrupt end to an up-and-down homestand for the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
Sunday afternoon's game against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks was called well in advance of its scheduled 1:30 p.m. start time as the rain left the field in terrible shape and wouldn't let up.
The Fish finished a crucial 10-game stretch at the Fishbowl with a meagre 3-5 record (the two postponed games will be played as a pair of doubleheaders when the RedHawks visit again at the end of the month.)
Manager Rick Forney wasn't about to spin the extra time off into much of a silver lining, either.
"Some of the bullpen guys could use a bit of a rest," he said on Sunday. "But other than that I really don't think we gain anything by having an extra two days off."
To be fair, the stand was bookended by a couple of positives -- opening with a gritty series win against a powerful Kansas City squad and ending with a 3-0 shutout over the rival RedHawks -- but an ugly four-game sweep at the hands of the Gary SouthShore RailCats in between added yet another lowlight for a team that's struggled to get it done at home this season.
The Fish now head out to improve on their fairly impressive 20-17 road record, but they'll have to battle to do so. The seven-game trip opens with a three-game set against the first-place Kansas City T-Bones, followed by four games at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo against the second-place RedHawks.
"You know, I don't really necessarily look at it as the top two teams in the league," said Forney, commenting on the parity across the NL this season. The top six teams in the eight-team NL are separated by only six games.
"It is an important trip, we'd certainly like to play well. Getting two out of three in Kansas City and two or three in Fargo would certainly be nice heading home."
A pair of players will not be making the trip to K.C. , as reliever Corey Bass and infielder Patrick Brooks were released on Sunday morning.
Bass joined the team in mid-July as Forney scrambled to piece together an effective bullpen in the absence of Bobby Korecky, who was nursing an injury, and Zach Baldwin, who was forced into the starting rotation when ace Mark Holliman's contract was picked up by the Boston Red Sox. Bass did throw some sharp innings for the Fish at times, but had several ugly ones as well. Unfortunately, as illustrated by his 9.39 ERA, the bad ultimately outweighed the good.
Forney said he wasn't necessarily finished shuffling the deck in a 'pen that has seen a lot of changes this season. (Bass is the eighth reliever released by the team this season.)
"Just trying to find some healthy arms that can help us down the stretch," said Forney.
"We're a little shorthanded... maybe get something here in the next week or so but other than that I don't see much changing in our roster."
Brooks came to Winnipeg on Aug. 3 to help patch up a middle infield devastated by the losses of NL all-star shortstop Wes Long and impressive rookie second baseman Price Kendall. Defensively, he performed ably in Kendall's place alongside replacement shortstop Zach Williams, but offensively he just couldn't produce.