Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Shh! Streaks are sacred
Baseball players don't want to jinx them with jabber
Two Winnipeg Goldeyes entered Tuesday's game boasting hitting streaks, but nobody wanted to talk about them.
Centre fielder Chris Roberson came in with a 20-game hitting streak and catcher/first baseman Luis Alen brought in a 12-game streak.
Just a little superstition, maybe?
"It's more that you just want to keep doing the same thing. They say hitting is contagious. When one guy is going good, usually everybody catches on, they get sick. Sick with hitting," Roberson said, laughing, before he extended his streak to 21 games as the Goldeyes crushed the Sioux Falls Pheasants 8-2 at Shaw Park.
Roberson, hitting .354, is second in American Association batting to Grand Prairie AirHog -- and former Goldeye -- Brian Myrow at .355.
"You want to play the game keeping everything as simple as possible. The biggest thing is controlling my emotions, whether it's at the plate or in the field. If you can control your emotions, you can control what you want to do and how you want to swing."
Alen never wants to talk about his hitting at all, never mind a hitting streak, so no point in even going there. Coincidentally, of course, his streak came to an end after the subject was broached by a reporter prior to Tuesday's game.
So.... how about the fact that second baseman Price Kendall and Alen are the team's official ironmen -- the only Goldeyes to have played in all 75 games so far?
"Shhhh! No comprende," Alen said with a smile as pulled out his favourite Spanish phrase to pretend he doesn't understand.
OK, not games-played streaks either. Got it. But Alen said talking about pitching is OK.
"When your pitchers are having good days, making the right pitches in the right situation, that helps us a lot and that gives us that momentum," he said. "That gets us on track and we're going to score some runs."
He makes a good point. Starter Matt Rusch is having a banner season. He leads the league with a 2.40 ERA and tops the Goldeyes with eight wins after the victory Tuesday. On the nights the Goldeyes have their best games, Rusch and the other three starters, Ace Walker (6-3, 2.40), Chris Salamida (3-5, 4.48) and Todd Privett (5-4, 3.47) pitch six to eight strong innings and someone in the bullpen wraps things up.
Not so much in Monday's 20-16 win over Sioux Falls as Salamida got the win, but Goldeyes relievers were lit up for nine runs in the ninth.
Manager Rick Forney said hitting streaks aren't at the top of his list.
"Winning series are important, but games-played streaks are pretty important to me. I like guys that are available every day," Forney said. "They say the best ability is availability so that's pretty important to me."
With the victory the Goldeyes grabbed their 14th series win of the season.
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @WFPAshleyPrest
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 8, 2012 D3
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