- Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (53-28, 1st in West)
Riding a four-game winning streak, the RedHawks look like the clear top dogs in the American Association, for now. They welcomed the East Division-leading Chicago Dogs to Newman Outdoor Field over the weekend, and earned a three-game sweep. The RedHawks’ starting rotation is arguably the best in the American Association. The legendary Kevin McGovern is the head of the snake, leading the American Association in pitching WAR, per Goldeyes broadcaster Steve Schuster. But rookie-class starters Tyler Grauer (3.37), Peyton Wigginton (3.98) and Davis Feldman (4.21) all sport impressive ERAs in a hitter-friendly league. The bullpen has also been exceptional, with arms like Tanner Riley (2.37 ERA) and Joe Jones (2.97) bridging the gap to closer Alex DuBord, who’s piled up a league-best 22 saves. The RedHawks finish up a four-game series with Sioux Falls this week, with a rematch with the Dogs in Rosemont over the weekend.
- Kane County Cougars (43-38, 2nd in East)
Think back to just a couple weeks ago, on August 1. The Cougars were 9.5 games out of first place in the East Division, closer to missing the playoffs entirely than catching first-place Chicago. Since then, they’ve looked like a legitimate Miles Wolff Cup contender. George Tsamis’ team kicked off the month by taking five out of six from Kansas City, including a three-game sweep at home. Then they made their longest road trip of the season to take on the Railroaders in Cleburne and came back with four wins in six games. The Cougars are sporting an .846 OPS as a team over that stretch, third-best in the Association despite their spacious home ballpark. That plus a stumble from Chicago means the Cougars have made up plenty of ground in the standings, now just 3.5 back of the East Division lead with a three-game home series against the Dogs starting on Tuesday.
- Kansas City Monarchs (49-31, 3rd in West)
Kansas City faced an important week this week after their less-than-stellar showing against Kane County. Joe Calfapietra’s team went 3-3 on the field, but still got plenty of good news. For starters, Jan Hernandez is back. A Player of the Year contender before he went down with a shoulder injury on July 19, the All-Star outfielder made his return to the Monarchs on Friday against Lincoln, knocking an RBI single in his first game back. The Monarchs welcomed back former major leaguer Pete Kozma to their active roster the same day. Ace of staff Matt Hall easily took home Pointsreak Pitcher of the Week honors, tossing a pair of seven-inning gems without allowing a run. His 0.97 ERA is easily the best in the Association.
- Winnipeg Goldeyes (46-34, 3rd in West)
Winnipeg hit a bump in the road at the end of the week, losing two out of three to a Sioux City team that’s been hitting its stride as of last. Still, August has been a huge month for Rick Forney’s team. The Goldeyes lead the AAPB with an incredible .907 OPS since August 1, with sluggers Max Murphy and David Washington tied for the Association home run lead. The Goldeyes fave a daunting schedule to finish their season: 10 of their 20 remaining games are against Kansas City, with weekend series against the Explorers and RedHawks thrown in.
- Chicago Dogs (46-34, 1st in West)
Any way you slice it, it’s been tough sledding for the Dogs of late. Butch Hobson’s team has lost nine in a row, made up of three straight series sweeps against Sioux City, Gary SouthShore and Fargo-Moorhead. Over that stretch, the Dogs offense has averaged just over 2.1 runs per game. Still, there’s plenty of reasons for fans of Butch Hobson’s group to be positive. The RailCats, Explorers and RedHawks are all playing good baseball right now. The pitching staff has posted a solid 4.63 ERA in the month of August. And the Dogs head to Kane County next, with a chance to reaffirm their status as the team to beat in the East.