Left-hander Brennan Bernardino is scheduled to make his first career professional start this afternoon at Chicago.
Bernardino was signed on Wednesday, and made his Goldeyes’ debut later that night against Cleburne. The Californian worked out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the seventh to keep the Goldeyes within three runs. Winnipeg went on to tie the game in the bottom of the inning before the Railroaders ultimately came away 12-7.
The 26-year-old left-hander has averaged 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings during the first five years of his career. Bernardino has pitched exclusively in relief until this point, and last started during his final season at California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2014.
Bernardino will hope for a similar transition to that of Mitchell Lambson, who had made only one pro start prior to this year.
“He was rusty,” Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney said on Bernaridno’s Wednesday appearance. “He hadn’t pitched since June. Four or five weeks of inactivity will make you lose feel. He wasn’t sharp, but he threw a couple of pitches where you could see the potential. You could see why the Reds thought highly enough of him to send him to the Arizona Fall League. We’ll give him plenty of more looks moving forward. He might be a good piece that we’re able to add for the remainder of this season. We’ll get a good look at him and see if he’s a fit for next year.”
The American Association has long been a testing ground for pitchers looking to make the transition from reliever to starter, or vice versa. Jared Carkuff, who earned the win for Chicago on Friday, had never made a professional start prior to July 30th. In consecutive starts against the Goldeyes, Carkuff pitched to a 3.75 ERA in 12.0 innings.
The current Chicagoland road trip will be extra special for Forney. The skipper’s family made the trip out to Rosemont, and plans to follow the team to Gary, IN early next week.
“I haven’t seen them since I went home for Christopher’s graduation in May,” said Forney. “They haven’t been able to get up to Winnipeg this year. Their schedule is getting busier as they get older. It’s the only time they could get out, and Chicago happens to be the closest (American Association city) to home, so they’ll stay here all week with me. It’s good to see them. Hopefully we can play well in front of them.”
Goldeyes’ right fielder Josh Romanski entered Saturday riding a seven-game hitting streak. The reigning league MVP is hitting .368 in his last 10 contests, and opened the road trip tied for ninth in the American Association batting race.
“He’s using the entire field,” Forney said. “When he’s going well, that’s what he does. He’s a line drive hitter and he’s been getting some people to pay for mistakes over the middle of the plate.”
GOLDEYES FALL TO DOGS
The Winnipeg Goldeyes lost 4-1 to the Chicago Dogs at Impact Field on Saturday night.
Tony Rosselli broke a scoreless tie with a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the fourth. Trey Vavra lifted a sacrifice fly in the next inning to make it 3-0 Chicago.
Josh Mazzola led off the seventh with a home run. The Dogs extended the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth on a Stephen Perez single.
Former Major League left-hander Scott Barnes picked up the win, tossing five scoreless innings.
Tyler Herron took the loss, allowing two unearned runs over four.
WP: Barnes (2-4)
LP: Herron (6-9)
SV: Grover (10)
HR: WIN Mazzola (16)
THE SKINNY: The Chicago Dogs scratched out enough offence to beat the Winnipeg Goldeyes 4-1 at Impact Field and win four straight games for the first time in franchise history.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Dogs’ starter Scott Barnes contributed five shutout innings in the winning effort.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Chicago centre fielder Kenny Wilson made a line drive throw from the warning track in the top of the seventh to cut down Dexter Kjerstad at third base for the final out.
UP NEXT: Winnipeg looks to avoid the sweep on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Brennan Bernardino will make his first career start. Chicago goes with right-hander Trevor Simms. The game can be heard on 93.7 FM.