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Game 22: Wingnuts 11, Pheasants 3

Box score — Wingnuts 11, Sioux Falls 3

My prediction: Tonight’s win over the first-place team in the American Association North Division will be the start of a prolonged run of good baseball from the Wingnuts. If you want to simplify that phrase, I guess you could call it a winning streak.

I think too much is made of momentum in baseball. Remember that game when in the playoffs, I think in 2005, when Albert Pujols hit the long home run off Brad Lidge in Houston? Everybody said it was the beginning of the end of the series, even though Houston still had a 3-1 or 3-2 lead. (I can’t remember which). St. Louis had all the momentum. It was headed home to the friendly confines of Busch Stadium. The series was O-V-A-H because Houston just wouldn’t be able to recover.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. Houston won the next game and went on to get punked by the White Sox in the World Series.

This is one of those things I wrote about a few weeks ago that makes it tough to cover a baseball team sometimes. You want to analyze every loss and make it a bigger deal than it actually is. I could have used words like “deflated” last night about how the Wingnuts could feel after blowing a four-run ninth-inning lead in embarrassing fashion.

While that loss haunted the Wingnuts for that day and may be important later on if they get back in the race, it was still just one day. They play baseball Every. Day. And every game is different, and momentum is created by that day’s starting pitcher. Nothing else matters quite as much.

That basically means I have no basis to forecast an upcoming winning streak for the Wingnuts. It’s just a feeling, basically. I think Ryan Patterson’s recent hot streak will last a little longer. I think Steve Pearson is slowly emerging from a long slump. I think Mario Delgado is a poor man’s Greg Porter. I think Chris Colton’s .325 batting average will be supplemented by more extra-base hits in the next couple weeks. I think Josh Horn will continue being Josh Horn. I think Jeff Christy is showing off his hitting skills for the first time as a professional. Actually, I know that.

It’s all looking good for the Wingnuts right now. I think. Luke Massetti gave them 8 1/3 quality innings tonight — didn’t walk a batter, pitched well to a dangerous middle of the order for Sioux Falls. If Ben Graham can survive tomorrow in his second pro start, things start looking even better for the Wingnuts, who will send their best two starters, Nick Singleton and Adam Cowart, to the mound in the final two games of the four-game series.

If I’m wrong, the momentum just wasn’t on my side.

Up next: Sioux Falls at Wingnuts, Thursday (6/8) at 7:05 p.m. at Lawerence-Dumont Stadium. Starting pitchers: Sioux Falls, LH Ryan Rodriguez (3-0, 2.16 ERA); Wingnuts, RH Ben Graham (0-0, 4.76).

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