The Dogs completely turned things around in week three as they went from 1-9 on October 21st to 6-10 today. In particular, Glendale has greatly improved their offense, scoring 21 runs on Thursday alone after bringing home just 43 during the first 13 games.

To start the week, Yu Chang (CLE) hit the Desert Dogs second home run of the season on Monday at Peoria, cementing a 6-2 lead against the Javelinas. There were positive pitching performances all around here, particularly Ben Holmes (LAD), who started and went four innings with three hits and one run allowed, and Zach Thompson(CWS), who struck out five in two perfect innings.

Ben Holmes makes a start for the Desert Dogs against the Javelinas in Peoria during the 2018 AFL season. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

The Javelinas got their revenge on Tuesday, taking an 8-1 victory against back in Glendale. Evan White (SEA), Hudson Potts (SD) and Braxton Davidson (ATL) each went deep as Peoria scored four in the second and four more in the fifth. Chang was again responsible for the Desert Dogs offense with an RBI single that scored Laz Rivera(CWS) after the second baseman had hit a double.

Again, the damage was limited to just two pitchers, starter Chris Lee(BAL) and Jay Flaa (BAL) who allowed seven earned of the eight runs. Between them, Nolan Long (LAD) had a great outing with 1.2 perfect innings including four strike outs.

On Wednesday against Surprise, the Dogs slipped by with a 3-2 win, again thanks to the heroics of Chang. Coming into the game with eight hits in his previous three games, Chang added two more including an RBI double in the third that brought Glendale within one. They would score again the next inning on a Li-Jen Chu (CLE) sac fly that scored Luis Robert (CWS), then again in the ninth when Chu doubled and Connor Marabell (CLE) scored the walk off run as a pinch runner when Errol Robinson (LAD) singled.

Chang hits for the Desert Dogs against the Javelinas in Glendale during the 2018 season. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

Again, the Glendale pitching staff performed well as Justin Garza(CLE) allowed the only earned run of the game in the first, then was followed by eight shut out innings with just five hits and two walks allowed. With 1.1 perfect innings and three strike outs, Rob Kaminsky (CLE) was the stand out reliever.

That brings us to the mess of a game that was the Desert Dogs 21-8 win against Surprise on Thursday. The game got off to an ugly start as Shawn Morimando (TOR) hit two batters and allowed five hits while recording just two outs in the first. Jackson McClelland hit another and Glendale scored six in the first. The two teams would trade runs throughout the game, heading into the bottom of the 8th 10-4.

The Saguaros then blasted off on Dalbert Siri (CLE) for four runs on five singles and a double. With two out and Vladmir Guerrero Jr. representing the tying run at the plate, it was Zach Thompson to the rescue again as he finished the inning and ultimately earned a well deserved save. Of course, it would seem odd looking at the box score that any save was awarded as the Desert Dogs scored 11 in the 9th.

McKenna takes off towards first after hitting against the Saguaros in a 2018 Glendale Desert Dogs game. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

The inning started with a Ryan McKenna (BAL) double and was continued later with a Ryan McKenna walk and didn’t end until 16 batters had come to the plate, ending with a Jared Walker strike out.

The Desert Dogs finished out the week with two more wins, both in dramatic fashion. On Friday fell down 6-0, then 8-1, but scored eight without response including three in the ninth to tie the game and one in the eleventh to win and on Saturday they came up with three runs in the 8th to take a one run lead and eventually the game. The walk off hero on Friday was Luis Robert who had two hits overall. Chang and Steven Sensley each knocked in two runs. Flaa, Matt Wivinis(NYY) and Tanner Chleborad (BAL) combined for six shut out innings to end the game, allowing just four hits between them.

There were quite a few standout performers this week with such a complete turnaround, but we’ll focus on just three hitters and three pitchers. Chang’s name was mentioned multiple times in today’s report and he finished the week on a eight game hitting streak with 14 total hits in that span including three doubles and a home run. McKenna has a seven game streak of his own including a four hit game on Thursday and a two triple game from last Saturday. Finally, Robert has only played in seven games this fall, but has hits in all of them for nine total hits and nine runs scored.

On the pitching staff, Chleborad pitched twice this week for three innings of scoreless baseball and two hits allowed. He now has a 2.25 ERA over his first eight innings this fall. Kaminsky earned his first win this fall in Saturday’s comeback with his longest outing (2 IP) of the season. He struck out two in that game for 11 on the season compared to just two walks in seven innings. His only run allowed and only appearance with two hits this season came in his first game. Our last pitcher, Holmes, made two starts this week, allowing three runs in 7.2 innings. This was a drop off compared to his first two starts, but he remains the Dogs’ most reliable starter with a 3.07 ERA and 17 strike outs in 14.2 innings.