Things have been cloudy as of late for the Medicine Hat Mavericks as they head into tonight’s game with a 1-3 record over their last four. Their opponent will be the Moose Jaw Miller Express, who will be in the hat for a two-game series.

The Millers come into the weekend just half a game behind the Mavs for second place in the East. They’re also on the winning side of things after downing the Weyburn Beavers 12-6 last night.

These two games are pivotal for both clubs and could have playoff-changing implications down the road. For now, let’s draw our attention to what is at stake for these two in Game 1.

Keys for Medicine Hat

There hasn’t just been one error for the Mavs lately; there have been a slew of them. Against the Regina Red Sox, the team experienced an 8th-inning meltdown, giving up 7 runs, but more importantly, it prevented them from winning. 

The Mavericks’ defense was a problem at the start of last year as well; they managed to iron out all of the wrinkles and look clean during the postseason. They will have to follow suit this year if they want to compete with teams like the Red Sox. 

The Millers aren’t far off from the Red Sox, and they showed that against the Mavs when the two split their first series to open the year. Carrying for and controlling the ball will be the x-factor for Med Hat tonight. 

Keys for Moose Jaw

Although Moose Jaw hasn’t been as dominant as they were team-wise last season, They do have one player, Nathan Houston, who is tearing up the league. 

After losing superstar Dawson Tweet, it looked like it would be nearly impossible for the Miller Express to fill his role. 

But Houston has done that and more by leading the league in batting average (.463). He is someone no pitcher wants to face, and the Mavericks will have to be strategic when he is at the plate.

Next to Houston, Moose Jaw will be leaning on veterans like Wyatt Tweet, Thomas Soto, and Austin Gurney. Those three make the Millers a threat to make any game a high-scoring affair, which could prove to be what puts them over the edge this weekend.

Bottom Line

It will be a battle of two titans this evening as the two 2023 Eastern Division finals opponents square off at Athletic Park. This one is sure to be a thriller, as there is already a lot on the line for each squad.