Photo Courtesy of Richard Bobby Photography
Coming off a dismal 1-5 road trip, the Rochester Red Wings came home to start an 8-game home stand against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders (Yankees) and Pawtucket Red Sox. Coming into their game Monday against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Wings had lost four in a row and had been outscored 24-8 in those games.
More of the Same
In the four games against the Railriders the Red Wings starters allowed 11 earned runs in 23 innings pitched, which translates to a 4.30 ERA. However, the bullpen continuds to struggle, giving up 13 runs in just nine innings pitched (6.23 ERA). During the series the Red Wings were outscored 22 – 6, which included a 20 inning scoreless drought.
When you score six runs in four games, blaming the offense is apt. Exactly how much is the offense struggling? In their four games against the Railriders, Rochester was a combined 2-33 (.061) with runners in scoring position and 31 men were left on base.
After the game Wednesday night, manager Gene Glynn talked a bit about the teams' early season struggles. “I was hoping that it wouldn’t get this deep. We had a couple of 8-game losing streaks last year early in season. I just want to put this behind us as soon as we can. You know that there’s a long season ahead, but it’s getting urgent that we turn this around.”
After breaking their seven-game losing streak on Thursday, the road was not going to get any easier as the International League North division-leading Pawtucket Red Sox were coming to town. Not only were the Red Sox in first place, but also they were getting better. Boston called DH David Ortiz up from Pawtucket on Friday afternoon, but sent top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. down to the PawSox.
Is the team starting to click?
Friday night’s game was rained out, which meant the Red Wings would play one game on Saturday and a double header on Sunday, their second twinbill of the young season. Andrew Albers started for Rochester on Saturday; overall he has been one of the more reliable pitchers on the team. However due to cold weather, strong winds and control issues, Albers would last only two innings, giving up three runs on four hits. Over the remaining seven innings, the bullpen allowed just five hits and one run, while striking out five.
While it wasn’t a jaw-dropping offensive performance, it was still nice to see the team hit. The Red Wings went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position (RISP), but they capitalized on the Red Sox three errors and Chris Colabello’s game winning HR (his sixth dinger this year) in the 7th inning helped Rochester get their first winning streak of the season.
Kyle Gibson took the mound in game one of the double-header on Sunday. Through 5 innings he looked great and the Red Wings were up 1-0. Unfortunately, he was unable to retire anyone in the 6th inning, and Luis Perdomo was also unable to get anyone out in the 6th. Five runs crossed the plate in the inning and the Red Sox added three more runs in the 7th, leading to an 8-1 Red Sox victory, and ending the Red Wings two-game winning streak.
Game two was all about P.J. Walters, who pitched a complete game two hitter to give Rochester its first shutout of the season. Despite going 2 for 14 with RISP, it was still enough to pick up their third win in four games.
Let’s Look at the Numbers
In the Red Wings five wins this year, they have outscored their opponents 28-14. In their 12 losses, opponents have outscored Rochester, 78-23. Also, in 12 of the 17 games played (71%), the Red Wings have scored 2 runs or fewer; they are 2-10 in those games.
Chris Colabello and Clete Thomas are the only two Rochester players with batting averages above .300. There are seven players with averages at .200 or below, and three more players with averages below .220 for the season.
Rochester has a combined team ERA of 6.43 through 17 games. However the team has an improving ERA of 4.80 over their past four games.
What Lies Ahead?
Now at 5-12 on the year, Rochester finishes their home stand tomorrow in game four of the series against Pawtucket. The Red Wings then stay local, heading east to Syracuse for a four-game series against the Chiefs (Nationals). Last season Rochester was 5-11 against Syracuse, and 3-5 on the road at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse. The Red Wings then return home for a four-game series against the Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays). The Wings are 1-3 against Buffalo this season, including 1-1 at Frontier Field.