Let's view it like it is: Since August 13th, the Wings have lost 7 games. In 5 of those losses, the bullpen has coughed up late inning leads. It has been a total team effort too. Kevin Cameron lost 7-3 to the Bisons; Levale Speigner lost 9-8 to Syracuse; Beau Kemp lost 2-1 to Scranton; Robert Korecky lost 4-3 to Buffalo and today Kemp had another absolutely dismal outing in losing to the PawSox 5-4.
The Red Wings just can't hold leads anymore. They have no closer. They have no one who can come in and get 3 outs without giving up runs. In short, the bullpen is costing Rochester a spot in the post season. The Wings lead in the wild card race is down to 2 games.
And while we are rightfully dumping on the miserable bullpen performances, give the hitters a share of the blame as well. Over the past couple of weeks, Rochester has been incapable of getting the key 2-out RBI hits that their opponents are getting every night.
Friday, they left 9 men on, many in scoring position, while their opponent scored all 7 of their runs after 2 were out. Tonight, on several occasions, Rochester had a chance for a big inning and settled for 1 or no runs. It cost them dearly. In the decisive 8th inning with the score tied, the Wings got the first 2 men on and slumping Garrett Jones finally delivered the tie breaker with a single up the middle. With runners on 1st and 2nd and no one out, Tiffee hit into a force out at 3rd, and then Heintz and West struck out. A golden chance to break the game open and it never happened.
Then in the bottom of the inning, Kemp allowed a leadoff single to Willie Harris and Carlos Pena hit a 3-2 meatball deep into the right field stands to erase the Wings lead for good. Beau Kemps worthless line for the night: 2 1/3 IP; 5 hits; 3 runs and twice he blew Red Wing leads. Sunday he came in the game in the 8th against Scranton with the score knotted at 1-1 and promptly gave up the winning run. Frustrating? You bet it is...watching this team run up the white flag with only 10 days to go.
Wings did make it a tad interesting in the 9th. After the first 2 batters struck out weakly, McCracken worked a walk and Tommy Watkins fouled off pitch after pitch before flying out to the base of the Green Monster in left. So close.
Can the Wings regroup in time to hang on to the Wild Card? Based on their play of the last 10 days, I seriously doubt it. They are not playing desperate ball..not doing the little things needed to stay alive in a pennant race. The pitching has been terrible lately and the hitting almost as bad. While the WC is still theirs to lose, they seem all to willing to give it up. What I have seen of the team in the past few days, makes me very nervous.
The noose is around their necks and getting more snug. There are 3 teams eager to kick away the box and let the Wings dangle. It would be a total shame if that happened. But if it does, they have only themselves to blame. They're giving it away.