In this edition of Live From Rochester, the Wings suffer another loss, and do not have the same look as the team that was seemingly a lock for the International League playoffs a few weeks ago. Scott Baker got the start for the Wings, and pitched well, but his efforts were wasted in the loss.
The gloom continues to mount. Another day, another one run loss, another game filled with missed opportunities. Today the Red Wings outhit the Pawsox 9-6 but once again fell one run short in a 3-2 defeat keeping their playoff drive squarely in reverse.
When things are going bad, you don't get any of the breaks either. Today the Pawsox made some outstanding defensive plays behind the pitching of Marc Dechenes and once again the Wings failed to capitalize on most of their scoring chances. Down by one run since the 4th inning, the Wings put runners on 1st and 2nd with only one out in the 9th, but Torres hit into a force out and McCracken struck out to end the threat and the game.
Scott Baker deserved better, going 7 2/3 innings, allowing only 3 runs on 5 hits, striking out 6. Dechenes came into the game with an ERA of nearly 5.00 but held the suddenly impotent Wings to just 2 runs.
The game's pivotal inning was the 4th. Wings quickly tied the game on a Tiffee double, a wild pitch and a line RBI single by Chris Heintz. At that point the Pawsox continued to boot the ball around and the Wings had runners at 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs, but Andres Torres hit a bullet right at the 1st baseman for the 3rd out. Another foot, or a lucky bounce and the Wings take a 2 run lead.
Instead the game stayed tied at 2-2.....for exactly one pitch. Leading off the bottom of the 4th , Jeff Bailey launched a monster HR to deep center field, on Bakers very first pitch. With that HR, the Pawsox regained the lead and ended the scoring for the day.
Wings Notes:My gloom was somewhat tempered with the news that Toledo, Indianapolis and Ottawa all lost as well...so miraculously, the Wings lost no ground. They still have a razor thin 2 game lead for the wild card with 8 games to play. The trouble is, to make the playoffs they eventually have to win a game or two. And that is becoming less and less likely. Scranton and Buffalo were rained out and the game will not be made up. Any Red Wings hopes of winning the IL North are long gone.Any other positives? Josh Rabe continues to sting the ball. Two more hits today.
Now the ugly: Luis Maza continues his season long funk with another hitless day. He is down to .209. Last year at this time we were all touting him as potentially the future 2B for the Twins for years to come. This season he never got it going. Like a totally different guy.Andres Torres is in a major slump, and that's not good when you are the leadoff man and you are following in the footsteps of Jason Tyner and Lew Ford.Garrett Jones is mired in a 3-22 slide where he has exactly 1 extra base hit and 2 RBI. His specialties lately have been ‘k's and GIDP's. It's time for manager Cliburn to get him the heck out of the cleanup spot. He is killing the offense right now. Watching him, its clear he is taking terrible swings and looks like he has no confidence. Honestly, it might be in the teams best interest to sit him down for a game or two.
Wings road trip to oblivion continues tomorrow and Tuesday in Pawtucket before the Wings move on to Buffalo for 2 games to close out the Bisons home schedule.
The thing thats so hard to take right now is that the Wings only need to play basically .500 baseball to advance to the playoffs. I don't think any of us expected the team to shut down completely. They have lost 5 1-run games over the past 9 days.
But worse than that, they appear to have lost confidence in themselves. Win as a team and lose as a team. Its much more fun to do the former.