Porcupine Points – August 2
DIRTY DOZEN: Blanked through eight, the RailRiders plated a tying tally in the ninth on a wild pitch and pushed ahead for a 2-1 defeat of Indianapolis in the 12th last night. The win snapped a three-game losing streak and gave SWB a chance at a winning road trip should it triumph tonight.
RALLY ‘RIDERS: Entering last night, 13 of the IL’s 14 teams had won at least once when trailing after both seven and eight innings. The lone exception was SWB which was 0-43 when down following seven frames and 0-44 when behind after eight.
UP & ADAM: David Adams was 1-for-11 on the road trip before he posted three base hits on Thursday. That included the eventual game-winning blow when his single in the 12th scored Alberto Gonzalez from second base.
SENT FROM ABOVE: Since coming back from the bigs, All-Star outfielder Thomas Neal has gone 11-for-26 (.423). Before this modest surge, Neal had not logged a hit since July 12. He was 0-for-9 in games before and after the All-Star break and spent a week in the big leagues without seeing game action thereafter. Neal’s night sported a bunt single in the ninth. It moved J.R. Murphy, who had doubled to begin the inning, to third with nobody out. Duke Welker then issued a wild pitch, enabling Murphy to race home and tie the game.
ON THE LAMB: Murphy’s double came on one of the plays of the year when Indians right fielder Andrew Lambo crashed through the right-field wall in pursuit. Despite the violent crash, Lambo stayed in the game.
MULTIPLICITY: Adams was far from the only RailRider to enjoy a solid night at the plate. Ronnier Mustelier, Dan Johnson and Neal all posted multi-hit performances. Mustelier had been 1-for-23 against the Indians before his 2-for-6 evening.
EXTRA, EXTRA!: The RailRiders’ 11th extra-inning game of the season was their fifth such win. It came a week to the day from SWB’s franchise-record 20-inning triumph over Toledo that took five hours and 26 minutes to complete. Five of the RailRiders’ last 13 games since July 20 have required bonus baseball. During that time, the team has played 19 extra innings.
BULLISH ‘PEN: Since Yoshinori Tateyama allowed three runs in the 10th inning in a 4-1 loss to Toledo on July 23, the RailRiders’ bullpen has dominated. Over a stretch of 10 games and 43.2 innings, SWB’s relievers have allowed just 26 hits and four runs (0.82 ERA). They have also collected 53 strikeouts (10.9/9 IP) against 17 walks (3.12:1 K:BB ratio). Last night, Josh Spence, Dellin Betances, Mike Zagurski and Jim Miller combined on six scoreless innings of two-hit ball. They also allowed just one of five inherited runners to score.
OFF THE RAILS: SWB starter Caleb Cotham needed just 57 pitches (43 strikes) to navigate six-plus innings of one-run, two-hit baseball…In two starts against the Indians this season, Cotham has posted a 1.69 ERA…Betances logged 2.1 scoreless innings…He has not allowed a run in 27.1 innings and 15 appearances since suffering a walk-off setback at Lehigh Valley on June 16…Zagurski did not allow a run or a hit for the fifth straight outing, a span of seven frames…Adonis Garcia ran the team’s best active hitting streak to eight games…He has hit safely in all but two of his 21 games as a RailRider…The RailRiders have hit just .193 against the Indians this season, scoring nine runs in their seven meetings…Indianapolis has posted a 0.94 ERA in the season series with no home runs allowed over 67 innings…The RailRiders have hit more homers (104) than any IL squad other than Buffalo (107).