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Rochester Red Wings: Road Trip Review

Attached Image: _DSC39040050.jpg At 2-8, the Rochester Red Wings 2013 season is not going the way anyone had hoped. It was just two weeks ago that optimists (including myself) were wondering if this would be the season that Rochester would finally put a competitive team on the field for the first time in several years.

The Scranton Split

The Red Wings started off their seven game road trip by heading to Scranton Wilkes-Barre to take on the Yankees. What was meant to be a three game series became two games due to terrible weather. That's typical for this time of year.

Despite splitting the two game series against the Yankees, it’s tough to take a lot of positives out of it. The offense continued to struggle; scoring just four runs in two games, and a lowly 2-15 (.133) with RISP. Clete Thomas, Chris Colabello and Oswaldo Arcia continue to be the strength in the lineup going 6 for 16 (.375) with 1 home run and 3 RBI’s in the series.

Starting pitching was one of the few positives out of the entire road trip. P.J. Walters and Andrew Albers combined to pitch 10 innings, giving up 6 hits, 2 earned runs, and striking out 12. In the Wings 2-1 victory, the bullpen gave up just 3 hits and struck out 5 in 3.2 innings.

However, in their 4-2 loss the bullpen gave up 3 earned runs, 3 walks and 5 hits in 3.1 innings. If the Red Wings want to live up to their potential, and I still believe it’s there, they are going to need better productions from their lineup and bullpen.

Next Stop Rhode Island

After his strong debut last week in Buffalo, Kyle Gibson’s second start in Pawtucket was not the follow-up for which he was hoping. Gibson gave up 5 runs and 8 hits in just 4.1 innings. However, an encouraging stat would be his strikeout to walk ratio: on the year Gibson has struck out 10, while walking just one batter in 9.1 innings pitched.

Weather played a factor in the road trip once again as Friday’s game was rained out meaning there was a doubleheader Saturday afternoon. Minor League doubleheaders are a little different; they play only seven innings instead of the standard nine innings like they do in the major leagues.

In game one against Pawtucket, Shairon Martis was on the mound for Rochester. Martis only allowed one run in 3.2 innings of work, though he walked four batters. It was once again the offense and bullpen that let this game slip away for the Wings. In 2.1 innings the bullpen allowed 6 runs on 6 hits striking out 2 and walking 3. The offense combined for just 4 hits and Chris Colabello drove in their lone run in the 7-1 loss in game one.

Game two was almost a mirror image of game one. The final score was the same (7-1), the lone RBI was a homer by Chris Colabello, and in two innings the bullpen combined to give up 4 runs on 4 hits and striking out on batter. The bullpen, which was once a staple for the Red Wings, have become one of the two biggest issues so far this season.

If you’ve read everything thus far about the Red Wings road trip you’ll know exactly how Sunday went down. Clete Thomas hit a leadoff homer in the first, and Chris Colabello hit a leadoff double and scored later in the 4th to give the Red Wings a 2-0 lead. Andrew Albers had another strong outing, giving up just four hits in five innings and striking out five. It was once again a lack of offense and the bullpen’s inability to keep runs off the board. On this day the bullpen pitched 5.2 innings, giving up 5 runs on 4 hits, walking 4 and striking out 4. Daniel Turpin gave up the tying runs in the 7th, and Anthony Slama (0-3), gave up the game winning runs in the 11th inning.

Let’s Look at the Numbers

The Red Wings were swept on the road by Pawtucket for the first time since 2005, and suffered their first four game losing streak since May of last year.

On the seven game road trip, Rochester hit a combined 4-38 (.105) with runners in scoring position, including 2-26 (.077) in the four game series in Pawtucket.

Rochester’s starting pitching combined for a 3.36 ERA during their 7 game road trip. Compare that to the bullpen who combined for a 7.85 ERA over the course of the road trip, and it’s clear there are some issues to address in the later stages of the game.

What’s Ahead?

Rochester comes back to Frontier Field, Monday, starting an 8 game home stand. Monday thru Thursday the Wings play the Yankees, and then finish off the week with four more against Pawtucket. The Red Wings were 6-10 last year against the RailRiders at their home field, while they were 4-4 against the Red Sox.

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