HARRISBURG - This season has started out exactly the same as last year for the Curve.
There's no 19-game alternating win-loss streak to talk about, but the same level of inconsistency has plagued the club so far. Defense was the biggest culprit the first week, and offensive struggles have been the issue the past few days.
The Curve were shut out for the second time in four games Tuesday and lost to Harrisburg, 4-0, at Metro Bank Park. Altoona scored five runs in Monday's win over the Senators, but it has managed only one run in three losses sandwiched around that victory.
The Curve got good pitching early from starter Mike Colla, who took a shutout into the fifth inning, but the offense didn't do anything to help the pitcher.
Harrisburg pitcher Jeff Mandel, meanwhile, didn't need any help from his offense as he did everything himself. Mandel delivered an RBI single in the fifth inning for the game's first run, then gave himself and his team a 3-0 lead with a two-run single in the seventh.
Mandel (1-1) also did excellent work at his primary responsibility, pitching seven shutout innings. He allowed only four hits, struck out four and walked one.
Tonight: Altoona at Harrisburg, 7 p.m.
Pitching matchups: Curve LHP Nathan Baker (2-0, 0.82) vs. Senators LHP Danny Rosenbaum (1-0, 2.13)
Colla (0-2) has never had much luck when it comes to wins and losses during his starts for the Curve, and that continued as he suffered the loss. He allowed only one run on two hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in five innings.
Colla finished ninth in the Eastern League in ERA last year at 3.70, but he had just a 5-11 record.
Key player: Harrisburg RHP Jeff Mandel pitched seven shutout innings and went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
Key play: Mandel's two-run single in the seventh gave the Senators a 3-0 lead.
Key stat: The Curve scored five runs Monday, but they've managed only one run in their other three most recent games.
How they scored
Bottom 5th: Hood walked, scored on Mandel single (0-1).
Bottom 7th: Rahl reached on fielder's choice, Ivany singled, both scored on Mandel single (0-3).
Bottom 8th: Valdez doubled, scored on Rahl single (0-4).