Curve losing skid hits 10
There’s no reset button. No significant help on the way. No minor league miracle that’s going to all of a sudden turn a bad baseball team into a good one.
What you see is what you get with the Curve.
This is the team, for better or worse, and these are the guys who are going to have to figure it out.
That’s the reality facing this Curve club, which just lost its 10th straight game in embarrassing fashion and is now a staggering 17 games below .500 only two months into the season
“This is a game with a lot of frustration,” Curve manager Carlos Garcia said. “But you’ve got to be relentless. It’s a process.”
The latest step of the process was a 15-6 drubbing at the hands of Binghamton on Tuesday before 2,771 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Altoona wasted a 3-0 first-inning lead as the B-Mets scored a touchdown’s worth of runs in the fifth and blasted 19 hits in the blowout.
Another loss tonight, and the Curve (20-37) will match the franchise record with an 11-game losing streak.
Also, with 85 games to go, the team has to play winning baseball the rest of the way to avoid finishing the season with the worst record in franchise history (62-80).
Clearly, this team has a lot of problems.
What are the solutions?
“What can be done?” Garcia repeated when asked. “Go out and play. You have to go out and play. You don’t have no choice. Move guys here and there, but other than that, make sure they go up there and compete.”
The manager added he is still seeing his players compete, which is at the very least a good first step.
But when a team has one of the worst records in the minor leagues in early June, the problem is about more than just playing hard.
Playing smart is a big one, too.
The Curve have been good offensively in the first inning all year, and they were again Tuesday, scoring three runs as Elias Diaz hit an RBI single and Willy Garcia a two-run double.
As Garcia said, the Curve had Binghamton starting pitcher Tyler Pill on the ropes.
Then they let him off the hook, starting in the second inning when the hitters lost their focus.
“We get too comfortable too quick,” Carlos Garcia said. “You score three runs, you make an adjustment real well, and all of sudden you lost your approach.
“When you’ve got the guy on the ropes, almost 30 pitches in one inning when you come back in the second inning and take a step backwards, it doesn’t make no sense. It seems to me we can’t maintain, for some reason, the same approach at the plate, the same intensity, the same plate discipline.”
Pill (3-5) wound up lasting six innings and earning the win, holding the Curve to just one hit in his final five frames.
Altoona starter Zack Dodson had the opposite kind of night. He started great, giving up two hits through four shutout innings, then got battered for seven runs – four earned – in the fifth. The pitcher got a tough break to open the fifth when third baseman Jarek Cunningham threw high to first for an error, allowing a runner to reach.
The next guy, Darrell Ceciliani, crushed a two-run homer.
That’s pretty much what happens when things are going badly for a team.
Things quickly went from bad to worse for Dodson (1-3), who with one out gave up five consecutive hits – four singles and a double – to get chased from the game.
“As a pitcher, you have to be able to step back, relax and say, now I’m going to try to make my pitches,” Garcia said. “It seemed to me like he let [the error] bother him a little bit and started leaving pitches in the middle of the plate.”
Altoona’s bullpen allowed eight runs as the B-Mets kept crushing the ball, and with the score 12-3, utility man Andy Vasquez was called upon to pitch the final 1 1/3 innings to spare another reliever. Vasquez gave up two homers and three runs.
The bright spot for the Curve was Willy Garcia, who drilled a three-run homer in the eighth to give him five RBIs. Garcia now has eight homers, and the outfield prospect with a cannon arm upped his average to .234 with a 2-for-4 night.
“He’s just got to keep swinging, keep swinging at pitches in the strike zone,” Carlos Garcia said. “The more he recognizes the strike zone, the more successful he’s going to be, the more confident he’s going to be.”
SUBHD: Game recap
Key player: Binghamton C Kevin Plawecki went 4-for-5 with a homer, four RBIs and three runs.
Key play: The B-Mets scored seven runs in the fifth to erase a 3-0 deficit.
Key stat: The Curve have lost 10 in a row, one shy of the franchise record set in 2000.
SUBHD: How they scored
Bottom 1st: Maggi walked, scored on Broxton single (1-0); Diaz singled, scored along with Broxton on Garcia double (3-0).
Top 5th: Pill reached on Cunningham error, scored on Ceciliani two-run homer (3-2); Reynolds singled, scored on Plawecki single (3-3); Clark singled, scored on Lawley double (3-4); Vaughn single scored Plawecki (3-5); Taijeron sacrifice fly scored Lawley (3-6); Pill single scored Vaughn (3-7).
Top 6th: Burgamy walked, scored on Clark single (3-8); Reynolds walked, scored on Plawecki single (3-9).
Top 7th: Taijeron hit by pitch, scored on Burgamy single (3-10).
Top 8th: Plawecki walked, scored on Vaughn double (3-11); Taijeron walked, scored on Ceciliani single (3-12).
Bottom 8th: Diaz reached on Reynolds error, Allie singled, both scored on Garcia three-run homer (6-12).
Top 9th: Clark singled, scored on Plawecki two-run homer (6-14); Vaughn solo homer (6-15).