Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Suspicious minds wondering if Fish losing their edge
Drop third straight on Elvis Night
It was Elvis Night at Shaw Park on Saturday and the Winnipeg Goldeyes checked into Heartbreak Hotel, losing a third straight game.
The Goldeyes (48-37) were defeated 4-1 by the St. Paul Saints (44-40) before a crowd of 5,772. The teams meet again today at 1:30 p.m. in the final game of their three-game set. Starting pitchers are expected to be southpaw Todd Privett (5-5, 3.93) for the Goldeyes and righty Robert Coe (10-4, 3.07) for the Saints.
A losing streak is not helpful when the Goldeyes have just 15 games left. In fact, their playoff hopes are getting All Shook Up as Winnipeg's lead over St. Paul for the lone wild-card playoff berth has shrunk to three games.
Winnipeg outfielder Mike Coles, who has won four independent baseball championships, said he's been down this road before.
"The championship teams I've been on, we've hit this kind of streak towards the end of the season, it's one of those things that one win, we'll be okay," said Coles, who got one of Winnipeg's five hits, was hit by a pitch to get aboard in the ninth and scored Winnipeg's run. "As long as we don't panic. This is why we have a lot of older guys. St. Paul, they're basically playing for their lives to try to get back in. If we get a win tomorrow, we start just where we were Friday."
The Goldeyes might mark this game Return to Sender after enduring 15 straight outs between the first and sixth innings, moving a runner as far as second base only twice in the game and having only five hits for the second straight night.
In fairness, the Goldeyes were facing a stellar starter in Saints' righty Kyle Ruwe (3-1), who got the win and has allowed only five hits against the last 52 batters faced. Goldeyes starter Matt Rusch (8-3) took the loss.
"Finding ways to produce offence is our biggest concern right now," said Goldeyes manager Rick Forney. "We need to be a little more pitch-selective and zone-selective and look for some things we can drive early in the count. Put it in the gap, maybe hit a double or two. Until our slugging percentage comes up a bit, it's going to be tough to score runs."
Forney said players can squeeze the bat a bit too tight in tough times.
"They won't admit it but they do," Forney said. "Our approach needs to change a bit. We're not blessed with a whole lot of team speed and our fastest guy (centre-fielder Chris Roberson -- eye injury) is going to be out for a while. Trying to just poke singles through the middle or slap singles to the opposite field isn't going to produce a lot of runs for us because we don't have the ability to steal a lot of bags right now."
St. Paul scored runs in the first three innings to lead 4-0.
The first batter of the game, Saints' centre-fielder Jim Rapoport, hit a triple and was driven home by Adam Frost. The Saints scored two runs in the second inning and got their fourth run in the third inning on an RBI single by left-fielder Jose Hernandez.
Diamond Dust: Roberson did not play Saturday after suffering an injury to his eye in Friday's 4-1 loss to St. Paul, and will miss at least a week of action. During his fifth-inning at-bat, the ball bounced up off his bat, hitting him in the left eye. Roberson was taken to hospital to be examined and took some stitches but was not kept overnight.
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @WFPAshleyPrest
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 19, 2012 B5
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
More Goldeyes Report