Every scorecard in PK Park was littered with WP (wild pitch), BB (walks) and SB (stolen bases) in Monday’s series finale between the Eugene Emeralds and the Boise Hawks.
The two teams combined for 12 walks, six wild pitches and nine stolen bases. Despite taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning, the Ems dropped their third straight game to the Hawks with a score of 7-2.
The disastrous third inning did them in, surrendering five runs on four walks, three wild pitches and only two hits.
Emeralds starting pitcher Jose Albertos, the No. 4 prospect for the Chicago Cubs, was inconsistent in his short stint. Albertos walked four batters and yielded five runs (three earned) and struck out three over 2.2 innings. He now has an 8.53 ERA on the season.
“We’re not helping ourselves at all letting those runners on base and not throwing the ball over the plate,” manager Steven Lerud said. “He’s working on it and we’re going to continue to work with him to get him back to where he needs to be.”
Despite the nine total runs in the ballgame, hits were few and hard to come by. The Ems had just four hits compared to the Hawks’ six.
The game started off with high hopes, as the Ems manufactured two runs with three stolen bases in the first inning. Hawks starting pitcher Pearson McMahon was able to settle down for the most part after that, holding Eugene to just one more hit over his final four innings of work.
The Ems got their first extra base hit of the game in the bottom of the seventh with a Rafael Mejia leadoff ground-rule double, but were unable to hit him home. The final two innings looked just like the previous six, ending with a zero in the run column for the home team.
The Emeralds left 14 runners on base, which helped the Hawks maintain the five-run lead.
“[We’re] not putting together very good at bats with runners on base,” Lerud said. “That’s a big thing and we’re not able to get the ball rolling and get the line moving. Especially when you fall behind like that. Some of the at bats just need to get a little bit better.”
Monday’s loss put the Ems under .500 for the first time this season and things aren’t getting any easier as they are due to play both Northwest league divisional leaders.
First, they travel to Salem-Keizer, where they will face the South Division leading Volcanoes. After that, they will return home Friday to host the North Division leaders, the Everett AquaSox, for a Grateful Dead-themed weekend.
“We’ve got a lot of games left to be played,” Lerud said. “It’s not the first time any of them lost three games in a row. I know it’s not the first time I have and it won’t be the last. [I’ll] keep everything in perspective and try to get these guys better everyday.”
Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack