Pitching woes continue for RailCats in loss to Wichita
By Mike Clark Post-Tribune correspondent May 27, 2012 11:16PM
Railcat's David Cooper drops a pop fly by Wingnut's Jake Kahaulelio which would had ended the 5th inning at the Steelyard on Sunday, May 27, 2012. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:48AM
GARY — Ten games into the American Association, the RailCats’ rotation remains unsettled.
No Gary starter has worked as long as six innings this year and eight of the 10 starts lasted fewer than five innings.
The trend continued on Sunday when the RailCats fell 10-2 to Wichita before an announced crowd of 1,911, completing a three-game sweep for the Wingnuts.
Kyle Wilson, adjusting to a full-time starting role for the first time in seven-year pro career, left in the fifth inning trailing 4-1. The Wingnuts broke the game open against reliever Chad Rhoades, who gave up four doubles and a triple to the first five batters he faced.
Wilson gave up five hits and five runs (four earned) in 41/3 innings. He fell behind 2-0 in a 36-pitch first inning but limited the damage by leaving the bases loaded. Wichita’s Mitch Einertson made it 3-1 in the third with a solo homer into the left-field screen,.
“The arm felt fine,” Wilson said. “I’m getting stronger each outing.
“The first inning was a little frustrating. I didn’t have a feel where the ball was going.”
Wilson presents a high risk/high reward option for the rotation. “We like the excitement he brings with his stuff,” manager Greg Tagert said. “But the four-pitch walk to start the game, the inability to command the strike zone — he’s the epitome of the pitching staff as a work in progress.”
For now, Wilson remains in the mix to be one of the RailCats’ four starters when the dust clears. The one pitcher whose job seems secure there is Andrew Johnston (0-1, 3.86). Past him, Tagert will look at other options both currently in and out of Gary uniforms.
“The rest is a work in progress,” Tagert said. “I’ll be pleasantly surprised if we have the same four (starters) a month from now. We’ll keep looking at possibilities.”
Tagert has other concerns now after watching the Wingnuts dominate the RailCats’ first home series of the season.
“I can’t remember a time we’ve been outplayed in every facet for three days,” he said.
Errors factored into Wichita’s rallies in the first and fifth, when it scored seven times to go up 10-1.
Mike Coles and Sean Smith each went 2-for-4 for the RailCats, who were held to a run on five hits over six innings by Wichita starter Derek Blacksher (2-0).