T-Bones snap Cats’ streak at 5
By Michael Osipoff 713-2485 or firstname.lastname@example.org August 6, 2013 11:04PM
Updated: September 8, 2013 6:35AM
GARY — As they hit the road later this week, the RailCats plan to shift back to a four-man rotation.
On Tuesday night against Kansas City, James Adkins, one of the candidates for the final spot, got his latest opportunity to make his case.
The left-hander went five innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts, as the RailCats lost 4-1 to the T-Bones at the Steel Yard.
Morgan Coombs, the other remaining contender, is scheduled to start Wednesday night’s series finale, against Kansas City righty Ethan Cole. Before the game, the RailCats released Osvaldo Rodriguez, who theoretically had been the (distant) third possibility.
“He (Adkins) gave us that outing where he gives us a chance, but the concern is the length of the outing,” RailCats manager Greg Tagert said. “The average is around that five-inning mark. … Going to four starters, the one thing that does not work is short starts.”
The RailCats (45-31) saw their five-game win streak come to an end, slipping to 7-2 against Kansas City this season. The T-Bones (32-45) won for the first time in six games at the Steel Yard.
Kansas City right-hander Lucas Irvine turned in a superb start, tossing 71/3 scoreless innings, allowing one run on five hits — three of the infield variety — with eight strikeouts and no walks.
“We knew going into the game it was going to be tough, and runs were going to be at a premium,” Tagert said.
The T-Bones took a 1-0 lead in the first. Jairo Perez singled with two outs, after Kennard Jones had led off with a single.
They added two unearned runs in the second, after Ryan Brockett’s two-out error. Justin Bass and Matt Padgett each had a run-scoring single, after Luis Rivera reached on a hit by pitch with one out.
“We made a mistake defensively and it really bit us,” Tagert said.
“It was very uncharacteristic of Ryan.”
Kansas City made it 4-0 with a run in the fifth. But Adkins and the RailCats limited further damage after the T-Bones had runners on second and third with no outs, with Brockett making a diving play with the infield in for the first out.
The RailCats scored their lone run in the eighth, an inning interrupted by a caught stealing, collecting three hits, including Mike Massaro’s RBI single.
“We took a chance there — we thought it was the right time to take a chance,” Tagert said of the attempted double-steal.
Reid Fronk made his RailCats debut on Tuesday, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, batting sixth as the designated hitter. He was activated from the inactive list before the game.
“Skip saw enough to put me in there tonight, and I’m feeling good and ready to go,” Fronk said before the game.
“It’s exciting. It’s kind of like Opening Day for me in a lot of ways. I’m excited to come to a ballpark and contribute, and help these guys win.”
The RailCats acquired Fronk from El Paso on July 31. He arrived on Friday, and had 13 at-bats in simulated games — showing good bat speed, if his timing was slightly off — as well as getting in work with the pitching machine.
“He felt ready, the legs were good,” Tagert said before the game.
“He’s very anxious. When you have somebody with that amount of energy, he was very excited when he saw his name in the lineup (Fronk also is scheduled to be in the lineup on Wednesday).”
To make room on the roster for Fronk, the RailCats released the right-hander Rodriguez, who was expected to sign with Fort Worth in the United League, the same team for which previously released Will Krout has been pitching. He went 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in five games, including two starts.
“It became the most likely of the candidates that we needed to move,” said Tagert, noting Rodriguez’s role with the team, as well as his veteran status and the attendant classification and salary cap implications.
Also, the RailCats officially transferred Ari Ronick (oblique) from the disabled list to the inactive list, likely ending the left-hander’s season.