7/30: Just One Thing

In an effort to write more than I have been, I decided to try at least putting together “Just One Thing” about each game I cover. It might be about a particular play, an at-bat, or a guy’s walk-up song. Whatever piques my interest that game. We’ll see how long this lasts.

Entering Tuesday night’s game against the Hartford Yard Goats, the Harrisburg Senators ranked dead last in the Eastern League in throwing runners out on the base paths. Through the season’s first 106 games, Harrisburg has caught a league-low 25 runners while allowing 74 successful stolen bases.

But as Tuesday night pointed out, the fault in those numbers can’t be laid entirely at the feet of catchers Tres Barrera and Spencer Kieboom.

Senators’ starting pitcher Kevin McGowan couldn’t have cared less about the runners that reached base. In the first three innings, Hartford ran roughshod to the tune of five stolen bases in as many attempts. The jumps the Yard Goats got off of McGowan made it nearly impossible for Barrera to have a fighting chance.

I say nearly because in the fourth inning Barrera threw out Nelson Molina at second base despite the Hartford second baseman getting a walking lead off of first base. It took a quick transfer, a quicker release, and a perfect throw to cut down Molina.

After the game, Senators’ manager Matt LeCroy said it was the first time the Senators’ staff had seen the 27-year-old right-hander pitch. The skipper knows they’ll have to work on McGowan paying attention to the baserunners and his times to home to give his catchers a chance.

It’s easy to look at the overall numbers and worry about that aspect of the catching corps. But as Tuesday showed that would be unfair to the men behind the plate.

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