vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants)
6th Place – Double-A Northeast, Southwest Division
Thursday night, the Senators were a part of history. Not the kind they’d like, however.
Starting pitcher Matt Frisbee and three relievers combined to no-hit Harrisburg for the first nine-inning no-hitter in Richmond team history. The Senators’ team batting average slipped from a ghastly .131 to a dreadful .118, and frankly, as bad as the offense has been in the early season, it almost felt like it was bound to happen sooner rather than later.
Cole Freeman led off the next game with a single up the middle putting thoughts of back-to-back ineffectiveness on the back burner. You might be able to look at Wednesday night’s futility as the absolute nadir of the Senators’ struggles at the plate. Because since then, the Senators have gotten timely hits as they reeled off three straight victories to end the Flying Squirrels’ series. In each of the wins, Harrisburg has answered right back in the bottom half of an inning after Richmond tied or took the lead.
⚫ Harrisburg’s pitching has been the saving grace for the team so far. In this series, the starting rotation provided something they didn’t show in the first six games: a chance to win by keeping the games close and out of an early hole. The five starters combined this week to allow 12 earned runs over 33.1 innings (3.24 ERA).
The relievers continued their impressive start, for the most part putting up goose egg after goose egg. Richmond managed only four earned runs off the bullpen in 20.2 innings of work. Six relievers have yet to allow an earned run, and Frankie Bartow has yet to allow even a baserunner in three appearances.
⚫ Drew Mendoza and Jackson Cluff, the top-rated position player prospects for the Senators, both went on the shelf in the Richmond series. Mendoza has yet to go officially on the injured list, but he hasn’t played since leaving in the seventh inning of Wednesday night’s game. In his first at-bat, the corner infielder fouled a ball off his right foot.
Cluff landed on the 7-day IL after coming up hurt when Vince Fernandez knocked the ball out of the shortstop’s glove, sliding in on a stolen base late in Thursday’s game. Cluff appeared in obvious pain but stayed in the game after a visit from trainer T.D. Swinford.
Humberto Arteaga takes Cluff’s place on the active roster, while Osvaldo Duarte has played short the last three games and gone 5-for-12 at the plate.
⚫ Last week, I lamented about the Senators’ struggles on defense when they committed 11 errors in six games at Somerset. To say they cleaned it up at FNB Field would be an understatement. Harrisburg committed just three errors against Richmond, with only one as a fielding miscue.
⚫ One interesting tidbit from the media Zoom session from the home opener is that the Senators (and the Patriots) were only able to have pre-game batting practice in three of the six days in Somerset. Their batting cage is still under construction, and rain limited what could and couldn’t occur on the field.
“Statistics only tell me what has already happened,” Senators’ manager Tripp Keister said. “I don’t want them to cloud the work and optimistic view they can have each night. Now, if they start letting that bother them, then I need to talk to them about that.”
The skipper hopes two straight weeks back on City Island gets the team back into a routine where the results will follow.
“We’re just trying to be better today than we were yesterday,” Keister said.
Cole Freeman .300/.364/.400 (6-for-20)
Nick Wells 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Rhett Wiseman .071/.133/.143 (1-for-14)
Jhon Romero 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K