MANCHESTER — Hits don’t matter if you can’t find a way to capitalize on them.
After a two-run second inning in Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Trenton Thunder, the Fisher Cats failed to drive in any baserunners the rest of the way, squandering their many chances to do so.
“When you get runners on second with no outs and you’re pulling the ball down the third base line, in my opinion, that’s a bad approach at the plate if you’re trying to move the runner over,” Fisher Cats manager Mike Mordecai said. “We have to be better at that.”
New Hampshire batters combined to leave 17 runners on base, including five with runners in scoring position and two outs. Conversely, Trenton’s Brandon Wagner (two) and Matt Lipka (one) combined for three two-out RBIs, which ended up as the difference.
Wagner, in particular, came up clutch for the Thunder. With two down and two out in the top of the eighth inning and Trenton leading, 3-2, the big first baseman laced a first-pitch single to right field that scored Chris Gittens and Mandy Alvarez, putting the game out of reach.
The Fisher Cats did end up putting runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Vinny Capra flew out to center field to end the ballgame.
Tonight, New Hampshire begins a 10-game road trip during which it will play the Portland Sea Dogs, Trenton, and the Reading Fightin Phils.
“The problem with a road trip like this is we’re coming off a homestand where we didn’t win very many games,” Mordecai said. “Now we gotta hit the road and our team has not been the best on the road, I don’t think. We’ve had a couple of decent series’ on the road, but hopefully that leaf will turn. If we can come back after going .500 on the road, I’ll take that.”
On Friday, Toronto’s No. 2 prospect, Nate Pearson, was placed on the seven-day injured list, retroactive to Thursday, with an undisclosed injury, but Fisher Cats manager Mike Mordecai doesn’t believe he’ll need much more time than that to recover from the ailment.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Mordecai said after Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Trenton Thunder. “I haven’t seen the program they have for him in order to get back out on the mound, but I don’t think he’s going to miss too much time at all.
“It’s OK for a guy who they’re trying to limit his innings anyways, so it’s not that big a deal.”
Pearson, who made only one start last season due to a fractured right ulna, is being brought along slowly. The Blue Jays selected him with the No. 28 overall pick in the 2017 draft and they don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the long-term health of the No. 41 prospect in baseball.
In eight starts with New Hampshire this year, Pearson has a 2.70 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings.