STATEN ISLAND – The Staten Island Yankees dropped the final game of a four-game set with the Vermont Lake Monsters 5-1 to split the series at home.
Early on, it appeared Mother Nature would see to it that this game would not be played, however, after a 52-minute rain delay, the players took the field and the elements held off to get all nine innings of this game in.
The key to the Yankees’ hot start this season has been pitching and situational hitting, but both were deficient on Thursday night.
“It was just one of those days,” said Staten Island Manager Julio Mosquera. “And it wasn’t our day today.”
Staten Island (17-6) starter Daniel Alvarez (1-1) only made two mistakes through his six innings of work, however, both were deposited over the wall. Alvarez scattered just four hits during his outing, but the first was a two-run home run in the opening frame and the last one was a solo shot to leadoff the sixth inning.
“He started a little slow tonight,” Mosquera said when asked about Alvarez. “He struggled with command, he was up in the zone a lot. But, he came back and kept us in the game and gave us good innings and that’s all I can ask.”
Alvarez was charged with all four runs (earned) while he walked four and struck out four. His fastball stayed in the high-80s through most of the evening, but he did reach back a few times and touch 91 mph. Alvarez’s change-up was not much of a drop off in speed as it sat within the 83-85 mph range, and his seldomly used curveball came in at 80 mph.
“No one is going to pitch every inning good out there,” added Mosquera. “They’re going to have some good inning and they’re going to have some bad innings. And the good thing about it is that when they have some bad innings, they’ll have the chance to come back and rectify it, and I thought that’s what (Alvarez) did tonight.”
Staten Island’s offense did not provide much support for Alvarez either. In the second inning, with the team trailing 2-0, Leonardo Molina was thrown out at home trying to score on a passed ball.
Later, in the fifth, catcher Jason Lopez was left stranded at third.
“You know, we hit some balls hard today but they were right at people. We just gotta take what we are given,” Mosquera said. “Credit to our hitters who put together some good (at-bats), we just couldn’t find any holes.”
The Yankees’ best threat came in the bottom of the eighth when they loaded the bases with no outs. But, again, the bats could not get the big hit and the only run that scored came on an RBI fielder’s choice from Oswaldo Cabrera.
“The great thing is that we were just a hit away from tying this game there,” Mosquera said about the eighth inning rally. “And we had some good speed on the bases, so a ball in the gap and it would have been close right there. Like I’ve said, these guys don’t give up, and that’s what I like about them. They compete until the last out.”
There was still a bright spot for the Yankees in this game, and it was the bullpen. Christian Morris, Greg Weissert and Chase Hodson combined to give up just one hit over the final three frames of this game.
“Like I said, we hit some hard balls, they just didn’t drop,” Mosquera said. “We just didn’t have any luck.”
Staten Island will now hit the road to take on the West Virginia Black Bears at Monongalia County Ballpark for a three-game weekend set.
Wilkerman Garcia’s seven-game hitting streak came to an end after going 0-for-4 on Thursday.