By Sam Blum
July 21, 2014
After a disastrous three-run sixth-inning cost Cotuit a 4-1 loss at Harwich on Saturday, manager Mike Roberts felt more inclined to talk about the mistakes that came before it.
“The sixth inning to me wasn’t the problem, the problem was (nine) walks,” Roberts said. “That’s the problem. You can only hang in there so long when the other team has runner after runner after runner.”
Walks, Roberts said, are an Achilles heel for Cotuit. That night, starter Nick Eicholtz walked seven in just 3 2/3 innings, including four in the first inning. In 33 games this season, Cotuit has walked 156 batters, which is 39 more than Wareham, the next highest culprit.
It’s a problem that Roberts harps on every game above all else. He knows his offense will score him runs. He knows that his pitching has the stuff to get people out. But he can’t seem to explain the walks.
“As a staff,” Roberts said, “we’ve just got to throw strikes.”
The control issues have cost the Kettleers some much needed innings. Only four times this season has a starter gone more than five innings. Only once has somebody gone six. It’s been a tax on the bullpen, which has begun to show signs of fatigue during Cotuit’s current three-game losing streak.
The Kettleers sit just one game ahead of Hyannis for fourth place in the Western division, and four games ahead of last-place Wareham. They have two games each against both teams as they try to gain traction heading into a playoff spot that is hardly locked up.
“We walk people,” Roberts said, “we’ve just got to throw balls down in the strike zone.
“We’ll keep working on it. We’ve got good arms.”