By Sam Blum
Mike Roberts has never been shy about asking his players to swing the bat. He doesn’t buy into being overly-patient and forcing the pitcher to work.
Hitters should swing away, he thinks.
“We swing the bat often,” Roberts said. “Always have and always will. I am not a moneyball guy. We are not gonna sit and look.”
On Monday, in the final regular season home game, the Kettleers mustered just four hits and two runs in a 4-2 loss to the Commodores at Lowell Park. The loss kept Cotuit in the final playoff spot heading into the final game of the season Wednesday before opening up the playoffs on Wednesday with Vince Fiori on the mound.
“You’re still looking for those days where your pitching, your offense, your defense and your base running, they all are good on the same day,” Roberts said.
The game featured several new players in the starting lineup, including John Jennings (UMass) and Kyle Lewis (Mercer). They combined to go 0-5 with a strikeout. But they weren’t the only ones struggling. And all afternoon, the Kettleers were up at the plate hacking early.
Only one Kettleer reached via walk on Monday.
After posting no runs in a 5-0 loss at Wareham on Friday that took one hour and 45 minutes, it once again did not take long for the Kettleers run through their order.
The only offense came off the bat of Logan Taylor, who popped an opposite-field home run in the fourth inning. Ian Rice hit a moon shot in the eighth. The left fielder didn’t even look up as it sailed into the trees.
But the two sparks of offense were sandwiched by quick outs and 1-2-3 innings.
“Do we play small ball as well as I would like for us to? No,” Roberts said, answering his own rhetorical question. “We’re kind of in that middle category which I would like to get out of.”
The best chance came in the bottom of the eighth, when it appeared Logan Taylor reached on an errant throw. He was called safe as the umpire said the throw took Jake Madson off the bag.
But after the umpires conferred, they reversed the call, and the Kettleers wouldn’t get another base runner the rest of the game.
The loss capped the second-straight defeat for the Kettleers, who are poised to limp into the postseason. And with a Bourne win on Monday, it is all but assured that Cotuit will face Bourne in the first round starting Wednesday.
Fourty-three games into the season, Cotuit is a team still searching for an identity.