By Sam Blum
August 6, 2014
When it comes to the playoffs, Cotuit manager Mike Roberts doesn’t have patience for pitchers that don’t throw strikes.
So much so that he doesn’t plan on using them.
“You throw people that throw the ball over the plate,” Roberts said, bluntly. “You give up fourth outs in innings in the playoffs, you’re gonna get beat.”
Vince Fiori (South Carolina) will start for Cotuit on Wednesday in the opening game of the playoffs against Bourne. Roberts said he’d also likely go to Jackson McClelland (Pepperdine), Logan James (Stanford), Nick Eicholtz (Alabama) and Adam Whitt (Nevada) out of the bullpen.
Cotuit has been the biggest culprit of walks this season, giving up 210 free bases, which is 53 more than Chatham, which had the next highest total on the year. So while Roberts doesn’t have too many options at his disposal to limit walks, he’s going to go with who gives him the best chance.
“You’ve got to put people out there that you feel like are gonna throw strikes,” Roberts said.
Roberts noted that during last season’s championship run, he neglected to use some of his more reliable pitches during the postseason because they had logged higher walk totals.
In Tuesday’s 10-9, 10-inning, regular season closing loss, Roberts desperately wanted to avoid depleting his bullpen before the playoffs, so he used a slew of pitchers that he didn’t plan to use in Wednesday’s game.
Once the game went extra innings, he used third-baseman Drew Jackson who walked the first three batters with only one strike among 12 balls.
Poor pitching has been the main catalyst for an 18-25-1 record. But Roberts also hopes it won’t be its downfall when it opens up the playoffs against top-seeded Bourne.
“All the guys that have been in starting roles at times, we’re holding all of them to come out of the bullpen,” Roberts said. “We won’t wait tomorrow one extra hitter.”