Video recap by Jon Perez
By Jon Mettus
June 20, 2016
ORLEANS — Mike Roberts didn’t meet with his team after the game. He had told them earlier that he wouldn’t.
The Kettleers coach told them the schedule for the upcoming days. But other than that there were no words. Those were taken up by the unusually lengthy discussions that followed the two previous games.
The results: unsatisfactory.
The Kettleers (1-9) lost to Orleans, 10-4, on Monday for their fourth loss in a row and ninth in the first ten games of the season.
When Roberts speaks with the team next, it’ll be Wednesday and he’ll be ready for a planned “reset.” Over the next 24 hours, he’ll be making the final decisions on what changes will be made. But one thing is certain: After Wednesday, the team will be different, if nothing else.
“I’ve seen all I need to see,” Roberts said. “I’m gonna reset the club. Right now we’re just not competitive. I think that’s pretty obvious.
“We have a lot of fans that deserve to see the Kettleers play better than what we’re playing and I’m disappointed in that. It’s my responsibility to reset it and figure out a way.”
Monday’s game was a microcosm of the season so far for Cotuit: errors, pitching mistakes, lack of hitting and an overall poor performance. By the end of the fifth inning it was already 10-0 Firebirds, and the Kettleers had more errors (3) than hits (2).
First baseman Albee Weiss dropped a pickoff move that caught a runner going to second. Then second baseman Josh Shaw booted a ground ball into the outfield to let in a run.
Two innings later A.J. Balta (Oregon) fielded a ball in left field, then fired it over a teammate’s head in the infield, letting the batter advance to second. He would score on a single.
Kettleers pitchers walked two runs in and let another score on a wild pitch.
With each mistake, Roberts buried his head in his hand, helmet or the dugout railing in front of him.
Cotuit didn’t score until the eighth inning. All four of its runs and four of its six hits came in the final two innings.
“We’re making plays that no one makes,” Jack Klein (Stanford) said. “You could ask any of those guys. We don’t make that errant throw, the errors, we don’t make those plays.
“This is not fun. It was not fun to be apart of. We were kind of embarrassed out there. We’re going to have to turn it around if we want to have any fun at all.”
There’s a lot to turn around.
Cotuit has the worst record and worst run differential (-33) in the league. Its 61 hits and 29 runs batted in are dead last.
No team has allowed more runs (67), earned runs (51) or hits (103). And the Kettleers 95.6 percent fielding percentage is the second-worst in the Cape league.
This team keeps Roberts up at night. He hasn’t slept since he’s been back in Cotuit, he said.
The Kettleers are five games back from the top spot in the West, but only two games back from second-to-last place Hyannis. All it takes to make the playoffs is to not be in last. There are 34 games to go.
“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Roberts said, “but you got to play well somewhere along the line before you get to the finish.
“We’ll light a fire under somebody. We’ll just find out how big that fire is going to be and whether or not they can handle the heat. … I’m going to apply some heat. It’ll be kind. It’ll be loving. But it’ll be warm.”