By Jon Mettus
June 19, 2016
COTUIT — The Kettleers lost to the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, 5-4, at Lowell Park on Sunday, marking the fourth game in a row the Cotuit has lost by two or less runs.
Here are five things we learned from the game and head coach Mike Roberts afterward.
A starting rotation will be in place beginning Monday
Cotuit will be using a set starting rotation of “probably” five players starting Monday, Roberts said. Only six players — Ross Achter (Toledo), Taylor Lehman (Penn State), Eddie Muhl (George Washington), Keith Rogalla (Creighton), Matt Ruppenthal (Vanderbilt) and Colton Hock from Stanford (“possible”) — will be available as starters in the coming weeks.
“I’m through experimenting,” Roberts said. “We’re going to take what we think are the most experienced, mature, efficient, polished players and pitchers that we have and we’re going to start tomorrow night with that.
“We’re going to go to that consistency and they’re going to roll for the next two, three, four weeks.”
Aaron Maher is a quality reliever
Aaron Maher (East Tennessee State) is proving himself to be more than just an outfielder experimenting on the mound. He was the Kettleers best pitcher on Sunday, throwing two innings of no-hit, scoreless baseball, while striking out two batters.
It took four other pitchers to get through the first seven innings and Maher was the only one to go more than 2/3 of an inning and not be charged with a run.
Maher kept the game within reach and displayed improved command of his pitches from his first appearance.
He’s now allowed just one run and one hit in 4 1/3 innings pitched on the year.
Baserunning is still a problem — it won’t be an easy fix
When Jack Klein (Stanford) was caught by a pickoff move and thrown out trying to take second in the second inning Sunday, it marked the ninth game in a row (out of nine games) that the Kettleers have suffered a baserunning mistake in.
On Friday, Tim Susnara (Oregon), who represented the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth, was thrown out trying to take second on a play where Roberts didn’t call for a steal. Jordan Pearce (Nevada) teetered too far off third base on Saturday to be tagged out and charged home on a grounder to third for an easy out at the plate in the same game.
“They just don’t know what they’re doing,” Roberts said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with signs. … They’re clueless.
“Teaching baserunning and base stealing today is the toughest thing I’ve ever seen. The best thing to do is just kind of not teach it and then sometimes say go and hope it works. … Almost nobody works on it. All they do is hit in the batting cage and throw as hard as they can.”
No one is standing out at catcher
Roberts has openly voiced his displeasure with his catchers in recent games because of their pitch selection and inability to hold onto the ball.
Cory Voss caught the first five innings of the game before Susnara caught the last four. On Saturday, Albee Weiss (Cal State Northridge) caught the first four innings before letting a passed ball get by and being replaced by Voss. Hagen Owenby last started at catcher on June 15 in Cotiut’s only win of the year.
He doesn’t know if he’ll keep a catching rotation or how many he’ll keep on the roster.
“I have no idea what we’re going to do with our catchers,” Roberts said. “I’m an old catcher and I’m hard to satisfy, but that’s the one area I honestly don’t know what we’re going to do.
“There’s no separation.Timmy (Susnara) has the most experience, probably, but there’s no real separation in ability, that type thing.”
New reliever coming from Georgia Southern
The Kettleers are bringing in lefty pitcher Connor Simmons (Georgia Southern). Simmons will be in Cotuit by Tuesday, Roberts said.
“He’s excited to get here and they were going to shut him down, but they opened the door,” Roberts said.
Simmons had 72 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings pitched this year with an ERA of 4.47.