By Jon Mettus
July 2, 2016
WAREHAM — The Cotuit Kettleers (4-15) couldn’t extend their winning streak to three games and lost to the Wareham Gatemen (10-8-1), 3-2, at Spillane Field on Saturday night. It’s the seventh one-run game and sixth loss in those games of the season for Cotuit. Two of Wareham’s runs were unearned.
Here’s what we learned from the game and speaking to head coach Mike Roberts afterward.
Cotuit’s pitching staff is ‘extremely thin’
After the game, when asked about keeping his starting pitcher in despite early trouble, Roberts rattled off a list of three pitchers on the roster who aren’t available to throw:Keith Rogalla (Creighton), Matt Ruppenthal (Vanderbilt) and Jared Padgett (Mississippi State).
Rogalla was officially shut down by Cotuit on Saturday due to “a little bit of tenderness in his his tricep area and a little tenderness in his forearm.” He’ll likely be released soon.
Being a fastball-changeup team, it’s rare that the Kettleers have to shut a pitcher down, Roberts said, because those pitches are less taxing on your arm than some breaking balls.
“We have no idea how we will replace him at this time of the summer,” Roberts said of Rogalla — one of his starting pitchers.
Ruppenthal, another starter, has been out since June 24 when he hit his head on the “pewee” dugout in Hyannis and sustained a concussion. Roberts estimated a few days later that he’d be out about a week or two.
The team won’t sit in the dugout in Hyannis anymore, Roberts said.
As for Padgett, Roberts is going to play catch with him on Sunday to evaluate his condition and will decide his fate after the game.
“When you look at our pitching staff right now, even though we have 14 on the numbers, we’re very thin,” Roberts said. “Extremely thin.”
The Kettleers are an ‘in between’ team
Cotuit has hit four home runs over the last three games, leading to six runs, but Roberts thinks that production with the long ball isn’t sustainable going forward. He’s known for preaching small ball and using bunts, sacrifice hits and steals to maneuver runners across the plate.
“We’re kind of an inbetween club,” Roberts said. “We have decent speed. We have a lot of left handed hitters … All of a sudden we’ve hit a couple home runs, but do we really think we can sit back and depend on any of that? No I don’t think we can.”
The lineup is highlighted by several speed players including Alonzo Jones Jr. (Vanderbilt) and Cal Stevenson (Arizona), as well as some power guys like Albee Weiss (Cal State Northridge) and Cory Voss (Arizona). A player such as Greyson Jenista (Wichita State) boasts a combination of the two.
Even with the least amount of hits in the league (124), Cotuit has the most triples (seven) and is seventh in home runs (seven).
One-run games are not kind
The Kettleers played their seventh one run game on Saturday and came out on the losing end for the sixth time. Again, the difference was fielding mistakes.
Roberts insists that the onus is on him to find a way to win the one-run games. He said the team will likely bunt with men on base more heading into the rest of the season to try to manufacture more runs.
“It’s my job to get us over the hump in the one-run games and I have not gotten it done,” Roberts said. “There’s no blame on any player. It’s my fault.”
Quinn Brodey is improved in the outfield
After a rocky start to the year that included a few dropped ball and errors in the outfield and led to Quinn Brodey (Stanford) being benched and Roberts calling him “indecisive” in the field, Brodey has picked up his play and fit into the outfield.
Most notably on Saturday, Brodey charged on a fly ball in shallow left field. He slid to try to make a basket catch, but dropped the ball after it hit off his body. The runner on third tried to run home to score, but Brodey quickly got up and fired a high-arcing strike to the plate that beat the runner by about a step and saved a run.
He made one catch in the game on the only other ball hit to him in the air.