The Beavers have been plagued by costly defensive miscues this season, and Sunday was no different. Two errors in the fourth inning, one by Pete Laforest and one by Vincent Sinisi, lead to four unearned runs against Portland’s most consistent and dependable starter, Jack Cassel, who was on the hook for six runs, two earned..
Nevertheless, there was something amiss with Cassel. Cassel is strictly a ground ball pitcher who uses his cutter and sinker to induce batters to roll over on pitches and ground out. On Sunday, Cassel had nine ground ball outs and eight fly ball outs. On a good day for Cassel, this ratio is much more heavily weighted on the ground ball side.
The Royals jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning when Justin Huber grounded into a double play, allowing Mike Aviles to score from third.
The Beavers bounced back to take a 2-1 lead in the third inning. After Craig Stansberry sliced a double inside the left field line, Brian Myrow rocketed a two-run blast over the right field fence for his fourth home run of the year. The Beavers offense was completely shut down for the next three innings, as Omaha reliever Nate Hoelscher sat down nine Portland batters in order.
The fourth inning was just a mess for Portland. Aviles led off the inning with a double to left field. Two batters later, Huber was hit by a pitch and trotted down to first base. Aviles and Huber then executed a successful double steal, on which catcher Pete Laforest launched his throw down the left field line, allowing Aviles to score. With two outs, Richard Lewis sent a fly ball to right field which Sinisi just outright missed, allowing Huber to score. Omaha would get two more runs in the inning on Fernando Cortez’ two-RBI double to left, giving the Royals a 5-2 lead.
Omaha would tack on a single run in the sixth inning, stretching their lead to 6-2.
Steve Watkins came on to relieve Cassel in the seventh and pitched two solid innings of relief for the Beavers. Scott Cassidy took over for Watkins in the ninth and, for the second straight outing, had a less than stellar appearance. Cassidy allowed back-to-back doubles to Craig Brazell and Aviles, which were followed by an RBI-single off the bat of Huber. Two runs came into score against Cassidy, giving Omaha their final 8-2 lead.
- The Beavers are on a five-game losing streak and have lost 12 of their last 15 games at PGE Park.
- The Beavers defense has committed 41 errors over the last month
- Portland stranded five men in scoring position, compared to Omaha’s two
- Cassidy has allowed four earned runs and seven hits over his last two appearances