Legends On Deck

Syracuse Chiefs Weekend Review: May 11th – May 14th

Photo By Gabe Rodriguez – LOD

It hasn’t been the best of starts this season for the Syracuse Chiefs.  After a difficult April (9-12), Syracuse had hoped the slow month was behind them.  Unfortunately the beginning of May wouldn’t be very kind to them either.  Limping into this weekend, the Chiefs are 1-6 and had a tall order to try and turn things around.  The Scranton/WB RailRiders were in town for a four-game series that started on Thursday.

The forecast wasn’t the greatest heading into the weekend, but I think Mother Nature grew tired of postponements and the logistics of rescheduling and decided to let the games go on.  Syracuse hoped to get some revenge after losing both games last weekend on the road to the RailRiders.

Get To Them Early, Hold on Late

Syracuse wasted no time in the series opener jumping on Scranton/WB early, scoring three runs out of the gate.  Errors by the RailRiders Ruben Tejada and Clint Frazier in the first inning led the the Chiefs runs.  Scranton would get one of those back in the third inning on former LoD Player of the Week Dustin Fowler‘s RBI-triple, but the Chiefs would end that threat.

In a time when offense was needed so badly, Syracuse poured on eight more runs with four in the third, and two each in the fourth and the fifth innings.  Kyle McGowin started the game for the Chiefs and was very thankful for the run support.  McGowin has struggled in his two starts this season, so this outing is what the doctor ordered.  He would go five strong allowing just that one run on five hits with two strikeouts.

Syracuse was clicking on all cylinders and looked to be in total control.  That was until the top of the ninth inning.  After near perfect appearances by Dustin Antolin and Joe Nathan, Chiefs skipper Billy Gardner handed the ball off to Rafael Martin.  With the game seemingly in hand, Martin allowed the RailRiders to climb back in slightly before striking out Frazier to end the game.

The eleven runs scored was the second highest total this season.  Syracuse beat Scranton/WB 11-5 in the series opener.

Recipe For Success?

As Captain Obvious would say, “The team that scores the most runs, will be the winner”.  That could have been the pep talk on Friday night, as Syracuse did essentially the same thing as the previous night, which was to score early and more than their guests.  They would pick up a win they needed badly, downing the RailRiders 10-3.

Joe Ross, who was making his second start after returning from the show, was pretty good in his six-inning outing for the Chiefs.  Looking for his first win of the season, Ross would be the benefactor of offense for the second straight night, and he would obtain what has been eluding him in his previous three starts.

There would be no long-balls hit by the Chiefs, but timely hits when it counted the most would be all they need.  Every player in the starting lineup for Syracuse would record a hit, and three players would have multi-hit games, including a 3-for-5 night for Rafael Bautista.

For the second night in a row, the Chiefs bullpen would be stellar.  Austin Adams contributed two innings with a walk and five strikeouts and Joe Nathan would add a scoreless frame of his own with two strikeouts.

How Quickly The Tables Can Turn

Photo By Gabe Rodriguez – LOD

Taking a page out of Syracuse’s ideology, Scranton/WB decided to score some runs early on the Chiefs.  Ten to be exact.  They wouldn’t do it all in one inning, not that that makes things better.  The RailRiders took the third game of the four-game series 12-3 on Saturday.

Greg Ross would start the game for Syracuse, but would be sent to the showers after 1.2 innings and seven runs allowed.  It wouldn’t get better for Gardner and the Chiefs as the next to pitchers to come in the game would get lit up as well.  Neal Cotts would come in and stop the bleeding in the seventh inning.  The game was already out of hand by that point, but he and his mates would make sure no more runs would be scored.

Brandon Snyder continued his nice little seven-game hit streak with a home run (seventh on the season) in the ninth inning.  Irving Falu was the other bright spot in this game going 1-for-3 with two RBI.

Syracuse was .500 with runners in scoring position, but the problem was the lack of chances.  Scranton pitching was in total control in this one as Daniel Camarena would pick up his fourth win on the season for the RailRiders.

Too Little, Too Late

Apparently in the series finale, both teams decided to not go with what worked in the previous three games.  They were in a nice old fashioned duel seeing who would break first.

In one corner for the Chiefs it was Austin Voth, who in two season in Triple-A has made 31 starts.  In the other corner, the fresh-faced Chance Adams who was making his Triple-A debut.  Adams had been taking care of business in the Eastern League for the Trenton Thunder.  On paper you’d think experience would prevail.  Today that wasn’t the case.

Adams went five excellent innings for Scranton/WB giving up just two hits with six strikeouts.  Thanks to some offense a little later, the RailRiders would be sure to leave town giving him his first win.  Voth who had been belted around a bit this season was good too.  Just not good enough.  He gave Syracuse 5.2 innings, but the two runs he gave up proved way too costly.

Photo By Gabe Rodriguez – LOD

It could have been a little worse than it was, but fundamental baseball by Syracuse would hold the RailRiders to one run in the fifth.  Tyler Wade hit a double off Voth, and Scranton’s Cito Culver tried to score from first, but Andrew Stevenson threw to his cut-off man Adrian Sanchez who threw a perfect strike to Chief’s catcher Pedro Severino to cut down Culver at home.

Unfortunately though the momentum of a play like that didn’t carry over to the Chiefs at-bats.  They would go down in order in their half of the fifth, and to make matters worse, Syracuse’s Billy Gardner would be sent packing as well for arguing.

The Chiefs would finally get on the board in the bottom of the eighth on a Matt Skole home run to bring the game 2-1.  That would be as close as they would come as throwing errors and wild pitches led to four RailRiders runs in the top of the ninth.  Syracuse would end up scoring one more run in the bottom of the ninth, but would drop the finale 6-2.

The Chiefs head west on Interstate 90 for a four-game set against the Buffalo Bisons starting Monday.  They return home on May 19th for a three-game set against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies).



John has recently graduated from the University at Albany with a B.A. in History and is currently finishing his Master's Degree there as well in secondary education. After being away from school for over two decades he decided to go back and work towards his dream of becoming a social studies teacher.

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