Rochester Red Wings Weekend Review – April 14th-16th
Rochester Drops Series to Syracuse
After starting the first weekend of the season 3-0, the Rochester Red Wings ran into the Buffalo Bisons. Buffalo weren’t kind to their guests in the series opener, but Rochester was able to salvage the four-game series by splitting it with the Bisons. The Red Wings headed into the weekend with a record of 5-2, and ready to face the Syracuse Chiefs once again.
Similar weather circumstances to the previous week, forced the Red Wings and Chiefs to play their second double header in as many weekends. It was the home opening series at Frontier Field, and what better way to start things off in 2017, than welcoming a divisional opponent. And one that has been struggling.
Tepesch Mows Em’ Down, But Loses
One of the most frustrating things for a starting pitcher, is lack of run support. Nick Tepesch took the bump for Rochester in the series opener on Friday and was really good. In fact, in his eight inning performance, Tepesch struck out eight Chiefs. The mark on his night were the two runs he allowed in the third inning. More than half of Syracuse’s offensive output happened in that inning as they recorded five of their nine hits and of course the aforementioned two runs. Doubles by Syracuse’s Corban Joseph and Rafael Bautista started things off, and a RBI-single by Brian Goodwin capped off the two-run inning, which would hold up until the bottom of the fifth.
Rochester would tie the game at two, thanks to a sac-fly by Tommy Field which would score John Ryan Murphy who led off the inning with a single. The Red Wings offense sputtered the rest of the way, and couldn’t fight their way back from another Joseph double which proved to be the game winner.
The Chiefs turned the ball over to 42-year old Joe Nathan in the bottom of the ninth, and he retired all three Rochester batters he faced in order. It was Nathan’s first save of the season, and the Syracuse Chiefs second win of 2017.
Mother Nature Again?
For the second straight week, Mother Nature had her had in things again forcing the postponement of Saturday’s game. The two teams would lock horns again for another 7-inning double header on Easter Sunday. One of the biggest problems opening a baseball season in April in the northeast, is the unpredictability of the weather. This certainly won’t be the last time in 2017.
Let’s Play Two, Again
There was plenty of offense to go around Sunday for both teams. They combined for a total of 29 runs and 42 hits in their 14 innings of play.
The offense that eluded the Red Wings, and Tepesch on Friday, showed up early and often in the first game Sunday. After allowing a run by Syracuse in the first inning, Rochester answered with four in the bottom of the first, two in the second, one in the third, and three in the fourth. After that they had to hang on for dear life and put an end to the Chiefs threat.
With a 10-2 lead heading into the top of the fifth, Syracuse made things a bit interesting putting up for more runs, but luckily for the Red Wings fell short and Rochester hung on for a 10-6 win.
Justin Wheeler started the game for Rochester and was effective for five innings. Alan Busenitz had a very difficult afternoon allowing three runs in his inning of work. Trevor Hildenberger shut down any threat the Chiefs had left with a perfect seventh inning striking out two.
The Syracuse Chiefs would jump out to an early lead in the second game, putting up a four-spot on Rochester’s Aaron Slegers. The Chiefs would run Slegers out of the game in the fourth inning, after pounding him for 11 hits and five runs. It would be his first loss of the season which is unfortunate after how his first outing of the year went (6 IP, 0 H, 3 BB, 7K). Baseball can certainly be a cruel game and once you think you have it figured out, it boots you in the rump.
Rochester would make it interesting towards the end, but would fall short in their efforts dropping the game 7-6. Daniel Palka had himself quite the game for Rochester in the series finale. He went 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double, three runs scored, and four RBI in the losing effort. You can be sure that Palka is going to circle the calendar the next time these two teams square off. So far in the six games they have played against each other, Palka is 10-for-21, with 10 runs scored, four home runs, and 10 RBI. It is safe to say that he will be inserted in the lineup.
With Monday being an off day for the International League, the Red Wings head back out on the road for a six-game trip against the Gwinnett Braves and the Charlotte Knights. They return to Frontier Field on April 25th for a six-game home stand.
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