— Geoff Grammer (@GeoffGrammer) May 22, 2016
It’s been one of those homestands for the Albuquerque Isotopes.
No, not one of the good ones.
The type in which solid starting pitching performances go for naught, hard-hit balls by the home team find an opponent’s glove and each mistake made in the field seem to result in runs for the visitors.
Saturday, a fan got hit with a flying bat in the ninth inning and an Isotopes employee dressed as a jar of salsa during an in-game chile race promotion went down with an injured left leg and had to be helped off the field in the fifth inning.
And with the New Orleans Zephyrs’ 9-2 win Saturday night, the Isotopes have lost five games in a row and end their eight-game homestand today at 12:30 p.m.
“This league is a funny league in that this team (the Zephyrs), before they came here, they weren’t playing very well,” Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill said. “The balls that they seemed to hit, found some holes. A lot of two-strike contact and some really good swings on some bad pitches.”
At least the announced hometown crowd of 13,127 in Isotopes Park, several thousand of which were area Little Leaguers honored before the game, were able to enjoy a postgame fireworks show.
“You know, it happens,” Hill said. “But someone in that clubhouse has got to stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.'”
New Orleans (18-23) outhit Albuquerque (20-23) on Saturday night 15-4 and the home team committed two errors, setting up three unearned runs.
Isotopes pitchers walked just three Zephyrs on Saturday night – one by starter Matt Flemer and two by reliever Austin House. But, much like with the errors Albuquerque committed, the damage that followed was painful to watch.
The Zephyrs batter immediately following each of Albuquerque’s three walks went 2-for-3 with four RBIs, including a two-run home run by former Isotope (naturally) Robert Andino in the fifth inning that put New Orleans up for good.
Even Zephyrs catcher Tomas Telis went 4-for-5 at the plate with two infield singles and an RBI bloop single to center field just over the outstretched glove of shortstop Joey Wong for an RBI.
And when the ‘Topes did seem to catch a rare break themselves at the plate, they rarely took advantage.
Albuquerque was 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-3 following a Noel Cuevas leadoff triple in the bottom of the third inning.
When catcher Tom Murphy, who drove in the Isotopes’ only two runs with a fourth-inning blast well past the left-field bullpen, saw his pop fly in shallow right field in the ninth inning for an error, he had already rounded first base thinking the ball was going to be caught and was tagged out at second.
“Look, man,” Hill in an increasingly silent postgame clubhouse after the loss, “they had 15 hits. Anytime you have 15 hits, you should expect to win the game. And we had, what, four? That’s not a lot of offense, and not a lot of good pitching and our defense was not good.”