Two steps forward, one step back.
The Buffalo Bisons gave a less than inspiring effort on Sunday as they squeezed out just five hits in a 3-0 loss to Syracuse.
Taking the first two games from the Chiefs by scores of 6-4 (Friday) and 4-2 (Saturday) the Herd had a chance to even their record at 41-41.
Instead, they go into the all-star break two games under .500 and still searching for answers as to why they simply cannot find consistency in their game.
“Typically it’s like anybody else or anything else if you have success you think yeah I was right. I understand that,” manager Bobby Meacham said. “If you don’t have success and you’re not really confident you go back to what you’re worrying about. It really comes back to how confident are you in your abilities. First of all, how good are you? And how good do you think you’re gonna be? We can point it out, how much talent they have, if they worry about not coming through today and it carries over to tomorrow it’s hard to help.”
The Bisons could not punch any runs across the plate even though they had at least one runner in scoring position in each of the first eight innings, but went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
“Knockout punch, we were missing.” Meacham said. “We get guys on in various ways. I don’t think we swung the bats very well. We didn’t have good at-bats. We somehow got on base and got in position to score, but like I said the whole day we didn’t swing the bats well. You kinda hope somebody will come through, but the way we were swinging it wasn’t likely that we were gonna do that.”
Shockingly, a prime example of poor at-bats came from Jason Leblebijian who came up in a two on, two out situation in the eighth. But swung at a first pitch ball on the outside corner and harmlessly popped out to right field.
On Saturday, a homerun by Anthony Alford highlighted an 11 hit assault as the Bisons won 4-2.
The Bisons also received a strong start by Thomas Pannone who struck out six, walked none and gave up just two runs on seven hits. It was the first Triple-A start for Pannone, who served an 80 game suspension after testing positive for a performance enhancing substance on March 16,2018.
“I had a lot on my mind today, obviously,” said Pannone, who left with a no decision.
“I just wanted to calm my emotions and trust in (my catcher Danny) Jansen and come out and pitch my game. I didn’t want to do too much. I just wanted to stay composed and in the moment.”
Brandon Cumpton picked up the save in Saturday’s win.
Meacham is hopeful that the all-star break will give his team a much needed mental rest that will allow them to attack the second half of the season.
“They can start over,” Meacham said. “It’s easier to do when you have (rest) days in between as oppose to having to grind it out the next day.”
The All Star Game will be played Tuesday at Huntington Park in Columbus as the stars of the International League will face the best of the Pacific Coast League.
Jason Leblebijian and Danny Jansen were both voted onto the IL’s starting lineup.
This makes two-years in a row Leblebijian will appear in the all-star game, while Jansen makes his first appearance in a Triple-A mid-season classic.
“I’m just honored,” Jansen said. “My first Triple-A All-Star Game and to go with Jason Leblebijian, one of my good friends, I was just truly honored. To all the fans and the coaches that voted it means a lot.”
First baseman Rowdy Tellez remains on the inactive list due to a personal situation. Tellez was placed on the I/A list on July 4. There is no word on when he will return.
Sunday was head groundskeeper Chad Laurie’s final day with the Bisons. He will be moving on to a similar position with the Buffalo Bills.
The Kentucky native was in his eighth season with the Herd. One of the best in his profession, Laurie won Turf Field Manager of the Year award in 2016.
Picture Courtesy of Buffalo Bisons