MOOSIC — Both Bobby Mitchell and Chance Adams were able to point to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders starting pitching’s struggles Tuesday night against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
The four walks he issued.
Lehigh Valley was only able to register a trio of hits against the 23-year-old right-hander, but it was the walks that did him in. In fact, as a whole, the IronPigs (41-29) only had seven hits as they beat the RailRiders (33-36), 7-5, in the series opener.
“Walks. Inconsistency,” Adams said of the problems he faced in his start. “I threw my slider. It was alright. They weren’t really biting at it in the strike zone. I mean, I’d say that’s a good call. I didn’t really have my put-away stuff tonight.”
“Worked behind counts. He was three-two to almost every hitter he faced tonight, it seemed like,” Mitchell added. “He gets two strikes and can’t put them away. Too many walks. When you have four walks in four innings it’s not going to cut it. He’s got to be more efficient with his pitches.”
When Adams has struggled this season, its mostly because he’s gotten into trouble in one or two innings. He’s often dug himself into a hole that was too deep to climb out of.
Tuesday was just that.
Adams walked the first batter he faced and saw four of the first five IronPigs reach first base. With the bases loaded, Adron Chambers hit a hot shot at RailRiders first baseman Tyler Austin, which he struggled to field allowing a pair of runs to cross the plate. Trevor Plouffe knocked in the final run of the inning with an RBI single, taking a 3-0 lead.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre quickly got two runs back, with a first-inning Mark Payton RBI double and a second-inning Kyle Higashioka solo shot, but the one-run deficit didn’t last long as Plouffe’s third-inning, three-run double off the wall in right center put the RailRiders away for good.
Adams lasted just four innings and picked up the loss. The right-hander gave up six runs — only four earned — on three hits and four walks. He struck out just one batter.
“Yeah, it’s always at the beginning of the game, too, it seems like. Not in the middle, hardly,” Mitchell said of Adams struggles with big innings. “It’s in the first five innings and he sometimes settles in and gets going. It’s too late. He gave up six runs. He gave up a bases-loaded double to Plouffe on a ball up in the zone. He just wasn’t very effective and didn’t have his command.”
Batting in the No. 2 hole for the first time this season, Payton provided a spark for the RailRiders.
Facing a 7-3 deficit heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, Payton stepped up to the plate with two outs and runners on first and second. The left fielder roped a Pedro Beato delivery into the right-field corner and made his way to third base. Bruce Caldwell and Tyler Wade scored on the play to make it 7-5.
However, Beato got Brandon Drury to ground out to third to end the game.
“It’s something I’ve hit in the past in college, so I have experience there,” Payton said. “It’s always good whenever guys in front of you and behind you are putting together good at-bats and getting on base.”
Canseco hits PNC Field
Former American League MVP Jose Canseco took his talents to Moosic Tuesday night.
As the second appearance in the 2018 Legends Series, Canseco put on a softball home run exhibition prior to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s tilt and would later sign autographs for fans. The former major leaguer also took part in the RailRiders’ golf tournament on Monday. He won.
“This is the reason why I stay in shape. I truly believe that,” Canseco said of the exhibition. “Ex-major leaguers should stay in shape and represent the game of baseball. I love doing this home run derby. It’s a whole lot of fun for me.
“It’s exciting. It’s exciting to get out there and hit some balls.”
Canseco met with the media prior to his appearance and touched on a multitude of topics, including his book “Juiced” and his steroid use, the New York Yankees, the state of the game and playing for the Yankees in 2000.
“Of course you have (Aaron) Judge, I call him and (Giancarlo) Stanton the gods of baseball,” Canseco said. “These guys are a show within themselves. What’s Judge? Six-foot-8, 270 pounds? He makes me look small for God’s sake. I would pay a ticket just to see him and Stanton to just get out there and play.”
Canseco was even asked if he’d ever consider being the league’s commissioner one day. His answer was simple, and maybe somewhat surprising.
“I wouldn’t mind,” Canseco said with a chuckle. “As much as possible, I would try to take the game out of the umpire’s hands. I would definitely want to institute that robotic strike zone.”
3B Brandon Drury is expected to see more time at first base. Mitchell said Drury will play first twice a week. … INF Thairo Estrada suffered a setback in his rehab from his wrist. This is Estrada’s second setback while in Tampa. He first suffered a hamstring injury and then started dealing with back issues. “It’s just — I think his year is going to be — I think it’s going to be tough to come back,” Mitchell said. … Both 1B Mike Ford and OF Shane Robinson are both coming along. Ford took dry swings with a fungo bat on Tuesday. Robinson (ankle) is “probably, maybe a week to 10 days” and Ford (oblique) “maybe not too long after that.” … RHP Erik Swanson was placed on the 7-day disabled list with a groin injury during the roadtrip in Syracuse. Mitchell wasn’t sure if the right-hander would miss just one start or more.
IronPigs 7, RailRiders 5
E: Austin (1), Higashioka (5), Navarro (2); PB: Moore (4); Pickoffs: Leibrandt (Payton at 1B); DP: IronPigs 1, RailRiders 1; LOB: IronPigs 6, RailRiders 7; 2B: Plouffe (9), Payton (1); 3B: Payton (1); Higashioka (5), Austin (1); CS: Payton (2).
Lehigh Valley`303`010`000 — 7
RailRiders`110`000`012 — 5
De Los Santos`4`5`2`2`3`4
Leibrandt (W, 3-0)`3`1`0`0`1`2
Beato (S, 18)`0.`1`1`0`0`0`0
Adams (L, 2-3)`4`3`6`4`4`1
Balk: De Los Santos.
Umpires: Erich Bacchus, HP; Brian Peterson, 1B; Dan Merzel, 3B.
Time: 3:07; Attendance: 7,003.
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle