Josh Rogers, Erik Kratz power RailRiders to win over Columbus

By DJ Eberle - [email protected]
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders starting pitcher Josh Rogers tossed a seven-inning, two-hitter against Columbus Clippers before being taken out of Monday’s game at PNC Field. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders second baseman L.J. Mazzilli drills a grounder to Columbus Clippers third baseman Yandy Diaz, who committed an error. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders left fielder Cody Asche is congratulated by manager Bobby Mitchell after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning of Monday’s game against the Columbus Clippers. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

MOOSIC — Josh Rogers has a confidence that’s almost unmatched as a 23-year-old pitching in Triple-A for the first time.

Aside from his outlier of a start on April 17, when he gave up five runs and took the loss at Gwinnett, a start he still felt pretty good about, the southpaw has arguably been the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders’ best starting pitcher in the early going.

Rogers pitched seven innings the second time this season — a feat no other RailRiders pitcher has accomplished once — while the offense did more than enough to back him up en route to a 7-0 victory over the Columbus Clippers (7-9).

The RailRiders (9-8) collected 12 or more hits for the second straight game as they pushed their winning streak to two.

“I got off to a good start, finding the inner half of the plate with the fastball and keeping them off balance with breaking balls on the other side of the plate,” Rogers said. “(Catcher Erik) Kratz did a good job behind the plate calling a good game. Just tried to execute every pitch.

Rogers has been the RailRiders’ most consistent pitcher this season.

His first seven-inning outing came on April 11 in Charlotte when he gave up one run on three hits while striking out 10. He was slightly more polished on Monday, giving up just two hits and hitting a batter while strike out seven. Both starts resulted in wins.

With the seven-inning win against the Clippers, Rogers improved his record to 2-1, dropped his ERA to down to 3.00 and gave up two runs or fewer for the third time this season.

“I feel like I’m pretty confident in my ability where ever I’m going to pitch at, whatever role I’m going to pitch at, and the key is to just throw strikes,” Rogers said. “I’ve always been able to throw strikes. Quality strikes is what I’m working on now, instead of just filling up the zone. Quality pitches and quality counts. Been working with (pitching coach) Tommy (Phelps) during the week, just trying to build every week.”

While Rogers did more than enough to keep the Clippers’ bats quiet, Columbus couldn’t say the same.

Three different RailRiders hit home runs while four recorded multi-hit games, led by Kratz’s 4-for-4 effort.

Kratz’s four-hit night included a home run and a walk. Shane Robinson was 2-for-5 with a triple, three runs scored and an RBI. Mike Ford was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Ryan McBroom was 2-for-5 with an RBI and run scored. Cody Asche’s lone hit was a home run that broke a 0-for-15 slump.

Oh, and Zack Zehner was 0-for-3 with a walk and three RBI.

“I think (Columbus starter Adam) Plutko came in with (a 2.00 ERA) and we put good at-bats together. Even when we were losing we put good at-bats together,” Kratz said. “When you can throw Rogers out there for seven shutout innings, I couldn’t be happier for the guys.”

Injury report

Infielder Thairo Estrada was set to join the RailRiders on Sunday, but is staying in Tampa having “a little tight groin,” according to the manager Bobby Mitchell. The RailRiders manager expects Estrada to join the team by the end of the week, at the very latest.

“I think it’s just from not playing and then playing nine innings, maybe, for the first time. He had played a couple games, but he got a little tight,” Mitchell said. “Keep him in Tampa, make sure he’s OK.”

RailRiders 9, Columbus 0

Columbus`AB`R`H`BI

Allen lf“2`0`0`0

Urshela ss`4`0`1`0

Diaz 3b`4`0`1`0

Mejia c`4`0`1`0

Haase dh`4`0`0`0

Barnes cf`3`0`0`0

Shaffer rf`4`0`0`0

Rodriguez 1b`3`0`0`0

Rosales 2b`3`0`1`0

Totals`31`0`4`0

RailRiders`AB`R`H`BI

Wade ss`4`0`0`0

Avelino 3b`5`1`0`0

Robinson cf`5`3`2`1

Ford dh`5`2`3`1

Kratz c`4`1`4`1

Zehner rf`3`0`0`3

McBroom 1b`5`1`2`1

Asche lf`4`1`1`1

Mazzilli 2b`3`0`1`0

Totals`38`9`13`8

E: Plutko (1), Urshela (1); PB: Mejia (1); LOB: Columbus 7, RailRiders 11; 2B: Urshela (1); 3B: Rosales (1), Robinson (1); HR: Kratz (2), McBroom (2), Asche (1); SF: Zehner.

Columbus`000`000`000 — 0

RailRiders`021`103`02X — 9

Columbus`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Plutko (L, 2-2)`5`8`4`4`3`5

Sulser`0.2`3`3`3`1`0

Head`1.1`0`0`0`1`1

Zarate`1`2`2`0`0`0

RailRiders`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Rogers (W, 2-1)`7`2`0`0`0`7

Espinal`2`2`0`0`0`3

WP: Espinal.

HBP: Allen (by Rogers); Allen (by Espinal); Barnes (by Espinal).

Umpires: Brian Peterson, HP; Erich Bacchus, 1B; Dan Merzel, 3B.

Time: 2:36; Attendance: 4,011.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders starting pitcher Josh Rogers tossed a seven-inning, two-hitter against Columbus Clippers before being taken out of Monday’s game at PNC Field.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_Railriders-Columbus-1.jpgScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders starting pitcher Josh Rogers tossed a seven-inning, two-hitter against Columbus Clippers before being taken out of Monday’s game at PNC Field. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders second baseman L.J. Mazzilli drills a grounder to Columbus Clippers third baseman Yandy Diaz, who committed an error.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_Railriders-Columbus-5.jpgScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders second baseman L.J. Mazzilli drills a grounder to Columbus Clippers third baseman Yandy Diaz, who committed an error. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders left fielder Cody Asche is congratulated by manager Bobby Mitchell after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning of Monday’s game against the Columbus Clippers.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_Railriders-Columbus-4.jpgScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders left fielder Cody Asche is congratulated by manager Bobby Mitchell after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning of Monday’s game against the Columbus Clippers. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
SWB southpaw stellar in win

By DJ Eberle

[email protected]

ON THE WEB

Visit timesleader.com to listen to Episode 3 of the Riding The Rails podcast. New York Yankees special adviser Nick Swisher joins host DJ Eberle.

Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle

Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle