Against any other starting pitcher, Sundays 2-0 Wingnuts loss to Sioux City might have been explained away as the inevitable letdown after a long stretch of superior offense.
Even if such a letdown was coming anyway, it was expedited by the presence of Explorers right-hander Jason Jarvis, the only American Association pitcher who has figured out how to consistently shut down the Wingnuts.
Jarvis tossed a shutout at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, a performance that is becoming more commonplace than notable. Jarvis has gone nine innings without allowing an earned run in each of his last three starts against the Wingnuts, dating to last June.
Sundays start wasnt Jarvis best against Wichita, but it best encapsulated what has made him dangerous for the Wingnuts during the last two seasons. Wichita was retired in order once in the last seven innings, but an inability to string multiple hits together, and to capitalize on chances with runners in scoring position, ultimately proved its downfall.
Wingnuts starter Ryan Hinson allowed zero earned runs in eight innings hes allowed one combined earned run in his two losses, both shutouts against Wichita. Sundays loss snapped a five-game Wingnuts winning streak.
I guess well chalk it up to one of those days, Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said. Hinsy pitched his tail off. Hes lost a 1-0 ballgame and a 2-0 ballgame. Especially with the offense we have, that shouldnt happen.
Wichita hitters seemed to get over-anxious when run-scoring chances presented themselves. The Wingnuts grounded into three inning-ending double plays, and instead of sticking with compact-swings designed to hit balls up the middle or to the opposite field, they too-often looked to pull pitches and failed to make solid contact.
That approach was especially futile Sunday, when the wind was blowing straight in and easily knocking down fly balls. After the Wingnuts started the bottom of the ninth with a single and a walk, the only time they got consecutive baserunners, home-run leader C.J. Ziegler took a big swing but only managed an infield popup. The next two hitters were retired and Jarvis was off the hook for the last time after throwing 113 pitches.
If you think about it as a pitcher, if I see the wind blowing in from left, Im throwing righties in and lefties away, Wichita designated hitter John Rodriguez said. Thats what he did, he mixed up his pitches the right way. All we have to do is tip our hat to him, he did a great job.
The Wingnuts got the leadoff runner on base four times against Jarvis, with a prime chance to score in the sixth. Jared McDonald led off with a bunt single to bring the top of the order, but Ryan Khoury, Jake Kahaulelio and Rodriguez were each retired.
Wichita had averaged more than eight runs in its previous 15 games, so its always seemingly due for a breakthrough inning. That knowledge, as well as the past difficulties against Jarvis, may have been working against Wingnuts batters.
More than anything, we probably want to go out and get him just because of that, McDonald said. Youve got to treat him just like anybody else.
Hinson, Wichitas best starter, saw his ERA drop to 1.75, which trails only former teammate Jon Link for the league lead. Wichita uncharacteristically committed four errors two preventing potential double plays and leading to Sioux Citys only runs.
Hinsons outcome could have been even worse, but he pitched around mistakes including one of his own to keep Explorers runners stranded in scoring position.
Leugim Barrosos double ended with him on third base when right fielder David Amberson bobbled the ball in the corner, and Hinson struck out Adrian Martinez after a two-out wild pitch moved Alberto Espinosa to second.
But Wichita hitters couldnt take advantage of the momentum Hinson created by retiring seven in a row to end his outing, including erasing a leadoff single in the sixth with a double play. The Wingnuts had six baserunners after that, but the Jarvis Magic stopped them from scoring.
Its not all about having our number, Rodriguez said. We just have to do a better job, when the wind is like this, hitting line drives. When we do hit line drives, theyre right at people. In his last three starts, hes done what hes needed to do.... Its just one of those games, it just happened to be against him three times.
|Kaskadden 2b||4||2||2||0||Khoury ss||4||0||0||0|
|Barroso ss||4||0||1||0||Kahaulelio 2b||4||0||1||0|
|Judah lf||4||0||1||1||Rodriguez dh||2||0||0||0|
|Murton 1b||3||0||0||0||Ziegler 1b||4||0||1||0|
|Barrows rf||3||0||0||0||Clevlen cf||4||0||0||0|
|Inoguchi cf||4||0||0||0||Armstrong c||4||0||1||0|
|Espinosa c||4||0||3||0||Nievers 3b||3||0||2||0|
|Martinez dh||4||0||1||0||Amberson rf||3||0||0||0|
|Bistagne 3b||4||0||0||0||McDonald lf||3||0||2||0|
|Sioux City||100||010||000||||2 8 0|
|Wichita||000||000||000||||0 7 4|
LOB Sioux City 7, Wichita 6. 2B Barroso (8), Nievers (15).
|Jarvis (W, 5-3)||9.0||7||0||0||2||2|
|Hinson (L, 6-2)||8.0||7||2||0||2||5|
WP Hinson (2). UmpiresHome, Brock Ballou; first, Joe Pascucci; third, PJ Krauss.
T 2:09. A 3418.