The thin line Alex Boshers walks between success and failure is similar to the line he and the Wingnuts are tiptoeing following their final game in the United States this season.
Boshers, a Wingnuts right-hander, pitched four scoreless innings on Thursday before his pitch-to-contact approach worked against him. Winnipeg won Game 2 of the American Association championship series 7-1 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium; now the series goes to Canada for the final three games of the best-of-five.
The Wingnuts must win two games away from home to win their second league title – the first was in 2014 – and try to avoid losing in the championship series for the fourth time in six years.
“Last time I checked, it’s the first to three,” Wingnuts manager Pete Rose Jr. said. “We’ve got to go there, we’ve got to play three. (Jordan Cooper) is going to be on the hill and we’ll see what happens.
“They’re a good team, man, we knew this coming in. It wasn’t going to be easy. We’ve got our work for us.”
Boshers didn’t allow a run through four innings, escaping potential damage in the third inning on a double play and keeping Winnipeg off the scoreboard in the fourth after two singles to start the inning.
Boshers allowed 134 hits and struck out 67 in 128 1/3 regular-season innings with a 3.72 ERA, and he was getting by on similar credentials on Thursday. He allowed four baserunners through four innings with one strikeout before his pitches that hit the edges of the plate began to catch too much of it.
Winnipeg tied it 1-1 on an RBI double by No. 9 hitter Andrew Sohn, which preceded a two-run home run by Casey Turgeon. Reggie Abercrombie blasted a two-run homer three batters later, the first of his two home runs.
Boshers didn’t get strike calls on borderline pitches in the fifth, and he was hurt when he worked back toward the middle of the strike zone.
“You’ve still got to make pitches,” Rose said. “You’ve got to get outs. You can’t worry about stuff like (umpiring).”
Wichita’s offense was shut down by Winnipeg righty Edwin Carl, who held the Wingnuts to their lowest output of the postseason and stopped their 10-game winning streak dating to the regular season.
Winnipeg, which defeated the Wingnuts in the final two games in Wichita to win last year’s title, now has home-field advantage. The Wingnuts don’t seem concerned.
“We’ve just got to go up and win a series,” Rose said. “I don’t think it has to be the first two games. You just go up and win a series. Can we do that? Sure we can do it. It’s going to be tough. They’re a hell of a team, they’re defending champs.”