By Jack Loder
Generally speaking, a pair of two run home runs in the first three innings of a ballgame isn’t a death sentence for the team on the other end of those bombs. It seemed ominous, however, when Falmouth did just that to the Firebirds on Thursday night.
To say that Orleans is struggling at the plate lately would be a gross understatement. They were shutout for the second straight night by the Commodores, unraveling late in an ugly 6-2 home loss. The past two days featured games against the Western division’s bottom feeders, games that were supposed to be much needed boosts to the Birds’ playoff resume.
Instead? 17 innings without a run. They may as well have been shutout, with both runs coming from a ninth inning rally staged too late. This feels like a turning point in a season that has largely straddled the middle ground between very good and very bad. Firebird arms have been pitching with little margin for error this summer,
The Firebirds have scored seven runs in their last six games. They’ve left runners all over the basepaths. In situations that seemed impossible to not push a run across, they’ve found a way. There’s not really more than one way to slice what we’ve seen during this stretch. It’s really poor execution at the dish.
The Commodores expanded their lead late in the game with an ugly top half of the seventh inning. Cam Marty had a rough outing in his first appearance with Orleans, giving up two runs on five hits in a high stress inning. He wasn’t helped by some uninspired defense. When the dust settled, the Birds were staring a 6-0 deficit in the face.
A bright spot as usual was AJ Blubaugh. In his last appearance of the summer before he departs for the draft, the right hander out of UW Milwaukee was his usual masterful self. He finishes the summer with a *checks notes* 0.00 ERA. He struck out 40% of the batters he faced during his time with Orleans.
“I’m so thankful for my time with the birds this summer. It’s nothing like I thought I’d ever experience.” Blubaugh said. “I met some great people and experienced the town of Eastham and Orleans. Im really grateful for this summer.”
The pitching being a bright spot in a night without clutch hitting is becoming a troubling trend. Garret Guillemette and Orleans maintain that their hitters will come around.
“We’re facing the best pitchers in the country,” Guillemette said. “It’s all about team offense, knowing when we have to move guys over and manufacture runs. We’re working really hard, I promise it will come.