Senators Notes: Simms, Cordero, and the DH

Drew Ward extended his hitting streak to six games with a line drive to right field in the bottom of the third inning (Photo courtesy Samuel Getty / Harrisburg Senators)

Senators’ starting pitcher John Simms made it three straight quality starts for the Harrisburg rotation as the right-hander tossed six innings in his 2017 debut. “The first two innings they hit some bullets but he settled down. He gave up two hits and two runs,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “He gave us a chance.”

LeCroy also made it official that Simms will remain in the rotation while Mark Blackmar, who started the doubleheader nightcap on Saturday, will shift to the bullpen as the de facto swing man.

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Although it was only a low leverage situation trailing 4-0 in the ninth inning, reliever Jimmy Cordero pitched a scoreless frame and impressed his manager. “I like what I saw from him tonight,” LeCroy said.

This early in the season, reliever usage is more about scheduling than it is about game situation. “You’re just trying to get them all in and make sure they get enough rest,” LeCroy said. “You want to put Jimmy in a big game that we’re winning or tied.”

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The Senators struggled stringing hits together and taking advantage the few times they had opportunities as they were shut out for the first time this season. The team let nine men on base for the game yet went only 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position. It doesn’t take Stephen Hawking to figure out most baserunners got only as far as first base before be stranded. “Offensively, we had a couple of chances but they made some good plays,” LeCroy said. “We had a lot of early contact outs, way too many.”

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After the final game of the homestand on Wednesday, the Senators travel to Bowie to take on the Baysox Thursday through Saturday in their first series against an American League opponent. This allows the team to get one more bat in the lineup as designated hitter instead of the pitcher taking hacks from the nine hole. In Harrisburg’s case that means 12-year minor league veteran Mario Lisson will get the majority of added at-bats as he brings his potent bat to the lineup.

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