Missed opportunities cost Senators early and often in 8-2 loss

Ozzie Abreu’s home run in the ninth inning prevented the Senators from being shutout victims two straight days. (Samuel Getty / Harrisburg Senators)

“Missed opportunities”

It’s a phrase that often gets bandied around clubhouses and locker rooms for any sport at almost every level. Baseball is no different as it causes managers to lose their hair, grow ulcers, chain smoke in the tunnel, or always wonder ‘what if’.

After struggling offensively for most of the game like the Senators did on Thursday night in Hartford, a manager hopes his players deliver in the clutch when that chance finally comes up in a key spot but he knows the odds and reality of the situation.

But when that chance comes up again and again like it did on Friday night against the Baysox, a manager expects his players to come through at least once or twice. Instead, the Senators came up short with every opportunity they were given as the team went 0-for-15 while batting with runners in scoring position.

This was not a collective stretch of bad luck, either, as the Senators hit exactly one ball out of the infield and struck out eight times in those 15 plate appearances. It was a pitiful display of situational hitting by the team as a whole.

“To me you have to have some confidence in that situation that you can do it,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “I feel like some of the guys now are a little tentative. Taking pitches they should hit, and swinging at balls they should take.”

“Some of it is lack of experience, but those things can get you to the big leagues if you do them well.”

The game was a nip and tuck affair through the first seven innings when it was still an eminently winnable contest. Don’t let the final score fool you. The game was much closer than that until Senators reliever Jimmy Cordero dumped a tanker full of gasoline on the small campfire. But early in the game, when it still mattered, the Senators had three opportunities to score by making an out as long as the ball was put in play to anyone other than the pitcher or third baseman.

They failed all three times.

“We just have to get better at it. That’s how you win games,” LeCroy said. “We work on it every day, but you have to be able to carry that over into the game.”

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