Senators’ bullpen falters yet again in coughing up another late lead

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For the second straight day and third in the last four losses, the Harrisburg Senators’ bullpen coughed up a late lead to drop the series finale against the Erie SeaWolves, 5-3.

This time it was southpaw Braulio Lara surrendering a three-run home run to Erie backup catcher Miguel Gonzalez in the top of the eighth inning that did in the Senators. It just so happened to be Lara’s turn in the barrel on Wednesday, but frankly it’s been pretty much every reliever down there as of late.

“It seems like it’s almost every time we get a lead, we can’t hold it,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “Everybody has had ample opportunity to finish games and nobody really wants it.”

The failures of the bullpen are bleeding into every other facet of the team. Starting pitchers feel like they have to go deeper and cleaner into games than is reasonable to expect. Harrisburg starter Jaron Long allowed only two runs over six innings and we nitpick over how both scored with two outs in the frame.

“It lets a team creep back in it,” LeCroy said. “With our bullpen the way it is, we don’t want to give up any. Jaron made a couple of mistakes with two outs. A good team can hit with two out and they tend to win ballgames.”

No one would describe the offense as a juggernaut, but they’re scoring enough runs to win tightly contested ballgames. Instead we look at the missed opportunities they had to extend the lead even further because they ended up on the losing end.

“Offensively, we didn’t tack on any insurance at the end,” LeCroy said. “Right now we have to put as many runs on the board as possible to give these guys a little breathing room down in the bullpen.”

“It’s deflating at times when you have leads and you give them up. We need somebody to step up.”

*****

For his rehab assignment with the Senators, reliever Koda Glover tossed a scoreless frame allowing one single and striking out one. The 23-year-old threw 19 pitches, 13 of which were strikes, and touched 96 on the in-stadium radar gun.

“His fastball had life,” said LeCroy. “He said he felt great. He threw a couple of balls that were down with angle.”

Glover has been on Washington’s disabled list since April 26 with a left hip impingement.

*****

Neftali Soto started the scoring with a deep drive into rightfield that ended up carrying into the seats for his fourth homer of the season…An inning later, Isaac Ballou tattooed one off the batter’s eye over the wall in dead center…Alec Keller was the lone Senator with two base hits in the game.

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