Senators copy and paste recent losing efforts in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat

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At this point, the game recaps can almost be completed Mad Libs-style. The Senators got solid pitching from (name of starting pitcher) on (day), but a lack of production from the offense generated only (number of hits) hits in their (score) loss to the (name of opponent).

For instance:

The Senators got solid pitching from John Simms on Saturday, but a lack of production from the offense generated only five hits in their 2-0 loss to the Erie SeaWolves.

“Same story as last night,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “And the night before that too.”

The skipper could have kept going since it seems like this has become the norm the last two weeks. Saturday’s loss marked the ninth time in the last 12 games the Senators were held to two runs or less.

“We need someone to step up and get the big hit,” LeCroy said. “I know we miss a guy like (Neftali) Soto. That’s part of it. But guys are getting more opportunities to do it and they need to step up.”

To the manager’s point, Harrisburg has been dreadful hitting with runners in scoring position since Soto was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse. During that time, the Senators are only 23-for-122 (.189) whereas Soto was hitting .370 and slugging .521 while batting with runners in scoring position. Of the position players still on the roster, only Osvaldo Abreu has hit above .300 in that situation on the season.

“I feel like the energy and life is there but when you don’t hit it looks and seems blah,” LeCroy said. “But these guys work and they have pretty good attitudes.”

***

For the second straight game, and third in last four, Francisco Rodriguez threw an inning out of the pen for the Senators. The reliever’s utilization has been all part of the Nationals’ plan.

“We wanted to get a good luck and see where he is at physically,” minor league pitching coordinator Paul Menhart said. “I was happy to see he could bounce back and have similar stuff to what he had last night.”

K-Rod worked a perfect ninth for Harrisburg on 17 pitches, although the command and control of most notably his fastball and curve ball has been inconsistent over his three outings. A lot of that can be explained away with the time off he had after getting released from the Tigers on June 23 and throwing with the minor league baseballs which are different from the Major League variety.

“I know that sounds like an excuse, but it is different,” Menhart said. “He’s used to throwing a certain ball that feels a certain way. The feel for all of his pitches hasn’t been ideal.”

***

Yadiel Hernandez reached base all four times he came to the plate. The 29-year-old Cuban outfielder went 3-for-3 with a walk on the night…Simms went six strong innings allowing three hits and walking three while striking out four in the loss…Andrew Robinson followed Simms with two scoreless frames of his own striking out four.

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