The Buffalo Bisons had great scoring chances in the early innings.
They failed to capitalize.
And that set the tone for Sunday’s 7-0 loss to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Field.
The Herd had opportunities but they went unrealized. The Bisons were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base. It was the third time in the last six games the Herd has been shut out.
“You have to calm down. It’s an anxiety thing,” manager Marty Brown said. “You want to go out there and think, ‘I’ve got to get this done,’ instead of realizing the pressure is on the pitcher. … He’s the one who has to make the pitch. It’s difficult sometimes.
“It’s like putting your hand against glass and there’s a rattlesnake in there and it strikes and you know it can’t bite you, but your hand moves. It’s that’s kind of thing.”
The Herd definitely jumped against Lehigh Valley’s pitchers.
To start the game, Mike McCoy drew a walk and moved to third on a double by Mauro Gomez with one out, but they were left there after a pair of pop ups.
In the third, Blake Gailen led off with a single and moved to third on a sacrifice and fly out. Gomez drew an intentional walk but Clint Robinson grounded out to second with runners on the corners.
“It set the tone for the whole ball game, to be honest with you,” Brown said. “It’s probably a different ball game if we get those runners in early in the game.”
The IronPigs took a 3-0 lead in the fourth but the Herd had a chance to respond in the bottom of the inning. Still the runners on the corners stayed on the corners.
An eighth inning rally? Looked possible with runners on second and third but Ryan Langerhans struck out looking to end the inning.
Gomez and Brad Glenn each had two hits for the Herd. Glenn left three runners on base. Robinson stranded five in an 0-for-3 day while Sean Ochinko stranded four in an 0-for-4 performance.
“A better plan is all it is,” Brown said. “The initial plan is what sets the guys apart who drive in those 100 runs a year. It’s those guys that really have a better idea of what the pitcher is trying to do to them and how they negate that. We get that done it could be a different game. Who knows?”
The good news: The Bisons didn’t lose ground in the International League playoff race.
The bad news: They lost an opportunity to gain ground.
Rochester lost to Indianapolis, 8-4, in 10 innings Sunday. That means the Herd is still 2½ games back of the Red Wings in the IL wild-card race.
The teams face each other four times over the final nine games of the season.
In the final home afternoon game of the season at Coca-Cola Field, the Herd drew a crowd of 12,208. … The opponent stays the same, but the site switches as the Bisons travel to Lehigh Valley for three games in two days. The teams will play a doubleheader today, beginning at 6:05 p.m. … Drew Hutchison (0-2, 7.36) is scheduled to start for the Herd in the first game with Justin Germano (8-9, 4.59) getting the start in Game Two.