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Struggling Herd searching for some offense

The offense has yet to find its groove. And while April is no time to panic, it certainly is frustrating for the Buffalo Bisons, who are trying to find their way out of a six-game losing skid.

The Herd will try to rebound again today as their game with Rochester on Wednesday was postponed due to rain and high winds.

What they will be searching for is a way to get runners in scoring position and then get them home.

"For us it's been offense," Bisons manager Tim Teufel said of his club's skid. "We need to get our offense a little bit more clutch. We haven't had that many chances with runners in scoring position, so it's hard to put runs on the board when that doesn't happen. I think once they come around, things will be a lot different."

The Herd has the second-worst batting average in the International League -- .217 (93 for 428). Buffalo has been outscored, 63-39, and has had a tendency to fall behind. While the Herd has an edge on the opposition in the first inning (eight runs scored to five allowed), opponents hold an edge in the second through sixth innings. The biggest disparity comes in the fourth and fifth innings when the Bisons are being outscored by a combined score of 25-7.

Then again, you can't score without runners on base. The Herd's on-base percentage (.285) ranks at the bottom of the IL.

"It's hard to manufacture [runs] sometimes when there's not a lot going on," Teufel said. "We've got to get on base. We've got to kind of press the issue a little bit by putting pressure on [the opponents] with runners on first. And the right runner has got to get on. Some guys aren't base runners or base stealers and some guys have speed. Those are the guys that, if they get on, we've got to make something happen with those guys.

"I think we'll turn the corner here shortly. We've got some good players and some talented hitters. I think it's just a matter of time."

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While a day off to regroup during a six-game losing streak might sound like something beneficial for mind and body, that's not how Teufel looked at the weather postponement Wednesday.

"Conditions told us whether we should play or not. Entering in and being fearful after losing a few games? No. That doesn't enter into our psyche here," Teufel said. "It's more of what's best for the players at this point. The conditions out there are real rough. The winds are howling. Rain is coming in and there's more rain behind it. Our guys want to play and so do I."

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The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader today, beginning at 1:05 p.m. The teams will play two seven-inning games.

The pitching rotation will stay the same for the Herd with lefty Casey Fossum (0-1, 9.00 ERA) getting the start in the first game and righty Chris Swinden (0-0, 1.80 ERA) starting the second.

Fossum pitched on short rest April 15 in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of work.

Bisons starters have given up just 54 hits in 66 2/3 innings but have combined for just a 2-8 record.

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Fans holding tickets to Wednesday's game can exchange them for a comparable ticket to any 2011 Bisons game, excluding special events. All ticket exchanges must be made at the Coca-Cola Field box office. For more information regarding the exchange policy, fans can contact the Bisons at 843-4373.

e-mail: amoritz@buffnews.com

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