The Buffalo Bisons’ season-long problem of stranding runners continued in a double-header loss to the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Tuesday night.
Buffalo stranded seven in losing the opener, 2-1, which was the continuation of a game suspended from Monday night. They stranded 10 in dropping the nightcap, 5-1.
Buffalo leads the International League in runners left on base, averaging 7.7 a game. The league average is 7.0 a game.
“Imagine that,” said Bisons manager Gary Allenson of the league ranking. “That doesn’t surprise me. It goes in waves. At times we hit the ball around, go through the lineup in an inning. Other times there’s just nothing there. The first game they threw some pretty good arms against us, really good arms.”
“But when you score two runs in two games, there’s not many good outcomes, usually,” Allenson said.
Buffalo has scored fewer than two runs in seven of its last 13.
Buffalo’s batting actually has been on the rebound the past month. The Bisons have gone from seventh in batting average and sixth in on-base percentage to third in batting (.266) and second in on-base percentage (.338) over the past 24 games.
“There’s a batting average and then there’s what guys hit with runners in scoring position, and that needs to improve,” Allenson said.
Buffalo is 11th of 14 IL teams with runners in scoring position, hitting .249. Norfolk leads at .281.
The Bisons had bases loaded in the first inning, but Daric Barton grounded the first pitch from Jaron Long to short for an inning-ending double play.
“Didn’t get his pitch,” Allenson said. “I think it was a breaking ball that he was out in front on, and he probably didn’t need to swing at it. If he had to do it over again, he’d take it for a called strike and gone to hunting a fastball. But he’s not the only one.”
The Bisons loaded the bases with one out in the fifth on Long when Andy Burns lined out hard to second, and Matt Hague got doubled off second base. It was a bad-luck play.
“He got fortunate in the fifth with the line-out double play,” Scranton manager Dave Miley said of Long. “It was going to be his last hitter. With the left-hander coming up, we had our left-hander ready. The ball was hit hard. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck. But he got some big outs when he needed them.”
Long threw 98 pitches over five innings but had good enough location to keep the Bisons’ hitters off balance.