The Bisons wrap up their series with the Norfolk Tides today at 1 trying to find some way to bounce back from last night's horrific 3-2 loss to the Tides.
Relievers Bobby Korecky and Steve Delabar combined to give up three runs in the ninth and blow the 2-0 -- with two-out wild pitches by Delabar scoring the tying and winning runs. The first one, in fact, came while the former MLB all-star was trying to issue an intentional walk.
Manager Gary Allenson said he lost a game the same way last year in New Britain while he was managing Double-A New Hampshire. (The Bisons won one here in 1989, as Kevin Burdick scooted home on an Iowa Cubs wild pitch)
"You're not necessarily throwing it hard I guess. You're kind of putting it out there," Allenson told me this morning. "The one last year was three feet over the catcher's head. "You need to put that behind you. It's one game but we are kind of running out of time here a little bit."
Indeed, the Bisons are in trouble in the playoff race as they fell 4 1/2 games out in the IL North and 3 1/2 out in the wild card behind Pawtucket. Rochester split a double-header with Durham last night that went past midnight and is 1 1/2 games ahead of the Herd.
The good news: Starting tomorrow in Lehigh Valley, the Bisons' remaining 18 games are all in the North Division, including four against Rochester and four against first-place Syracuse.
Strange-but-true standings watch: At 66-58, the Bisons are fourth in the North. They would be in first place in the South and a half-game behind Columbus in the West with that record.
"Don't think I haven't noticed that," Allenson said.
Kevin Pillar's hitting streak is at 20 games, just the sixth 20+ run in the modern era. A hit today would move him past Vinny Rottino (2012) and Tommy Shields (1990) and into a tie with Jolbert Cabrera (21) for third place on the list. The record of 28 was set by Alex Ramirez in 1998.
As we reported earlier, Edwin Encarnacion is gone from the Buffalo lineup today and has returned to Toronto. Raul Valdes (4-4) starts for the Herd. Here's today's Encarnacion-less lineup:
Darin Mastroianni, cf
Ryan Goins, ss
Kevin Pillar, lf
Cole Gillespie, rf
Brad Glenn, dh
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Brett Wallace, 1b
George Kottaras, c
Jonathan Diaz, 2b
Raul Valdes, p