Despite a few good stretches, the second half has been a struggle for the Dash, who went 1-5 on the week to drop to 16-22 in the half and 49-55 overall. With some notable exceptions, it was the bats that faltered this week as we head into the final month of games.
Top pitching performances
Cristian Mena (August 6): 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), BB, 7 K, WP (season, two levels: 89.2 IP, 80 H, 37 R (35 ER), 34 BB, 104 K, 3.51 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)
Tommy Sommer (August 7): 4.2 IP, 3 H, R, 2 BB, 6 K (season, two levels: 90 IP, 69 H, 36 R (29 ER), 33 BB, 98 K, 2.90 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)
Chase Solesky (August 9): 6 IP, 3 H, R, 0 BB, 4 K (season: 97.1 IP, 107 H, 50 R (47 ER), 30 BB, 68 K, 4.35 ERA, 1.41 WHIP)
Top hitting performances
Duke Ellis (LF/CF): 6-for-19, 4 R, 3 2B, RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, HBP, 3 SB-1 CS (season: .281/.374/.406, 46 SB-8 CS)
Tyler Osik (DH/1B): 6-for-18, HR, R, 2B, 4 RBI, BB, 4 K, HBP, SF, GIDP, CS (season: .313/.391/.461)
Bryan Ramos (3B/DH): 6-for-18, 3 R, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, K, SF (season: .269/.344/.458)
Lightning shut this one down in the seventh not long after the Dash picked up their third hit and first run of the game, a long ball by Harvin Mendoza. Otherwise, offense was scant; Colson Montgomery drew a pair of walks and Alsander Womack was hit by a pitch, but they were hitless until Jason Matthews singled with one out in the fifth (and was immediately erased on a Caberea Weaver double play ground ball). Womack had the only other hit, a sixth-inning leadoff single.
On the mound, Drew Dalquist racked up 57 pitches through three, allowing two runs, zero home runs, and walking three while striking out two. In seven of his 20 starts, he has walked more batters than he’s struck out, bumping up to 11 when including starts with equal strikeouts to walks.
The loss was on Dalquist, but Ty Madrigal’s spiral continued in relief as he gave up three doubles in a three-run fifth. Luis Amaya struck out three over 1.2 scoreless innings. Dash lose 5-1.
At least they weren’t three-hit, but they were still shut out on twice as many hits. Two of those belonged to Weaver, who stole his seventh High-A bag of the year, and the lone extra-base hit was a ninth-inning double by Adam Hackenberg, his ninth. The Dash did not walk, but they did strike out 11 times and go 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
This was a bullpen game, with Karan Patel getting the opening start and the loss as he allowed two runs over 2⅓ innings. Cooper Bradford escaped damage over his 2⅓ innings, although he walked three and hit a batter, and Luis Moncada closed it out with 3⅓ scoreless. The pitching staff gave up just four hits, but walked seven to six strikeouts. Dash lose 2-0.
Again, the offense failed to come through in this game, scoring just one run on eight hits. The run and two hits came in the first inning. Montgomery hit his first triple with the Dash with one out and scored on Bryan Ramos’ single before Luis Mieses lined into a double play.
Their only other real threat was in the ninth. After Ramos grounded out, Mieses hit his league-leading 33rd double, and Womack walked to put two on with one out, but Ben Norman grounded into a double play to end the game. Norman’s hot streak came to an abrupt end this week. From July 23 through Aug. 3, he went 21-for-42 with six home runs, and since then is 3-for-19 with none home runs.
All three runs off starting pitcher Cristian Mena scored in the first two innings. In the first, he nearly pitched around a leadoff single, but first baseman Mendoza made a two-out error on a pickoff that advanced the runner to second, then a wild pitch got him to third, where he scored on a single. The run was unearned. In the second, he gave up two runs in a more traditional way, a bloop and a blast.
Chase Plymell, Alejandro Mateo, and Skylar Árias all put down zeroes out of the bullpen, contributing to a two-walk, 11-strikeout night for Dash pitching. Dash lose 3-1.
The Dash were able to come roaring back late in this one, scoring one run apiece in the seventh, eighth, and ninth to take and buffer a lead. Tommy Sommer was one out away from qualifying for the win with 4⅔ innings of one-run ball, allowing just three singles along the way. Last year’s 10th-round draft pick, he’s now thrown 14⅔ innings with the Dash, allowing eight hits, six runs, and six walks, striking out 11.
In relief, 26-year-old Nick Gallagher has not been used often since his promotion from the Cannon Ballers at the end of July, but he made his second scoreless appearance here. He allowed 12 runs in 8⅔ innings with the Double-A Akron RubberDucks before being cut by the Guardians earlier this year. Between rookie ball, Kannapolis, and the Dash, he’s allowed four runs (three earned) in 17 innings, striking out 22 and walking five.
Wilber Perez walked two and gave up a hit but no runs. Everhett Hazelwood allowed a solo shot and Amaya was scoreless for the save. The bullpen inherited seven runners and allowed none of them to score.
At the plate, the Dash got things going in the third. Duke Ellis doubled to lead the inning off and Ramos doubled him home, 1-0 Dash.
They made it 2-0 in the fifth, as Ellis again led off with a hit, stole second (his 44th steal) and found himself wild pitched to third. Womack walked to bring the inning to Ramos, who hit a sac fly to score Ellis.
Another single run scored in the seventh, although it had the chance to be a bigger inning. Ellis walked but was caught stealing second, so when Ramos singled and Norman walked, it was with two outs instead of just one after Womack flied out. Tyler Osik still knocked in a run with a base hit before Mendoza struck out.
Their run in the eighth scored with two outs, with Weaver reaching on error and coming around on Ellis’s 15th double (Ellis then stole third base). Finally, they added one more in the ninth. Ramos walked, Norman singled, and Osik hit a sacrifice fly before Mendoza grounded into a double play. Dash win 5-2.
This was kind of an embarrassing one. The Dash allowed eight runs in the last two innings, most of them in a seven-run eighth, losing by three runs. They went 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position and wasted a gem by Chase Solesky, who pitched six full innings, walking none and striking out four. The only hits he allowed were two singles and a run-scoring double in the fifth.
The Dash scored early in a chaotic first. Ellis hit a leadoff bunt single, then Montgomery reached on catcher interference and Ramos singled to score Ellis and put the Dash up 1-0. After Mieses flied out to right, Ramos was picked off first base and Osik struck out to end the threat.
After Bowling Green tied it in the fifth, the Dash came back with four in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Ellis walked, stole second (his 46th), then waited as Montgomery also walked. Ramos reached on an error so significant that both Ellis and Montgomery scored, making it 3-1 Dash. Mieses hit his still-league-leading 34th double, scoring Ramos (4-1) and Osik followed with a double of his own to put the team up 5-1.
They even added another run in the sixth, Hackenberg going deep for the seventh time to lead the inning off (6-1). Fatally, they would not score again.
Madrigal entered in the seventh and pitched a scoreless inning, allowing a one-out double but nothing else. In the eighth, though, Things Went Wrong: Madrigal exited after hitting the first batter, allowing a single to the second, inducing a ground out from the third, and walking the fourth.
Patel relieved him, giving up a sac fly to the first batter (6-2), walking the second, walking the third (6-3), and giving up a two-run single to the fourth (6-5). Skylar Árias then chose a terrible time for only the second earned run he’s allowed all year, walking his first batter faced, throwing a run-scoring wild pitch to tie it at 6, then allowing a two-run single (8-6) before another single cut off the inning when Ellis was able to throw the lead runner out at second.
A final insulting run scored in the ninth in the form of a solo home run off of Cooper Bradford. Patel allowed all three of his inherited runners to score; Árias allowed both of his. After allowing five earned runs in 17⅔ innings over the first two months of this season, Madrigal has given up 19 in 19⅔ innings since. He has given up runs in four straight outings, six of his last eight, and nine of his last 12. Dash lose 9-6.
Garrett Schoenle’s starting woes—largely absent from his bullpen appearances—have returned, and although he walked none, he did give up a two-run shot in the first inning and another run in the fifth before exiting trailing 3-2. Like the Hot Rods, the Dash scored two in the first: Montgomery doubled, Mieses reached on error to score Montgomery, and Osik singled in Mieses.
Plymell entered with two outs and a runner on third, quickly allowing an RBI single before ending the inning. He pitched a scoreless sixth, but in the seventh, he walked the first batter and gave up back-to-back singles, leaving the game with the bases loaded and nobody out. Mateo allowed all three runs to score on a sac fly, walk, and single, respectively, before he picked a runner off trying to steal third and struck out the final batter of the inning. Perez pitched two scoreless innings with two more walks, but the Dash could not come back from the 6-2 deficit, although they tried.
In the bottom of the seventh, Hackenberg walked, Mendoza grounded into a double play, Womack walked, Ellis was hit by a pitch, and Montgomery walked, loading the bases for Ramos. A wild pitch scored Womack, but Ramos flied out.
In the bottom of the eighth, Osik hit a dong to pull the Dash within two, but they did not have two more in them. Dash lose 6-4 on four hits, two of those Osik’s.
The Hot Rods are a formidable opponent (as are most Rays teams) and the Dash have four more games in the series against them, then they travel to Hickory, with whom they are locked in battle for fourth place.