Sunday, July 18, 2010

Unlucky Heinrich dealt another loss

Howard Heinrich is the unluckiest pitcher in Wyoming.

Sunday, he pitched eight innings, allowing just three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out seven against the visiting Laramie Colts, but was dealt his third consecutive loss, 3-1.

“He’s pitched great,” head coach Aaron Holley said afterward. “You can’t ask any more than eight innings, three runs . . . he’s given us huge chances to win games and we can’t give him any support offensively. It’s disheartening.”

Like his past three starts, little run support led to another loss for the lefty.

Over his past four starts dating back to June 27, Heinrich has allowed just 13 earned runs, an average of 3.25 runs per start. While the numbers are solid, the statistic is a little misleading with Heinrich’s outings even stronger than the book shows.

Sunday, Heinrich worked out of a second-inning jam by forcing a double play with the bases loaded. First baseman Chris Voelker hit a comebacker at Heinrich, who threw home to get the force. Catcher Mike Henrichs then threw to first to end the threat.

“I like to think that when my back’s up against the wall, when a big play is made like that, it’s usually smooth sailing from there,” Heinrich said. “I’ve got a nag for getting myself in jams, but some way, I always seem to get myself out of them.”

The double play was the start of 14 consecutive outs for Heinrich, including four consecutive 1-2-3 innings.

“The momentum turned and I was able to continue to have success,” he said.

While Heinrich has been an overachiever on the mound, the Grizzlies’ lackluster offense has provided little support for him during his most recent outings. Cheyenne hasn’t scored in his last three outings while Heinrich was still in the game, last providing support on June 27 when they scored a mere two runs.

“I feel for Howard and the pitchers, but to give them credit, they continue to come out here and perform,” Holley said. “That’s hard sometimes to stay mentally focused. Sometimes you start pressing, thinking, ‘Man, I’ve gotta throw a complete-game shutout because we’re not getting runs offensively.’ These guys have been completely solid with keeping their focus mentally and performing out there on the bump. All the praise to them for what they’ve done.”

While Heinrich has been affected the most, the entire rotation has seen the effects of an offense that has produced less than three runs a contest over the past 11 games.

Cheyenne’s lone run came in the ninth inning when pinch hitter Andy Athans led off with a triple off the left-field wall. He scored one pitch later on a wild pitch.

Besides that, however, the offense was ineffective.

The Grizzlies were able to get runners on, but weren’t able to bring them around once on base. Ten runners reached base over the first five innings, but none scored. Overall, eight runners reached scoring position. Athans was the only one to score.

“The last couple starts it’s been the same story,” Heinrich said. “I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing.”

With the loss, Cheyenne is now six games back of the Fort Collins Foxes and a half game behind the Greeley Grays. Cheyenne has lost nine of its past 11 games heading into the final five games of the regular season, four of which are on the road.

“Every single one of those guys, as individuals, has to make a decision on whether or not they want to be here and whether they want to continue to work hard and do the things they know they have to do to win games. Or they have a decision to not do that,” Holley said. “It’s completely up to them. Luke (Wetmore) and I are going to continue to coach the way we know how. We’re gonna continue to try to encourage them and help them get better, and do everything that we know how, in our power, to allow them to be successful.”

1 comment:

  1. its too bad that the team cant score many runs lately. i've watched the team a few times and they seem to play hard but cant get many breaks lately.