The Albuquerque Isotopes went on the road and left their bats at home.
At least that was how this last road trip seemed when Albuquerque (64-54) scored just 13 runs in eight games, losing six of them.
The raw numbers were ugly. As a team, the Isotopes hit .192 (46-for-239) with just eight extra-base hits (eight doubles, one triple, one home run) while striking out 55 times and drawing just 23 walks.
Just about everyone struggled. Ian Stewart was 1-for-18 with nine strikeouts, Alex Castellanos went 2-for-25 with six strikeouts, Tony Gwynn Jr. was 2-for-15 with four strikeouts and so on.
“You go on these little runs where you’re just not going to hit as well,” said infielder Brian Barden, who went 5-for-25 with three RBI and five strikeouts. “Hopefully it doesn’t continue. That’s the thing with baseball, you keep the slumps and bad times to a minimum. I know we’ll come out of this and that’s the sign of a good team.”
Barden said the Isotopes hit the ball hard at Sacramento but the ball did not carry and most of the hard hits were easily caught by the River Cats’ outfielders. At Fresno things were even worse.
“In Fresno we didn’t swing the bats as well,” Barden said. “I feel like some of their pitchers they did a good job, especially their bullpen, they got us out quick, one-two-three. We can’t allow that kind of stuff to happen, we need to have better at-bats, focus on putting the ball in play.”
The lack of hitting left manager Lorenzo Bundy shaking his head.
“I mean it was bad,” Bundy said. “Literally it was … I think we’ve been in some ruts here in the last couple years offensively but nothing, nothing like this. The first seven games we scored nine runs. Thirteen runs in eight games that’s not even two runs a game. And really we pitched really, really well and we played good defense.”
Bundy said he saw a few balls hit hard and turn into outs but for the most part it was just some inexplicable, team-wide funk.
“We had a little tough luck at times,” he said. “It was something I haven’t seen from this bunch and I’d just assume forget it.”
Now the Isotopes get to enjoy the comforts of home. As a team, they are hitting .299/.386/.470 in Albuquerque versus .250/.325/.366 on the road.
“It was kind of funny the guys were flying in and looking down, ‘We’re back in the Querq, we’re back in the Querq!’” Bundy said. “So I think we’ll be a little better and a little bit more close to normal than what we were on this road trip.”
Chasing the Hawks
It did not help the Isotopes that while they were struggling, Oklahoma City (68-50) rattled off a 12-game winning streak that the RedHawks will take into a series at Las Vegas (62-54).
Oklahoma City had one game during its streak where it scored 24 runs against Colorado Springs, more than Albuquerque scored in its entire eight-game road swing through California.
“The timing was not good on our part as far as when to go into a funk and when they started to play their best baseball of the year,” Bundy said.
The Isotopes have a five-game series at Oklahoma City set for after this current eight-game homestand. That series will begin Aug. 16.
“Now the goal is to see if we can cut into it before we get to them where those five games will be important,” Bundy said. “Make sure we take advantage of being at home.”
Scott Van Slyke and Stephen Fife officially rejoined the roster Thursday.
Getting Van Slyke back in the lineup should give the sagging offense a boost.
“Obviously Scotty’s done pretty well when he’s been here,” Bundy said. “His presence in our lineup should hopefully take a little pressure off some of the other guys, too.”
To make room for Fife, reliever Luis Vasquez was placed on the disabled list with biceps tendonitis.