AP NEWS

Spinners Losing Ground in Playoff Race

August 25, 2018

LOWELL -- The Lowell Spinners have reached the point in the push for a New York-Penn League playoff berth where actions speak louder than words.

And the Spinners bats couldn’t have picked a more inopportune time to go silent.

Vermont 8, Lowell 2

After scoring only three combined runs while being swept in a doubleheader against the Vermont Lake Monsters on Thursday, Lowell’s offense continued to sputter Friday.

Jeremy Eierman and Jonah Bride each launched two-run homers, while lifting the Lake Monsters past the Spinners, 8-2, at LeLacheur Park.

Lowell’s record dropped to 33-32. The Spinners have lost four straight and five of six games overall.

The Spinners entered the game trailing the Tri-City ValleyCats by four games in the Stedler Division standings.

Lowell was only 1.5 games out of the top spot in the wild card standings at the start of play on Friday. But the Spinners were in fourth place in the wild card playoff chase, behind the Auburn Doubledays (33-29 heading into Friday’s game), Staten Island Yankees (33-29) and Brooklyn Cyclones (34-30).

The Spinners have 10 regular season games remaining, including a three-game series against Tri-City at LeLacheur Park on Aug. 29-31.

“There absolutely is a sense or urgency (to turn this around),” said Spinners outfielder Devlin Granberg. “There has to be. We control our future and we’re taking it one game at a time and not trying to look ahead. We’re not trying to look at how other teams are doing. We’re just trying to do the best we can with the opportunity we have going for us.

“You can talk about the process all the time. But there’s a point where you have to get it done. Our backs are up against the wall. But we’ve been good with our backs up against the wall this year.”

The Spinners had their share of scoring opportunities throughout the game. Lowell stranded runners in scoring position in the first, fourth, sixth and seventh innings.

“I think right now we need some timely hits,” said Granberg. “We have been getting guys on, especially tonight. We were one swing away. One bounce away. One bounce goes our way, and this game could be way different. The message is ‘be the same every single day and those bounces will eventually come our way.’”

Granberg has been extremely consistent in the batter’s box. He paced Lowell’s offense with two hits and a walk. Granberg is batting .310 with a .842 OPS.

“It’s coming to the end of the season and the coaching staff has me focusing on every single at-bat,” said Granberg. “Each one is valuable. It’s not like it’s the end of the season, so I’m going to give a couple away. No, it’s focus each and every trip to the plate. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Tyler Esplin drove in Lowell’s first run with an RBI-single in the first. Korby Batesole knocked in the other Spinners’ run.

Bride’s two-run shot in the eighth increased Vermont’s lead to 5-1.

Spinners’ manager Corey Wimberly was tossed while discussing a call with one down in the eighth.

Yorvin Pantoja, a left-hander with a 4-2 record, started on the mound for Lowell and pitched well despite taking the loss. Pantoja gave up two runs on four hits with four strikeouts in five innings. He retired the side in order in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

Vermont jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Bride smacked a two-out single and Eierman followed with his seventh home run of the season to left center. Eierman’s homer traveled 408 feet.

Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi

AP RADIO
Update hourly