The Bisons started off their long home stand with a tough loss to the Syracuse Chiefs Friday night. The game ended 5-4 as Dan Johnson flew out with the tying run left on third base. This came on a night when both teams were forced to throw spot starters into the game last minute. For the Bisons this of course was the result of Marcus Stroman again being called up to Toronto.
Stroman looked inconsistent in his return to Buffalo as he sandwiched six innings of no-hit work between two outings of four runs. With that said we all knew it was only a matter of time before he was recalled, and now he at least will get the opportunity to start. After the game manager Gary Allenson wished him the best and added that to be successful Stroman needs to avoid nibbling. It is clear to everyone that he has the stuff and if he is able to throw his secondary pitches for strikes he can be another weapon for the first place Jays.
Esmil Rogers made the start in place of Stroman and looked much better than his final line will show. His command was not totally there but after a leadoff walk he retired nine straight.
"It was almost like he was playing catch," said Allenson who was pleased with what he saw. Rogers has his best slider on display as he was able to miss a lot of bats through his 3.1 short innings of work. He struck out five in that time, but after the first time through the order things went south. In the fourth inning Rogers allowed four straight base runners before being pulled in favor of Shawn Hill. Much of the damage could have been avoided if not for a bases loaded error by second basemen Ryan Goins, who struggled all game. The Chiefs scored all five of their runs in this disaster inning.
A two run double by Darin Mastroianni in the seventh was really the only bright spot for the herd. The offense continued to struggle while Rogers and Hill combined to allow seven walks in the first six innings. Raul Valdes kept the team close by pitching three perfect innings to finish the game, but the team could not take advantage. As I mentioned Ryan Goins had a rough game at the plate and in the field. He hit into a double play to kill a rally in the fifth before leaving two more men in scoring position in the seventh when he struck out. He capped off his night with a no out bases loaded pop out that killed the team’s chances of a comeback in the ninth.
Goins and the herd will get their opportunity for redemption Saturday afternoon as former first round pick Deck McGuire will take the mound.