’Hawks Talk: ’Hawks drop two of three to start second half; James’ streak ends at 40
By Joe McGehee, Staff WriterThe Rockford RiverHawks came into Sunday afternoon’s (July 19) tilt at Road Ranger Stadium with the Kalamazoo Kings looking to avoid a three-game sweep at home, and avoid falling further behind the West-leading River City Rascals. Thanks to the strong pitching of All-Star starter Kyle Wright, and the timely hitting of 1B Brandon Cohen, they did just that as they squeaked past the Kings 2-1.
As of July 20, the RiverHawks were 27-24, and only four-and-a-half games behind the River City Rascals.
Wright (7-1, 1.67) was the star of the game Sunday. He pitched eight innings and did not allow an earned run to cross the plate in defeating the East Division’s starting pitcher in last week’s All-Star game and former RiverHawk, John Brownell (6-3). Wright scattered seven hits, walked two batters and struck out five before giving way to closer John Muller, who recorded his 12th save of 2009.
Wright leads the Frontier League in ERA with his tiny 1.67 mark, and still ranks among the league leaders in innings pitched and strikeouts. He has won his last seven decisions, and is unbeaten in his last nine starts. Sunday’s game was a rematch of a pitcher’s duel July 10 at Kalamazoo, where Wright pitched his first career shutout—and the RiverHawks’ first complete game shut-out in almost two years—in a 3-0 victory.
Cohen was subbing for RiverHawks’ starting first baseman Todd Martin, who is nursing a sore wrist. His solo home run to straight-away center field in the bottom of the sixth inning provided the difference, and kept Rockford from dropping three straight at home for the first time since the home-opening series in late May.
OF Jason James was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts July 19, ending his Frontier League record hitting streak at 40 games. During the streak, which began June 2, James was 76-for-156 (.487) with seven home runs and 23 runs batted in (RBI). He also had 23 multi-hit games during the streak.
James’ 40-game hitting streak is tied for 15th longest in minor league history, matching the mark set by Frosty Kennedy of the Plainview Ponies way back in 1953. James’ streak was also the longest active streak in all of professional baseball before coming to an end Sunday. James now stands just five home runs shy of breaking the RiverHawks’ career record of 32 held by Rich Austin.
The RiverHawks next head to Traverse City, Mich., to play three games against the Beach Bums, whom they swept in three games at Road Ranger Stadium July 7-9. The RiverHawks return home July 23-25 to host a three-game series against the Southern Illinois Miners at Road Ranger Stadium.
The RiverHawks activated veteran pitcher Mike Rogers from the 14-day disabled list and signed left-hander George Rasiarmos following Sunday’s win over Kalamazoo. Rogers went on the 14-day disabled list June 24 because of shoulder fatigue. He is 1-4 with a 9.11 ERA in seven starts.
Rasiarmos played last season for the RiverHawks. He was 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four appearances. His season ended early because of an elbow injury that resulted in season-ending Tommy John surgery.
The RiverHawks sent pitchers Jose Mateo (right forearm) and Marcus McKenzie (sprained ankle) to the disabled list.
Rockford also released pitcher Kyffin Marcum, who had been on the disabled list since July 3 because of a strained oblique muscle.
July 23: Leukemia & Lymphoma Night/Miller Lite Dollar Beer Night
July 24: IDOT Night & Fatwallet.com Friday Night Fireworks
July 25: Pillowcase Night/Finnegan’s RV Scout Night Campout
from the July 22-28, 2009, issue
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