The hit-or-miss offense that has defined the Quad Cities River Bandits four weeks into the season was the featured attraction on Thursday night.
For the Bandits, it was a big miss.
Missed opportunities provided the main culprit, but QC compounded the miscues with 11 strikeouts. The strikeout total, six hits and nine runners left on base told the story in the Bandits' 6-2 loss to the Lansing Lugnuts at Modern Woodmen Park.
QC (11-7) now has split its six home games this season.
"I don't say much on the pitching side because we still have to score some runs," Bandits manager Omar Lopez said. "When you don't score runs, we're going to magnify the rest of the game — pitching and defense. You've got to play very clean and pitch perfect to stay (close). ... We still don't have offense. We didn't do anything."
Neither the offense nor pitching were overly effective in the Bandits' second consecutive loss. The offense was particularly inconsistent, scoring its first run in an inning where it did not have a hit.
Ryan Dineen's one-out strikeout in the fifth resulted in him being safe at first on a wild pitch. He then stole second, advanced to third after an error on the throw and scored on another wild pitch to tie the game.
Lansing (7-10) regained the lead on Chris Hawkins' solo home run in the seventh. One inning later, the Lugnuts used four doubles to add four insurance tallies. QC capped the scoring on Dineen's run-scoring single in the ninth.
All that added up to QC's fourth consecutive home game of three runs or less. The Bandits have scored more than three runs at Modern Woodmen Park once this season.
Away from home, the Bandits average nearly three runs more per game.
"At this level, you're going to see that inconsistency," Lopez said.
Despite the relief trio of Brian Holmes, Michael Dimock and Cameron Lamb allowing five earned runs in four innings, Lopez pointed the finger toward the offense. Five innings saw the Bandits strike out at least twice.
The fourth and eighth were the only innings they did not have a strikeout. Another meager offensive performance came from Lansing starter Roberto Osuna stifling the Bandits' bats.
"He set the tone in our offense," Lopez said. "We tried as best as we can when he gave us a chance. He made good pitches in certain counts that was tough for our hitters. Sometimes, you've got to tip your hat to the starting pitcher."
Extra bases: Prior to the game, the Bandits made four roster moves. Infielder Chase Davidson and pitcher Colton Cain were sent to extended spring training, with Dineen and infielder Miles Hamblin joining the active roster. Lopez said Davidson is dealing with a shoulder issue and Cain will remain in the Quad-Cities to work in the bullpen before rejoining the roster for his next scheduled appearance. ... Moline grad Dakota Bacus earned his second victory in as many decisions on Thursday. Bacus allowed three runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and one walk in Beloit's 7-4 win over South Bend. ... The series opener drew 1,545 patrons.
Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000. 1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city. 1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association. 1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College. 1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.