San Antonio — In front of a small crowd on a sticky afternoon, the Missions dropped a clunker to Frisco, losing 9-3 in a game that never had much pace or energy.
Starter Cal Quantrill struggled from the outset. The righty allowed the league’s lowest-scoring offense to open single, double triple to put up two runs. While he his fastball velocity was consistently 93-95, he rarely hit his spots with many pitches, and when he did, the RoughRiders made solid contact.”
Cal was a little erratic – three walks in four innings,” said Missions manager Phillip Wellman. “But he really had trouble putting guys away. All the damage was done with two strikes.”
Frisco added a run in each of the next two frames, but the game got ugly in the fourth. Quantrill got ahead of each of the first three hitters 1-2 but allowed Michael De Leon to single on a fastball and Luis Marte to squib a soft liner to the outfield before leadoff man Eliezer Alvarez rocketed a homer to right field.
“He’s going to have to figure out how to put guys away with two strikes. That’s been his issue for the last few starts.”
Quantrill’s final line was seven earned runs on nine hits and three walks over four innings. He logged only one strikeout. While his slider has been more of a weapon this year than last, the 2016 draftee didn’t appear to have much feel for it today. After having the pitch taken away for much of 2017, Quantrill is still working to find it consistently in game settings this season.
“You let him work on it, but you can’t let him go out there and just get his brains beat in,” said Wellman. “He probably could have gone back out there and thrown another inning, pitch count wise, but it wasn’t there.”
Gerardo Reyes, making his fourth appearance since his promotion to San Antonio, also struggled with command. The slightly-built Texan yielded two more runs on three hits and a pair of walks after he had allowed just three runners in his first three games.
For the second day in a row, the Missions offense got off to a good start. Fernando Tatis Jr. drew a walk, then swiped his third base in as many attempts. He hadn’t run at all through the first month of the season but has done all his work on the basepaths in the last five games.
Tatis came around to score on a Josh Naylor single, but the club couldn’t get anything else going against the RoughRiders until they got to the bullpen in the seventh.
Tatis, though, had a strong game, jumping on first-pitch fastballs for singles in his next two trips to the plate before drawing a walk again in the seventh. He had a chance to reach base one more time in the ninth but popped a full-count fastball to first base instead.
“That’s the highlight of the day for me. He didn’t chase a pitch out of the zone all day until his last at-bat when he chased a 3-2 fastball up,” said Wellman. “That’s progress.”
MISSION NOTES: Wellman gave outfielders Michael Gettys and Rod Boykin the day off, leading to a lefty-dominated lineup. Taylor Kohlwey, who was promoted and arrived late in Saturday’s game, struck out twice but was also hit by pitches in his last two plate appearances. Naylor, back in left field after a day off and a day in the DH slot, still is moving at less than 100 percent after fouling a ball off his leg Thursday. He took a few tough routes on fly balls hit his way, but none seemed to change the outcome of any plays.