The mantra from first-year Mustangs manager Dick Schofield is that consistency will come and go for his team.
They’ve have shown consistency the past two nights. It’s just not the kind he or the team want.
“Let’s hope not,” Schofield said after Saturday’s 8-1 loss to the Helena Brewers, when asked if his team was settling into what it’s going to be. “I say the same thing every day or night, but it is developing the young players. There’s maybe one, two, maybe three, four, five guys who will play in the big leagues in that room, and you don’t know who it is. It could be the guy sitting on the bench and all of a sudden he shows up at spring training next year and takes off. And you’re, ‘Well, where was that?’
“It’s just the continuing learning process and it’s hard to really know that. You’ll look up in four or five years and they’ll be in the big leagues and you’re, ‘Wow, how did that happen?’ That’s why you just have to have patience.”
Those of the 3,441 fans at Dehler Park who stuck it out to the end showed plenty of that, as for the second straight night the Mustangs found themselves down early.
Helena scored four times in the top off the first off starter Jeremy Kivel (0-1) and that turned out to be plenty. The Brewers, who moved past the Mustangs into second place in the North division, had an eight-run inning in Friday’s series opener. For a team that entered this four-game stint as the seventh-ranked offense, the Brewers have battered the Mustangs’ pitching, which was ranked second.
The Brewers have outscored Billings 21-3 in the first two games of this series.
“We’re starting early and we’re swinging the bats well,” said Brewers catcher Greg McCall, who is batting .394 after going 2 for 5 on Saturday night. “We’re finally finding some consistency, and putting together some complete games with our pitching, which has been great all year.”
The Mustangs began the series with a 3.40 ERA. It stood at 4.36 after their latest loss.
“As frustrating as it is, that’s what it is,” Schofield said. “We’ll come back and we’ll try to whip them tomorrow.”
KEY MOMENT: The way Helena’s pitching staff performed, Elvis Rubio’s two-run double, just three batters into the game, was all the Brewers needed. When Dustin DeMuth tacked on an RBI groundout and Mitch Meyer belted a solo home run in the first, the Brewers had more than enough.
ON THE MOUND: While Mustangs pitchers combined for 10 base on balls, Devin Williams (1-1) was spectacular in relief for the Brewers, throwing five shutout innings and striking out seven. Helena’s pitchers allowed just five hits, and the one run scored by the Mustangs was unearned. “You do have to at some point in time give the opposing team credit,” Schofield said. “Even if you’re stinking it up, they still have to go out there and get us out.”
AT THE PLATE: The Brewers reached double-digits in hits for the second game in a row. They finished with 12, led by two each from Tucker Neuhaus, DeMuth and McCall. Rubio finished with three RBIs, and DeMuth, who raised his batting average to .463, drove in two. Brian O’Grady had the lone Mustangs’ RBI.
ON DECK: It’s game three of the four-game series at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday.