This isn’t exactly the roll that the Ducks wanted to be on with a week left before the playoffs. But, the important point is that it’s before things get serious. If getting the losses out of the way is a strategy, the Ducks are executing it perfectly.
The Ducks dropped their fifth straight game Sunday, a 6-3 loss to the Lancaster Barnstormers at Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Central Islip. The Ducks (27-27) have lost eight of 10.
But, if getting the losses out of the way is the strategy, it doesn’t come from Wally Backman. The Ducks’ manager, visibly concerned after the loss, is bringing the team in Monday afternoon for a workout on their final off day of the regular season.
"We’ve played flat," he said. "We haven’t played with any enthusiasm, especially against Lancaster . . . I don’t feel we’re ready for the playoffs playing the way we are right now."
The playoffs begin on Oct. 11, and with six games left in the regular season, Backman wants to see more drive on a daily basis.
"I know we won the first half [championship] and we were winning the second half up until this point, but the drive has to be there every day," he said. "It has to be consistent. When you come to the park everyday, you’re expected to win or play to win. We’re just coming to the park and going through the motions right now, and it’s totally unacceptable."
Ducks starting pitcher Matt Dallas allowed four runs in the first inning. He pitched a scoreless second and third and took the loss. The Ducks scored two runs in the fifth after a two-RBI single by pitcher Joe Iorio, who relieved Dallas. They added a run in the ninth on a Steve Lombardozzi sacrifice fly.
Iorio said that concern among the players isn’t very high.
"We know we have a good baseball team," he said. "You go through ups and downs. Obviously, going into the playoffs, you want to be at your best. We’d like to be playing a little better right now, but we still have a week to go and I know we’re confident . . . Once the playoffs start, it’s a whole new ballgame."