Well, at least the Ducks have time.
A weekend that had the potential for them to creep closer to clinching the second-half title in the Atlantic League’s Liberty Division ended with nothing but frustration. Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Bridgeport in front of 4,803 fans at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip capped a three-game sweep by the Bluefish that cut the first-place Ducks’ lead to 2 1⁄2 games with seven to play.
Third baseman Ruben Gotay’s two consecutive throwing errors led to a three-run ninth inning for Bridgeport. With the score tied at 1 and none out, the errors allowed Jose Cuevas and Welington Dotel to reach base. Jonathan Galvez struck out before an intentional walk to Andrew Lambo loaded the bases. Gustavo Molina’s RBI single gave the Bluefish a 2-1 lead and Angelys Nina added a two-run single.
“That last inning was on me,” said Gotay, the only Duck with two hits. “I can say nothing else. I didn’t make the plays. The game should have been tied and we should have gone to extra innings . . . We’re going to keep playing hard. That’s what we’ve been doing all year. I expect better out of myself. Hopefully, I will do it in the next couple days and the team will get back on the right track and do what we do. And that’s win.”
The Ducks, who scored one run in the final two games of their last regular-season home series, have lost the second-half tiebreaker with Bridgeport.
“It was definitely important,” Ducks manager Kevin Baez said. “It hurts. It’s frustrating. No doubt about it. A must-win is a game five, but [Sunday] was close to it.”
Despite the untimely offensive woes, Baez does not think his hitters are pressing. “The guys are still loose,” he said. “We’re just not getting the job done. We’re not producing and putting a lot of pressure on our pitchers.”
Those pitchers did their best to push the Ducks toward the playoffs. Starter Jake Dunning pitched six scoreless innings and four of six Ducks relievers did not allow a run. Only Patrick Crider, who was charged with the Bluefish’s first run in the seventh, and Amalio Diaz, who allowed the three unearned runs in the ninth, exited the mound with blemishes.
Elvin Ramirez pitched two scoreless innings in relief and earned the win for Bridgeport (33-31).
Now the Ducks (35-28) will have to pack up their celebratory champagne as they embark on a seven-game road trip, with stops in York, Lancaster and Sugar Land before the regular season ends Sunday.