By CHUCKIE MAGGIO
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The sounds of the postgame clubhouses told you all you needed to know about Thursday’s Red Wings-Chiefs game at Frontier Field.
On one end of the hallway, Syracuse’s de facto DJ was playing the song “Congratulations” by Post Malone, followed by “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd.
You could hear the music from almost anywhere on the ballpark’s lower level, because the winning team usually has free reign of the tunes. The only sounds on Rochester’s side, other than voices here and there, came from the showers.
It’s still early, Red Wings fans want to say, and they’re not wrong; in a 144-game season, Game 55 is hardly make or break. But manager Mike Quade‘s opening line after the 3-2 loss, another defeat fraught with missed opportunities, adequately summarized the feelings of another spoiled home game.
“Are you gonna say it or am I gonna say it? Here we are again.”
Indeed, the interview felt a lot like Wednesday’s interview did. Though the Red Wings did not get four-hit this time (they scattered nine), they were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and got caught stealing twice by Chiefs catcher Luis Severino. One of the Wings’ runs was scored after two A.J. Cole wild pitches, the other on a Matt Hague sacrifice fly. Not exactly doubles in the gap.
Starting pitcher Aaron Slegers didn’t have overpowering stuff, but he only gave up eight hits. Another starter gave his team a great chance to win, but the lineup could not come through. Zack Granite had a seventh straight multi-hit game and made his way around the bases on the wild pitches, but his hot streak had not been contagious.
And this time, Rochester didn’t drop a game to a good team like Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; they lost to the team with the worst record in the International League. If the Chiefs only play music after wins, Thursday was just the 18th time Post Malone has been able to say congratulations.
“You look at a three-run sixth (for Syracuse), but if we give up three runs, you’re supposed to win,” Quade said. “That’s just the way it is. And if we continue to pitch this way and lose games 3-2 and don’t get better offensively, it’s gonna be a rough second half. So that’s what we’ll try to work on.
“It’s the same conversation every night, and after an hour and a half of early hitting today, you hope it gets better. So we’ll do it for another hour tomorrow and see if we can help these guys get themselves back to what they were earlier in the year.”
The team’s 26-29 record is the franchise’s worst on June 9 since 2013, when it was 29-34. That may be a good omen for the Wings- that year was Rochester’s last playoff appearance.