SALT LAKE CITY — The first calendar month of baseball is now in the books, and the Bees couldn't be more excited for May to arrive.
Salt Lake concluded a crazy April schedule by dropping both games of a double-header to Fresno, extending its losing streak to five games. This unsatisfactory run comes on the heals of a five-game winning streak.
"It's frustrating, because it could be ten wins in a row if we'd just take advantage of some scoring opportunities," Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson said. "Nobody's running us off the field. We're doing the same things we did when we were winning, but right now things just aren't going our way."
Salt Lake's schedule has included a bizarre slate of home games: out of 14 total games at Spring Mobile Ballpark, only five went the standard nine innings. Six games finished in seven innings, while three others went into extra innings—13-, 15- and 12-inning marathons.
Four of the Bees' games were postponed by rain or snow, and the team also waited through numerous in-game delays due to adverse weather.
For the Bees—and any other team visiting Utah—actual summer weather can't come fast enough.
"We deal with the weather, but we don't like it," Salt Lake infielder Gil Velazquez said. "But there aren't any excuses—we still have to go out there and perform. The other teams have to play in the same conditions."
On Saturday the weather wasn't the issue. Rather, it was the Bees' inability to get any clutch hits that led to identical 5-3 losses on a cold but sunny evening.
In the first game, solo home runs by Jeff Baisley and Velazquez bookended a series of missed opportunities for the Bees—Baisley grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded; Jeremy Moore was thrown out trying to steal third when he would have scored on a single by Cole Armstrong on the very next pitch; Efren Navarro hit a laser over the wall in right, but it was about two feet foul.
As a team, the Bees went 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position during the double-header. In the bottom of the seventh of the second game, both Baisley and McAnulty came up with the bases loaded and a chance to tie or win the game with a hit.
Both of them struck out.
"It's just one of those things where if we execute, we win," Johnson said. "We're going through a tough phase right now—we've had the opportunities, but when those chances come up we haven't been executing."
Velazquez was the Bees' lone bright spot, going 3-for-5 over both games and knocking in two runs. He extended his hitting streak to 16 games. Reggie Willits, meanwhile, continues to struggle. The outfielder is hitless since coming down from the Angels last week, and is now a combined 0-for-29 between the two levels this season.
Fresno's Chris Stewart hit a two-run double in the second inning of game one. He sacrificed home another run in the sixth, while Brad Eldred added an RBI double.
Eldred went 2-for-3 with a solo home run in the second game, while teammate Brett Pill added a two-run homer that proved to be the difference.
The Bees and Grizzlies will play the final game of the four-game series today at 2:05 p.m.