GENEVA – There always seems to be one pitcher on each staff who rarely receives good run support.
For the Kane County Cougars, Andrew Bailey has been that guy this season.
Bailey pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season and left trailing, 1-0, allowing an unearned run on five hits, striking out six and walking one. The Cougars eventually lost to Burlington, 2-1 in 10 innings.
But in Bailey’s four losses this season, he lost 1-0, 2-1, 3-1 and 3-0. That’s why despite having a 3.45 ERA with 62 strikeouts and 20 walks in 44 1/3 innings pitched, he stands at 1-4.
“In the minor leagues, you look at what you need to work on to get to the big leagues,” Bailey said. “You have to put the wins and losses behind you and look to the other things to hopefully get to the next level.”
This isn’t the first time as a professional Bailey has been the pitcher who can’t afford to make a mistake. After being drafted in the sixth round by Oakland last year, Bailey went 2-5 for short season-Class A Vancouver. But he had a sparkling 2.02 ERA.
“Bailey is a great pitcher,” said Cougars shortstop Mike Affronti, a Vancouver teammate of Bailey. “I feel bad. We have not given him too much run support. I think we did it to him last year in Vancouver, too. He pitched great. We just couldn’t put it together for him.”
Flash Gordon: When Bailey exited the game with one out and runners on second and third in the seventh inning, Cougars left-handed reliever Derrick Gordon made sure the score stayed at 1-0 Bees.
Gordon came on to face lefties Jase Turner and Jamar Walton and struck both out to end the threat. He then tossed a perfect eighth to keep the Cougars in the game.
“You want to make it to the big leagues? You want to get paid? That’s what you have to do on a nightly basis,” Cougars manager Aaron Nieckula said. “He’s a lefty, he’s facing two lefties, he went out there and did exactly what his job description calls for. He got them out. Got them out by striking them out, which is even better because you don’t put the ball in play. Take advantage of your opportunities, and you will get more and more opportunities. Obviously he’s doing something right.”
Gordon has a 2.22 ERA in 24 1/3 innings since joining the Cougars from extended spring training May 10. He has 23 strikeouts and has walked nine.
Cobb update: Following Monday’s 11-2 win against Burlington, Nieckula, hitting coach Benny Winslow and trainer Justin Whitehouse visited Cougars second baseman Larry Cobb at Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva.
He underwent a surgical procedure in his groin area after being hit by a thrown ball at Clinton on Sunday. He is expected to be out of action for three-to-four weeks.
“He was up there watching TV,” Nieckula said. “He was laughing and giggling. He was in a little pain, but I think he’ll be OK.”