Dragons lose second straight at home, but manager still pleased with starting pitching

Dayton's Jacob Hurtubise prepares to round third base after advancing from second on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt in the third inning of Wednesday night's game at Day Air Ballpark. Hurtubise was stranded at third. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED
Dayton's Jacob Hurtubise prepares to round third base after advancing from second on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt in the third inning of Wednesday night's game at Day Air Ballpark. Hurtubise was stranded at third. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

Dayton Dragons manager Jose Moreno and pitching coach Brian Garman continue to be pleased with their starting pitchers.

Noah Davis took a no-hitter into the sixth inning Wednesday night. But not much else went right and the Dragons lost 7-2 to Lansing. The Dragons have lost two straight at home after a 5-1 road trip to open the season.

Davis, rated the Reds’ No. 15 prospect by Baseball America, became the first Dragons starter to pitch into the sixth inning this season. He walked the leadoff batter then allowed a single to Jordan Diaz. Davis was replaced by Jake Gilbert, who let three runs score on a double, two walks and a wild pitch.

ExploreARCHDEACON: Mother, son both earn Dragons' jersey

Davis continued to get ahead of hitters and get strikeouts with his fastball and breaking ball.

“He threw that breaking ball for a strike in any count,” Moreno said. “In order to continue to move in the system, he has to be able to do that. The energy was good for him, and I’m very happy for him.”

Davis, an 11th-round pick in 2018, has allowed three runs on two hits in two starts and owns a 2.70 ERA. He has struck out 16 and walked six. His previous pro experience was in the rookie leagues.

Dayton’s starters have a 3.24 ERA and kept the Dragons in every game. Moreno said Garman has taken a good professional approach to getting them ready.

“He comes to the ballpark 1, 2 o’clock and works with the kids in every aspect and try to get better,” Moreno said. “He’s doing a really good job with the pitching staff.”

On the downside, the pitchers have had little run support at Day Air Ballpark. The Dragons entered Wednesday’s game leading the Central League in home runs, batting average, slugging percentage and hits. But they left 12 runners on base in Tuesday’s 9-4 loss in 10 innings and managed only seven singles Wednesday and grounded into two double plays. Miguel Hernandez singled in two runs in the ninth.

ExploreWhere are the Reds' top prospects playing in 2021?

The bullpen also had an off night. After Gilbert allowed three runs to score, two of which were charged to Davis. Sam Hellinger allowed four runs in two innings.

“Yesterday and today, especially today, we didn’t throw our first pitch for a strike,” Moreno said of the relievers. “They we were very disciplined and didn’t chase. And if you get down in the count and have to come back in, they’re going to make you pay.”

Lansing stung the Dragons for four doubles and a triple.

Moreno has a 30-minute rule after every game. He hopes the positive side of that rule will be in play Thursday night.

“When you win you celebrate for 30 minutes,” Moreno explained. “When you lose you think about it, make adjustments and come back tomorrow ready.”

Notes

Hitting streak: Dragons second baseman Brian Rey led off the first inning with a single to extend his hitting streak to seven games. He has played in all but one game and has a hit in each game, batting .345.

Next game: The Dragons will try to snap their two-game losing streak Thursday night against Lansing. Graham Ashcraft, ranked No. 28 in the Reds’ organization by Baseball America, will be the starting pitcher. Lansing will counter with Shohei Tomoika (2-0, 0.00 ERA).

In Other News