Just when you think it couldn't get much worse for Chris Coghlan, it did. Much worse. Coghlan had the game from heck for Triple A New Orleans. Check out this story from the New Orleans Times Picayune:
Mendoza is 11-5 and leads the Pacific Coast League in earned-run average, entering the game with a 1.45 ERA since the All-Star break. A porous defense was the last thing the Zephyrs needed.
But former National League Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, trying to recover his lost batting stroke in the minors, looked lost in center field, missing four balls that either bounced off his glove or fell just out his reach.
After an especially rough fifth inning in which Coghlan couldn’t haul in two difficult but catchable fly balls, he removed himself from the game.
“He took himself out,” Zephyrs Manager Greg Norton said. “He said his knee was a little sore from when he was hit by a pitch two nights ago, and he took himself out of the game.”
The Rookie of the Year for the Marlins in 2009 after beginning the season in New Orleans, Coghlan has been hampered recently with knee and elbow injuries and has struggled offensively this season.
He has been a key member of the Marlins outfield since his rookie season, though always considered more of an asset on offensive than defense. Coghlan originally was a second baseman, but he converted to the outfield in the minor leagues.
In reference to Coghlan’s tough night in center field, Norton said, “Are they tough plays? Yes. Can Cogs make those plays? Yes. How much is his knee is bothering him? We’ll find out. If he says his knee is bothering him or he’s not able to play the way he’s accustomed to, there’s no point in running him out there. We’ll be cautious and see how it feels tomorrow.”
Coghlan wasn’t charged with any errors, but he appeared to make plays on long fly balls more difficult by taking winding routes. He constantly seemed to be flat on his stomach in center field with the ball rolling away from him.
Routine plays were in short supply all night for the Zephyrs, with Omaha’s offense knocking balls all over the field. Starter Darin Downs surrendered seven runs on 12 hits over five innings.
Matt Dominguez’s second-inning home run accounted for the Zephyrs’ only run.
“I really like how he’s getting those great hands through the zone,” Norton said. Dominguez is hitting .500 in his last eight games.
After that, Mendoza cruised and the Omaha offense went to work. The Storm Chasers scored three runs in the fifth and extended its lead with five runs in the sixth inning, then tacked on three more in the seventh. Pitcher Zach Simons’ line was even uglier than Downs’: six runs in just two innings.
Every batter in Omaha’s starting lineup had at least one hit, and seven Storm Chasers had multiple hits.
Scattering six hits over seven innings, Mendoza held the Zephyrs hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position.
“He has that ball that runs and that cutter, and he gets it off guys barrels in hitters’ counts,” Norton said.
Omaha is most likely leaded for the playoffs, and Mendoza is the pitcher they will lean on.