Since the All-Star break, the chase has been on. The Ottawa Titans, who once comfortably held onto the second place in the East Division had been sliding, and it felt like it was only a matter of time before one of the chasing teams caught them. Now, Ottawa has slid right out of a playoff spot, now behind the Tri-City ValleyCats and the Sussex County Miners in the Wild Card race.
A doubleheader against the ValleyCats posed a good chance for the Titans to reclaim the second seed, but two losses have now changed the outlook of the season. Once appearing like a lock for the playoffs, the Titans are now on the outside looking in and quickly running out of runway.
“There are three teams that make the playoffs and we had the team that was a half-game behind in here, and we just got outplayed,” said Titans’ manager Bobby Brown.
The Titans fell in the first game by a score of 6-1, and then again in the second game 7-1. It highlighted a trend that has been one of Ottawa’s problems, they aren’t scoring runs, and they are surrendering a lot of them.
“It’s hard to win games when you don’t score runs,” Brown said. “I’m not making excuses, but we have a young group here where a lot of these guys haven’t been through a pennant race and don’t know how to give those professional at-bats in those key spots. You’re hoping that they are gaining valuable experience along the way and they can use that for the next day. Sometimes it doesn’t work in the time that you want it to.”
There are now just 11 games left for the Titans to find a solution and get things right, and that is a concern for Brown. They have games to make up in the standings, and the time is now to get things turned around if there is hope to make the playoffs.
“It’s basic math, you know,” Brown said. “Were struggling right now at the wrong time. Tomorrow that can change with one big hit or one big pitching performance.”
“What are you doing to do?” Brown asked. “You wake up tomorrow, your feet hit the ground, and you start preparing for the next day. This thing ain’t over.”
Brown can’t place his finger on exactly what has gone wrong for a team that started the season practically white hot, but he’s hoping the Titans can get back to their winning ways as soon as possible.
“I don’t want to say that guys overachieved, but it’s a season of adjustments,” Brown said. “The league makes adjustments to hitters and our hitters’ job is to make adjustments back to them, and sometimes we do, and sometimes we don’t.”
Now into the critical stretch run to end the season, the Titans have a chance to exact their revenge on the ValleCats tonight at 6:30 pm.
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