CLINTON - When you're tied for first place in the West Division, a four-game series against the second to last team in the division doesn't seem that daunting.
But it is. At least for when for the Clinton LumberKings.
They suffered a complete sweep at the hands of the Beloit Snappers over the last four days, dropping five straight games as a whole.
The cherry on top was the loss Tuesday night. Clinton saw the Snappers put up seven unanswered runs, including five in the second inning alone off of starter Alberto Guerrero. The night and the series ended with a 7-3 LumberKing loss.
Shaky pitching has been common though the last four games, but not through the rest of the season. Clinton has generally been strong on the mound, but has allowed 30 runs over the last four games.
"It is what it is kind of," manager Mike Jacobs said after Tuesday's game. "These guys have been doing so well, our starters and our bullpen, you're bound to go through a funk every once in a while. We obviously didn't throw the ball as well as we have been but it's just part of it."
In addition to the pitching, the bats were silent to start. That's something they haven't really had to worry about in the other losses to Beloit. The first three losses saw them exchange leads and push runs across the board, but that just wasn't the case on Tuesday.
"Sometimes, unfortunately, when you're playing against a team you feel you should do better against you kind of play down a little bit," Jacobs said. "It kind of just is what it is. I don't really have an answer for that one."
They were able to put up three runs late. In the eighth inning, Christopher Torres and Kameron Misner strung together the first consecutive hits of the game for Clinton. Peyton Burdick then sent a ball into left field that landed for a double, scoring the first two runs of the game.
The LumberKings also managed to get runners on in their last at-bat. One run managed to come in, while one runner was caught off base and two were stranded
"They continue to fight, they grind out their at bats," Jacobs said. "The biggest thing is you don't want to see guys giving their at-bats away. I don't feel like we did that. We continued to get guys on base, continued to try to get the big hit.
"They've battled, it just unfortunately didn't work out for us this series."
The LumberKings head on the road for back-to-back series, starting with a quick trip down the river to Modern Woodman Park. The Quad Cities River Bandits have been struggling a bit, too, in the second half. They then head to Dozer Park to take on the Peoria Chiefs, who are sitting at the bottom of the division.
If the LumberKings have learned anything from the Snappers though, it's not to take anyone's record into consideration when preparing for each series.
"They have to understand that they have to continue to fight," Jacobs said. "They can't just assume that they're going to go into anywhere and just beat up on people. It doesn't matter what the records are, anyone can win any night. They've got to pick it up a bit a little bit and I expect them to do that."