FORT WAYNE – Theres never a good time to go into a hitting slump.
Those struggles are magnified though when a team is fighting for a playoff berth.
Fort Waynes offense continued its recent funk in Mondays 11-1 loss to Dayton in front of 4,163 fans at Parkview Field.
Our offense, Im still looking for where they are at, Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin said. Its tough to win games when you are not scoring any runs.
Dayton took its second straight in the series, holding the TinCaps to one run in both games.
I dont know why. I dont know if the guys are getting tired, Valentin said. A lot of guys havent been in a season this long. This is a time where they could be tired, a little worn out. But the thing is, its not a good time to get tired.
Fort Wayne has scored just twice in its last 25 innings.
Those are not the numbers Valentin wants to see from a team making a playoff push.
We cant afford to continue to play the type of baseball weve been playing lately, Valentin said. Otherwise, I dont think we are going to last long, or were probably not even going to make it to the playoffs.
The TinCaps have 14 games remaining in the regular season. Fort Wayne has a 1 1/2 -game lead over Lake County (which lost to Lansing 10-0 Monday) and a 2 1/2 -game lead over South Bend (which beat Bowling Green 6-3) for one of the Eastern Divisions two second-half playoff spots. Lansing and Bowling Green qualified in the first half.
Fort Wayne scored five runs in the first inning of the series opener against the Dragons on Saturday, a game the TinCaps won 5-0.
The offense hasnt produced much since. Fort Wayne (32-24, 63-63 overall) had just four hits Monday.
It happens, said catcher Austin Hedges, who went 2 for 3.
Weve been swinging it really well the whole second half. Im not too worried about it. Well get back after it tomorrow and get back after it and start hitting like we have this whole half.
Dayton (24-30, 54-70) starter Jacob Johnson gave up two hits in five scoreless innings. Fort Waynes only run came in the sixth inning when Hedges doubled and later scored on an infield hit by Tyler Stubblefield.
Fort Waynes pitchers also had a rough night. Starter Frank Garces surrendered five runs on six hits. He gave up a two-run home run to Sean Buckley in the fourth inning which gave Dayton a 3-0 lead. Buckley finished with three hits and four RBI.
Reliever Dennis OGrady gave up four runs, three earned, in 1 1/3 innings. Daytons Yorman Rodriguez hit a two-run home run off Daniel Cropper in the ninth inning. Dayton had 14 hits.
You cant afford to not have any pitching when your offense hasnt shown up, Valentin said.
Note: Infielder Duanel Jones was activated from the disabled list. Infielder B.J. Guinn was placed on the disabled list.