It’s only three games into the season, but the Portland Sea Dogs have certainly given themselves plenty of things to correct over the next five months.

Shoddy defense. Pitchers who can’t overcome it. An offense that has yet to jell.

It added up to a 10-2 loss Sunday to the Reading Fightin Phils before an announced crowd of 6,045 at Hadlock Field.

“It’s baseball. It happens. We play a lot of games, so we’ll definitely have time to clean it up,” Portland first baseman Jantzen Witte said.

“There’s been some plays these first few games that we’re ready to get past.”

The trouble began for the Sea Dogs in the third inning. Reading catcher Gabriel Lino led off with a groundball to third that Carlos Asuaje fielded. He threw a one-hopper to Witte, who lunged for it and pulled his foot off the bag in the process, according to umpire John Bacon. Asuaje was charged with the error.


Portland pitcher Mike Augliera got two outs but also loaded the bases before Cam Perkins plated two runs with a single.

“You’d think I’d be the guy saying I knew for a fact (my foot) was on. I knew it was close,” Witte said. “I really wished I would have kept it on where there wasn’t any doubt in the umpire’s mind.”

Augliera’s day ended after he surrendered a two-run, two-out double in the fourth to Carlos Alonso. Simon Mercedes came on in relief and allowed six runs in three innings as the Fightin Phils blew the game open for the second consecutive day. Reading won the nightcap of Saturday’s season-opening doubleheader 9-0. Portland won the opener 4-2.

The Sea Dogs were charged with six errors in the three games, while Reading made just one.

“I think both (Saturday) and (Sunday) the wheels kind of started coming off after we committed some miscues in the field. I expect that this is just a blip. The guys that we have out there defensively are better than what we’ve played the last few games,” Portland Manager Billy McMillon said.

“Having said that, when that happens, and that’s going to happen from time to time, our pitchers have got to respond and I don’t think we did a good job of that today. We need to make pitches when we have to and we need to make plays in the field.”


Portland got a look at a trio of highly touted Philadelphia Phillies pitching prospects. Jesse Biddle threw five shutout innings to win the second game of the series. On Sunday, Zach Eflin, who turned 21 on Wednesday, made his debut in the organization. The first-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2012 was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in December in the Matt Kemp deal. He then was promptly sent to Philadelphia in exchange for shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

Eflin blanked Portland for six innings, surrendering only four hits.

The Sea Dogs broke up the shutout with run-scoring singles by Witte and center fielder Blake Tekotte in the bottom of the eighth.

“One big thing that I’m working on individually, and I’m certain we are as a team, is not giving away (at-bats). No matter what the score, wherever we are in the game, every AB counts,” said Witte.

“I guess you could see that (not getting shut out) as a little win. It’s tough to score 10 runs on one pitch, and with baseball you’re never out of the game, so each pitch counts.

“I think we’re still coming together as a team. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to pull things around.”

Portland gets its next attempt to do so when the New Britain Rock Cats begin a four-game series at Hadlock on Monday. First pitch is at 6 p.m.

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