PORTLAND, Maine - The Curve will flip their calendar to a new page today, and they will try to flip their season around at the same time.
Altoona finished May with another loss, falling to Portland 7-3 in the series opener at Hadlock Field before 5,176 on Friday night.
The loss is 19th in the month of May, the same month where the Curve won just 10 games. In comparison, the Curve went 11-14 in April.
The Curve are now a season-worst 12 games under .500 and have the worst record in the Eastern League's Western division. The team is 1-4 in its last five and 2-8 in its previous 10.
At the end of April, the Curve were just 2.0 games out of first place, but they entered Friday 10.5 games behind division-leader Erie.
The pitching staff, which was one of the best in April, has tanked within the past two weeks. The Curve's team ERA is second worst in the Eastern League. It went from 3.67 at the end of April to 5.14.
Tonight: Altoona at Portland, 6 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve RHP James McDonald (0-1, 40.50) vs. Sea Dogs RHP Brandon Workman (5-1, 3.75)
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: The Pirates announced that RHP James McDonald will make his second rehab start with the Curve today in Portland. McDonald struggled in his first rehab start with the Curve when he failed to get out of the first inning, giving up a three-run homer and four walks.
SAFE AT FIRST: RHP Zack Thornton was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday. Thornton, a reliever, earned two saves in two opportunities. He has pitched in six games with the Curve and has a 1.13 ERA.
STEALING SECOND: C Carlos Paulion returned to the lineup on Friday. Paulino was listed as day-to-day after being hit by a pitch on his left forearm in the Curve's 8-5 loss to Binghamton on Tuesday. He went 0-for-3
ROUNDING THIRD: Single-A West Virginia's Stetson Allie leads the South Atlantic League with 14 home runs and RBIs. He hit .327 in May.
HEADING HOME: LF Andrew Lambo's recent success continued when he homered in his third consecutive game. He leads the Eastern League with 12 home runs this season.
Friday night was a prime example of those pitching woes.
In just 1 2/3 innings of relief of losing pitcher David Bromberg (2-5), Luis Sanz struggled for his third straight appearance. Sanz gave up two homers, walking three and giving up three earned runs.
Throwing just 2 1/3 innings over those three appearances, Sanz has given up 13 earned runs. His ERA has skyrocketed from 3.65 to 7.67 in that span.
The Curve bats were sluggish as well. They didn't come alive until late in the game when Andrew Lambo homered in his third consecutive game in the seventh inning. Until Lambo's homer, the Curve were able to muster just one hit off of knuckleballer Charlie Haeger (2-2), who got the win.
Lambo has been one of the few bright spots for the Curve. He has had the second-highest average (.295) of Curve player who have play in more than 10 games in May. He's hit nine of the Curve's 22 homers in May and has driven in 22 runs, both are the most on the team in May. Jarek Cunningham and Mel Rojas were tied for second with 11 RBIs.
The Curve have two games left in Portland before an off day on Monday, and then returning home for a six game homestand, beginning Tuesday.
Key player: DH Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-3, walked twice, scored twice and hit a two-run homer.
Key play: RF J.C. Linares homered in the sixth inning to give the Sea Dogs a 4-0 lead.
Key stat: The Curve finished May with just 10 wins - the second worst in the Eastern League.
How they scored
Bottom 4th: Bogaerts walked, scored on Thomas double (0-1); Thomas doubled, scored on Almanzar double (0-2).
Bottom 5th: Wilkerson homered (0-3).
Bottom 6th: Linares homered (0-4); Vazquez walked, scored on Meneses triple (0-5).
Top 7th: Lambo homered (1-5); Maggi hit by pitch scored, on Howard single (2-5); Dickerson doubled, scored on Paulino ground out (3-5).