The TinCaps hit two homers in the first inning on their way to a blowout win at Lake County.
I’m not saying this to pile on, but the TinCaps were a disaster coming into yesterday. They’d been swept in three games at home by Lake County. The bullpen was in shambles with the starting pitchers not getting through four innings in back-to-back games, then having a 13-inning game where they blew a 6-1 lead (with five errors in the late innings) and had to bring a position player (Tyler Stubblefield) in to pitch near the end. The bullpen had been working two men short in the first place (thanks to a six-man starting rotation and the promotion of Andrew Werner). One of their best hitters (Jake Blackwood) was promoted yesterday. Their projected starting pitcher (Noah Mull) came down sick and couldn’t pitch (Matt Jackson filled in – he was on five days’ rest and even HE was sick). To top it off, two guys forgot their jerseys in Fort Wayne (no shirts-and-skins action for you sickos out there; they just wore different numbers). There was no realistic reason to expect anything to improve on Monday, especially after an error allowed Lake County to take an early lead and Jackson got smoked in the ankle by a smash back to the mound.
But then, something crazy happened: Jackson stayed in, fought through the sore ankle and gave the team six strong innings. The Captains walked nine and made four errors and the TinCaps got a few big hits to blow it open, 10-1.
Lesson: Don’t ever, under any circumstances, try to predict baseball. Ever. For any reason. Whatsoever.
- Former TinCaps LHP Josh Spence is getting the pub from back home in Australia after making his MLB debut.
- Hey, remember the 2009 TinCaps? They’re still annihilating the Double-A Texas League. It’s been three months worth of The Ultimate Warrior freaking out and beating up everyone. NINE league all-stars. Also in that article: INF Cory Spangenberg (10th overall pick in this year’s draft) and Donavan Tate could soon be headed here.
- The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy and, in doing so, revealed Vin Scully’s salary. I don’t really see what the big deal is; Scully could name his price but clearly hasn’t abused that fact. Unlike his team’s owner, who has abused just about every privilege of owning a team. Sell to Mark Cuban and get it over with.
- Tigers pitcher Al Albuquerque: He’s good. When he was in the Cubs organization and I was in Daytona, we couldn’t wait to get him promoted to our team just because we wanted to say “Al Albuquerque” on a semi-nightly basis. Never happened. One of the great disappointments of my career so far.
- Since we’re at Lake County, I got to come home to my parents’ house last night. Our black lab had paw surgery and he’s the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen. They made him wear a plastic cone on his head so he won’t chew the bandage off the paw. Well, he doesn’t quite have the maneuverability thing down with the cone. He runs into EVERYTHING when he tries to move around. Last night he went into the bathroom and accidentally shut the door on himself when he was trying to get out, then didn’t understand that he had to back up to give me room to open the door and let him out. He is completely miserable, San Diego.
- I also got to sit outside on the porch last night and just relax. Beautiful weather, it was quiet… it was delightful.
Former TinCaps LHP Josh Spence was called up to the big leagues this week and we have comments from Padres GM Jed Hoyer and manager Bud Black. Plus the TinCaps drop the second-half opener to Lake County.
After four days of frisbee golfing, watching Karate Kid II (on DVD, not cable), laying near swimming pools, cooking my own meals, laughing at people who asked me if I was going to the All-Star Game, wowing manager Shawn Wooten by running down fly balls during team workouts and general lounging, it’s back to my version of real life.
But hey… If every day was a vacation, at some point it would stop being a vacation, am I right?
In any case, the four-day break was a chance to assess lots of things. Like THE FIRST RANDOM THOUGHTS SESSION IN MONTHS!
- Last year, TinCaps OF Rymer Liriano was a really raw kid trying to hit a million home runs. This year, he’s a less-raw 19-year-old who’s much more under control, trying to hit line drives. He has changed his approach, upped his walk rate, cut his strikeout rate and stolen 31 bases in 50 games. If you watch an at-bat from last year (or even from his first few games with the TinCaps this year) followed by an at-bat from the past month, you’d never believe it’s the same guy. Incredible turnaround. He was one of the most frustrating guys to watch last year because it looked like he had this potential but wasn’t tapping into it. Now he’s the most fun guy to watch on the team. I’m on the bandwagon.
- Also, 3B Jake Blackwood can H-I-T. With James Darnell killing it at Double-A and Jedd Gyorko running wilder than Hulkamania on the California League, seems like third basemen all over the Padres’ system are due for promotions.
- LHP Mark Hardy really knows how to pitch. It’s just the team hasn’t scored runs while he’s pitching (2.1 runs/game in support; even less while he’s actually in the game). Last two starts: 13.2 innings, 7 hits, 3 runs (2ER), 2 BB, 15K… And an 0-2 record. They’ve scored exactly one run in those two games combined. I don’t know why, but this makes me angry for him.
- RHP Zach Cates pitched extraordinarily well in shutting out the Great Lakes Loons on the last day before the All-Star break. I mean, fastball in the mid-90s (topped out at 96 if I remember correctly and if you trust stadium radar guns), good hook. Best I’ve seen him this year. And it kept the Loons out of the playoffs, so there’s that.
- If you’d given me ten guesses as to who would be the 100th Fort Wayne alum to get to the major leagues, I wouldn’t have guessed Josh Spence. I suppose he hasn’t gotten into a game yet (and therefore isn’t #100 yet), but still.
- Legendary author Ben Hill visited Parkview Field (as you found out on the podcast). And he filed several expert reports. He did virtually everything, including dancing with the Bad Apple Dancers. Good times were had by all.
- I’m not at liberty to disclose anything more than this: The Bad Apple Dancers will have an array of special guests joining them for the remainder of the season. Stay tuned.
- During the team workout on Wednesday night, I decided to shag some fly balls (since most of the pitchers were allowed to leave during batting practice). It had been at least a year since I’d picked up a ball and probably more like three since I’d taken a fly ball. Actual quote from Shawn Wooten: “I’ll be honest… you’re fast!” I just felt like running.
- Belting out Mumford & Sons songs in the car on the way to work is becoming a daily thing, which may or may not be a good thing for my voice/on-air performance.
- There’s a black Lab in northeast Ohio who was placed on the 15-day DL with a toe infection today. Had to undergo surgery. Hopefully he’s the Chase Utley of injury rehabs.
- As of two days ago, former TinCaps video dude Allan Wertheimer is engaged. To be married. Which is neck and neck for “2011’s most shocking ‘yes’ answer to a marriage proposal,” in close competition with my homeboy Dave Hutte. (Honorable mention: South Bend Silver Hawks radio guy Owen Serey). The Wertheimer Effect is about to rain down on an entire family. God help us all. There will be an entire entry dedicated to Wertheimer-Whitmore Wedding Prop Bets soon, I promise.
Musical guest… One last little piece of relaxation before the second half starts… John Butler!
The stars keep on coming as strength coach Reed Wainwright checks in, then the TinCaps drop a close one at Great Lakes.
Women want him, men want to be him… And when he talks about Minor League Baseball, people listen. It’s legendary MiLB.com writer Ben Hill, and he stopped by for a conversation during his visit to Parkview Field!
TinCaps LHP Mark Hardy stops by for a chat about pitching and his Vancouver Canucks, then the TinCaps drop a doubleheader against Dayton.
Manager Shawn Wooten tells about being drafted, plus the TinCaps rip Wisconsin, 11-5.
All-Star RHP Matt Jackson tells about his return from the DL and the TinCaps get a win to open their trip to Wisconsin.
TinCaps RHP Chris Wilkes talks Tommy John surgery and big-time college football, then the TinCaps one-hit Kane County.