Six-Man Rotation, Awesome Proposal, Mosquitoes are Back

For the second time in three days, the TinCaps surrendered a season high in runs. On Saturday, that number was 11. After yesterday’s game, the number is 14. The Hot Rods took a 2-1 series lead with a 14-7 shellacking of the TinCaps.

The game started off well. Ruben Mejia made his first start since September of last year and lasted four innings. Mejia is the newest addition to the TinCaps starting rotation, which now features six pitchers in an effort to cut back on innings for the starters. Director of Player Development Randy Smith said earlier this year that most TinCaps starters were on track to throw between 120-130 innings. As of today, here’s how many each starter (not counting those on the disabled list) has thrown:

Frank Garces: 51.0 in 10 starts

Adys Portillo: 54 2/3 in 10 starts

Colin Rea: 35 2/3 in 4 starts, 12 relief appearances

Matt Wisler: 45 2/3 in 9 starts, 1 relief appearance

Cody Hebner: 46 2/3 in 9 starts

Let’s use Frank Garces as a case study. He’s next scheduled to pitch on Thursday against Great Lakes, and then would theoretically start two more times in the first half. If, and I’m just guessing here, he goes five innings in each of his next three starts, he’ll be at 66 innings for the first half. Extrapolating for another 13 starts in the second half at a theoretical five innings each, and Garces would be at 132 innings—over his limit. These numbers are all theoretical on my end, but it goes to show why the Padres have change to a six-man rotation with Fort Wayne.

This type of system isn’t uncommon either, although sometimes it just appears in other forms. Lansing, for example, uses a piggyback system with two of the five spots in its rotation. One pitcher will start the game, throw three or four innings, and then another will follow and throw three or four more. They’re like mini-starts, and they help to limit the number of innings a pitcher throws. The goal in minor league baseball, especially at this level, is to prepare the player for the long term, and to keep them healthy while they make their way closer to the major league level. Keeping close track of innings is a big part of that.

Being a manager or a coach at this level isn’t easy. You’re asked to guide players, some of whom have been paid great sums of money, through the nascent stages of their career. A big part of that is making sure they understand how to take care of their bodies, and that what happens now might not always make sense in the short term, but that it will in the long term.

Let’s consider Friday night, for example. Adys Portillo had allowed one hit through six innings, and was taken out of the game having thrown fewer than 70 pitches. Certainly, no pitcher in that situation wants to leave the game. Jose Valentin put things in perspective for Portillo, though. Valentin told Portillo that if he continued to pitch this well, he wouldn’t be worried about a start with Fort Wayne on May 25, 2012. He’d soon be more concerned about his next start in San Diego, and how he was doing with the Padres. Valentin played 16 years in the big leagues and Portillo is 20 years old. Sometimes a little perspective helps a situation make sense.

Back to Monday’s game–it didn’t end well. The bullpen coughed up 13 runs, seven of them from Justin Hancock, and the TinCaps seven runs weren’t enough. Lee Orr did hit hit team-leading sixth home run, though.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, Jose Valentin expresses his frustration with his team’s baserunning and overall performance in Monday’s loss:


After watching the video below, I’d love to hear from any married folks who read this blog. Is there anyone out there who has a story that can top this marriage proposal? This makes proposing on the big screen at a sporting event seem so passé:

This proposal video now moves up to number one in the list of matrimony-related videos on the internet. Here is number two:


Er, uh, I mean mosquitoes. I had one land on my arm last night as  I got home from the ballpark. In addition to thinking, “Why is this bug on my arm?” and then swatting it away, I also came to the realization that summer has pretty much arrived.  Google tells me it doesn’t start until June 20th, but when it’s 95 degrees outside at midnight, I’ll take deciding the start of summer into my own hands.

New York Magazine says we should probably expect a lot of mosquites this summer:

“In the fifties, when we sprayed DDT from trucks and covered marshes with oil in hopes of killing larvae, clouds of mosquitoes were so thick on the Jersey shore “you couldn’t tell Tom from Dick,” one mosquito-control worker told Popular Science. In 1984, after a mild winter and a wet spring, the New York mosquito population quadrupled, and residents in the Rockaways were shutting themselves indoors to avoid the bugs.

 How biblical will it be this time around? “Everybody’s talking about how bad it could be,” says Jim Skinner, owner of A&C Pest Management. “You know when you have a cold winter, regardless of the species, you get a good kill. And so without a winter, it should be a really good year for insects. And mammals, too. We’ve seen an uptick in mice already.”


Incubus…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.


I don’t know if it beats the video above, but this is a pretty good proposal, too:

I think that’s a great way to do it, too! The things that these people come up with…their creativity is incredible. Thanks for sharing.

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