Landmark Inning, Roster Move, Who’s Next?

There are bad days, there are good days, and then there’s the day the TinCaps had yesterday against the Great Lakes Loons. A 10-0 win, with a seven-run fifth inning as the cornerstone, was how Fort Wayne made its entrance to Dow Diamond on Thursday night.

Loons starter Ralston Cash (easily the frontrunner for Midwest League name of the year) had given up two runs in the second, but retired the side in order in both the third and fourth innings. Things were looking smooth, until he couldn’t get anyone out in the fifth. By the time his pitching line was finished, he had given up eight runs.

Not to be forgotten is how well Fort Wayne pitched. Frank Garces worked maybe his best outing of the season, throwing five innings, giving up one hit, walking one and striking out five batters. In five innings, he only faced three batters more than the minimum. Practically untouchable. James Jones and Johnny Barbato completed the game out of the bullpen. The TinCaps were also a perfect 6-6 in stolen bases, too.

The seven runs the TinCaps scored in the fifth tied them for the most they’ve put up in any single frame this year. The last time they scored that many runs in an inning was on April 30th in the first inning against Peoria’s Gerardo Concepcion. By the way, that trend has continued for the 20-year-old, who the Cubs put on their 40-man roster after signing him this spring. From the Peoria Journal Star:

Concepcion has an ERA of 16.97 (22 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings) in the first inning of his 12 starts. In his other 402/3 innings, Concepcion’s ERA is 4.65.

Neither of those ERA’s are fantastic, but the first inning numbers are staggering.

Tonight’s game has Adys Portillo scheduled to start for Fort Wayne against Loons newcomer Duke von Schamann (possibly in second place for MWL name of the year?). Here’s the lowdown:

The 15th-round pick played two seasons for Texas Tech, going 6-4 with a 2.08 ERA in 12 starts. He made a brief stop at Ogden after he signed, going 1-0 with no runs and one hit allowed in three innings.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear my chat with Loons skipper John Shoemaker. He tells us about his club’s first half struggles, and why his dad found a recent Great Lakes game hard to enjoy:

ROSTER MOVE

Exactly one year to the day from when it was announced Donavan Tate would be suspended for a positive drug test, he was promoted to Advanced-A Lake Elsinore on Thursday. The third overall pick in the 2009 draft, Tate hit .207 with one home run and 21 RBI in 52 games with Fort Wayne this season.

His career, since he signed with the Padres and turned down a football scholarship to the University of North Carolina, has been well-chronicled:

Tate had opened the (2011) year in full-season ball for the first time at low Class A Fort Wayne before a collision with Everett Williams left him with a hyperextended knee. (Williams wound up with a torn ACL).

Tate, who signed for a two-sport, $6.25 million bonus after being drafted behind Stephen Strasburg and Dustin Ackley in 2009, already has missed time as a pro with several other injuries, starting after signing in 2009 with a broken jaw incurred in an all-terrain vehicle crash. He also missed time in 2010 with a concussion, a shoulder injury and a viral illness.

This represents a very positive step for Tate, who had not, until last night, played in a game above the Midwest League. He made his California League debut last night, coming in to replace Cory Spangenberg. Tate went 0-1 with a walk, a strikeout, and scored a run in a 9-6 Lake Elsinore loss. Expectations have always been high for Tate, and now he’ll have a chance to prove himself at the next level.

With that move, though, the TinCaps roster is at 24 players, one below the normal 25. There are a number of ways the organization could go here. Options include:

-Activating Kyung-Min Na from the disabled list

-Sending Alberth Martinez from Eugene to Fort Wayne

-Sending Corey Adamson from Eugene to Fort Wayne

or assigning a 2012 draft pick to the TinCaps roster. One option is former Stony Brook outfielder Travis Jankowski, who recently inked his deal with the Padres:

Jankowski, a center fielder from Lancaster, Pa., was taken with the 44th overall selection. He batted .414 in 66 starts for the Seawolves, eliminated from the CWS with losses to UCLA and Florida State. Jankowski also stole 36 bases in 42 attempts. He was named an ABCA National Co-Player of the Year.

Whichever player ends up joining the roster, they’ll be added to a mix of players that is performing extremely well right now.

MUSICAL GUEST

Justin Bieber, with a cut off his new album…Biebs, take it away!

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

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