Avoiding the Sweep, Endless Debate, Dobby

It’s been a tough last few games for the TinCaps, as they led 3-0 on Saturday and lost, 4-3. Yesterday, they led 4-1, and lost, 5-4. Here’s to a better fate today. I’ve done my part by going to my favorite BBQ spot in Dayton:

Mmmmm

Also, Frank Garces is pitching. That gives the TinCaps a much better chance of winning than whatever I happened to stuff down my gullet for lunch. Garces has been nothing short of phenomenal lately, winning eight of his last nine starts. He hasn’t lost in more than two months. When his current run began, he had a 1-4 record and a 2.88 ERA. Now he is 9-4 and has a Midwest League-leading 2.29 ERA. Adys Portillo previously held that crown, but with his advancement to Double-A, Garces has stepped right in.

The little things will be important for Fort Wayne if they hope to avoid a three-game sweep today. For instance:

-On Saturday, they recorded two hits after the third inning.

-Yesterday, the third out was made on the bases (two pickoffs, one caught stealing) in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. They went 1-2-3 in the ninth.

The Dragons are in last place not just for the second half, but for the season in the Eastern Division. That’s not the type of club the TinCaps want to face trouble against, especially not with Lansing on deck. Here are the three pitchers Fort Wayne is scheduled to face in the upcoming series against the Lugnuts:

Aaron Sanchez (8-2, 2.36)

Noah Syndergaard (7-4, 2.89)

Justin Nicolino (7-4, 2.67)

That’s just part of the reason Lansing has the best record in the league.

I hope you can join me on the radio tonight. I’ll have coverage starting at 6:45 on 1380 ESPN if you’re in the area of ESPNFortWayne.com if you’re anywhere else.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, it’s my Sunday Chat with Manager Jose Valentin in which we discuss:

-Erik Cabrera’s fearless pitching

-Travis Jankowski’s assertiveness in center field

-The TinCaps’ hopes for a playoff push

THE GREAT DEBATE

If you haven’t followed along with the Stephen Strasburg saga, here’s what’s happening: No matter what, the Nationals will be shutting him down when he reached 160 innings. The problem with that is that the Nationals are looking like a playoff club this season. So, why, many have asked, would they put their best pitcher on the shelf for the rest of the year?

Sports talk radio has endlessly debated it, SportsCenter has talked about it and there is no right answer, nor will there ever be. However, that doesn’t mean there’s not good, informed analysis of the decision. That’s where this article by ESPN’s Jayson Stark comes in.

He breaks down the situation by talking to doctors, pitching coaches, general managers and he takes a look back at pitchers like Josh Johnson and Kerry Wood to see how they fared after having Tommy John surgery. If you’ve had your fill of Strasburg debate mania, I understand. But I think this article might be the most well-researched take on the whole debate yet.

As Stark puts it:

“Shutdown Day is approaching. And soon, Shutdown Day will arrive. And when it does, you know what the Washington Nationals are going to learn?

That it’s going to be a lot easier to shut down their best pitcher than it is to shut down this debate — for the rest of Stephen Strasburg’s life.”

APROPOS OF NOTHING

I saw this license plate the other night here in Dayton. You’ve got to be a big Harry Potter fan to put that on your plate. Everywhere you go, you’re proclaiming that you are a big fan of a house elf. Also, if there’s a “Dobby 1″, how many more Dobbys could there be?

Courtesy of the TinCaps Amateur Photography Department

MUSICAL GUEST

Maroon 5…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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