Bullpen Holds Things Together as TinCaps Roll On

Welcome to Eastlake, Ohio, where amidst Cleveland Browns madness, the TinCaps and Captains will do battle tonight.

Classic Park, the home of tonight’s game.

Last night was a hard-fought win for the TinCaps at Parkview Field, 4-3, over the Captains in game one of the Eastern Division championship series. Here was the TinCaps dugout after Matt Stites recorded the final out:

The #22 right there is Manager Jose Valentin, with his fist raised in the air in celebration. Stites had just struck out the side, earning his third save in as many playoff games, and helping Fort Wayne move to within one game of the Midwest League championship series.

“He’s not afraid to throw strikes, he works ahead in the count and he’s one of those guys that knows how to get people out.  He pretty much has been gold for us. When he gets the ball and we’re ahead in the ninth, pretty much the game is over,” said Valentin about his closer.

The bullpen’s overall effort in the postseason has been one of the biggest reasons Fort Wayne has won all three playoff games so far.  It has worked 12 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits, one run, striking out 36 and walking seven (0.73 ERA). Valentin called Leo native Brandon Alger the lefty the team had been missing all season. Alger has pitched two innings and struck out four, being used as the lefty specialist.

As for heading on the road to Lake County? Valentin’s not worried.

“We’ve gotta go up there and start right away, be aggressive right away and score some runs early for Cabrera. We’ve got a kid who hasn’t pitched in the postseason so hopefully he doesn’t get too anxious or nervous.   The key it to try and put some runs on the board early for him to make him just go up on the mound, get some outs and keep him away from the pressure,” Valentin said.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear Valentin’s full comments from after last night’s game:

MOVIE WATCH

It only took us 143 games, but we finally watched one of my favorite movies, Old School, on the bus today.

You’re my boy, Blue.

MUSICAL GUEST

Ryan Adams…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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