Heading South

Editor’s Note: Mike Couzens is on ESPN3/U duty this weekend in Madison, WI for the College National Championships of Men’s and Women’s Ultimate. So the ultimate John Nolan is pinch-hitting.

After losing four games in a row for the first time this year, the TinCaps have gone further south. Literally, that is. This morning the team hopped on the bus in front of Parkview Field at 8:00 and took off for the 347-mile voyage to Bowling Green, KY. The TinCaps and Hot Rods begin a three-game series at Bowling Green Ballpark tonight at 8:05.

Fittingly for the most southern city in the Midwest League, there’s a Waffle House right next to our hotel. I’ve never dined at one before. Thoughts? I hear the food is a guilty pleasure, but I can’t get Jim Gaffigan’s routine out of my head calling it the “Awful” House.

If you’re a TinCaps fan, you may want to shield your eyes at this, but here are a few notable numbers from South Bend’s four-game sweep of Fort Wayne.

* Prior to their series against the Silver Hawks, the TinCaps had never before been swept in a four-game series at Parkview Field since it opened in 2009. In fact, the last time Fort Wayne dropped every contest in a four-game set at home was August 10-13, 2006 against Beloit at the old Memorial Stadium.

* In four games against South Bend, Fort Wayne was outscored 17-5 and outhit 29-21. The TinCaps scored twice in the opener (when Maxx Tissenbaum drove in both runs) and three times in the finale (when Gabriel Quintana plated all three). Fort Wayne went 5-33 (.152) with runners in scoring position, as they left 33 runners on base. Prior to the series against the Silver Hawks, the TinCaps were hitting .257 as a team with runners in scoring position.

* The TinCaps are a combined 2-10 against the first-place Silver Hawks (0-6) and the second-place Hot Rods (2-4). Against Lansing, West Michigan, Dayton, Great Lakes, and Lake County — all teams below .500 — Fort Wayne is 17-6. Including games against the Western Division, too, the TinCaps are 21-7 against sub-.500 teams and 4-18 against winning clubs.

On a brighter note, TinCaps pitching has struck out 25 batters over the last two games. Zach Eflin and Michael Kelly combined to K a season-high 13 on Thursday, and last night out of the bullpen it was Matt Chabot (five), Leonel Campos (four), and Roman Madrid (one) who picked up the slack for starter Ruben Mejia, who struck out two, but gave up five runs before getting yanked after 2 and 2/3 innings.

NOT A HAPPY CAMPER

Following last night’s loss, manager José Valentín voiced the frustration he’s feeling with his team for the third day in a row. You can find some of his comments here in Sean Morrison’s notebook for the Journal-Gazette.

ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD OF SPORTS

This is actually a story that transcends sports, but in case you missed it, approximately 3,000 runners who were unable to complete the Boston Marathon on April 15 because of the bombings, returned to downtown Boston earlier today and finished the race’s final mile. What a story.

MUSICAL GUEST

In the spirit of Memorial Day Weekend, we give you one of the most patriotic, and misunderstood, songs in American music history. It’s Boss Time…

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Nolan@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @John_G_Nolan.

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