Win Streaks, Roster Moves, Questions and Answers
I’ve never been in a fight (I would definitely lose), but I imagine that striking first goes a long way toward intimidating one’s opponent and winning a battle. Yesterday, Alberth Martinez hit a first-inning home run as the TinCaps defeated the Lugnuts, 7-1, winning for a second straight night.
Fort Wayne continued to throw punches against Lansing after that first inning, sending starter Daniel Norris packing after four innings and using a four-run eighth inning to finish off the strong effort. The TinCaps have now won four in a row, with a chance for five and a potential sweep on the line tonight. With a Bowling Green loss this morning, Fort Wayne is now tied with the Hot Rods for the second and final playoff spot in the Eastern Division.
With Ruben Mejia injured, Bryan Rodriguez will get the start tonight for the TinCaps. Entering this season he had a 7-5 record and a 4.75 ERA, having started 13 of 23 of the games in which he’d played.
Also, Fort Wayne made a roster move today, putting Gabriel Quintana on the shelf with an injured hand (he was plunked Monday at Bowling Green) and adding inflielder Chris Burke, who was selected in the 18th round last year out of Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. He is in the lineup tonight at first base, hitting seventh.
Burke is 23 years old and is a native of Islip, N.Y. Last year, Burke hit .270 in 10 games for the Arizona League Padres with 6 RBI and .231 with 1 HR and 9 RBI in 41 games for Short-Season-A Eugene. Burke started 2013 in extended spring training before transferring on April 28 to Triple-A Tucson, where he went 1-for-3 in four games. Burke then transferred back to extended spring training on May 8, before moving to Advanced-A Lake Elsinore on May 11. In Lake Elsinore, Burke hit 2-for-7 in two games. Most recently, Burke transferred from Lake Elsinore to San Antonio on May 14. With the Missions, Burke went 1-for-5 in four contests.
To hear a chat with one of the newest members of the TinCaps, reliever Joe Church, listen to this podcast below:
YOU ASK, I (ATTEMPT TO) ANSWER
Reader, and friend of the blog (that’s a FOTB, for a short and much more convenient way to say it), Ken tweets in:
@MikeCouzens Q for future IAR. Aside from obvious exceptions (no-hitter etc), do you enjoy calling a pitcher’s duel or a high scoring game?
This one’s an easy answer for me, and it’s hands down the pitcher’s duel. The “best” game I’ve called since joining the TinCaps came in last year, when the TinCaps hosted the Whitecaps at Parkview Field. The end of the regular season was near, and the TinCaps were in a fight for the wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Division.
James Needy, a Southern California native who had started the season in the bullpen, was making just his fourth start of the season, and it was unquestionably his best. Needy worked a complete-game (not the cheap seven-inning or rain-shortened five-inning variety) and allowed just four hits. It was a dominant effort. The reason this game stands out to me so much is because a) Midwest League pitchers rarely throw nine innings due to pitch counts and b) since this is a developmental league, you don’t often see a game with so few hits and no walks(!). Needy fanned five and didn’t walk a single batter. And after all this, you’re thinking, “The TinCaps won!” However, they lost.
Shortstop Jace Peterson committed an error on the second inning, leading to a West Michigan run, and the Whitecaps won, 1-0. And it was still my favorite game of the year.
In a game with tons of runs, strikeouts and runners in scoring position lose their novelty a bit. There’s no high drama for each baseunner, where any misstep can lead to the game’s deciding run, as it did that day. In a 1-0, or 0-0 game, each batter can be the difference, whereas in a 7-5 game, you’re almost expecting both teams to score each inning. In a 140-game baseball season, there are a lot of meaningless at-bats, so in a pitcher’s duel each one means something, and it keeps me on the edge of my seat.
Is “Tribute to College Rivalries Night” at Parkview Field. I have one message, and one message only:
Billy Joel and Paul McCartney…take it away! (This is from one of my favorite live shows, “Last Play at Shea”, at Shea Stadium (RIP) in Queens, N.Y.