Donut Game, R.I.P. Shep’s Chin Beard, Hitting the Links

Editor’s Note: Despite rumors suggesting otherwise, Mike Couzens isn’t lactose intolerant and he isn’t milking his vacation days. He just couldn’t make the trip to Wisconsin. So once again, it’s the Lenny Harris of It’s All Relative, John Nolan.

Just like on Saturday night in Beloit, the TinCaps could only muster one run against the Snappers on Sunday. And oh how different the games were.

After a 7-1 shellacking in the series opener, Fort Wayne won Sunday, 1-0. Luis Domoromo doubled-in Corey Adamson in the top of the fifth, and that was all Joe Ross, Trevor Gott, and Chris Nunn needed.

Ross, the TinCaps’ Opening Day starter and a Midwest League All-Star, threw six shutout innings to finally receive credit for his fourth win of the season. He had to wait 80 days since his last victory on April 25 but finally got the proverbial monkey off his back with a dominant 86-pitch, five-strikeout performance as he allowed only three hits and walked two. During Joe’s drought there were five first-half games in which he went five-plus innings and gave up two earned runs or less, but he couldn’t catch a break. And until Sunday, he hadn’t been pitching to his standards in the second half. You wouldn’t have known that, though, if you were at Pohlman Field Sunday.

Beloit run total on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Gott continues to impress since he was called up from Eugene on June 26. Remember, it was less than two month’s ago that the reliever was pitching for the University of Kentucky. Now in the Midwest League, he’s allowed one earned run in his first 8.2 innings. Sunday was the first time that Trevor gott to work two innings and he was just as effective as he’d been in shorter stints.

And, let’s hope this doesn’t jinx Nunn, but the left-hander has now made seven consecutive appearances without allowing a run. That’s true for 11 of his last 12 appearances as a matter of fact. And those aren’t just spots where he came in to pitch situationally. Of those 12 outings, Chris pitched at least an inning in all but one of them.

SUNDAY CONVERSATION

We sat down with Fort Wayne’s skipper Sunday for our weekly chat. In light of Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter Saturday night we asked Jose if he was ever involved in a no-hitter during his big league career. Jose also reflects on returning to the state where he began his career with the Brewers and tries to make sense of the TinCaps’ struggles in the second half. Take a listen below:

GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

The TinCaps’ jerseys were hung at half-hanger in the clubhouse this weekend. It is with deep regret that we inform you Fort Wayne’s pitching staff lost one of its own on Saturday: Matthew Shepherd’s chin beard, which had been growing for five months, was shaved.

Somewhere in the Beloit, WI, Rodeway Inn there's a tomb that reads: "Matthew Shepherd's Chin Beard, February 2013-July 2013. Never forget."

According to teammates, that’s “Shep” on the left and “Matthew” on the right. Test results are still pending to confirm if they are the same person.

Somewhere among the tombstones at the Beloit, WI, Rodeway Inn there’s now one that reads: “Matthew Shepherd’s Chin Beard, February 2013-July 2013. Gone but not forgotten.”

The Fort Wayne pitching staff has requested that in lieu of flowers, chin-hair re-growth supplements be sent to Parkview Field in memory of Matthew Shepherd’s Chin Beard.

HITTING THE LINKS

The TinCaps have a day off Tuesday. Many on the team will be using it to finally unwind and relax after six days on the road. Some will play golf. We wish we could go play golf, too, but for now we have to settle for hitting the links this way…

* The New York Times asks “Who Scores Games by Hand Anymore?” Fans keeping score at the ballpark has become something of a lost art given that A) there’s now more to do at a game than just the game these days, B) with technology, you can just check the box score on your phone.

Personally, my dad taught me how to keep score at Mets games growing up. I can remember when I was little I didn’t understand what he was doing and then over time I learned from him. It felt like something of a rite of passage. It would be sad to see the practice go by the wayside, but I won’t be shocked if it does.

On the note of keeping score: For as long as I’ve listened to baseball games on the radio, I’ve heard broadcasters say (for example, on a groundout to second base), “That’s 4-to-3 if you’re scoring at home.” Now as a broadcaster myself, I say it every once in a while, too —  just as a product of having heard it so much. But I’ve always wondered, does anyone actually score games at home? I find it hard to believe anyone would, especially in 2013.

The Wall Street Journal reports “In America’s Pastime, Baseball Players Pass A Lot of Time.” A detailed study of three games shows that 90% of a baseball game is spent standing around. By WSJ calculations, the average three-hour game features 17 minutes and 58 seconds of action. That’s it. Meanwhile, the “time between batters” averaged about 34 minutes, the “time between innings” averaged about 43 minutes, and the “time between pitches” consumed about 1 hour, 15 minutes.

It’s Monday morning on day six of a six-day trip so I’m in no mind to present solutions, but I do believe this is a problem for the sport, especially when you consider today’s culture of instant-gratification. It’s not going to happen overnight (although the TV ratings of late are already evidence) but baseball’s popularity is diminishing and this is a big part of the reason why in my opinion.

* A couple weeks late on this, but in case you missed it, check out the gift that the Twins gave Mariano Rivera as a retirement present.

An apropos gift for the closer who holds the unofficial record for most bats caused to be broken.

MUSICAL GUEST

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, take it away…

Thanks as always for reading. Feel free to be in touch on Twitter @John_G_Nolan or by email: nolan@tincaps.com. Hope you can catch this afternoon’s game on The Fan 1380 or TheFanFortWayne.com. Coverage starts at 12:40 EST.

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