Sweep Potential, Smith’s Year, Stop the Madness
Another night and another win for the TinCaps. Last night Fort Wayne defeated Bowling Green, 3-2, with Josh VanMeter’s seventh-inning solo home run making the difference. Click here to read the game story.
Here are today’s headlines:
A TinCaps Win Would: Extend the team’s season-long winning streak to six games… Be their eighth in their last nine games…Be their first road sweep.
Twelve Months of Change: Leadoff hitter Mallex Smith raised his average to .302 with a 2-for-5 night Thursday, bringing it above .300 for the first time this season. Smith leads MLB and MiLB with 39 stolen bases, too. Compared to his numbers from 2013 through 50 games, he has drastically improved in almost every category.
2013 (June 20th): .251 AVG, .351 OBP, 24 BB, 22 K, 25 SB
2014: (May 30th): .302 ABG, .401 OBP, 32 BB, 41 K, 39 SB
Smith also currently leads the league in runs (44) and is T-4th with 61 hits.
He’d Lead the League, But…: First baseman Jake Bauers, the youngest player in the league, is 23 plate appearances shy of qualifying for the league batting lead, but would have a hefty advantage if he did qualify. The 18-year-old is hitting .352 (.370 in May), which places him .010 points ahead of current MWL batting leader Paul Hendrix of Lake County (.342). Bauers’ on-base-percentage of .430 would rank fourth, as would his slugging percentage of .533.
No Mutz, Tail End Still OK: In last night’s game, someone other than Nick Mutz recorded a TinCaps save for the first time in 2014, as Tayron Guerrero picked up his first of the year, and just the second of his career, with the first coming in 2010 with the DSL Padres in his first pro season. Guerrero reached 100 MPH on the radar gun. In his last 13 1/3 innings (9G), he has allowed 7 hits, 1 ER, 3BB, and struck out 17.
Five Games, Now Six, Will Ya Give Me Six?: A win tonight for the TinCaps would be their sixth straight, matching the six in a row they won at the tail end of a nine-game winning streak last year, that stretched from June 2 to June 11.
Tonight’s broadcast gets going at 7:45 ET with first pitch scheduled for 8:05 ET in Bowling Green, Kentucky. You can hear the game on The Fan 1380 in Fort Wayne and on TheFanFortWayne.com everywhere else, including in Burma, where the TinCaps are a massive hit.
WHO’S THE NEW GUY?
I gave a primer on tonight’s starter, Ronald Herrera, yesterday, but here’s a little bit more on him via The Afroed Elephant:
“Ronald Herrera has made waves through the short season competition and gained noteriety for his success as he additionally has made a bid to be the successor to the Alcantara crown for most elite international arm below Stockton. The 18 year old who signed for a meager five figure sum out of Venezuela instantly dug out a soft spot amongst the Oakland coaching staff for his monotonously consistent delivery upon the mound and elite control of his offerings, between a low 90’s FB, curveball and changeup. Nothing amongst Herrera’s repertoire is mindboggling or excessively plus such as Paulino’s changeup, but his composure and accurate placement allowed him to bully his AZL competition this past summer to the tune of a 19.6% K% (58 K), 3.7% BB% (11 BB), and a 0.38 HR/9 (3 HR) in his 70 2/3 AZL innings which culminated in a 2.70 FIP in his first US opportunity. The performance was enough to convince management to provide Herrera with an additional two starts in Vermont, where he went 7 2/3 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 8 K to conclude his season. The diminutive 5’10” righty often succumbed to his high groundball rate which ought to even out as he is surrounded by more advanced infielders behind him, and should play as a plus attribute upon arriving in dinger susceptible areas such as Beloit and Stockton. With a command often unseen in youngsters his age, Herrera has the ability to rush through the system and could possibly project more so in a long relief role for the Athletics.”
TINCAPS REPORT PODCAST
I spoke with catcher Ryan Miller prior to Thursday’s game about his go-ahead home run, what it’s like playing in humid weather, and his latest iPad fascination:
FROM WHERE I SIT
Below you’ll find my view during games at Bowling Green Ballpark. Discerning balls and strikes becomes America’s favorite play-by-play guessing game called, “Inside or Outside?”:
Also, I am so close to the third-base bag that when Ryan Miller was rounding third after his home run on Thursday night, he told me he could hear me talking about back-to-back home runs. Ya hear that, Arbitron, add another listener to the ratings!
AN APPEAL TO REASON
While I was at breakfast this morning, I was scanning my Twitter feed on my phone, and came across the phrase #ShockTheWorld. I might be wrong with my capitalization, though, as it was likely not capitalized, being on Twitter and all. The phrase has become popular with fans of sports teams that are not favored to win games or tournaments in which they play. For some reason, I distinctly remember it being used by the Norfolk State men’s basketball team in 2012 when it knocked second-ranked Missouri from the NCAA tournament. I write today to ask one thing:
The use of #ShockTheWorld is incredibly ignorant and ridiculously misplaced in the context of sports. The United States, a population of approximately 300 million, makes up just 4% of the world’s population. The world’s most popular sport is soccer, not basketball, not baseball, not football– arguably the three most popular sports in the United States. Although, yes, the phrase may be used as hyperbole, sports fans can do better.
In a world where countries have debt crises, severe income disparity, food shortages, lack of access to healthcare and education, and political instability, among many other things, let’s vow to never use such an inane phrase again as it pertains to sports.
Sports are important to me. Working in sports is how I make a living, and it’s also the livelihood for thousands of other people around the country, too, but at the end of the day–it’s just a game. The outcome of any game has no effect on the world around us. Let’s not forget to keep that in mind as college sports postseason tournaments roll around, in addition to the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals.The world won’t be shocked no matter who wins, because most of the world isn’t even aware there are people playing.
Phillip Phillips…take it away!