The TinCaps’ six-game winning streak came to an end Tuesday night, as they lost, 3-2, to the first-place Bowling Green Hot Rods at Parkview Field.
Joe Ross had what in any other game against any other team would be a pretty good start–6IP, 5H, 3ER, 2BB, 7K–but this wasn’t any team. Bowling Green is a pesky group that finds way s to get on base and is able to manufacture runs unlike any other team in the Eastern Division. They steal bases seemingly at will (81% of the time they’re successful) and don’t hit many home runs, but they get timely hits.
One of the biggest plays of the game, although it didn’t necessarily seem like it at the time, was a wild pitch that he threw with Tyler Goeddel at the plate in the third inning. Joey Rickard had led off the inning with a single up the middle, and the wild pitch allowed him to go to second base.
Jose Valentin said after the game that it appeared Ross had mistaken a pick-off signal from the dugout for a pitch-out signal, which led to the wild pitch. As it turned out, Goeddel followed with a single to left, and the next batter, Luke Maile, singled to right, scoring Rickard. With a final score of 3-2, that turned out to be the game’s deciding run. Ross finished the inning smoothly after that, striking out Justin O’Conner and inducing a double play off the bat of Tommy Coyle. That miscommunication, however, ended up being costly, as did Fort Wayne’s lack of timely hitting.
“Today the clutch hit never came,” Valentin said after his team went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
The eighth and ninth innings were especially crucial for Fort Wayne. They had the bases loaded and nobody out with Gabriel Quintana at the plate, where a base hit could have tied the game, with the TinCaps trailing, 3-1. Quintana instead grounded into a double play, bringing home a run, but killing any chance at a big rally. With the tying run on third, Luis Tejada meekly popped out to second, ending the inning. Alberth Martinez came up in the ninth inning with the tying run at second base, but struck out to end the game.
Today it’s a battle of first-rounders on the hill as the TinCaps and Hot Rods square off at 11:05. Max Fried, who went 5 2/3 innings last start without giving up a hit, faces Blake Snell of Bowling Green. Snell, who was a supplemental first-round pick of the Rays in 2011, has allowed a first-inning run in five of six starts this season. In the first inning, Snell has surrendered eight total runs. In every other inning outside the first, Snell has surrendered four total runs. (That stat courtesy of the Bowling Green Media Relations Department, also known as the one and only Hank Fuerst.)
From the other side of the tracks, the TinCaps are a perfect 5-0 with Fried on the mound. Who will be the victor?
We meant of this baseball game, Mr. Hugo, but thanks for the offer.
You’ll have to tune in (or show up) to find out. Join me and Kent Hormann on XFINITY 81 at 11:00 or check out John Nolan and Mike Maahs on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com at 10:45.
TROLLEY TO THE GAME
The TinCaps are offering a new service today, where you can park for free and ride to the game on a trolley. It’ll be just like you’re on an episode of Full House! I know what you’re saying, “Cut. It. Out.”
But we’re for real. Here are the details of how you can park and ride for free:
Those attending the Fort Wayne TinCaps 11:05am day game on Wednesday, May 15th will have an additional parking option. The team announced that they will be providing free parking located at 2400 West Jefferson Boulevard, adjacent to SweetCars and Westwood Lanes. Once game attendees have parked, they will be transported to Parkview Field by trolley directly to the South Gate of the ballpark.
The lot at 2400 West Jefferson Boulevard will be open for service at 10:00am with trolleys running every 15 minutes. Drop off will take place directly in front of the South Gate at Parkview Field. Trolleys will continue running until 45 minutes after the final out of Wednesday’s TinCaps game.
To hear post-game thoughts from TinCaps Manager Jose Valentin, listen to the podcast below:
Justin Timberlake…take it away!
Last night featured the type of game that good teams win, or that bad teams lose–it all depends on whose side you take. Facing Dayton in the finale of a three-game series, the TinCaps were down 2-0 after five innings, having been befuddled at the plate all night long by Dragons starter Robert Stephenson. He was dominant, striking out seven batters and not issuing a single walk for his second straight start. Stephenson, a first-round pick in 2011, allowed just one unearned run.
And then either a) the bullpen came in or b) the bats came to life. The Dragons brought in Wandy Peralta, a pitcher who was 0-3 and had an ERA of 5.14. He left the evening with a record of 0-4 and an ERA of 6.14, after giving up four runs (three earned) in just an inning of work. Peralta, it is safe to say, is not the best pitcher in the Dayton bullpen. The Dragons pitching staff has also been the worst in the league ERA-wise, with a staff mark of 4.80. Fort Wayne checks in at 3.67, which is fifth.
Peralta gave up a two-run homer to Brian Adams in the sixth, and two more runs were charged to his tab in the seventh, after he left with runners on base. Even though the TinCaps trailed, 4-1, yesterday, they still made a valiant comeback effort to win the game, 5-4.
They won their sixth consecutive game, and they are still just one game behind first-place South Bend and Bowling Green heading into tonight’s home game with the Hot Rods.
Bowling Green took two out of three from the TinCaps when they squared off last month in Kentucky, and two of the games were blowouts (Bowling Green won 10-5 and 12-6) before the TinCaps eked out a 3-2 win in the series finale. The Hot Rods have the best staff ERA in the league at 2.69 (second place is Burlington at 3.44), and they also have the second-most wins in the league (23). This will be a big series for the TinCaps who can go into first place with a series win, or fall further back if they dont.
In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, I chat with catcher Rodney Daal about his quintlingualism (made that word up, but he speaks five languages) and how Spongebob was one of the first shows he watched from the U.S. when growing up in The Netherlands:
Mike Stud…take it away!
It’s the final day of the TinCaps’ quick three-day stint here in Dayton, Ohio, and Fort Wayne plays today for a sixth straight win. The TinCaps swept the Great Lakes Loons at Parkview Field last week, and now are looking for a three-game sweep here against the Dragons. Despire their less than stellar 12-23 record, the Dragons have not been swept in a three-game series yet this season.
Some notes for today’s game:
-Fort Wayne’s five-game winning streak is its longest of the season. A six-game winning streak would mark the first one since July 16-22, 2012, which was the team’s longest streak of the year last year.
-Over the first two games of this series, the Fort Wayne catchers have been the catalysts for the offense. Saturday Dane Phillips went 3-for-5 with a home run, and yesterday Rodney Daal went 4-for-4 with two home runs and four runs batted in.
-TinCaps starting pitchers have gone at least five innings in every game (10) this month. The starters’ ERA is 2.51 during that stretch, when the team has gone 10-3.
-Walker Weickel looks for his first Midwest League victory, and just the second win of his professional career tonight. The pitching matchup features two first-round draft selections, in Weickel (#55, 2012) and Dayton’s Robert Stephenson (#27, 2011). Stepehnson, who is from Martinez, California, was taken two sports behind Fort Wayne’s Joe Ross. The Dragons righthander is coming off the best outing of his pro career, having dominated Lansing on Wednesday, throwing six innings, allowing three hits, no runs, no walks, and striking out nine.
Air time is 6:40 on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com. I hope you’ll join me.
LIFE ON THE ROAD
I had lunch today at Jimmie’s Ladder 11, a restaurant near the University of Dayton. It’s built in what was once a firehouse, constructed in 1896. When the firehouse was built, the fire department relied on horses to take them to the location of the fire.
Here’s a cool little piece from the restaurant. This is a railing, that was behind where I was seated, and it’s got Monopoly “Chance” and “Community Chest” pieces in it, surrounded by dominoes. The support for the railing, according to the information listed on the back of the menu, is made from the old radiators that were in the firehouse, and the original brass fire pole in the fire house.
FROM THE DUGOUT
TinCaps middle-infielder Maxx Tissenbaum blogs throughout the season, and today put up a new post, writing about the team’s current winning streak. He also included a great anecdote about his first-ever trip here to Fifth Third Field in Dayton:
“Let me flash back to June of 2008. I was a high school Junior, and had just been selected o play on Team Canada during its spring Dominican Summer League trip. I was beginning to receive letters from both college and pro teams requesting more information on both my playing, and my academic careers. When I found out I’d be away from home for 10 days I knew I’d be missing out on the excitement of checking the mail to see who wanted me to fill out what forms. I told my parents that I wanted them to call me every time someone sent me baseball related mail, and told them to open it and read it to me. I came home from one of our games against the DSL teams and had my daily phone call with my mom and she joked “okay it’s time to commit mail fraud,” a running joke over the course of the week. What she read next floored me. I had been a relatively obscure player in terms of the prospect rankings, and so I was totally off guard when she told me that the New York Yankees had sent me a huge package. She read to me that they wanted me to go to a workout in Dayton, where I’d be evaluated by scouting directors, cross-checkers and other pro scouts from across MLB. I freaked out, I wrote it in my calendar, and put in on my computer I made sure there were reminders everywhere. When I came home I made sure to rearrange the exam I had scheduled for the morning of the workout. My parents and I traveled to Dayton, and I walked through the home plate gate of 5th 3rd Field where I met the scout who had invited me. He handed me a Yankees batting practice jersey and cap, and told me to head to the 3rd base dugout. I sat there putting on my spikes with about 50 other high school kids in either Yankees, Reds, Diamondbacks or Tigers uniforms. We were all wide eyed, and I’d assume more nervous than any of us let on. The workout was a blast, I got to work with all sorts of pro scouts and coaches, got to play with and against some of the top players in my graduating class and to top it all off I was in a GORGEOUS minor league stadium. Let’s just say it was one of my best baseball memories.”
To hear my Sunday Conversation with TinCaps Manager Jose Valentin in which we discuss his durable six-man rotation, his dilemma at catcher, and how important his wife, Ilka, is to his family, listen below:
It was Mother’s Day yesterday, and when you do a little Googling, you’ll find this great MLB.com photo from 2005, where Jose discusses how important his wife is:
WISLER ON THE MOVE
Padres farmhand Matt Wisler, who was with the TinCaps last season, spending almost the entire season as a 19-year-old, was promoted to Double-A San Antonio this season after just six starts with Advanced-A Lake Elsinore. That is not a normal rate of progression. In fact, it’s much faster than normal. Corey Brock of MLB.com has a great story on Wisler today, and his rise through the farm system:
“He’s pretty calm out there, but he’s got that bulldog inside of him,” Hedges said. “He’s not the guy who is going to have these crazy antics or start pumping his fists. He just goes out there expecting himself to get every hitter out. When something doesn’t work, he digs even deeper and still finds a way.”
Better still, Wisler doesn’t claim to have all the answers about pitching. He’s been a sponge with his pitching coaches along the way. His coach in Fort Wayne last season, Willie Blair, now bullpen coach for the Padres, helped Wisler sharpen his slider.
“From last year to this year, my confidence is so much better,” Wisler said. “I know I’m going to get guys out. I trust myself more. I feel better from the stretch. I’m learning how to pitch to guys more. I learned a lot last year about facing guys, seeing what they can hit, what they can’t hit.”
No Doubt…take it away!
Before we get to any baseball today: Happy Mother’s Day. Very special wishes to my mother, Diane, who has raised (tolerated?) me for 23, and going on 24 years. What a fantastic person she is. Here’s all of the Couzens family at my sister Kimberly’s graduation from college in 2007.
A special thanks, on behalf of the players, to the baseball moms who have driven/taxi’d/flown their children halfway across the country and back to help them achieve their goals of playing professional baseball. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a great day.
Now, to baseball-related items…
-The TinCaps are on a four-game winning streak, their longest since July 28th-August 1st last year when they won five straight. They’ve outscored their opponents 18-10 in the last four games.
-Fort Wayne’s starting pitchers have gone the entire month of May (9 games so far), each throwing at least five innings. Last night Zach Eflin went a career-high six innings, and picked up his first professional win in front of a crowd of 9,491, the largest crowd the TinCaps may see this season.
-The home runs hit by Brian Adams and Dane Phillips last night were the first in a week by any member of the TinCaps. Gabriel Quintana, who is back in the lineup, last hit one in the series opener at Peoria LAST Saturday. Fort Wayne was swept in that three-game series, only scoring two runs the whole set.
-Ruben Mejia starts today, taking the hill as a starting pitcher for the third time this season. The TinCaps are 0-2 in his outings this year.
First pitch is at 2:00, so if you’re out barbecuing, don’t be afraid to flip on the radio; I won’t mind (or know, but you can tell me you did, anyway). Pre-game coverage begins at 1:40, and I’ll have Jose Valentin as my guest to talk about how well his pitchers have worked the last week or so, and his thoughts on how important his wife has been helping to raise his kids, as he has been away from his family playing baseball. You can tune in on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com. Talk to you on the radio.
FIFTH THIRD FIELD ABBREVIATED TOUR
One of my favorite parts of Fifth Third Field is the basement level, which houses each team’s clubhouse. On the way to the visiting clubhouse is a one-of-a-kind hallway, which features the logo of every team in the Midwest League. Not surprisingly, the TinCaps logo is featured first:
Up on the suite level, where the press box is located, there are 29 luxury suites. Here’s a look inside one of the newly-renovated ones:
Here’s my Saturday conversation with the first voice of the Fort Wayne Wizards, and now sixth-year voice of the Dayton Dragons, Tom Nichols:
THE PADRES’ PLUMBER
Before I arrived in Fort Wayne, I spent the 2011 season working as the broadcasting and media relations assistant with the Dayton Dragons. Part of my responsibilities were to put together a feature story each Saturday night, and the one I’ve shared below is one of my favorites. Dragons hitting coach Alex Pelaez, now in his third season with the team, reached the major leagues in 2002, but only for three games with the Padres. 90% of the players on all minor league rosters will never make it to the big leagues, so for Pelaez to be one of the few to ever reach the apex of baseball is no small feat. Hear from his then-Triple-A manager (with the now-defunct Portland Beavers) Rick Sweet, and from Pelaez himself about his trip to the majors, and how he hopes to make it back:
Lit…take it away!
Greetings and salutations from the home of the Dayton Dragons, Fifth Third Field in Dayton, Ohio:
The TinCaps open a three-game series here tonight against the Midwest League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. First pitch is at 7:00, and I’ll have pre-game coverage at 6:40 on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com. I hope you’ll join me, as my pre-game guest is the first-ever voice of the Fort Wayne Wizards, and now voice of the Dayton Dragons, Tom Nichols, who has called more than 3,000 Minor League Baseball games in stops like Fort Wayne, Mobile, Alabama, and Gary, Indiana.
Some notes heading into today’s game:
-Fort Wayne’s starting pitchers have gone eight straight games in which they have thrown at least five innings. Joe Ross began the trend on Wednesday, May 1st, and Justin Hancock extended the streak last night by going a career-high (and season-high for TinCaps pitchers) seven innings. During the stretch, TinCaps pitchers have allowed 13 runs in 46 innings, working to a 2.54 ERA.
-Corey Adamson has hit in seven different spots in Jose Valentin’s lineup this season, and has excelled no matter where he’s been. He’ll be hitting leadoff tonight. He’s got a .313 batting average and a .398 on-base percentage through his first 27 games. Last year in 29 games, he hit just .111 with the TinCaps.
-The Dragons have gotten off to a rocky start, beginning the year with a 12-21 record, and playing to just a 6-10 record at home. Their series victory against Lansing in the previous set was their first series win of the season.
-Here is last night’s post-game interview with Luis Tejada, and a look at the highlights from Fort Wayne’s 6-2 win over Great Lakes:
Calvin Harris…take it away!
HISTORY IN FORT WAYNE
Many folks left Parkview Field Thursday night shaking their heads. Not in disappointment, but more in bewilderment, as they’d never seen a game quite like the one that had just witnessed. For a few reasons, the strange walk-off walk to Brian Adams among those, they certainly were normal to feel that way. But the chief reason to feel like Thursday night brought a game like no one had seen before in Fort Wayne’s 21-year history as a franchise was because, well, it hadn’t happened.
Until last night, there had never been a nine-inning no-hitter thrown, by one pitcher or by a team, by either the Wizards or the TinCaps. Fort Wayne defeated Great Lakes, 1-0, and did not allow a hit all night. Max Fried started the game, turning in his best Midwest League performance, after having not pitched in thirteen days. He went 5 2/3 innings, struck out eight batters, and walked four. Matthew Shepherd pitched 1 1/3 innings, while Leonel Campos and Roman Madrid each pitched an inning, too.
It was a special night for Fried, a native of California, who had his dad in attendance. Even though the family lives on the west coast, Fried told me after the game that his father happened to be in Chicago, and was able to make the trip over to Fort Wayne to see his son start.
Here’s the post-game recap, including my interview with Fried:
The first Fort Wayne no-hitter came in 2009, tossed by Simon Castro in a seven-inning win over Dayton. Last night’s game was the third in the Midwest League this year, and the 155th no-hitter in the history of the Midwest League, dating back to 1950. The league has already seen three no-hitters in just more than one month of play, while last year there were only two all season. With the incredible number of games that have been postponed this year (four more yesterday), it’s no surprise there have already been three no-hitters.
How about this stat on Roman Madrid, who picked up his fourth win of the season last night?
He’s the only pitcher in the Midwest League to lead the league in wins (4) and saves (5). Last year with Eugene, Madrid finished the year as the team’s leader in wins (7) and saves (13). He’s on pace to easily surpass those numbers this season. And, by the way, he still has not allowed an earned run this season.
“It’s bittersweet,” Madrid told MiLB.com after the game. “I wish someone who threw more innings than I did got the win. I came in and got a couple of big plays by my defense. We came back in, got some guys on and got a run in. We all picked each other up as a team.”
Perhaps even more remarkable, is the success the TinCaps have had when either Joe Ross or Fried takes the hill. When Ross pitches, the TinCaps are 6-0. When Fried starts, Fort Wayne is 5-0. When anyone else starts, they’re 7-13.
Tonight Justin Hancock gets the call (they’re 3-2 when he pitches) against one of the league’s top arms in Great Lakes’ Carlos Frias, whose 0.91 ERA is now the best in the Midwest League. The Loons are riding a seven-game losing streak, while the TinCaps, after being swept in Peoria, will look to take out their anger with a home sweep over Great Lakes.
Tonight’s action starts at 7:05. You can watch the game with me and Kent Hormann on XFINITY 81 or listen with Mike Maahs on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com.
Here’s post-game audio from the TinCaps locker room after yesterday’s win:
TURN THE TOWN PINK
The TinCaps’ very own Walker Weickel, Maxx Tissenbaum, Brian Adams and Matthew Shepherd were out early this morning around downtown Fort Wayne, helping to turn the town pink. It’s a joint effort between the TinCaps and the Vera Bradley Foundation:
Today is wear pink day, and May 23rd (7:05 home game against South Bend) is Turn the Park Pink day. See those special jerseys the guys are wearing? There’s more where that came from…
It’ll be a big weekend in Syracuse, New York, as the class of 2013 celebrates its commencement at Syracuse University. Included in that class is TinCaps Broadcasting and Media Relations Assistant John Nolan. You’ve heard John on the radio, you’ve read his work here on the blog with such entries as “Walk-Up Wednesday” and “Throwback Thursday”, and you’ll continue to hear and see lots more of his great work throughout the season.
Congrats to John. Today’s song is dedicated to you.
Matchbox Twenty…take it away!
In baseball, you can go years and years and have every day teach you something different and show you something you’ve never seen before. That’s the type of game it is. Jose Valentin is in his second season as a manager after a 16-year playing career, and so he’ll continue to encounter new situations at the helm of a team throughout this season, and in years to come.
In Wednesday’s game, one of those new situations was one Valentin had been anticipating for some time. He said he’d been looking forward to it–how could he not?-but that he didn’t know how he would feel when it finally hit him.
The odds of making it as a professional baseball player, that is, one who is paid to do it for a living, are slim. There are millions of little leaguers, thousands upon thousands of high school athletes, even fewer college athletes, and at the highest levels of baseball, only a select few who even make it as a draft pick or a non-drafted free agent. So what are the odds that Jose Valentin would coach against his own son, Jesmuel, an infielder for the Great Lakes Loons, Wednesday afternoon at Parkview Field?
“It was a little hard in the beginning,” Jose said following Wednesday’s win. “Today felt different than other days. You want to see (your son) doing well, but he’s playing for the opponent, so you’re hoping he has a good game, but hopefully he doesn’t get an (at-bat) where he does some damage against you.”
Jesse, as Jesmuel is known by many, finished the game 0-for-2 with two walks, one of them intentional. Let’s call that a draw for game one of the series.
In the top of the seventh inning, Valentin called for an intentional ball four against his son, who was at the plate with runners at second and third. That was to set up the possibility of a double play, which, although it didn’t come to fruition didn’t matter by the time the ninth inning rolled around.
“It’s always nice to see your son do well after all the time you’ve spent with him, and trying to help him out and make him a good player. But now that I’m coaching against him, I have to divide myself between father and son and just be a coach and try to win. Late in the game, that’s the way I was feeling,” Jose said.
Jesse, who is a switch-hitting middle infielder just like his father, who played in the major leagues for 16 seasons, and was originally signed out of Puerto Rico by the Padres, also wears his dad’s number, 22.
“It’s nice to see that. I would like to see him do well and keep wearing the number that I wore during my career,” Jose said from his subterranean office at Parkview Field.
For now, the score stands: Dad 1, Son 0.
“I hope he has his best games all three days that he’s here, but I have to get a win.”
For the third time this season, the TinCaps won in walk-off fashion, defeating Great Lakes, 6-5, in front of 7,434 fans at Parkview Field Wednesday afternoon. Here was the scene as Alberth Martinez hit an infield dribbler, scoring Brian Adams from third for the game-winning run:
In all three of the walk-off wins this season, the man to drive in the game-winning run has been an unlikely candidate.
The first walk-off hit came April 26th, courtesy of Stephen Carmon, who had come in to the game as a ninth-inning pinch runner, winning the game with his only at-bat. Jeremy Baltz delivered with his only hit of the game for a win just two days later, and Alberth Martinez’s RBI fielder’s choice yesterday preceded an 0-4 stretch against Loons pitching. Martinez, unfortunately, is still stuck in an 0-18 slump, as the run scored on a fielder’s choice.
They’re not pretty wins, but the TinCaps will take them.
Listen to our TinCaps Report Podcast to hear post-game interview with Manager Jose Valentin and pitcher Joe Ross:
U2…take it away!
The TinCaps were on the road for a week, so you can imagine that Brian Adams probably heard more than his fair share of “Summer of ’69.” But now with the TinCaps back in control of the speakers at Parkview Field, we return with the third installment of Walk-Up Wednesday, featuring Corey Adamson.
In this edition, Fort Wayne’s favorite Australian outfielder divulges on his original walk-up song selection that was rejected, explains how a romantic comedy led him to his current choice, and educates us on the music scene “down under.”
We present — without comment — Corey’s walk-up song…
First, in case you’re not familiar, let’s go behind-ish the music of Natasha Bedingfield:
* She’s British, not Australian.
* Natasha’s most successful song so far has been “Unwritten,” which earned her a 2007 Grammy Award nomination for “Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.” She lost to Christina Aguilera for “Ain’t No Other Man,” so no shame in that.
* Yes, she had a hit single called “I Wanna Have Your Babies.” No, her last name isn’t made-up. It’s coincidental.
* “Pocketful of Sunshine” peaked at No. 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 2008.
* On a personal note, I attended Natasha Bedingfield’s one-song performance at Syracuse University in the fall as part of the One World Concert where she sang “Unwritten.” And — if I may add — she crushed it. Thankfully there’s no video of me attempting to sing along. (I can only hit the high-notes on grand slam calls.)
John Nolan: How did you come to choose “Pocketful of Sunshine” for your walk-up song?
Corey Adamson: I wanted to have “Milkshake,” because that’s my song from back home, but I couldn’t have that.
So I was watching the movie Easy A, and she got a card and it was playing “Pocketful of Sunshine.” It was really a snap decision. I was like, “You know what, that’s what I’m gonna get for this year.” I listened to it a couple of times, it sounded good, and that’s what I chose.
JN: Will you be keeping “Pocketful of Sunshine” for the season or changing it up?
JN: Wait. Did you just say “Space Jam”?!?!
CA: People love “Space Jam.” Even the umpires were like, “Are you really walking out to ‘Space Jam’ right now? That could be the coolest walk-out I’ve ever heard.”
JN: I concur with those umpires. But moving on, does Natasha have any baseball-related symbolism in “Pocketful of Sunshine” for you?
CA: Nothing at all. I literally just saw it on a movie and was like I guess that’ll do.
JN: Switching subjects a bit, how do you think music here in America compares to music back home for you in Australia?
CA: When it comes to the big names here, we have them over there, too. The same sort of stuff is popular. But over there, Australian hip hop is coming through. A couple guys – Illy and Drapht — sound really good and completely different than anything over here. (Fellow Australian TinCap) John Hussey and I showed a couple of guys on the team today and they thought it was awesome. Rodney Daal actually wants Illy as his walk-up.
JN: Guess we’ll have to watch out for Illy and Drapht. (Note to readers: Also watch out for the cold draft that could make you ill.) The list of Australians who’ve had the most success in the U.S. includes the Bee Gees, Olivia Newton-John, Rick Springfield (“Jesse’s Girl”), and Gotye. Anyone else us Yankees should know about in Australian music?
CA: One guy that not many people know about is Bon Scott, the lead singer of AC/DC. He’s from right where I’m from in Australia. But if you want to hear new Australian music, like Illy and Drapht, you can listen online to Triple J. That’s the best radio station there is in Australia.
Thanks to Corey for having some fun with us and dropping knowledge, too.
Feel free to give us some Walk-Up Wednesday feedback on Twitter @John_G_Nolan or by email to email@example.com. We’re all ears for suggestions, including more takes on Australian hip hop.
After a glorious Midwest League-wide off day yesterday, the TinCaps are back in action this morning from Parkview Field. Entering today’s play Fort Wayne is 16-13, putting them third in the Eastern Division behind South Bend and Bowling Green, respectively.
The last series was a difficult one for the TinCaps, as they were swept in a three-game set by the Peoria Chiefs, and only scored two runs in 27 innings. Overall, though, the outlook remains positive for a TinCaps team that is hitting .264, which is fifth-best in the 16-team Midwest League. That sweep at the hands of the Chiefs was the first time Fort Wayne had been swept in a three-game road series since July 7-9, 2012, at South Bend.
A day of rest was much needed after a 4:45 a.m. arrival back at Parkview Field on Tuesday morning. The TinCaps went 2-3 on their six-day road trip, which included a rainout on Friday in Burlington. Now the rotation starts fresh, with Joe Ross taking the bump today in search of his fourth win of the season. Max Fried and Justin Hancock round out the trio of pitchers scheduled to throw in this set against Great Lakes. Being back home at Parkview Field is a small blessing for the TinCaps after being swept, considering they’re 10-3 at home, and only Cedar Rapids (11-2) has fewer home losses.
The Loons are 12-18, and come into Parkview Field on a five-game losing streak, having lost eight of their last 10 games. One interesting name on their roster is Jesmuel Valentin, the son of TinCaps Manager Jose Valentin. Jesse, as he’s known for the sake of easy pronunciation among those without fluent Spanish tongues, was selected by the Dodgers 51st overall in last year’s draft, and because of surgery to his hamate bone, missed out on making the Loons’ opening day roster. Just like his dad, Jesse is a switch-hitting shortstop. Through 12 games, the younger Valentin is hitting .297 (11-37) and has two stolen bases. That’s a father-son matchup we in the press box will have our eyes on for the next three days.
LIFE ON THE ROAD
Here’s a snapshot I took during batting practice on Monday in Peoria.
To hear my pre-game chat from Monday with Morgan Burkhart, during which we discuss his transition from the coaching ranks of independent baseball into affiliated baseball, and the early season success of Alberth Martinez and Corey Adamson, listen below:
Lana Del Rey…take it away!
The first inning of Sunday’s afternoon game in Peoria looked promising–Maxx Tissenbaum and Jeremy Baltz put together back-to-back one-out hits. Although Fort Wayne didn’t score in that first inning, it appeared as though they would have similar success against Chiefs starter Tyrell Jenkins as when they last faced him July 23, 2012. In that start, the 2010 supplemental first-round pick gave up six runs in four innings, in a game that Quad Cities eventually won, 9-6.
Unfortunately for the TinCaps, the first inning was as good as it was gonna get, because they didn’t pick up another hit until the ninth inning. Jenkins, who had never pitched more than six innings in four seasons since being drafted, turned in a complete-game, three-hit performance, completely dominating the TinCaps lineup. After a leadoff walk in the third to Felix Cabrera, Jenkins retired the next 16 batters, with the streak ending when Brian Adams reached on an error in the eighth.
Peoria’s only run scored in the fifth, on a two-out bloop single to right field by catcher Casey Rasmus.
The last time fort Wayne was shut out was August 29, 2012, at the hands of the West Michigan Whitecaps at Parkview Field. In that loss (also by a 1-0 count), Fort Wayne starter James Needy threw nine innings, allowing four hits and no earned runs. However, an unearned run for West Michigan in the second inning proved to be the difference on a day when Fort Wayne mustered only three hits. That complete game by Needy proved to be the most impressive pitching performance of the year by a Fort Wayne pitcher. Rarely in the Midwest League do pitchers throw complete games because of pitch counts, so to see it is a rarity.
Today the TinCaps will try to avoid a three-game sweep in Peoria. First pitch is at 7:30 EDT, and you can hear the broadcast on The Fan 1380 in Fort Wayne, and TheFanFortWayne.com everywhere else. I’ll be joined by hitting coach Morgan Burkhart during our pre-game show.
Yesterday, during my Sunday chat with Jose Valentin, I asked him about why his team has played in so many close games (two walk-offs, two ninth-inning rallys) over the last week or so.
“It’s the kind of team that they’ll battle and win as many games as they can. The game of baseball is not going to be easy like you want it to be. Most of the time, this team finds a way to get it done,” Valentin told me in the manager’s office at Peoria Chiefs Stadium. ” Sometimes we do it ugly. It’s better to win ugly than to lose. I’m happy. I’m happy for the way the guys are playing. Sometimes you get upset and get into the guys, but it’s going to happen. Guys are going to make mistakes. It’s about not making them too often and not making any more mental mistakes. All I want is for those guys to go up there and play hard. Sometimes we have to be more consistent. Our pitching staff lately has been pitching great, but our defense has let them down. There are going to be times when your offense is not going to show up, so you have to be able to play good defense and keep the game close. We’ve got to find a way to play better on the road, which has been a negative. Overall, I’m happy. “
We also talked about his young pitching staff. Three of the six members of the starting rotation are 19 years old–Zach Eflin, Max Fried and Walker Weickel–and were taken in the first round of the 2012 draft. I asked Valentin about what he though the biggest adjustment has been for the teenage trio in their first month in the Midwest League:
“I think it’s how to use their teammates. Those guys, in their high school careers, they were probably so dominant on the mound they probably didn’t need too much defense behind them. Out of nine innings, they probably struck out 15 guys a game, which is good for that level, but this level is different. The hitters are more mature and it’s a different level of baseball. You have to be able to come through in hard times and understand that you have people behind you that want to help you. “
Weickel will start today, in search of his first win during the 2013 season. We’ll see tonight how well he uses his teammates.
To hear my full Sunday chat with TinCaps Manager Jose Valentin, listen to the podcast below:
Young The Giant…take it away!