Results tagged ‘ adys portillo ’

Some Like it Hot, Questions, Baseball to Biology and Back

SOME LIKE IT HOT

No, the TinCaps haven’t been watching Marilyn Monroe films on their bus rides, but they have played exceptionally well in temperatures north of 100 degrees the last two nights. July 4th yielded an 8-1 victory, and last night Fort Wayne exploded for eight more runs in an 8-3 defeat of the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

The start of the game was delayed about an hour as pop-up storms (no relation to pop-up video) swept through the area and brought some wind and rain to the ballpark. That didn’t seem to bother the TinCaps very much.

“After a long rain delay, they never hesitated. They went up there and threw the first punch,” said Manager Jose Valentin.

Starter Adys Portillo earned his sixth win of the year, throwing five innings of one-hit baseball. His Midwest League-leading ERA dropped to 1.65 from 1.76. It was also a monumental game in respect to his win total. Entering this season, he had picked up six victories in 46 starts. This year he has matched that win total in just 16 starts.

“It’s scary, but he didn’t have his best stuff, which is incredible,” said catcher Matt Colantonio. His fastball was a little up, and towards the end of his outing he started to look a little out of sync, but it was a great outing.”

The TinCaps provided four first-inning runs for Portillo, after they had given Frank Garces seven runs of support in the fourth inning on Wednesday.

“When you know that your offense is in the game and it doesn’t matter how many runs you give up, you can keep your confidence and make the pitches when you need them,” Valentin added.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear postgame comments from first baseman Zach Kometani, who drove in two runs in his first start for Fort Wayne since April 28th:

SAYS IT ALL

It may be hot here in Fort Wayne, but it’s not the only place experiencing brutally uncomfortable heat:

Caliente, to say the least.

YOUR QUESTIONS

Hmmm…Well, I don’t really think there’s a prank player in this locker room–at least not that I’ve seen or heard about. I will say that whenever I head down to the clubhouse, it’s probable that I may run into someone–particularly Cody Hebner, in an impromptu dance.

If you ever hear “Teach Me How to Dougie” playing on the Parkview Field sound system, turn your eyes to the video board in a hurry. You just might see a video clip of him showing off his dance skills…

If you’ve got any questions you’d like answered on the blog, please send them in–Couzens@TinCaps.com or @MikeCouzens on Twitter.

FROM BASEBALL TO BIOLOGY AND BACK

If you’re able to make it out to the ballpark, you might’ve noticed that I write a feature piece for each edition of our Game Day magazine. I’d like to share with you the latest, which features former Fort Wayne Wizard and current TinCaps Strength and Conditioning Coach Cliff Bartosh. Here’s the full text:

How a former Fort Wayne Wizard made his way back to the Summit City

It took two weeks for the phone to ring. Nearly 14 days had gone by before Cliff Bartosh found out he had been selected in the 29th round of the 1998 Major League Baseball draft by the San Diego Padres. Bartosh had aspirations of playing professional baseball, but wasn’t sure he’d be headed down that road. A phone call from late Padres scout Jim Dreyer changed Bartosh’s plans. He was scheduled to head to Texas Tech on a baseball scholarship, but instead chose to follow his dream and report to the Padres training complex in Peoria, Arizona.

“I started out as a first baseman and pitched a little bit (in high school). My junior year I might’ve thrown 12 or 13 innings for our varsity team. My senior year, maybe about 20 innings,” Bartosh said one afternoon while sitting in the home dugout at Parkview Field. “(Dreyer) said he never saw me pitch in high school, he only saw me take infield. So he only saw me throw the ball from first base, and he drafted me off of that. I didn’t know when the draft was.”

Cliff Bartosh’s life in baseball has revolved around other people dictating his path.

He made his way through the minor leagues with the Padres, and played at Memorial Stadium with the Fort Wayne Wizards in both 1999 and 2000. Although he was in the organization from 1998 until 2003, he didn’t make the big leagues with the Padres.

“After the ’03 season, (the Padres) sent me to the Arizona Fall League. I probably had the worst Arizona Fall League that anybody’s ever had in the history of that league. I just did absolutely terrible. (The Padres) end up with maybe a week left in the Arizona Fall League, and they take me off the 40-man roster and I’m picked up by Detroit. I go into the off season a Detroit Tiger. About December, I get a call from the Cleveland Indians saying, ‘We just claimed you off of waivers.’ I didn’t even know I had been placed on waivers,” Bartosh vividly recalls.

Cleveland, under then-General Manager Mark Shapiro, called Bartosh up from Triple-A Buffalo to make his major league debut on May 15, 2004, against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In March of 2005, Bartosh was traded to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Ronald “Bear” Bay, who currently pitches for the Padres Triple-A affiliate in Tucson, Arizona. Once again, Bartosh’s destiny fluttered in the wind.

Bartosh pitched in the big leagues for the Cubs in 2005, but eventually underwent surgery for a torn labrum and rotator cuff, and by August of 2006 he hadn’t thrown a baseball in a year.

“I went home to Texas and my wife got a job teaching. I had no college at that point, and started going to school,” Bartosh says. “It’s weird because to that point, I had done (the baseball routine) for eight to nine seasons. It was the only quote-unquote job I had to that point. I had a wife and a son at that time, and I felt like I can’t just sit and wait for my arm to get better.”

While staying at home to be with his son, Bartosh took online classes at Dallas (Texas) County Community College. He studied government and history, and later transferred in 2008 to the University of Texas at Arlington, enrolling in the exercise science program.

“I got that degree when I was 30, and most guys (in school) were 18 to 22,” Bartosh says. “I got that degree and then decided, ‘Maybe I don’t want to be a strength coach.’ I got an alternative teaching certification. I took some tests to get a science endorsement, an ESL endorsement and a health endorsement.”

He became Mr. Bartosh, teaching at a middle school in his hometown of Duncanville, Texas.

“I taught a class called ‘Skills for Success’. I really don’t know what it was about. I had a set curriculum that I was supposed to teach and I did. My wife made fun of it because there was a chapter in the book that was on how to use a microwave. I didn’t have to teach that one; I didn’t feel it was necessary,” he remarks with a grin.

It was after that stint, and some time spent as an 8th grade science instructor, Bartosh decided to pack up his house, his belongings and his life, and head in a different direction.

“I’m sitting there teaching, and I’m feeling like I’m not really making an impact on these kids. I have a house and I’m living very comfortably. The more I read the gospels, the more I realized we’re maybe not supposed to be that comfortable. In the book of Mark, there’s the parable of the rich, young ruler. Christ says, ‘Sell everything, give to the poor and follow me.’”

“I’ve got a good house, a great job that pays the bills and all that, and we decided that we’re gonna sell our house and I started reaching out to people in baseball and I was fortunate that the big league strength coach here in San Diego, Jim Malone, was a minor league coordinator in Cleveland. I sent them my resume and they were crazy enough to hire me,” he says, mesmerized.

In his first year as the strength and conditioning coach with the TinCaps, Bartosh has a connection with the players that not many do—he’s one of their kind. He knows what it’s like to give up the game-tying home run, or to feel like your pitches just don’t work. He’s been there time and time again, but on someone else’s calendar. He’s now deciding his own fate, and making a difference on his time. No longer Mr. Bartosh, he’s just Cliff.

“It was very refreshing to get rid of everything that ties you down to an area. So now that I have no ties anywhere, really. Someone asked me where I was going to live in the off-season. I have no idea. I really don’t know where I’ll end up. I’m enjoying this. This is great. You get to develop relationships with players, with coaches, with other staff and hopefully that leads to lifelong friendships.”

MUSICAL GUEST

James Taylor…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

The Hit Wagon, Festivity Photos, Voyage

“EVERYBODY HOPPED ON THE HIT WAGON”

That stupendous quote comes from TinCaps second baseman Tyler Stubblefield, as he described a seven-run fourth inning that Fort Wayne unloaded on Bowling Green at Parkview Field on Wednesday night.

He had one of the biggest at bats of the game, and it came in that fourth inning. With runners at second and third, the Hot Rods, with lefty Travis Whitmore at the plate, decided to issue an intentional walk to try and face Stubblefield, a right-handed hitter. While some batters might take that as a slight to their abilities, Stubblefield shrugged it off as part of the game and decided he was going to win the at-bat.

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A Close Contest, A Padre Makes History, YouTube Famous

It wasn’t an easy game Saturday night for the TinCaps, but the end result was exactly what they were looking for, as they edged out a 4-3 win over the Loons and earned a series victory.

Colin Rea had perhaps the most interesting night of all, as the righthander, who turns 22 today–so happy birthday, Colin–left the ballgame after six innings as the pitcher of record on the losing end. He didn’t have a poor outing, it’s just that things didn’t necessarily go his way.

He allowed a second-inning solo home run to Pratt Maynard, the catcher’s first homer of the year, putting the TinCaps in a 1-0 hole. Fort Wayne tied it up in the top of the third, but Great Lakes came back with another run in the third. Jeff Hunt hit a comebacker to the mound and was credited with a single, but Rea’s throw to first sailed down the right field line and Hunt got to third and later scored. In the sixth, Rea gave up another solo home run and left with Great Lakes on top 3-1.

So he leaves looking like he’ll be the losing pitcher until…

the top of the seventh inning rolls around. Travis Jankowski clubbed a two-run triple and was later singled home by Travis Whitmore, making it a three-run inning for the TinCaps.

Daniel Cropper’s ninth-inning was a little gut-wrenching as the first two runners reached base, but he reared back to retire three in a row and secure his seventh save of the year.

The TinCaps have now won three series in a row and sit in first place in the Eastern Division. Albeit very early in the half–just nine games in–this team has played a markedly different brand of baseball from the first 70 games.

Part of the reason the team has been so successful in the first half has been the pitching of Adys Portillo. His struggles in 2011 are well chronicled, a 3-11 record and a 7.11 ERA. This year, his 1.76 ERA is the best in the entire league. I chatted with him before Saturday’s game to talk about his great season. Among the highlights:

On playing winter ball in Venezuela:

“There are a lot of big league players there. I remember I faced Asdrubal Cabrera, Wilson Ramos, a lot of big leaguers. When I came this year to spring training and I saw the hitters, I felt really good about (my situation). Last year I tried to strike out everybody. This year I try to get a spot and hit that spot. This year I am a pitcher. Last year I just tried to throw the ball. Now I’m a pitcher.”

On confidence:

“When you’re a pitcher and you go to the mound and you have a confidence in your fastball and your breaking pitch, you just go out there and hit the spots. I say, ‘Ok, I’m gonna throw my fastball now and he doesn’t have a chance. He’s not gonna hit me. I’m gonna throw my breaking pitch and he’s gonna hit a ground ball.’ (Pitching Coach) Willie (Blair) told me to just think about when you’re going to throw the fastball, what’s going to happen after you throw the fastball.”

On pitching in the All-Star game and potential advancement:

“I remember I called my mom and said “Wow, Mom, I can’t believe it after I had a bad year last year and now I’m in the All-Star game, I got the ball for the first pitch, I started and I won.’ My goal is to finish at another level (this year) if that cannot happen, then I’m going to keep working hard here and see what happens next year. When I look at the numbers this year, I say ‘wow’, finally I’ve got some results because I’ve worked hard. Now I feel really good, I feel happy and I enjoy every time when I go to the mound.”

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, you can hear my full conversation with Adys Portillo:

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Triple Shot, Reader Questions, Team in Perspective

It would have been difficult to ask for a better finish to the TinCaps’ game against Lansing on Wednesday afternoon. Trailing 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Fort Wayne rallied for two runs–an Austin Hedges homer to tie and a Kyle Gaedele RBI single to win–to defeat the Lugnuts 3-2. With the victory, the TinCaps won the series two games to one and secured a 4-2 record on the half-opening home stand. It was the first time Fort Wayne had won a series from Lansing dating back to August of last year.

The bats have come to life in the second half, the pitching has kept the team in games and now they’ll have to do it on the road. Today the TinCaps open a three-game series with the Great Lakes Loons (3-3) at Dow Diamond. The Loons have struggled pitching-wise, and Fort Wayne will certainly look to capitalize on that aspect of the game. The 2012 draft is already starting its trickle-down into the Midwest League, as Duke von Schamann, a 15th round pick by the Dodgers earlier this month, will make his Loons debut against the TinCaps on Friday.

Today it’s a triple-shot of the TinCaps Report Podcast:

Hear from Austin Hedges, who hit the game-tying home run in the ninth:

Hear from Kyle Gaedele who hit the walk-off hit for the TinCaps:

and hear from Tom Felice, who put together a feature presentation on how the TinCaps players relax by hitting the links:

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Sweep Opportunity, Catching Clinic, Dialing Zero

Make it two in a row for the TinCaps, who steamrolled the Captains 4-0 on Saturday night at Parkview Field. All four runs scored in the first inning, and Lake County was down for the count after that. Adys Portillo worked six innings, giving up three hits, and striking out four. His fastball was nearly untouchable, and he said he didn’t use his curveball until about the third inning. If he hadn’t used it once, his success rate in getting hitters out might’ve been nearly the same. All four of his strikeouts caught batters looking.

Skipper Jose Valentin was a bit concerned, as he was in the first half, the all of his team’s run production came in the first inning, and that the team only picked up one hit, a second-inning single by Jace Peterson, for the remainder of the game. The TinCaps sent no more than five batters to the plate in an inning in frames two through eight. However, a 2-0 start is something to be happy about, and Fort Wayne will look for its first three-game sweep at Parkview Field for the first time in over a year. The last time the TinCaps took three in a row from an opponent at home was May 27-29 last year against Great Lakes.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, an elated Adys Portillo details his outing in which he allowed three hits over six innings en route to his fifth win of the year:

YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW…

Whenever roving instructors come into town, that usually means that the TinCaps will be out on the field for some early instruction. Whether it’s PFP (pitchers fielding practice) or infield work, the coordinators want to see how each member of the team is progressing.

Yesterday it was a chance for the catchers to get some extra work in, with some great insight from a member of the Padres front office–A.J. Hinch, who is a Vice President and Assistant General Manager. According to the Padres media guide, “Hinch oversees all aspects of the professional scouting department, while assisting Executive Vice President/General Manager Josh Byrnes with determining the Major League club’s roster composition, player acquisitions, talent evaluations and contract negotiations.”

Saturday afternoon he was simply a teacher for Fort Wayne catchers Matt Colantonio and Austin Hedges. For maybe 30-45 minutes, he worked with the two right in front of the TinCaps dugout. They worked on what looked like receiving techniques, and then talked about situational catching.

“The most important count in the big leagues is 0-1″, Hinch told the two catchers. “After that, it’s 1-1.” He pointed out that getting ahead of every batter was paramount to determining how an at bat would go. Hinch, a former major league catcher and then manager, demonstrated in a crouch where he would position himself when trying to help a pitcher get a strike called in certain counts. There are some days where you think baseball can be a simple game, and then you get a glance of ten minutes of A.J. Hinch breaking down arguably the game’s most difficult position, and it’s amazing how much more you can learn.

Hinch, by the way, was a one-time teammate of TinCaps hitting coach Jacque Jones. Go back and take a look at the United States 1996 Olympic baseball roster, and you’ll find those two, born a year apart, were together on that bronze medal-winning team. Also on the roster was R.A. Dickey, who’s starting tonight for the New York Mets against the Yankees on Sunday Night baseball. I think I know what my plans are around 8 PM this evening…

DIAL “0” FOR…

When was the last time, other than your most frequent stay at a Midwest League hotel where the wireless internet wasn’t working, that you dialed “0” for an operator? You can’t think of one, right?

The Journal Gazette hops in the WABAC Machine and takes us to a time before there was a definitive (Ok, not at all definitive) Yahoo! Answers response to every question ever.

Today, we learn about the mysterious telephone operator! 

“For decades, you could not make a telephone call without an operator physically putting the call through. Then it was only long distance calls that needed that familiar “Operator … ” to connect you. Then such service was only needed to make a collect call or to make sure a line was working.

And then … it has come to this: Most of us don’t even know whether telephone operators still exist.

We put the question to Patricia Amendola, communications manager for Frontier Communications.

“Well, we have call center representatives,” Amendola said.

But if you pick up the phone and dial zero does someone answer?

“To be honest, I don’t know because I’ve not done that,” she admitted.

And we’re not picking on Frontier. We called Verizon Wireless, too, and asked spokesman Tom Pica what would happen if you dialed zero on your cellphone.

“I don’t know, I’ve never done it,” Pica said. “I can’t remember the last time I ever did try that.”

He put us on hold, then tried it, and said he got a recording saying whom to call for different needs. We tried it and got no answer at all.

The answer is yes, telephone operators still exist, but their numbers are a tiny fraction of what they were just a couple of decades ago.”

This piece is of particular interest to me because my grandfather, whose first and middle name I share, used to work in New York City installing telephone lines. He would wake up before the crack of dawn and commute from Long Island into Manhattan each morning. I remember the story he told me about getting to go install phone lines in the world headquarters of CBS News, and meeting Walter Cronkite, who he says was a pretty good guy.

And now, you can make a VoIP call sitting at your computer– no phone lines required. I’m still waiting for teleportation…

MUSICAL GUEST

Bruce Springsteen…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

All-Star Game, Padres Tryout, Bob Dylan

Feeling like a bear coming out of winter hibernation, I’m ready, refreshed and excited to jump into the second half of the 2012 Midwest League season. While the team was on the All-Star break I caught up on some reading, got some sun by the pool and had a good time relaxing.

Here are a few notes to catch you up on what’s been going on:

-Infielder Casey McElroy was promoted to Advanced-A Lake Elsinore of the California League. That amounts to the first real promotion the TinCaps have had this season. McElroy was a first-half rock for the team, playing in all but 11 games, hitting .237 and knocking home a team-high 30 runs. Congrats, Casey.

In other transaction-related business, pitcher Chris Haney was transferred to Short-Season Eugene. He worked three games for the TinCaps and had an ERA of 15.75. Also, infielder Felix Cabrera was added to the roster to replace McElroy. Cabrera was signed as a free agent in 2009 out of the Dominican Republic, and before this year had never played above the Arizona League. He’s played in six games this season between Double-A and Triple-A.

-All of the TinCaps All-Stars performed well at the All-Star game on Tuesday night. Craig Wieczorkiewicz (aka @MWLTraveler) has a write up on the game here. Here’s his picture of Austin Hedges:

Austin Hedges went 2-3 with a double and 3 RBI. Jace Peterson went 1-2 with a double. Adys Portillo pitched a scoreless first and was named the winning pitcher. Frank Garces worked for 2/3 of an inning and picked up a strikeout.

-Speaking of Austin Hedges, Reggie Hayes of The News-Sentinel put together a feature piece on the 19-year-old catcher.

“I try to stay away from goals and numbers and just try to get better every day,” Hedges said. “I’m always trying to make adjustments and do something to get better every day. When you’re doing that, then obviously you are achieving some of those goals you have.”

Hedges expects the game to be much like showcases he has been involved with as a player. He’ll talk with and warm up pitchers prior to their appearance to try to get a feel for what they throw. In an all-star setting, the pitchers won’t be on the mound long.

Hedges is one of the younger players on the TinCaps and in the Midwest League. But he says he tries not to be too anxious about how fast he can move up the farm system ladder.

“It’s a long process and I want to do everything the right way,” he said. “I’m happy to be where I am right now. …It was hard for a little bit to be so far away (from his California home), but there’s nowhere I’d rather be right now. This is a good town, a good baseball town.”

You can read the full story by clicking here.

A UNIQUELY TALENTED TRYOUT PARTICIPANT

Before coming to Fort Wayne, my only familiarity with Ron Howard was from his involvement with Arrested Development. However, there’s also a Ron Howard who is a member of the Mad Ants, the NBDL franchise located in town. The TinCaps and Padres held an open tryout at Parkview Field over the break and Howard gave it a shot. Once again, Reggie Hayes has the details:

Unlike a few, Howard showed up in perfect shape, toned by his always working basketball career. In fact, he made the Mad Ants at a similar open tryout. Yet while most, if not all, of the 50 other players Wednesday spent their youth concentrating on baseball, Howard is a novice. He’s also 29.

Jeff Stewart, Midwest area scout for the Padres, talked with Howard after the tryout and gave him an honest assessment. He saw a great athlete. And he told him to keep working on his basketball career.

“If he was in a baseball uniform on a daily basis, his throwing would improve quickly, his fielding would improve quickly, just through repetition,” Stewart said. “But I’m not sure he would ever hit. He’s (29) years old. He’s well, well, well below average at this point, and that’s in batting practice, seeing a ball intended for you to hit exercising a swing.

“You get in a game situation where pitchers are using varying velocity, breaking planes with curveballs, changeups, sliders – I’m not sure the learning curve would be quick enough.”

It was definitely worth a shot, right?

JUST BECAUSE

This article in The Atlantic explains how Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” is just like the European debt crisis. Seriously.

AND OH, BY THE WAY…

Bob Dylan will be performing at Parkview Field on August 24th. MLB.com’s Corey Brock has a great take on the concert:

MUSICAL GUEST

Carly Rae Jepsen (miraculously avoiding one-hit wonder status) partners with Owl City (it’s near Albatross Township) for this latest earworm:

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

Prospecting, On the Ground Floor, An Ode to Sweet Tea

Rain struck Parkview Field for the first time this season, and postponed Thursday’s game between the TinCaps and Loons.

Fortunately, it wasn’t the last day of the series and the two teams will be able to make up the missed action as part of a doubleheader tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 5:35. Doubleheaders are scheduled for two seven-inning games. Adys Portillo is set to start in game one and Colin Rea in game two. If you were planning on coming out for Star Wars Night, fear not, you must. Scheduled for game two the festivities are.

After a 10-15 April, the TinCaps finished the month of May with a record of 14-14. Fort Wayne is 14.5 games out of first place, but just 4.5 games out of second place. The first and second place finishers in each half qualify for the postseason. It doesn’t look like any team will be able to catch Lansing, but the battle for second place is fierce. Bowling Green and Great Lakes are tied for second place (10.5 games back), South Bend is in fourth (12 games back), Lake County is in fifth (13.5 games back), West Michigan is in sixth (14.0 games back) and the TinCaps are in seventh. Dayton, 18.5 games out of first, is in a distant eighth place.

Looking ahead, the TinCaps have a three-game series at Lake County in Eastlake, Ohio this weekend. Upon Googling “Eastlake ohio” (No, I didn’t use a comma or capitalize for Google…painful, I know),  I found that the mayor of this city is Ted Andrzejewski. Since the Scripps National Spelling Bee was held yesterday, I challenge you to make your own today in your workplace. You’ll only need one word, since nobody will actually be able to spell Andrzejewski. The problem is, you’ll have to figure out how to pronounce it first. I wish you luck.

Back to baseball–the Captains have lost five in a row, so that’s good news for the TinCaps, who have dropped three straight. The name to watch for with the Captains is Francisco Lindor, the top prospect in the Indians farm system. He was hitting as high as .327 on May 17, and is still hitting a pretty solid .286. What folks say has really been impressive is his glove. The TinCaps and Captains played three games against one another to open the year, and no team is the same on Opening Day as it is on June 1st, so I’m eager to see how Lindor has progressed.

The Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s big paper, recently put together a profile on the shortstop:

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Late Errors Prove Costly, Mayer Goes Public, Radar Watch

Wednesday night’s game was a played under crisp, cool conditions at Parkview Field. You could tell that it was going to be different than the past four days had been. The Bowling Green series brought hot weather and high run totals to Fort Wayne, but Wednesday’s game was a low scoring affair.

Great Lakes scored in the first inning against Frank Garces, who worked five innings and struck out eight. The run he gave up was unearned because of an error in left field by Mike Gallic. Headed into that start, Garces had surrendered 12 hits in his prior two outings. It took him five starts as he opened the year to give up 12 hits. This was definitely the bounce-back outing that the lefty needed.

The TinCaps tied the game in the second with an RBI single from Yeison Asencio, and got a lead off double from Kyle Gaedele in the third. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t get another hit for the remainder of the game. Fort Wayne scored in the seventh with the help of a Loons error, but two TinCaps errors in the top of the 10th cost them the game. Duanel Jones made a throwing error with two outs, and Yeison Asencio failed to catch a fly ball in right field, allowing the two go-ahead runs to score. The errors came at a crucial point in the game, and cost the TinCaps in their third straight loss.

“As soon as we went down, we pretty much gave up on it,” Manager Jose Valentin said after the game. “I didn’t see any fire in the guys to try to go back there and forget about the two mistakes we made in the 10th.”

Fort Wayne needs a win tonight to make it above. 500 for the month of May. Right now the team is 14-14, and that’s following a 10-15 mark in April.

Fortunately, reigning Midwest League Pitcher of the Week Adys Portillo starts in the middle game of this series. Last time out he allowed just one hit in six innings against South Bend.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear Manager Jose Valentin give insight into what he thought was an overall good game, until the latter frames:

MAYER GOES PUBLIC (RADIO)

If you haven’t heard the new John Mayer album “Born and Raised”, I suggest you check it out. It’s a little bit of a different sound that what you might’ve been used to with his prior work, but I’ve found it really enjoyable. On the bus rides to and from South Bend last week, I probably made it through the entire track list about four or five times. I’ve found that it takes several listens to an album for me to really appreciate it.

A friend of mine sent me this link in which Mayer sits down with NPR for a 30-minute interview about his creative process, and the struggles that he endured in trying to re-find his voice after he felt a little burned out following his last album. He shows a very human side–meaning he explicitly talks about his nervousness, fears and insecurities–that you wouldn’t get when you listen to an interview with someone like Lady Gaga…if you can make it past her outfit to even hear what she’s saying.

Having that more “human” connection with an artist makes me like their music a bit more, since I feel invested in them as an individual. This may be far too deep an analysis of a public radio interview, but I feel like it’s worth the time for good music. Just like with sports, music is a method to take your mind off track from every day life, so I find the nitpicking to be enjoyable.

If you’ve got any music suggestions for the blog, or for my iPod for upcoming road trips (this weekend to Lake County) please feel free to share. I’m open to anything.

RADAR WATCH

Here’s a tweet from INC’s Chief Meteorologist (and TinCaps pre-game weather forecaster) Curtis Smith:

The TinCaps broadcast booth (which doubles as an amateur meteorology department) will be locked on the weather today, as it does appear to be a bit threatening.

MUSICAL GUEST

Jefferson Starship…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

Six-Man Rotation, Awesome Proposal, Mosquitoes are Back

For the second time in three days, the TinCaps surrendered a season high in runs. On Saturday, that number was 11. After yesterday’s game, the number is 14. The Hot Rods took a 2-1 series lead with a 14-7 shellacking of the TinCaps.

The game started off well. Ruben Mejia made his first start since September of last year and lasted four innings. Mejia is the newest addition to the TinCaps starting rotation, which now features six pitchers in an effort to cut back on innings for the starters. Director of Player Development Randy Smith said earlier this year that most TinCaps starters were on track to throw between 120-130 innings. As of today, here’s how many each starter (not counting those on the disabled list) has thrown:

Frank Garces: 51.0 in 10 starts

Adys Portillo: 54 2/3 in 10 starts

Colin Rea: 35 2/3 in 4 starts, 12 relief appearances

Matt Wisler: 45 2/3 in 9 starts, 1 relief appearance

Cody Hebner: 46 2/3 in 9 starts

Let’s use Frank Garces as a case study. He’s next scheduled to pitch on Thursday against Great Lakes, and then would theoretically start two more times in the first half. If, and I’m just guessing here, he goes five innings in each of his next three starts, he’ll be at 66 innings for the first half. Extrapolating for another 13 starts in the second half at a theoretical five innings each, and Garces would be at 132 innings—over his limit. These numbers are all theoretical on my end, but it goes to show why the Padres have change to a six-man rotation with Fort Wayne.

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Troublesome Takeoff & Dancing with the TinCaps

I can now say that after Thursday’s game in South Bend, I’ve called a game (well at least a half inning) in a manner I’ve never experienced: with a piece of tissue in my left nostril.

Let’s set the scene…It’s about 7:03 PM in the visiting radio booth at Coveleski Stadium and I’ve just tossed to the final commercial break before the national anthem begins and the game can get underway. So I say something along the lines of “First pitch comes your way next. It’s the TinCaps and the Silver Hawks on 1380 ESPN.” So far, so good.

Then, I stand up. You know that feeling when you think your nose is running, but it happens a little too quickly and you get worried. Yeah…that. It was 85 degrees outside, so it’s not like I had the sniffles or anything. I had to stay standing, though, because the anthem was being performed.

So I took a tissue out of my pocket to try and dab away whatever was coming my way, thinking “No big deal” and bam…nosebleed. Uh oh. I’ve only got about two minutes at this point, depending on the anthem singer’s speed, to get this to stop. Well, it didn’t stop by the time we heard, “The following is a presentation of 1380 ESPN and The Fort Wayne TinCaps…”, and that means I’ve got about 30 seconds to go.

I begin to have every nightmare situation run through my head. I think back to the year 2004, when my oldest sister graduated from Providence College. It’s my entire family out at a really nice restaurant and we’re celebrating with a fancy dinner. Leave it to me to have a nosebleed that lasts the entire dinner. The entire night my middle sister was running back and forth to the bathroom to get me more tissues. Lesson learned: never take me to a nice restaurant.

Back in the booth, quick thinking was needed…

What do I do?

Well, I just ripped off a giant hunk of tissue and hoped that it would act as the Kleenex Hoover Dam to my Colorado Blood River. Luckily it did, and by the time the top of the first was over, I was back in working order.

What makes this all the more entertaining for me is that the TinCaps scored five runs in the first inning, including an Austin Hedges grand slam.  And that was only Thursday. Who knows what Friday will bring!

Oddities aside, the TinCaps have now won four games in a row, which ties their season-long winning streak. Donavan Tate has hit in eight consecutive games, tying Matt Colantonio for the longest hit streak of the season. Lee Orr has homered four times in 10 games, and Hedges now leads the team with five homers and 24 knocked in.

Tonight’s pitching matchup should be pretty good, too. The scheduled starters are Adys Portillo for Fort Wayne (league best ERA) and Archie Bradley for South Bend (6 wins, league-low .132 BAA).

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear from shortstop who made his return to the lineup on Wednesday, going 3-5 and knocking in two runs. He shares what he remembers of the injury that put him on the disabled list and his jubilation about returning to action:

DANCING WITH THE TINCAPS

It’s commonly known that pitchers tend to have a lot of time on their hands. If you’re a starter, the mound is yours once every five days. So during the other four days, you’re watching the game. If you’re a closer, you’re generally not needed in innings 1-8, and sometimes 9.

Thus, I present to you one starter and one closer: Cody Hebner and Matt Stites, as they showcase their dancing talents with Myron Noodleman:

MUSICAL GUEST

I think those guys might have watched this video a few times before taking the field with Myron:

James Brown…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

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