Results tagged ‘ adys portillo ’

Sunday Notes, Parkview Camping, Living Color

Fort Wayne lost 9-3 last night in the first game against Bowling Green this year. Adys Portillo went 4 1/3, walking four batters, and the TinCaps struggled with men in scoring position, going 2-10.

From today’s game notes:

Bullpen Woes: The TinCaps bullpen has now allowed at least one run in each of the last five games, and has allowed 14 runs over the last three games, all of which Fort Wayne has lost. Since May 10, when the bullpen ERA was 3.29, Fort Wayne relievers have worked 42 innings and surrendered 22 earned runs, for an era of 4.71 in that  10 game span. The TinCaps have posted a 4-6 record in that time frame.

High K’s: In the last three games, the TinCaps have struck out at least ten times each night. On Thursday against Lansing, Fort Wayne K’d 12 times. In Friday’s 9-3 loss to the Lugnuts, the TinCaps struck out 10 times, and they fanned 11 times on Saturday in the series opener against Bowling Green. On the year, only South Bend (443) and Great Lakes (337) have racked up more than Fort Wayne’s 336 team strikeouts.

Streak: Mike Gallic, with a home run on Saturday night, extended his hitting streak to seven games. In that span, he has gone 15-26 with five runs batted in.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear from Manager Jose Valentin as he talks about Adys Portillo’s struggle with his curveball, Ruben Mejia’s tough night, and Mike Gallic’s hot bat:

SCOUT MOVIE NIGHT AT PARKVIEW FIELD

After the game on Saturday, lots of Boy Scouts and their parents spent the night at Parkview Field. It was the 13th annual overnight event, and it was a great success as everyone got to enjoy “Toy Story” and some late night snacks down on the field.

Many, many Buzz Lightyear fans were in attendance on Saturday night.

I LAUGHED

BACK IN TIME

The website Uni-Watch.com, which tracks all things uniform related in just about every sport across the globe, has a great reader submission feature in which folks try to put color into events that happened before color photography.

Most baseball fans are likely familiar with “The Catch” made by Willie Mays during the 1954 World Series at the Polo Grounds in New York City. Some estimates say he went nearly 420 feet to catch the ball in the spacious outfield at the park, hauling it in over his shoulder.

Here’s what the photo looks like as we’ve always known it:

And here’s what it looks like, with a digital color touch-up:

I don’t know how long that kind of stuff takes to do, but it looks pretty cool, doesn’t it?

MUSICAL GUEST

The Allman Brothers Band…take it away!

If you’d like to have “It’s All Relative” delivered to your inbox each day, you can click the “Follow” button on the right side of the blog and whenever I post each day, it’ll be delivered at your convenience.

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

Dominant Port, Elevator Happiness, The Mad Scientist

After a quick three-game jaunt up to Lansing, Michigan, the TinCaps return home to Parkview Field for three games against the offensive juggernaut that is the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, they feature the second highest team average in the league at .260 and have the second highest team average in May (.257) other than Lansing.

Adys Portillo takes the hill for the TinCaps against righty Parker Markel. Not only has Portillo not allowed a run in 21 consecutive innings, he also has the lowest ERA for a starter (1.22) in the Padres farm system and the Midwest League. He’s given up seven hits in his last 20 innings, while striking out 15 and walking four.

Fort Wayne is hoping he’ll have another dominant performance in today’s game after yesterday’s may have been their roughest of the season. The TinCaps committed three errors, hit three batters and didn’t have things go their way in a 9-3 loss to the Lansing Lugnuts on Friday night. Starter Frank Garces went 2 2/3 innings, a season-low for him, walked four and struck out two batters, fewer than any other game this season.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear from pitcher Cody Hebner, who talks about his season, the copious run support he’s received this season, and about the team’s staff as a whole:

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On the Road, From the Top, Where Does Email Go?

HITTING THE ROAD

Today the TinCaps travel approximately two hours north on Interstate 69 to take on the Lansing Lugnuts at Cooley Law School Stadium.

The Lugnuts are red hot and have the league’s best record through 39 games. Not surprisingly, they’ve got the best team ERA in the league, showing that pitching will win you games in this league. That is a promising item for the TinCaps, though, as they have the fourth best ERA in the Midwest League and the second in the Eastern Division behind Lansing.

In Tuesday’s win, Donavan Tate returned to the lineup for the first time since April 28. Tate batted leadoff and was the designated hitter for the TinCaps, going 2-4, scoring two runs and picking up an RBI. Fort Wayne has relied on that leadoff spot to be one of its most productive positions this year, and it was almost exclusively occupied by Jace Peterson until his recent injury. Kyung-Min Na had filled in at the top of the card the last four games, but was 0-14 in four games as the leadoff man. Peterson led the league in runs scored and stolen bases before his injury, and so if Tate can match some of Peterson’s production, that will be a big boost for the TinCaps.

Fort Wayne has now won three out of its last four, and four of the last seven. The TinCaps offense has showed great signs of life, especially with the two eighth-inning home runs on Monday afternoon. Clark Murphy and Casey McElroy each hit solo homers as the TinCaps turned a 4-3 deficit into an eventual 6-5 victory.

First pitch tonight is at 7:05 and I hope you can join me from Michigan’s capital city beginning at 6:45 for pregame coverage on 1380 ESPN and ESPNFortWayne.com.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear from Manager Jose Valentin as he gives his thoughts on how his team coalesced on the homestand and the return of Donavan Tate to the lineup:

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Close to Home, Howard is Back, High Expectations

For the first time all year, TinCaps closer Matt Stites gave up a run. It was bound to happen at some point, but it happened to be at a crucial time in Sunday’s ballgame. Stites came on in relief of Justin Hancock, who had already worked 2 1/3 innings, and surrendered a sac fly followed by a two-run home run by Dean Green that made the difference in a 5-3 Sunday loss.  Stites had gone 13 1/3 innings to begin the year without giving up a run, and he still hasn’t surrendered a walk.

“He’s been doing a great job. The situation can happen to anybody in the game. It’s happened to the best one in the game in Mariano Rivera. You just have to forget about what happened today and continue to get better,” said Manager Jose Valentin.

Stites was frank in his assessment of the home run.

“I was up in the zone the whole time and got burned by one pitch. It was up and away. I missed my spot. I was supposed to go down and away with it. I missed up and he got a lot of it.”

{At the bottom of the post, you can read my story on pitcher Joe Ross, which appears in the current issue of the TinCaps gameday program at Parkview Field}

Today’s a 7:05 first pitch as Adys Portillo throws for Fort Wayne against West Michigan’s Tommy Collier. Both starters have an ERA under 2.00, Portillo at 1.41 and Collier at 1.80, so we should be in for a good pitching matchup in game three of four.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear from Manager Jose Valentin as he gives his thoughts on Stites, the team’s offense, and his impressions on the loss:

CLOSE TO HOME

TinCaps starting pitcher Matt Wisler is from Bryan, Ohio, just about an hour to the east over the state line. About this time last year he was on track to attend Ohio State on a baseball scholarship. Then, in June, the Padres selected him in the seventh round of the draft, and he was off to Arizona to begin his professional career.

WANE-TV weekend sports anchor Joe Whelan has the story of the beginning of Wisler’s pro career, including comments from his father, Bob, and mother, Sue, who were at Parkview Field for Matt’s most recent start:

http://www.wane.com/dpp/sports/ml_baseball/wane-fort-wayne-tincaps-wisler-beginning-career-close-to-home-jwh

Thanks to Bob who joined me for the sixth inning on our telecast that night, as well.

STERN’S GOT TALENT

Howard Stern’s going to be a judge on America’s Got Talent, and The New York Times wrote about that move this weekend, by way of a profile. (Bill Carter writes one heck of a piece.)

“There’s a certain incongruity in the move, as Mr. Stern realizes. “Me going on a family-friendly show?” he asked.  (“America’s Got Talent,” a celebration of acts from singers to clowns to acrobats to much farther afield, definitely fits that description.) “I’m not crazy. I know there’s a huge population out there that thinks I’m going to come on and ruin the show.”

“It would be really pathetic if I was still in the same space as when I was 20 or 30, when I felt threatened by everyone, and there was no room for anyone else on the radio,” he said. “I’ve come to appreciate other people’s talents.”

That would include competitors Mr. Stern once eviscerated. “I’ve actually apologized to some people I was a real jerk to, because I feel ashamed,” he said. “I didn’t need to be that hungry. There was something going on inside me when I was angry and feeling very threatened and not feeling good about myself.”

It took months of negotiations — including an undisclosed salary agreement estimated at $20 million a year and NBC’s commitment to move the show from Los Angeles to New York to accommodate his radio schedule — before Mr. Stern chose to take up what he called “a noble cause”: giving unknowns a chance at a show-business career.

“I’ve been in radio for over 35 years, and to me that’s the biggest competition in the world,” Mr. Stern said, outlining the ferocity of facing off against every kind of format and host in that medium. “And I was a music director early in my career. So I feel like I have credibility, something to offer.”

He has strong opinions, of course, many framed by what he has seen on other competition shows. He favors the unsentimental, honest judges, the ones “where you say, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be watching,” he said. For Mr. Stern that means the man who defined that persona on “American Idol,” Simon Cowell (who is also the top producer on “America’s Got Talent”), L. A. Reid from “The X Factor” and especially Len Goodman of “Dancing With the Stars.”

This is the kind of commentary Mr. Stern said that viewers should expect, though he added, “I’m not going to be a stereotype of the mean judge. I’m relying on straight talk.” He replaces Piers Morgan, who had a reputation for brutally frank assessments, and is working with the holdovers Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne.”

Could he be the next Simon Cowell, except with a huge head of hair and minus the accent? It seems like no matter what Howard does, people will be watching.

MUSICAL GUEST

Counting Crows…take it away!

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

P.S. — If you’d like to read the feature story that I wrote on Joe Ross for the current issue of our gameday magazine at Parkview Field, you can find it below:

From High School To High Expectations

A year ago, Joe Ross wasn’t worried about his ERA or how his last start went. Instead, he was busy dipping strawberries into melted chocolate; it was his way to ask his girlfriend to their high school prom.

“My best friend helped me make between 80 and 100 chocolate covered strawberries. We went through the whole process of melting (the chocolate) and dipping the strawberries and letting them dry. It spelled our p-r-o-m on a big platter,” Ross said.  “I delivered it at school so she could see it, and then she carried around a whole thing of strawberries all day.”

In the year that followed, Ross became a first-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres and is now one of the starting pitchers for the Fort Wayne TinCaps. On opening day, Ross was the fifth youngest player in the Midwest League, and he’ll turn 19 on May 21st.

Ross stands at a towering 6’3”, optimal height for a pitcher, but he wasn’t always the biggest guy on the diamond. He started tagging along to his older brother Tyson’s baseball games when he was four years old, and Joe originally wanted to be an infielder.

“I used to be a shortstop, when I was much shorter than I am now, and played second base, third and then as I grew and my arm got stronger I started to pitch,” Joe says. His older brother Tyson, who is six years older, is now a pitcher for the Oakland A’s.

“I was there at every game just in the stands, running around, eating candy and just being a little kid pretty much,” said the younger Ross.

But ever since a growth spurt hit for the TinCaps star after his freshman year of high school and he went from 5’4” to 5’10”, pitching has been his calling.

Growing that quickly certainly isn’t easy on a teenager or his parents, especially when it comes to buying clothes, Joe says.

“It wasn’t too bad because over the summer it was mostly baseball so I didn’t have to worry about all the clothes, but once school started again it was all new clothes and I got some of my brother’s stuff. It was kind of a hassle.”

While the growth spurt was what sparked the Oakland, California native’s development as a ballplayer, he says it was also the time spent with his summer baseball club that helped him turn a live arm, into a powerful one.

“I did a velocity improvement workout in the fall one year. That jumpstarted my growth as a pitcher. I gained a lot of arm strength with the program. It was with my travel ball team, Nor Cal Baseball, and the program focused a lot on core and shoulder strength. We worked a lot with medicine balls and used weighted balls to throw into a net. That was three days a week for three or four months, and that was probably the first time I really worked out hard. I had been in the gym before and worked out, but this was the hardest work I’d ever done.”

The travel ball took Ross to places like Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. He played in ballparks like Tropicana Field in Tampa and PETCO Park in San Diego, where he hopes to play one day as a member of the Padres.

In a few of those tournaments, Ross even made a connection. It was with a player whom he loosely knew, but didn’t realize would be his battery mate just a few years down the road, when they both turned down scholarship offers from UCLA to sign with the Padres. That other player is TinCaps catcher Austin Hedges. Ross says the backstop is one of the best receivers he’s ever worked with.

Now Ross forges his own path, and even though his older brother plays in the big leagues, he says their relationship centers much more around friendship than it does on the game.

“He’s six years older than me, but we act like the gap is two years. I think our relationship isn’t as baseball based as other people might think. The most important thing he tells me is to be competitive and no matter what happens to keep fighting. He’s like a best friend more than a brother, “ Joe says.

Now a year removed from high school prom, Ross smiles. “I don’t think I could’ve pictured this a year ago,” he says sitting in the TinCaps dugout before a game. For the teenage pitcher from California who’s never seemed to stop growing, both vertically and developmentally, he knows that this is just the beginning of what’s to come.

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Wednesday Win, Port Gets Pub, Don’t Tell Johnny

It’s game two of a seven-day homestand for the TinCaps, and Joe Ross takes the hill today against lefty John Pedrotty for South Bend. Also, it’s just one day away from Video Game Night tomorrow at Parkview Field. As someone who spent far too much time as an elementary school student playing Game Boy rather than learning long division, this is a very exciting time.

The 18-year-old Ross is coming off of his best outing of the season. Last time out he threw six innings against West Michigan, striking out seven, walking one and allowing two earned runs. He didn’t get the win as the game went to 12 innings, but did get help from fellow Californian Austin Hedges, whose 12th inning sac fly lifted the team to victory.

Padres Farm Director Randy Smith is in town this week to have a look at some of the system’s top prospects, so keep an eye on the blog, or become an e-mail subscriber and have your daily dispatch delivered to your inbox each day, for Smith’s thoughts on players like Ross and Hedges.

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Song of Summer, Unique View, Mucho Gusto Mike

The TinCaps lost 2-1 on an 11th inning walk-off home run from off the bat of Aaron Westlake on Thursday night. Fort Wayne is now down 0-2 in the series, and will try and avoid the series sweep here tonight at West Michigan. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35.

MiLB.com had a good write up on the game, and it has quotes from TinCaps pitching coach Willie Blair, as he talks about the fantastic performance from starter Adys Portillo:

“He had great rhythm and tempo, which is one of the things he’s really been working on,” Fort Wayne pitching coach Willie Blair said. “His command tonight was excellent. He was able to throw his fastball, breaking ball and changeup for strikes. He mixed his pitches well and he just really had a great all-around game.”

“Even though he gave up a couple hits early, it wasn’t like they were on him,” Blair said. “You’re going to give up hits if you’re around the plate, and he was around the plate all night. He did get stronger and more confident as the game went on. His stuff was really dominant.”

Portillo tossed a career high seven innings and surrendered just two hits, one walk, and struck out six.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, I chat with TinCaps OF Mike Gallic:

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Morning Baseball, Get To Know…, Online TV

Tuesday night at Parkview Field the TinCaps snapped their four-game losing streak with a win over the Dayton Dragons. A win on Wednesday would give Fort Wayne it’s first series victory of the season in four tries.

Zach Kometani hit his first home run of the year in Tuesday’s 4-1 win, and Justin Miller went 3-4, coming a double shy of the cycle. For as much as the TinCaps have at times struggled to get the clutch hit this year, they’ve already had two players come within one hit of the cycle. Last Thursday, Jace Peterson was in need of a triple do complete the feat at Great Lakes.

Not to be overlooked was the pitching performance of Adys Portillo. The 20-year-old righthander worked 4 2/3, he had to leave the game due to cramping in his leg, but struck out a career-high nine batters. His fastball was particularly impressive, as he struck out the side in the first inning, pumping fastballs by Theo Bowe, Juan Perez and Ryan Wright.

Speaking of Wright, he’s from Fort Wayne. He went to Homestead High School, and then played three years of college baseball at Louisville. There are a lot of things that have to go right for a player to end up back near his hometown in Minor League Baseball.

1) The player has to be good enough to be drafted.

2) The player must be selected by a team with a minor-league affiliate in or around his hometown, or have a team near his hometown in the league he’s in. (The case with Wright.)

3) The player must then excel at a level which sees him promoted to where he can reach that league.

If Wright continues to play well within the Reds system, he could end up back in his old college town of Louisville. Cincinnati’s Triple-A affiliate, the Bats, is situated in The Derby City.

Here’s LaMond Pope’s write-up on Wright in The Journal Gazette.

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The TinCaps Report: 7/16

Pitching coach Willie Blair updates us on the progress of the TinCaps’ arms, then Fort Wayne wins a wild one in Burlington.

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The TinCaps Report: 6/4

TinCaps RHP Chris Wilkes talks Tommy John surgery and big-time college football, then the TinCaps one-hit Kane County.

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Quasi-TinCaps Report: 6/1

Padres Minor League Pitching Coordinator Mike Couchee breaks down the progress of some of the TinCaps’ top pitching prospects.

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