Results tagged ‘ Cody Hebner ’

The Avenger, Hambone, News Quiz

Monday night’s game didn’t have the same irregularities of extreme weather like Sunday’s game did, but it still featured a good amount of excitement. Duanel Jones connected on his second home run of the second half, and the TinCaps bullpen stole the show, as Fort Wayne rolled to its third consecutive win, and fourth straight series victory.

Cody Hebner went just three innings, his shortest outing of the year, but Dennis O’Grady had no trouble picking up the slack and he earned the win with three scoreless innings of relief.

A story that I found to be of particular intrigue was the appearance of Matt Stites out of the bullpen. It marked his fourth outing of the second half, and his first save opportunity since a June 4th game at Lake County. On that night, Stites faced MLB rehabber Carlos Santana, who hit a game-tying home run to right field, and the Captains went on to win 4-3 in 13 innings.

Monday night was a chance for Stites to avenge that June evening–and he did just that, earning his first save since June 1st. It was a 1-2-3 ninth for the righty, who’s  one of the best relief pitchers in the Midwest League. He has a 0.73 ERA in 21 games, with 24 2/3 innings of work under his belt. He’s given up only two earned runs, walked two and has struck out 29 batters.

Fort Wayne is now 8-3, alone atop the standings in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division. The TinCaps have either been the only team in first or tied for first for seven straight days. They’ve now secured four straight series victories in a row to open the second half. The last time Fort Wayne won four consecutive series was last August. If the TinCaps can keep this up, they’ll find themselves contenders down the stretch of the second half.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear from Matt Wisler as he tells us what book he’s reading, and how it’s helped him forge his approach on the mound:

HAMBONE

You’ve got to read this story on Josh Hamilton. No, really–you must. It includes anecdotes from his childhood, like this one:

“Eventually Josh had to be moved from shortstop to the outfield because his first baseman so feared catching Josh’s bullet throws that he began ducking out of harm’s way. Whenever Josh pitched, batters backed out of the box before he even began his windup and whenever Josh came to bat, all of the infielders retreated into the outfield, until finally complaints from opposing players’ parents prompted Josh’s promotion to a league of older kids. Josh and Landon played on a team sponsored by Mitchell’s Hair Styling and wore purple jerseys. They won three state championships in a row.

In one of those state tournaments, Josh pitched a total of 24 innings and never allowed a hit. The next season Josh won a Home Run Derby against a bunch of boys nearly twice his size. At that time, Josh was still scrawny, but he was so athletic and coordinated that he could run backward faster than the other kids could run forward.

Powell has never forgotten a conversation he had with Bob Sanderford, the father of one of Josh’s teammates. “Bob was a former college basketball player who knew youth sports really well and knew sports at a high level,” Powell says. “One day after a game when Josh had done something only Josh could do, Bob leaned over to me and he said, ‘That kid’s going to be the first player picked in the major league draft when he’s a senior in high school.'”

Josh was 10.”

ARE YOU UP TO DATE?

If you’ve been keeping up with current events, you’ll do well on this 12-question current events quiz from The New Yorker. If you haven’t been paying attention, well, you’ll score poorly.

Hint: The Supreme Court had a big week.

I got eight questions right.

Good luck.

MUSICAL GUEST

Led Zeppelin…take it away!

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

First Half Finale, Travel Numbers, Programming Notes

It’s the final game of the first half, and the TinCaps and Hot Rods square off at 3:05 CDT here in Bowling Green, Kentucky this afternoon. I’ve been told there may be some rain in the forecast. Upon further examination, that may be accurate. Here’s what the radar looks like at first pitch:

This is the opposite of good.

On an unrelated note, I did a little bit of math last night and found out just how many miles the TinCaps have traveled by bus in the first half (according to Google Maps):

4,587

That, I have determined, is the equivalent of driving from New York to Los Angeles, turning around in an attempt to drive home, and then running out of gas in St. Louis. Well, you don’t have to run out of gas in St. Louis. You might have relatives there, or you might want to catch a Cardinals game. I shouldn’t speak for you in that instance. Either way, that’s a lot of bus miles. I probably should’ve signed up for the frequent rider progra–

What? There is no frequent rider program?

This seems somewhat to moderately off. I could’ve sworn I’d at least get a sweatshirt or travel tote bag for all of the miles. I’ll need to speak with a customer services representative.

In all seriousness, though, today’s game should be a good one as Cody Hebner (6-2, 3.43) takes the hill against Bowling Green’s Roberto Gomez (6-2, 2.79). The TinCaps will try to give Hebner the run support he’s used to, a team best 6.6 runs per start, after having been shut out three of the last four nights. Prior to this week, Fort Wayne hadn’t been shut out at all in the first half. The TinCaps are also in danger of being swept for the first time in the half, and so a win would go a long way in preserving that streak.

With an 0-3 game last night, Travis Whitmore’s 11-game hitting streak came to an end. It stands as the longest hitting streak of the year for Fort Wayne. Donavan Tate and Matt Colantonio each carried streaks of eight straight games with a hit earlier this season. (more…)

Rubber Match, Floating Shuttle, Dawson’s Message

The TinCaps wrap up their three-game series with the Captains today in Eastlake, Ohio.

It’s a chance for Fort Wayne to take the series, which would be crucial after yesterday’s game escaped their grasp in the final moments. Five Lake County runs scored in the eighth inning and the Captains escaped with a 7-2 victory.

The pitching matchup tonight looks like it’ll be a good one: Cody Hebner (5-2, 4.06) vs. Joe Colon (5-5, 2.66).

After winning three starts in a row from April 30th to May 12th (3-0, 2.70 in that stretch), Hebner has since gone winless (0-1, 7.54) in his last three starts. From looking at the numbers, here’s one stat that jumps off the page with the TinCaps righty:

Average against with the bases empty: .194 (21-108)

Average against with runners on base: .329 (28-85)

As for Colon, he’s had an interesting season in that he’s registered a decision in all but one of his 11 starts. He features a sinker, and from what I’ve heard from the Lake County radio booth, it’s an effective pitch that induces a lot of ground balls.

In his last three starts, Colon has alternated win-loss-win, but was overall very successful in May going 4-2 with a 1.31 ERA. The native of Puerto Rico allowed just six earned runs in 41 1/3 innings last month.

I hope you can join me tonight for the radio broadcast. I’ll be on the air at 6:45 from Classic Park with our pregame coverage. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00, and you can listen on 1380 ESPN or at ESPNFortWayne.com.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear my Saturday chat with Captains Manager David Wallace. He’ll tell you how few times top prospect Francisco Lindor has struggled this year, and fill you in on who his managerial influences are:

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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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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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Three Hits, Photos from the Road, What’s a Facebook?

Just three hits for the TinCaps in Thursday’s 5-1 loss for Fort Wayne. Six innings in, there were no hits on the scoreboard for the TinCaps and it was looking a little dicey. Noah Syndergaard, who apparently wolfs down Chiptole before each start, worked four innings and didn’t give up a run or a hit. Only two men reached against him during his outing. Here’s how he prepares for each game:

” I start my day off with Chipotle, it’s like a pregame ritual with [reliever Anthony] DeSclafani. Then I get to the stadium around 5 p.m. and get my leg stretches and arm stretches in, then I’m ready to go.”

“Tonight, I went down to the bullpen after I came out and worked on my curveball. It depends on my pitch count. Then I did some shoulder maintenance and rotator cuff stuff.”

The TinCaps didn’t fare much better against DeSclafani, as the righty struck out the side in both the fifth and sixth innings,  and ended up with a career-high eight strikeouts.

Donavan Tate notched the first hit of the night for Fort Wayne in the seventh, and later came around to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Duanel Jones. The TinCaps loaded the bases in the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate against reliever Brandon Berl, but Lee Orr grounded out to end the game. The three-game winning streak came to and end for the TinCaps.

While Cody Hebner pitched well through five innings, it was the first time all year that fewer than three runs were scored when he was on the mound. Entering Thursday’s game the team had averaged 8.1 runs per game during his starts. Frank Garces starts in the rubber match.

Pregame coverage starts at 6:45 on 1380 ESPN and ESPNFortWayne.com with first pitch at 7:05, and I hope you can join me on your Friday night.

FROM THE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVES

I want to share a few photos with you from the road trip. Here is an establishment right down the street from the Lugnuts ballpark. This place is a little geographically confused…

Featuring DJ TinCat on the 1’s and 2’s every Friday night!

Looking down at the lobby of the Lexington Lansing Hotel from inside the elevator. Swanky.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear from Lee Orr, whose three-run homer lifted the TinCaps to a win on Wednesday night in Lansing. He’ll also talk about his friendship with his college, and current, teammate Jace Peterson and about the time he got covered in mud while helping Jace out of a jam…

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Winning Big, Off Day, Spot the Hat, Red(s) Storm

TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS

Samuel Hoffman/The Journal Gazette

That was the view that construction workers had for Monday morning’s game at Parkview Field. Not bad, I’ll say.

The TinCaps won 8-4, behind seven first inning runs as they sent 11 men to the plate and hit for the cycle as a team. Austin Hedges hit a home run, Jace Peterson hit a three-run triple, and Cody Hebner picked up his third win of the year tossing a career-high five and two thirds innings. Listen to the highlights and hear post-game comments from Hebner and second baseman Casey McElroy in today’s TinCaps Report Podcast:

TOUGH CHOICE

Imagine having to choose between trying to play basketball or baseball as a pro. For those of us who celebrate over just touching the rim while playing basketball, this choice seems like it would never be in the realm of possibility. However, for Amir Garrett, a St. John’s University student, it’s his reality:

“The Cincinnati Reds drafted him out of high school based on a left arm they believe is full of potential.

The Reds were undeterred that the 6-foot-6 Garrett had committed to play basketball and baseball at St. John’s. They signed him to a $1 million contract, agreed to let him play forward for the Red Storm this winter and asked him to be ready to report to their player development complex in Goodyear, Ariz., once the academic year ended.

Now a month away from doing just that, Garrett is in a springtime no man’s land. The basketball season is over. N.C.A.A. rules prohibit him from playing baseball for the Red Storm. Classes remain. Eligibility pitfalls abound. And a question lingers.

“Everybody asks me which sport I like more,” Garrett said. “I can’t really pick between the two right now. They’re both the same. I love them both.”’

It’s quite a story, and it’s not without precedent either. The most recent example is Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker:

“It has not been uncommon for football players to play baseball, too, even signing contracts with professional teams while finishing out their college football careers. Washington’s Jake Locker, Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson and Michigan’s Drew Henson, all quarterbacks, and the Heisman Trophy-winning running back Ricky Williams are notable examples.”

Although Garrett will report to the Reds complex in Arizona, it doesn’t sound like a stretch that he could make his way to Dayton and play for the Dragons this season. The TinCaps have plenty of games left against their Eastern Division rivals, and that’d be one opposing pitcher you wouldn’t want to miss at Parkview Field.

LOTS OF HATS

I found this cool picture yesterday courtesy of Ben Hill, the business blogger for MiLB.com. Can you find the TinCaps hat in there? If you need a hint and are a minor league baseball junkie, you’ll easily identify it when I tell you that it’s located in between the Fort Myers Miracle hat and the Frederick Keys hat.

Looking at all of the logos for minor league team is pretty fun. On Monday’s TV broadcast, Kent and I were talking about logos, and the Casper Ghosts came up. They’re no longer in Casper (now Grand Junction, CO), but when they were in Wyoming, they had a glow-in-the-dark logo, the only such of it’s kind in Minor League Baseball.

Because…why not, right?

OFF DAY AT THE MALL

While Bryce Harper’s only got a handful of Major League games under his belt, he did have a recent off day with the Nationals while they were back in Washington, D.C. So what did he do with that off day?

He stopped by a pick-up softball game on the National Mall:

Today also happens to be an off-day for the TinCaps. So if you happen to see anyone that looks like they’re way too good and has never been in your Tuesday night softball league before, they may be a Midwest Leaguer enjoying a rare day off.

MUSICAL GUEST

May has begun. After plenty of cool weather took April into the rear view mirror, I’m hoping those 75 and 80 degree nights are right around the corner.

With that in mind, today’s musical guest is…Rascall Flatts!

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

K’s All Around, From DC to GU, Text-Only Instagram

STRIKEOUT CENTRAL

Wednesday’s series opener against Burlington was nothing shy of a pitcher’s duel. Bees starter Sean Murphy struck out 13 batters, a new career high, and TinCaps starter Cody Hebner fanned seven in a losing effort. A three-run homer surrendered by Hebner with two out in the fifth proved to be the difference as Fort Wayne lost 3-1.

From today’s game notes:

  •  Shortstop Jace Peterson has now reached base in seven of the last eight games, after going 2-4 on Wednesday night. The 18 runs that Peterson has scored in 20 games leads the Midwest League. Burlington’s Dusty Robinson is second with 15.
  •  Front End Ferocity: Starter Frank Garces ranks second in the league among starting pitchers with a .128 batting average against him. Rotation-mate Adys Portillo ranks third, with opposing batters hitting .132 during his time on the hill. After last night’s seven-strikeout performance, Cody Hebner ranks fourth in the MWL with 23 strikeouts.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear the highlights from Wednesday’s game, and post-game reaction from Hebner and Fort Wayne catcher Matt Colantonio:

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LOL (But Seriously), ¡Jambalaya!, Podcast

Fort Wayne’s offense exploded for a season-high 12 runs and 16 hits as the TinCaps obliterated the Kane County Cougars on Friday night.

Travis Whitmore went 4-5 and Justin Miller finished with a three-hit performance. Whitmore and Kyle Gaedele plated three runs, and  Duanel Jones, along with Matt Colantonio, had two runs batted in.  A 7-for-11 mark with runners in scoring position was also a season best. Cody Hebner pitched five innings, allowing just one run, for the win. The bullpen was brilliant, too, working four innings and giving up just a hit.

A win would give the TinCaps their first back-to-back wins of the year and it would be the team’s first series victory in five tries.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear the highlights from Friday’s win, and we stop in with the roster’s newest addition, catcher Jeremy Rodriguez:

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Congrats to Jacque, Hello to Cody, Happy Birthday to Jay

Tonight is the second of a three-game series for the TinCaps and the Silver Hawks in South Bend. Monday’s game saw Fort Wayne jump out to a 1-0 lead after one inning, but the Silver Hawks had a big fourth, scoring four runs,and never looked back. Right now the TinCaps are hitting just .190, but it’s four games in–nothing to worry about. The pitching has been good, especially the bullpen, which has allowed just three earned runs in almost 20 innings of work.

Tonight is the debut of the last member of the five-man rotation: Cody Hebner. The righty was originally scheduled to start on opening day, but he tweaked his ankle and got bumped to the back of the rotation. He put up good numbers last year for Eugene (2-2, 3.35 ERA in 11 games) after being taken in the fourth round by the Padres. Here’s how he describes his arsenal:

“My fastball usually sits around 93 mph, but I got it up to 97 a couple of times this year,” he said. “I didn’t know it at the time, but they told me in the dugout, ‘you got it up to 97 that inning.’ And I said, ‘holy cow, that’s hard.’ At that level I could probably get away with using my fastball. But I like to approach like a major leaguer and work the batter and throw off-speed as well. I throw a fastball, a seam splitter, a curve ball, a change up and a slider.”

Listen to today’s TinCaps Report Podcast to hear some of last night’s action and comments from pitching coach Willie Blair on what he expects out of his hurlers in the early part of the season:

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