Results tagged ‘ donavan tate ’

Wednesday in Review, A Loving Relationship, Breakfast Club

Arrival at West Michigan’s Fifth Third Ballpark on Wednesday was optimistic, as the TinCaps had lost two in a row and were looking for a turnaround in the opener of a three game series against the Whitecaps. Even the first inning started well, with a single from the returning Jace Peterson, a stolen base and then an RBI single from Tyler Stubblefield.

The second inning was good, too, as Frank Garces retired the side in order for the second straight frame, and the TinCaps held a 1-0 lead into the third. However, it was that pesky bottom of the third that would unravel the Fort Wayne ballclub. Garces surrendered three runs, which would be all the Whitecaps would need as they rolled to a 6-1 victory.

The first four hits for Fort Wayne came within their first six batters, and there were then only four hits to be had for the remainder of the game: A Yeiscon Asencio leadoff single in the fourth, a Peterson leadoff double in the sixth, an Austin Hedges one-out double in the seventh, and an Asencio leadoff single in the ninth. The TinCaps finished the night 1-11 with runners in scoring position.

Fort Wayne has dropped three in a row, and part of that that production from two players who had been chipping in offensively, has temporarily waned. Lee Orr has one hit in his last 21 at bats and Donavan Tate has one hit in his last 24 at bats. Within those respective time frames, Orr has struck out 13 times and Tate has fanned 15 times.

Yeison Asencio has managed to continue hitting, though, whether he’s batting third, fifth, or sixth in the lineup. In the last four games he’s hit in all three of those spots, sometimes flip-flopping between third and fifth with Casey McElroy. Asencio has gone 15 for his last 34 (.441) with nine RBI over a 10-game span. In 17 games with the TinCaps, he’s collected five multi-hit performances. He may not walk much (4 BB in 60 AB), but he’s only struck out five times, too.

Today Adys Portillo looks to snap the Fort Wayne losing streak as he takes the mound against West Michigan. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10, and I hope you can tune into the broadcast on 1380 ESPN and ESPNFortWayne.com.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear my chat with TinCaps Pitching Coach Willie Blair. We’ll talk about Frank Garces and Adys Portillo, the two TinCaps All-Star pitchers, the decision to pitch to MLB rehabber Carlos Santana on Monday night and the addition of Dennis O’Grady to the bullpen:

A LOVING RELATIONSHIP

In an absolutely fantastic read by Dave Sheinin, the national baseball writer for The Washington Post, we learn about Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey’s relationship with his knuckleball:

“It is Tuesday afternoon, and Dickey, 37, is headed to a therapy session — relationship therapy. Dickey and his knuckleball, they are making great progress these days, their understanding of each other growing deeper and richer. But the work must never stop, lest they drift apart again. Later that afternoon, in the bullpen at Nationals Park, they will take their places and pick up where they left off last time.

“It’s definitely a relationship,” Dickey, who carries the best record in the National League (8-1) into Thursday’s start against the Nationals, says before throwing his standard, between-starts bullpen session. “Sometimes we fight. There will be times where I’m yelling at the baseball — like, ‘Do I really know you?’

“That’s what keeps me invested. [The knuckleball] can grow. It’s not just an inanimate thing. It’s very much a living thing. It’s very organic.”

“He’s got the rising one, the sinking one, the sideways one — it’s tough to hit,” says Nationals slugger Michael Morse. “You see it, and by the time you swing it’s in another spot. Squaring up his knuckleball is tough. You basically have to go up there and take all your mechanics and everything you’ve learned, and throw it out the window, and just kind of go Little League — just swing as hard as you can and hope you make contact.”’

Let’s remember that this is a professional baseball player saying that. He’s paid millions of dollars to hit a baseball, and yet the knucleball reduces him to a “little league” swing. That’s incredible. It just goes to show you that hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do in sports. That, and learning the rules to cricket.

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS BREAKFAST CLUB

If you’ve never stayed at a Holiday Inn Express (the preferred lodging for visiting teams here in Walker, Michigan), you’re missing out on one of the great continental breakfasts that the Midwest League has to offer. Bagels, Yogurt, Eggs, Milk–delicious. There are also free copies of USA Today, in which you can read about food while you eat food.

Today I came across: “Food as fashion: We eat what we are”. Bruce Horovitz, take it away:

“What Americans eat and drink has become such an emotional roller coaster for so many of us that it’s utterly changing the way the nation’s biggest restaurant chains, foodmakers and grocery chains do business. Food used to feed our bodies. Now it also needs to feed our brains. Our egos. Our nostalgic memories. And maybe even our social-media appetites.”

“I’ll have an order of Instagram, with some MySpace on the sid…” Oh, that’s not what he meant by social-media appetite. Got it.

“Talking about food has become so fashionable that we may be doing more of it than ever. Social-media chatter about food — which is where we do much of it — is up more than 13% over the past year, says Nielsen Media Incite, which tracks buzz across social networks, blogs, forums and consumer review sites. That’s millions of additional social morsels just on food. “

Here’s the best part of the story:

“Then, there’s British Airways. It recently realized that its first-class passengers don’t want fancy-dancy desserts. Last fall, it started serving what passengers told them they wanted most: comfort food. Its Crumb Crumble cobbler was such a smash, when caterers tried to replace it on the menu with a different dessert, passengers went ballistic, says Lynn McClelland, head of catering. It’s all about emotions — even the most primitive, childhood emotions, she says. When stuck high above the ground for hours in a plane, she says, “Passengers tell us what they want most is what their moms used to feed them when they were 12.”‘

Soon, though, eating what you had when you were 12 won’t be cool enough any more. I can see this devolving into someone trying to make it cool to eat Gerber baby food. It’s the botox injection of “fancy-dancy” food.

MUSICAL GUEST

Pearl Jam…take it away!

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

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.

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…

(more…)

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:

(more…)

Lip Sweaters, Life Begins at 40, WinCaps

The first two games between the Bees and the TinCaps have been extremely enjoyable to watch. The games have featured strong pitching, timely offense and well-played defense. In Thursday night’s game, it was the offense that broke out early with both teams scoring two runs in their respective halves of the first inning. For Fort Wayne, it was Travis Whitmore hitting a two-run shot over the wall in right, which as he said after the game, carried up into the “jetstream”. The wind was blowing out to right, but he got enough on it that it would’ve been gone either way.

Fort Wayne’s Frank Garces pitched five innings and struck out seven, vaulting himself into the lead for strikeouts within the Padres player development system. The bullpen was as good as it’s been all year as Johnny Barbato, newcomer Daniel Cropper and Matt Stites worked four innings without giving up a hit or a walk. Cropper pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for his first win.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear the highlights from last night’s game, including post-game reaction from Whitmore, Donavan Tate and Manager Jose Valentin:

(more…)

Bizzaro world 2011

I’m not saying this to pile on, but the TinCaps were a disaster coming into yesterday. They’d been swept in three games at home by Lake County. The bullpen was in shambles with the starting pitchers not getting through four innings in back-to-back games, then having a 13-inning game where they blew a 6-1 lead (with five errors in the late innings) and had to bring a position player (Tyler Stubblefield) in to pitch near the end. The bullpen had been working two men short in the first place (thanks to a six-man starting rotation and the promotion of Andrew Werner). One of their best hitters (Jake Blackwood) was promoted yesterday. Their projected starting pitcher (Noah Mull) came down sick and couldn’t pitch (Matt Jackson filled in – he was on five days’ rest and even HE was sick). To top it off, two guys forgot their jerseys in Fort Wayne (no shirts-and-skins action for you sickos out there; they just wore different numbers). There was no realistic reason to expect anything to improve on Monday, especially after an error allowed Lake County to take an early lead and Jackson got smoked in the ankle by a smash back to the mound.

But then, something crazy happened: Jackson stayed in, fought through the sore ankle and gave the team six strong innings. The Captains walked nine and made four errors and the TinCaps got a few big hits to blow it open, 10-1.

Uh, what?

Lesson: Don’t ever, under any circumstances, try to predict baseball. Ever. For any reason. Whatsoever.

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps LHP Josh Spence is getting the pub from back home in Australia after making his MLB debut.
  • Hey, remember the 2009 TinCaps? They’re still annihilating the Double-A Texas League. It’s been three months worth of The Ultimate Warrior freaking out and beating up everyone. NINE league all-stars. Also in that article: INF Cory Spangenberg (10th overall pick in this year’s draft) and Donavan Tate could soon be headed here.
  • The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy and, in doing so, revealed Vin Scully’s salary. I don’t really see what the big deal is; Scully could name his price but clearly hasn’t abused that fact. Unlike his team’s owner, who has abused just about every privilege of owning a team. Sell to Mark Cuban and get it over with.
  • Tigers pitcher Al Albuquerque: He’s good. When he was in the Cubs organization and I was in Daytona, we couldn’t wait to get him promoted to our team just because we wanted to say “Al Albuquerque” on a semi-nightly basis. Never happened. One of the great disappointments of my career so far.
  • Since we’re at Lake County, I got to come home to my parents’ house last night. Our black lab had paw surgery and he’s the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen. They made him wear a plastic cone on his head so he won’t chew the bandage off the paw. Well, he doesn’t quite have the maneuverability thing down with the cone. He runs into EVERYTHING when he tries to move around. Last night he went into the bathroom and accidentally shut the door on himself when he was trying to get out, then didn’t understand that he had to back up to give me room to open the door and let him out. He is completely miserable, San Diego.
  • I also got to sit outside on the porch last night and just relax. Beautiful weather, it was quiet… it was delightful.
Musical guest… Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros!
Take care!
DW

Good news, bad news

So I’ll get the bad news out of the way first… Remember when we thought Everett Williams and Donavan Tate had no major structural damage to their knees after their collision? Well, maybe not.  According to the Union-Tribune, Williams tore his ACL and is done for the year, Tate has a deep knee bruise and they’re hoping for a June 1 return. And former TinCaps SS Drew Cumberland has been diagnosed with vertigo, which is pretty serious.

But step down from the ledge long enough to read this… Former TinCaps OF Daniel Robertson hit for the cycle. The day before, he’d been ejected for arguing with an umpire. The day of the cycle, he was a late addition to the lineup. Crazy game. And another tale from the 2009 TinCaps No-Mercy Reunion Tour 2011.

Random thoughts:

  • Also in San Antonio, James Darnell is killing it. The Padres have a lot of good third basemen in their system. And Blake Tekotte had a single off Rangers RHP Neftali Feliz, who was rehabbing with Frisco.
  • Also in the “good news” category, hey… we got bin Laden, right? And millions of Hulkamaniacs around the world celebrated.
  • Former Braves LHP John Rocker is going to write a book? And check out the picture in that article… is that not the scene from “Eastbound and Down” where Kenny Powers has his showdown with Daryl from “The Office” at Ashley Shaffer BMW?
  • “Succeeding is tough.” – Matt Stairs, Washington Nationals pinch hitter/philosopher.
  • “Power hitters are born.” – Mark McGwire. Ironic, eh?
  • A’s OF Josh Willingham is doing a good thing for the Southeast.
  • I mentioned a couple of weeks back that “Limitless” was a pretty good movie. Well, “The Lincoln Lawyer” was EXCELLENT. Good story, good acting. And country music star Trace Adkins plays the leader of a motorcycle gang, so bonus points for that. Not that I’ve seen a lot of movies this year, but Lincoln Lawyer is the best I’ve seen.

Musical guest… Jack Johnson!

Take care!

DW

Collision course

So Tuesday during the doubleheader against Bowling Green, we had the train wreck of the millennium (six games into the season, no less) when the following occurred (or you can just watch the video yourself):

Fly ball to left-center. CF Donavan Tate and LF Everett Williams converge. It looks like nobody makes the call. Tate makes the catch, Williams tries to duck out of the way at the last moment, they collide, limbs go flying. After a few seconds, the ball comes trickling out of Tate’s glove. Umpire says it’s a dropped catch, the batter is not out, the hitter races all the way around to score. Manager Shawn Wooten comes out, argues the call, gets ejected. Walks the rest of the way out to left-center where he finds Williams and Tate crumpled on the ground being attended to by both teams’ trainers. I’m sticking with my original description as “the worst-case scenario in all aspects.”

Well, not quite. From what is listed here and from what I can share, tests showed no structural damage for either guy. Tate went on the DL Wednesday with a hyperextended left knee. Williams is day-to-day with some tightness/soreness in his right knee. All things considered, as bad as it looked, neither guy was horribly injured. My cell phone, however, is irreparably damaged by all the text messages I received that afternoon.

Random thoughts (all based on the small sample size of 7 games):

  • RHP Keyvius Sampson has now thrown 11 scoreless innings (19 strikeouts, 1 walk) this season. He retired 20 straight hitters to open the season. Fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, arm speed consistent on fastball-curveball-changeup. I talked to a scout before the game tonight who said “the secret’s out” that Sampson is really good.
  • I’m pretty fired up to see Zach Cates throw again on Thursday. Liked him the first time I saw him. Good fastball, better secondary stuff than I expected.
  • RHP Yefri Carvajal has looked fine so far in his transition to the mound. Fastball looks legit, command is good enough. And he still likes swinging the bat, hitting fungoes to infielders during batting practice.
  • The TinCaps’ pitchers’ batting practice should be something to watch. Zach Cates was recruited as a catcher, Mark Hardy has a 1.000 career batting average (2-for-2 with San Antonio although he says he just got lucky), Carvajal is a converted outfielder, Chase Marona is a converted shortstop… These guys should drop some bombs.
  • Before he was injured, Tate impressed me with a couple of things: First, just about all of his hits were either to the middle or back side of the field. Solid approach. Second, on Tuesday there was a ball smoked to the gap in right-center. He moved over, picked it off the wall and threw a one-hop strike to second to nail the runner. He got there quickly but I still thought there was no shot at getting the runner. Good arm, although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about it, him being a D-I quarterback recruit and all.
  • On the infield defensively (especially on the left side), this team is so far ahead of last year’s club it’s not even close. B.J. Guinn can cover ground and pick it at short (haven’t seen many throws from deep in the hole yet) and Jake Blackwood has made every play at third. The catchers have blocked well and have thrown out all three runners who have tried to steal against them (Bowling Green isn’t even TRYING to steal against them, and Bowling Green steals against everyone). You get the feeling this is what the Padres have in mind when they talk about building a team for Petco Park: Pitching and defense, aggressive baserunning.
  • I think this team will hit a little more when they’re not facing left-handed pitching every night. For whatever reason they’re on track for a string of facing lefty starters in 5 of their first 8 games.Which is a lot, especially for a team with so many left-handed hitters.
  • Bowling Green is Reds country, so we’ve been able to watch the Padres-Reds the last couple of nights. Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos looked really good through four innings on Monday and Fort Wayne alum 3B Chase Headley looks lost at the plate. The Padres won in comeback, walk-off fashion today while the TinCaps were in progress.
  • What the heck is going on when a guy gets beaten to within an inch of his life because he’s wearing the wrong team’s jersey? Unbelievable.
  • Bill Simmons wrote a pretty good story about watching The Masters on TV with his young son.
  • Cavaliers radio guy Joe Tait called his last game on Wednesday. Between his curmudgeony self and his Bill Cosby sweater collection, it won’t be the same without him.

Musical guest… Howie Day!

Take care!

DW

The TinCaps Report: 4/13

Team president Mike Nutter answers a pro wrestling question for the ages and the TinCaps split a doubleheader in Bowling Green on this edition of The TinCaps Report.

Subscribe to The TinCaps Report podcast

The TinCaps Report: 4/11

Team president Mike Nutter recaps a successful opening homestand and shares his favorite Parkview Field memories, plus highlights from the series finale against South Bend and a look forward to the TinCaps’ first road trip of the year.

Subscribe to The TinCaps Report podcast

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 114 other followers