Results tagged ‘ Frank Garces ’

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.

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.

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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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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Fort Wayne’s Own, Getting Younger, !!!

There wasn’t a single pitch thrown on Monday night in Dayton, Ohio, as the TinCaps and Dragons were postponed by rain.  The tarp went on the field at about 6:30, and the game was officially made into a doubleheader just shy of 9:00 PM.

Today it’ll be lefty Frank Garces in game one and righty Justin Hancock in game two. Hancock will be making his second start of the year, after he filled in for Matt Wisler last month on the 19th against Kane County.

The TinCaps are on a three-game winning streak, their longest of the year, and will look to make it five in a row tonight. I hope you can join on the radio, starting with pre-game coverage starting at 5:45 and first pitch at 6:00.

In today’s TinCaps Report listen to Fort Wayne native and Homestead High School graduate Ryan Wright talk about his baseball influences, getting to play at Parkview Field, and his ties to the Komets:

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Three Straight, Too Much Flying, Harper To Home

After Sunday’s matinee victory for the TinCaps, the team has now put together four straight dominating pitching performances. Starting with Adys Portillo’s outing on Thursday night, and continuing on with Joe Ross, Matt Wisler and Cody Hebner, the last four outings have yielded the following:

-25 innings pitched

-15 hits

-3 earned runs

-6 walks

-26 strikeouts

-1.08 ERA

That’s pretty darn good, and it’s no surprise that Fort Wayne is in the midst of the first three game winning streak of the year. Not to be overlooked, either, was the performance that the TinCaps had at the plate on Sunday. They beat the Dragons 11-1, Casey McElroy went deep twice, and Mike Gallic hit his first home run of the year. Kyung-Min Na had two triples in his first two at bats, and the TinCaps sent Dayton to loss number seven in a row. Pretty good Sunday, huh?

Frank Garces takes the hill tonight at 7 against Dan Jensen, who is making a spot start for Dayton after their ace, Justice French (Top-10 best names in MWL?), was promoted to Advanced-A Bakersfield of the California League.

Dan Jensen

Pregame coverage gets underway at 6:45 on 1380 ESPN in Fort Wayne and ESPNFortWayne.com. I hope you can join.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear my chat with Casey McElroy, who after hitting two home runs yesterday, leads the team in longballs and RBI:

FLYING TOO MUCH?

Ever seen Up In The Air? I think that’s a fantastic movie for two reasons: 1) It’s entertaining and tells a good story. 2) What guy doesn’t want to be George Clooney?

London or Paris?

In the movie, Clooney is a traveling businessman who flies all over the country for work and gets rewarded when he reaches the 10 million miles mark. Big deal, right? Not for a few folks in real life who have far surpassed that.

The L.A. Times has a story about how with AAirpass, a program instituted back in the 1980’s, fliers could pay upwards of $350,000 for unlimited first class travel for the rest of their lives.

“We thought originally it would be something that firms would buy for top employees,” said Bob Crandall, American’s chairman and chief executive from 1985 to 1998. “It soon became apparent that the public was smarter than we were.”

The unlimited passes were bought mostly by wealthy individuals, including baseball Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays, America’s Cup skipper Dennis Conner and computer magnate Michael Dell.

Mike Joyce of Chicago bought his in 1994 after winning a $4.25-million settlement after a car accident.

In one 25-day span this year, Joyce flew round trip to London 16 times, flights that would retail for more than $125,000. He didn’t pay a dime.

“I love Rome, I love Sydney, I love Athens,” Joyce said by phone from the Admirals Club at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. “I love Vegas and Frisco.”

And I love that quote. I laughed the first time I read that, sitting outside the team hotel here in Dayton last night, waiting to head to dinner. If you had the opportunity to fly like that, wouldn’t you?

Well, the gist of the story is that now American is involved in lawsuits with some people who bought AAirpasses, there’s potential fraud and it’s gotten costly and ugly. Interesting concept, probably not a good ending, though.

HARPER STEALS HOME

In Sunday’s Nationals-Phillies game at Citizen–, uh, I mean Nationals Park, Bryce Harper decided that a pickoff throw to first base would be an excellent time to attempt a steal of home plate. He was right:

Very impressive. Cole Hamels, who made the pickoff throw to first base, had plunked Harper, allowing him to reach in the first place. Hamels later admitted after the game that he hit Harper on purpose, saying, “I was trying to hit him. I mean, I’m not going to deny it. It’s something that I grew up watching. I’m just trying to continue old baseball, because I think some people get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie, the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything, because that’s the way baseball is … It’s just welcome to the big leagues.”

The Phils got the last laugh as they went on to a victory.

MUSICAL GUEST

Golden Earring…Take it away!

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

Battle of the Caps, Safe At Home, Podcast

ON TO THE NEXT ONE

The Wednesday series opener for the TinCaps didn’t go quite as they’d have liked, as West Michigan picked up an 8-4 victory. Frank Garces had a rocky fourth inning, where five runners crossed home plate, and heading to the fifth it was a 6-1 Whitecaps lead.

From today’s game notes:

-When Fort Wayne has scored four runs or fewer this year, the team’s record is 1-13.  In the 10 TinCaps wins this year, the team has scored an average of 7.2 runs per game. In their 16 losses, they’ve put up an average of 2.7 runs per game.

-Fort Wayne starter Adys Portillo ranks fourth among starters with opponents hitting just .179 (15-84) against him. However, control has plagued the Venezuelan, as he’s surrendered at least two walks in each starts, an is tied for the third most walks surrendered in the league (14).

First pitch tonight is once again at 6:35, with pregame coverage embarking at 6:20. I’ll check in with 2011, and now 2012, TinCaps outfielder Mike Gallic. He provides good insight on the expansive outfield here at Fifth Third Ballpark, and I think you’ll enjoy hearing what he has to say.

In today’s TinCaps Podcast Report, you can hear my full conversation with TinCaps hitting coach Jacque Jones, as he talks about some of the new hitters on the team, and what he thinks this club needs to do to get better:

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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:

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