Results tagged ‘ Mike Couzens ’

Series Finale, Billionaire For a Day, The Bystander Effect

BASEBALL BUSINESS

The TinCaps will try for the series split today after losing the last two at the hands of the Great Lakes Loons. It’s not that Fort Wayne has lacked the opportunities to win, they just haven’t been able to capitalize. Here’s a nugget from today’s game notes:

Over the last two games as the TinCaps have lost by a combined two runs, they’ve left many potential runs on base. In Friday’s 5-4, loss, the team went 3-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10. On Saturday, Fort Wayne went 2-10 with RISP and left seven men on base. Friday’s loss also saw four runners caught stealing, and two getting picked off.

Cody Hebner gets the call for Fort Wayne this afternoon, and it looks like it won’t be quite as sunny and warm as it had been over the last two days at Dow Diamond. There are grey skies overhead and it rained overnight here in Midland, MI. I’ll chat with Jose Valentin before today’s game to get his thoughts on the first ten games of the season.

Yesterday I chatted with Kyle Gaedele, a native of Illinois and a former Valparaiso Crusader. We talked about this team’s propensity for base stealing, his spring, and why he’s always felt like an under the radar guy:

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The Story of the Rally Camel

Well, last night’s game didn’t turn out how the TinCaps would’ve liked, as they lost 5-4 on a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth inning. Joe Ross pitched well, striking out six over five innings, and he did not walk a batter. The four-game series with Great Lakes is now locked up at one game apiece. So, why don’t we go to a more lighthearted story, which involves a camel in Michigan.

It all began with a DVR. As Chris Lones, the Assistant General Manager for Promotions and Entertainment with the Great Lakes Loons, remembers it, he was sitting at home one night watching recorded TV shows with his wife, Linda.  As Chris was watching TV, he saw a camel that he thought was a little bit funny. It made him laugh. He thought it could make others laugh, too.

One day while at work, he mocked up an image of a camel prototype. The madness had begun. As Chris’ creation made its way around the office, it eventually morphed into a video clip, and this year it’s become a full blown mascot at Dow Diamond.

Listen to today’s special edition of the TinCaps Report Podcast to hear Chris discuss how Rall E. Camel (seriously, that’s its name) became a sensation in Michigan:

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‘Port’ Authority, Offensive Outburst, Crazy Commas

Lovely game at Dow Diamond last night as the TinCaps and Loons opened their four-game set. Adys Portillo went six and two thirds, tying his career high for innings pitched. He was just one batter shy of making it through seven full, before issuing a walk with two out. Quite the outing for the 20 year old from Venezuela. Padres Farm Director Randy Smith was following the game closely:

That’s a great turn of phrase right there, hope it’s not copyrighted!

Lots of credit is due to the staff for helping Portillo get off to a great start this season. Last year in 23 appearances, only five times did Portillo pitch more than four innings. Jose Valentin told me before the game that during spring training, the staff had Portillo focus on throwing the ball over the plate, even in two-strike counts. The way to corral a wild arm, it seems, was to overcorrect back to the middle and have him throw more strikes than necessary. It has certainly paid off, as Portillo began the year without allowing a hit in his first six innings of work, and has allowed just two in 10 2/3 innings.

Oh, right…there was the big offensive outburst last night, too! In the first inning, Jace Peterson and Travis Whitmore both went deep off of Loons starter Brandon Martinez. You can hear those highlights in today’s TinCaps Report Podcast. Also in today’s edition, part of my conversation with TinCaps hitting coach Jacque Jones. He gives his thoughts about the team’s start at the plate this year, talks about new third baseman Duanel Jones, and explains why he missed work earlier this week (for a very good reason):

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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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Three in the Books, Away We Go

The first series of the season has come and gone, and with the dust settled, the TinCaps are 1-2 to begin the year.  Here are a few numbers from the first three games:

29: The number of runs scored between Fort Wayne and Lake County in the first series of the year.

8: The differential of runs (16) vs. earned runs (8) surrendered by the TinCaps pitching staff. Kane County has the largest gap, having surrendered 21 runs, with 11 of them being earned.

15: The cumulative number of errors committed by both teams throughout the three-game series.

15, 673: The number of tickets sold for the opening series at Parkview Field. Fan support was great, even with chilly weather for a few of the games.

2: The number of people who found this blog last week using the search term “worlds biggest shark tooth.” Thanks for stopping in!

0: Number of home runs hit in the first three games between Fort Wayne and Lake County.

It’s off to South Bend on Monday for a three game set with the Silver Hawks. They’ve gotten off to an identical 1-2 start to the year. We’ll see the debut of Bryan, OH native Matt Wisler at 7:05.

TINCAPS REPORT PODCAST

Take a listen back to some of the calls from Saturday’s game, and hear postgame reaction from TinCaps Manager José Valentin:

Click here for the video recap of Saturday night’s game with highlights and analysis from me and Kent Hormann.

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