Results tagged ‘ The New Yorker ’
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:
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.”
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Hint: The Supreme Court had a big week.
I got eight questions right.
Led Zeppelin…take it away!
Today is a 12:30 central time first pitch here in Clinton, and it’s a school day. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of school children will file into Ashford University Field for this afternoon’s game. Some of them are peering into my booth as I write this. Good morning, children.
Fort Wayne lost yesterday 5-3 in game two of this three-game series. Both games the TinCaps have played here in Clinton have taken the same path. They’ve jumped out to a 3-0 lead, only to see it evaporate over the course of the evening. Yesterday, it was a 3-2 lead heading into the eighth inning, but Colin Rea surrendered a solo home run and a two-run home run in the inning, and the LumberKings picked up the win. Now the TinCaps will look to salvage the set before returning home for six games.
Of note in yesterday’s game was pitcher Joe Ross’ performance. He walked the first two batters of the game, but went on to strike out seven, a new career-high, and didn’t allow an earned run.
In today’s TinCaps report podcast, I chat with catcher Matt Colantonio. Not only has he filled in superbly for Austin Hedges, but he’s also got not one, but two degrees from an Ivy League institution. He’ll tell us about how he got Joe Ross to pitch “backwards” to success in last night’s game, and why he’s more of an analytical guy than a theoretical one:
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:
Tip of the TinCap to Willie Blair for all his work with Portillo. Adys deals again tonighht After 2 GS has 0.84 ERA.—
Randy Smith (@ResPadres) April 13, 2012
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):