TinCaps Game Notes: September 2 at West Michigan (September 2)
Fort Wayne TinCaps (32-35, 64-72) @ West Michigan Whitecaps (31-36, 67-70)
LHP Ryan Weathers vs. RHP Elvin Rodriguez
Saturday, Sep. 2 - Fifth Third Ballpark (Comstock Park, Mich.) - 6 PM (Game 137/138)
LISTEN: ESPN Radio 1380 & 100.9 FM | TinCapsRadio.com | TuneIn
WATCH: MiLB.TV (Subscription)
CHANCE TO CLINCH: The TinCaps are 1 win away from clinching the Midwest League's Eastern Division second half wild card. With 2 games left in the regular season, Fort Wayne leads its opponent, the West Michigan Whitecaps, by 1 game following a 10-3 win here Saturday night. Henry Henry tossed 7 innings of 2-run ball while the offense tallied 16 hits.
WHAT'S NEXT: Whichever team wins this series will play the Great Lakes Loons (second half top seed) in a best-of-3 series starting Wednesday in either Fort Wayne or West Michigan. Game 2 and, if necessary, 3 will be in Midland, Mich. Bowling Green, the first half title winner, and Lansing, the first half wild card, will play in the other Eastern Division Semifinals series, and the winner of that matchup will have home-field for the Eastern Division Championship Series.)
PLAYOFF HISTORY: Through its first 25 years in the Midwest League, Fort Wayne has reached the Midwest League Playoffs 16 teams. Since rebranding in 2009 and moving into Parkview Field, the TinCaps have reached the postseason in 8 of 9 years (with the exception being 2016), including 2009 when the team won the lone MWL title in franchise history. Last year the TinCaps won the Eastern Division pennant. Outfielder Jack Suwinski and shortstop Gabriel Arias are the only players currently active for the team who were active for last year's playoff run.
LABOR DAY WEEKEND DRAMA: The last time the TinCaps were in a position to clinch a playoff spot the final weekend of the regular season was in 2014 at Bowling Green. Fort Wayne needed to sweep a 3-game series, and did. On Labor Day afternoon, Northeast Indiana native Josh VanMeter broke a scoreless tie in the top of the seventh with a 3-run homer in an eventual 4-0 win.
ALL ROSY: In the MWL, Jeisson Rosario ranks tied for 5th in walks (66), 6th in runs (79), and 7th in OBP (.370). Looking to advanced stats, he's 8th in BB% (12%), 9th in Swing & Miss % (8%), and 10th in BB/K (0.62). Rosario had a solid first half of the season (.269/.381/.322 with 7 extra-base hits in 56 games), but has hit better since the break (.273/.360/.382 with 17 extra-base hits in 59 games).
SUWINSKI THRIVING: Jack Suwinski had the 2nd highest OPS in the MWL in August at 1.069. Suwinski slashed .383/.443/.626 with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 5 homers, and 25 RBIs for the month. In his first 79 games of the season, Suwinski was at .203/.276/.328 with 11 doubles, 4 triples, and 5 homers. (With 7 triples on the year, Suwinski is tied for 6th most in the MWL.) Suwinski is currently on an 8-game hitting streak and a 14-game on-base streak.
MILLER MASHING: In his first 24 games as a TinCap since making his debut Aug. 8, Owen Miller has slashed .357/.390/.531 with 11 doubles (most in the MWL), 2 homers, and 13 RBIs. The last time the 'Caps had a rookie infielder join them in the second half was 2014 when Trea Turner slashed .369/.447/.529 in 46 games.
ARI-SERIOUS?!: In 39 games since July 19, Gabriel Arias has slashed .297/.370/.524 with 14 doubles (tied for most in MWL), 2 triples, 5 homers and 25 RBIs. (In 83 games prior, Arias was at .215/.273/.275 with 13 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 homer.) Arias had a 21-game on-base streak from July 19-Aug. 12, and a 10-game streak from Aug. 16-25... Arias has played in 122 games - tied for the 7th most in the MWL. His 27 doubles on the year are also top 10 in the league.
CYCLE: On Monday in South Bend, Gabriel Arias became just the second player in Fort Wayne's 26-year franchise history to hit for the cycle as he went 5-for-6 with 5 RBIs. The first only other player to hit for the cycle with Fort Wayne was Rene Lopez on May 27, 1993 vs. Beloit... Owen Miller hit for the cycle on May 13 for Illinois State against Valparaiso. Last July, playing for the Lakeshore Chinooks of the collegiate Northwoods League, Miller hit for the cycle twice in a 3-game span.
RUIZ IN RARE AIR: Esteury Ruiz is 1 of 2 players in Minor League and Major League Baseball this season with 10+ homers and 40+ stolen bases. The 19-year-old Ruiz has 12 homers and 48 stolen bases (most in the MWL, tied for 4th in MiLB). The only other player in this class: Buddy Reed, who played for the 'Caps last year and now is with Double-A San Antonio. Reed has 13 homers and 51 stolen bags.
IN CONTROL: TinCaps pitchers have the lowest BB/9 ratio in the league (3.0) and also the best K/BB ratio (3.12).
CHANGIN: With the arrival of Agustin Ruiz, the TinCaps have used 55 players this season (23 position players, 32 pitchers). On Thursday, Joey Cantillo was the 14th starting pitcher the 'Caps have had. Fort Wayne used 53 players during the regular season in 2017. In '16, the 'Caps had a franchise-record 63 players... Tom Cosgrove is the only pitcher who's remained on the active roster all year... Gabriel Arias, Jeisson Rosario, Esteury Ruiz, Jack Suwinski, and Jalen Washington are the 5 position players who've been active all year.
WALKING WOUNDED: 9 TinCaps are on the Disabled List... LHP MacKenzie Gore (fingernail issue), LHP Osvaldo Hernandez (left shoulder inflammation), RHP Jose Quezada (right elbow soreness), C Luis Campusano (concussion), C Juan Fernandez (right hamate fracture), INF Justin Lopez (broken left thumb), INF/OF Olivier Basabe (elbow), OF Tirso Ornelas (right hand bone bruise), and OF Robbie Podorsky (back spasms)... In addition, RHP Luis Patiño and RHP Dylan Coleman have been shut down due to reaching their innings limit for the year.
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