2017 hasn’t been particularly kind to the Fort Wayne TinCaps, and this past weekend was just more of the same as they dropped two games of a three-game series to the Dayton Dragons. They’ve only won two games in their last 10, and have now come up short in five consecutive series since sweeping the Lansing Lugnuts in mid-May.
First baseman/designated hitter GK Young was the highlight of Fort Wayne’s lineup, with three hits, four RBI, and a pair of runs scored. Three of Young’s five homers this season have come in the past two weeks, so perhaps this sudden surge can inspire the other TinCaps.
GAME 1: TinCaps 8, Dragons 6
Fort Wayne’s offense was in rare form in this game. Six TinCaps posted multi-hit games as the team combined for 14 hits to take charge early in this one. Young drove in three runs, outfielder Jack Suwinski drove in two, and starting pitcher Fernando Bolanos (1-1) did just enough to earn his win with only two runs and three hits surrendered in five innings.
Outfielder Taylor Trammell and first baseman James Vazquez each drove in a pair of runs for the Dragons, but eight hits and six runs in six innings from pitcher Andrew Jordan (3-4) cost Dayton dearly.
GAME 2: Dragons 4, TinCaps 2
Dayton worked quickly and efficiently in this one, picking up four runs despite only four hits. They stayed patient, drawing five walks, and one of their hits was a two-run homer from second baseman Luis Gonzalez. Starting pitcher Matt Blandino (1-0) limited Fort Wayne to only five hits and two runs in five innings, and the Dragons’ staff suppressed the opposing bats by combining for 13 strikeouts.
The TinCaps got two more hits from Suwinski and an RBI single from Young, but ran into problems when starting pitcher Reggie Lawson (0-3) was pulled after averaging 20 pitches per inning through four frames. Lawson gave up three runs, three walks, and two hits.
GAME 3: Dragons 4, TinCaps 2
A battle of aces went to the Dragons, as towering lefty pitcher Scott Moss (8-1) picked up his Midwest League-leading eighth win.
Moss was absolutely dominant, with only one hit and two walks against six strikeouts in six shutout innings. Dayton also got two more RBI from Trammell and a solo homer from outfielder TJ Friedl to carry the lineup.
Both of the TinCaps’ runs came in the bottom of the 8th following a hit batter and a wild pitch from Dayton reliever Joel Kuhnel, which sandwiched a throwing error by Gonzalez. Otherwise, Fort Wayne’s most notable moment on offense was the second consecutive game with a stolen base for shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr.
On the bright side, Fort Wayne starting pitcher Logan Allen (3-3) showed once again why he’s such an electric prospect. Despite yielding four hits, three walks, and two runs in his 4 2/3 innings, Allen struck out eight; he now has an outstanding 64 K in 51 innings this year, giving him a K/9 ratio of 11.3 and a K/BB of 3. Regardless of the result, every start Allen makes has become an absolute must-see game.
Now sitting at 19-38, the TinCaps find themselves even further back in the MWL East standings, with a 19 1/2 game cushion between Fort Wayne and the West Michigan Whitecaps.
Both the TinCaps and the Lake County Captains dropped two out of three games this weekend, so the Captains are still only a game ahead in the “race” for the league’s worst record. With the Captains headed to Fort Wayne for a three game set starting on Tuesday, both teams should have some extra motivation to win each game.