Fort Wayne TinCaps (24-17, 56-53) @ Peoria Chiefs (28-13, 61-48)
RHP Ernesto Montas (9-6, 3.28) vs. LHP Ian McKinney (0-0, 0.00)
Saturday, August 8, 2015 — Dozer Park (Peoria, IL) — First Pitch 7:30 p.m. — Game 110
ABOUT LAST NIGHT: First-place Fort Wayne fell to Peoria, 2-0, in the opener of their three-game series. The Chiefs broke a scoreless tie with a run in the sixth and an unearned run in the seventh.
RUIZ’S ROCKET ARM: Catcher Jose Ruiz threw out five Peoria runners attempting to steal second base on Friday, including three in the bottom of the first inning. Manager Francisco Morales, a former catcher, said he’d never seen that before.Ruiz now has thrown out 44 attempted base-stealers this year, leading the Midwest League. His total is eight more than anyone else. Peoria ranks second in the league as a team with 136 stolen bases. Chiefs shortstop Oscar Mercado leads the MWL with 41 SB; Ruiz caught him stealing twice. The 20-year-old from Venezuela also had a productive night at the plate, as he singled and drew a most impressive walk. Peoria starter Matt Pearce hadn’t walked a batter in a MWL-record 54 1/3 innings.
VANMETER UPDATE: Second baseman Josh VanMeter began a rehab assignment with the Peoria Padres in the Arizona League on Friday. The 20-year-old Ossian, Ind., native went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a run scored in his first game action since April 13, when he fractured his left fibula at Parkview Field against Lansing.
HOT MEETS HOT: The TinCaps have won eight of their last 10 games, while the Chiefs have won four in a row and 25 of their last 31. Fort Wayne is in first place in the Eastern Division. Peoria is in second in the Western Division and holds a 10 1/2-game lead for the Western Division Wild Card.
FIRST PLACE: The TinCaps lead West Michigan by a 1/2 game for first place in the MWL Eastern Division with 29 games remaining in the regular season, which wraps up on Labor Day (Sept. 7). This weekend the Whitecaps host the Western Division’s first-place team, the Kane County Cougars. Meanwhile, Fort Wayne is 4 games in front of both Bowling Green and South Bend, who are currently tied for the Eastern Division Wild Card.
MWL EASTERN DIVISION SECOND HALF PLAYOFF PICTURE:
Place Team W-L GB GB WC Streak
1. FORT WAYNE 24-17 — — L1
2. West Michigan 23-17 0.5 — W4
3. Lansing* 22-19 2.0 1.5 W1
4. Bowling Green 20-21 4.0 3.5 W1
5. South Bend 20-21 4.0 3.5 W1
6. Lake County 19-21 4.5 4.0 W1
7. Dayton 18-23 6.0 5.5 L2
8. Great Lakes** 17-24 7.0 6.5 W2
* First Half Division Winner ** First Half Wild Card Winner