Fort Wayne TinCaps (42-22, 74-58) @ West Michigan Whitecaps (38-26, 71-62)
RHP Pete Kelich (2-2, 3.79) vs. RHP A.J. Ladwig (11-9, 3.78)
Wednesday, September 2, 2015 — Fifth Third Ballpark (Comstock Park, MI) — First Pitch 7:00 p.m. — Game 133
ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The TinCaps took the rubber match of their series at Lansing, 6-4. Franmil Reyes highlighted the offense with 4 of the team’s 12 hits, including a pair of solo home runs.
A WIN THIS SERIES CLINCHES DIVISION TITLE: With 6 games left in the regular season, the TinCaps have a 4-game lead on West Michigan for first place in the Eastern Division’s second half race. If Fort Wayne wins at least 1 of the 3 games in this series, then it’ll clinch the division title. That’s because even if the TinCaps lost the rest of their remaining games, and the Whitecaps won all of their remaining games, they’d finish with the same record, and Fort Wayne would own the first tiebreaker (best record in head-to-head meetings). The TinCaps are 8-5 against the Whitecaps so far this year, so a single victory in this series would assure the head-to-head advantage.
DIVISION TITLE HISTORY: Although the TinCaps have been in the MWL Playoffs each of the last 6 seasons, they haven’t won a division crown since 2009. In fact, since joining the league in 1993, Fort Wayne has only 4 division titles to its name:
· 1995 Second Half
· 2003 First Half
· 2009 First Half
· 2009 Second Half
ROSTER MOVE: Right-handed reliever Nick Monroe has been placed on Fort Wayne’s disabled list. To fill his spot, the Padres have transferred right-handed reliever Bryan Verbitsky back to the TinCaps from the Advanced-A Lake Elsinore Storm. Verbitsky was with Fort Wayne from Opening Day through July 1, before joining the Storm.
· Verbitsky with FW in 2015: 0-0, 2.53 ERA, 3 SV (23 G, 32.0 IP)
· Verbistky with LE in 2015: 1-2, 4.18 ERA, 1 SV (21 G, 28.0 IP)
ALUMNI REPORT: 2011 TinCaps outfielder Rico Noel was called up by the Yankees on Tuesday. That makes 141 Fort Wayne alums who’ve gone on to the big leagues.
MWL EASTERN DIVISION SECOND HALF PLAYOFF PICTURE
Place Team W-L GB GB WC Streak
1. FORT WAYNE^ 42-22 — — W2
2. West Michigan 38-26 4.0 — W1
3. Lake County 33-31 E 5.0 W2
4. South Bend 33-31 E 5.0 W3
5. Bowling Green 29-34 E E L3
6. Dayton 29-34 E E L2
7. Lansing* 29-34 E E L2
8. Great Lakes** 27-36 E E L1
^ Clinched Second Half Playoff Spot * First Half Division Winner ** First Half Wild Card Winner