Fort Wayne TinCaps (42-23, 74-59) @ West Michigan Whitecaps (39-26, 72-62)
RHP Dinelson Lamet (5-7, 2.99) vs. RHP Jeff Thompson (6-11, 3.99)
Thursday, September 3, 2015 — Fifth Third Ballpark (Comstock Park, MI) — First Pitch 7:00 p.m. — Game 134
ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The TinCaps lost a pitcher’s duel to West Michigan on Wednesday night at Fifth Third Ballpark, 1-0. Pete Kelich tossed six scoreless innings, scattering just four hits.
A WIN THIS SERIES CLINCHES DIVISION TITLE: With 5 games left in the regular season, the TinCaps have a 3-game lead on West Michigan for first place in the Eastern Division’s second half race. If Fort Wayne wins just 1 of the remaining 2 games in the 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 8-6 against the Whitecaps so far this year, so a single victory in this series would assure the head-to-head advantage.
FIRST ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS: With West Michigan’s victory last night – coupled with Lake County and South Bend losses – the second half playoff picture is set. Fort Wayne and West Michigan will meet in one division semifinal, while Lansing and Great Lakes battle in the other. If the TinCaps clinch the second half division title, they’ll host the Whitecaps at Parkview Field on September 10 and 11 (if necessary).
PLAYOFF STREAK: Fort Wayne clinched a playoff spot for a seventh consecutive season on Sunday, the longest active streak in the Midwest League. It’s also the longest active streak among the 120 full-season Minor League teams. Out of the 160 teams in minor league baseball, only the Great Falls Voyagers (Great Falls, Montana – White Sox) of the Pioneer League, have a longer active playoff streak than Fort Wayne. They’ve made the playoffs 8 straights years.
PROSPECT WATCH: With Jose Castillo added to FW’s roster, the TinCaps now have 7 top Padres prospects according to MLB.com: Ruddy Giron (6), Michael Gettys (8), Dinelson Lamet (14), Castillo (16), Franchy Cordero (22), Franmil Reyes (26), Luis Urias (27).
MWL EASTERN DIVISION SECOND HALF PLAYOFF PICTURE:
Place Team W-L GB GB WC Streak
1. FORT WAYNE^ 42-23 — — L1
2. West Michigan^ 39-26 3.0 — W2
3. Lake County 33-32 E E L1
4. South Bend 33-32 E E L1
5. Bowling Green 30-34 E E W1
6. Dayton 30-34 E E W1
7. Lansing* 29-35 E E L3
8. Great Lakes** 28-36 E E W1
^ Clinched Second Half Playoff Spot * First Half Division Winner ** First Half Wild Card Winner