Fort Wayne TinCaps (42-24, 74-60) @ West Michigan Whitecaps (40-26, 73-62)
RHP Ernesto Montas (11-7, 3.63) vs. RHP Fernando Perez (2-11, 4.64)
Friday, September 4, 2015 — Fifth Third Ballpark (Comstock Park, MI) — First Pitch 7:00 p.m. — Game 135
ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Tin TinCaps fell to the Whitecaps, 7-1, on Thursday night. Michael Gettys drove in the lone run.
A WIN THIS SERIES CLINCHES DIVISION TITLE: With 4 games left in the regular season, the TinCaps have a 2-game lead on West Michigan for first place in the Eastern Division’s second half race. If Fort Wayne wins on Friday, 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 8-7 against the Whitecaps so far this year, so a single victory in this series would assure the head-to-head advantage.
RUN DIFFERENTIAL: The next tie-breaker after head-to-head is run differential in the season series with West Michigan. The only way this tie-breaker would come into play is if Fort Wayne falls on Friday, and then ends up with the same second-half record as West Michigan. In that case, the Whitecaps would win the division. Currently West Michigan has outscored Fort Wayne, 55-48, this season.
TIGHT GAMES: Fort Wayne and West Michigan have played some doozies in 2015. Six of the 15 meetings have been one-run games, and another four have been settled by three runs or less. One of the most memorable hits of the season – Franmil Reyes’ walk off homer in the bottom of the 12th inning on May 29 – came against the Whitecaps. The TinCaps have walked off four times against WM.
FIRST LOOK ON THE MOUND: Manager Francisco Morales turns to starter Ernesto Montas to lock up the division on Friday. The righty hasn’t faced the Whitecaps in more than three months. But one of his finest starts of the year – back on April 20 – came against West Michigan. That day, Montas fired six scoreless innings. Whitecaps starter Fernando Perez faced Fort Wayne on August 2nd, but struggled, only lasting four innings and allowed two runs.
MWL EASTERN DIVISION SECOND HALF PLAYOFF PICTURE:
Place Team W-L GB GB WC Streak
1. FORT WAYNE^ 42-24 — — L2
2. West Michigan^ 39-26 2.0 — W3
3. South Bend 34-32 E E W1
4. Lake County 33-32 E E L1
5. Bowling Green 30-34 E E W1
6. Dayton 30-35 E E L1
7. Lansing* 29-36 E E L4
8. Great Lakes** 29-36 E E W2
^ Clinched Second Half Playoff Spot * First Half Division Winner ** First Half Wild Card Winner