Fort Wayne TinCaps (7-9, 43-43) @ West Michigan Whitecaps (6-8, 45-36)
LHP Jerry Keel (5-7, 2.67) vs. RHP Kyle Dowdy (5-1, 2.93)
Saturday, July 9 — Fifth Third Ballpark — First Pitch 7:00 p.m. — Game 87
LAST NIGHT: The TinCaps rode a three-run third inning to a 3-2 win over the Whitecaps in the series opener. Shortstop Ruddy Giron smacked a two-run single and then scored on a double by third baseman Carlos Belen. Starter Thomas Dorminy (6 IP, win) and reliever Corey Kimber (3 IP, save) combined to quiet the Whitecaps.
KEEL KRUISING: Tonight’s starter, Jerry Keel, is coming off his two best professional outings. On June 29 against Dayton at Parkview Field, he tossed a career-best 6 innings and allowed 1 earned run. Monday at home against South Bend, Keel logged another 6 innings and fanned a career-high 8 Cubs.
RUDDY’S RESURGENCE: Shortstop Ruddy Giron is riding a season-long 5-game hitting streak after a 2-for-3 effort Friday. With his two-run single, Giron posted his third multi-RBI game of the season — his first since April 16.
VILTER’S VERSATILITY: For a second straight night, infielder Nick Vilter will start at first base. The former UC Riverside standout, who played mostly the middle infield in college, has also manned third base and caught for the TinCaps this season. Vilter has also tossed two scoreless innings of relief, including one Wednesday against South Bend.
BELEN BASHES: 3B Carlos Belen went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI on Friday night. The 20-year-old has been hot in the second half, hitting .358 with 8 doubles, 2 triples, a homer, and 11 RBIs. (This is after he hit .194 in the first half.) Of Belen’s 54 hits this year, 28 have gone for extra bases. He’s moved up to the No. 3 spot in the order over the last week.
EVOLVING OUTFIELD: With Michael Gettys’ mid-season promotion to Advanced-A Lake Elsinore and Rod Boykin’s stint on the disabled list, the TinCaps outfield has changed shape. Kodie Tidwell had never played the outfield before May 26 and has since settled into a standard spot in left field. Tyler Moore played left field and right field in college (South Carolina Aiken) and was drafted as a second baseman, but he’s become the typical center fielder. Through 16 second-half games, the TinCaps have only trotted out the same outfield once in consecutive games (June 29-30 against Dayton).
ALUMNI REPORT: On Friday, the Padres promoted OF Nick Torres (2015 TinCap) and INF Luis Urias (2015 TinCap) to Triple-A El Paso, as three Chihuahuas are slated to play in Sunday’s Futures Game at Petco Park in San Diego. Torres (1-for-4) played left field, and Urias (1-for-3, R, BB) handled second base.