Fort Wayne TinCaps (21-35 – 7th, 57-69) @ Great Lakes Loons (26-29 – Tied 4th, 55-70)
RHP Emmanuel Ramirez vs. RHP Jordan Sheffield
Monday, Aug. 22 — Dow Diamond (Midland, Mich.) — First Pitch 7:05 p.m. — Game 127
YESTERDAY AFTERNOON: Fort Wayne fell to Lake County, 6-1, in the rubber match of their 3-game series. The Captains built their lead with 2 runs in the first, another 2 in the second, and 2 more in the fifth. TinCaps starter Anderson Espinoza was chased out in the second. Fort Wayne scored its only run on a wild pitch in the seventh.
LONG TIME NO SEE: The TinCaps haven’t played here in Midland since the opening week of their season, when they took 2 of 3 from the Loons from April 11-13. Fort Wayne and Great Lakes last played at Parkview Field on May 11. So after only playing 6 games against each other over the first 126 games of the season, tonight is the first of 7 between them over the next 12 days.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Loons, who’ve won 8 of their last 11, start the night 1.5 games behind the Lugnuts for the Eastern Division’s second half wild card. (See standings below.) Meanwhile, the TinCaps have lost 12 of their last 15, and are 7 back of Lansing. There are 14 games remaining in the regular season, which ends in 2 weeks on Labor Day.
FORT WAYNE VS. FORT WAYNE: The TinCaps take on a Fort Wayne native tonight in Great Lakes third baseman Zach McKinstry, who graduated from North Side High School in 2013. McKinstry then went on to Central Michigan University and was drafted by the Dodgers in June in the 33rd round. After playing in 4 games in the Arizona League, McKinstry joined the Loons on July 20. Through 27 games in the Midwest League, he’s batting .255 with a .360 on-base percentage. He has 3 doubles, 2 triples, 9 RBIs, and 3 stolen bases. Defensively, McKinstry has split time between second and third.
THIS IS LIKE SPARTA: TinCaps manager Anthony Contreras was teammates with Loons hitting coach Aaron Bates at San José State in 2003. Contreras spent 4 seasons as a Spartan from ’02-05, while Bates transferred to North Carolina State after a season. Bates went on to be drafted by the Red Sox in the 3rd round in ’06 and played 5 games for Boston in ’09. (Bates took on the role of hitting coach for Great Lakes in mid-July after former major leaguer John Valentin was dismissed from the position.)
MWL EASTERN DIVISION SECOND HALF WILD CARD RACE:
Team W-L GB Streak
Lansing Lugnuts 28-28 — W1
Great Lakes Loons 26-29 1.5 L1
Lake County Captains 26-29 1.5 W1
Fort Wayne TinCaps 21-25 7.0 L1
Dayton Dragons 20-36 8.0 L3
South Bend won the first half division title. West Michigan won the first half wild card. Bowling Green is 7.5 games ahead of Lansing for first place in the second half.