Fort Wayne TinCaps (13-23) @ Lansing Lugnuts (19-14)
LHP Jerry Keel (3.63) vs. RHP Mike Ellenbest (5.86)
Monday, May 15 — Cooley Law School Stadium (Lansing, MI) — First Pitch 7:05 p.m. — Game 37
LAST GAME: Prior to a day off Sunday, the TinCaps lost the rubber match of their series with the Beloit Snappers, 10-3, on Saturday.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The TinCaps are looking to end a 2-game skid, as are the Lugnuts… Fort Wayne has dropped the opener in its last 3 road series (and in 5 of its last 6 series overall).
BIG-LEAGUE BLOODLINES: Each lineup tonight has 2 players who are the sons of former major leaguers. For the TinCaps: Fernando Tatís Jr. and Nate Easley (son of Damion Easley). For the Lugnuts: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette (son of Dante Bichette). The senior Tatís and the senior Guerrero were teammates together with the Montreal Expos from 2001-03. (The senior Tatís and Easley were together with the 2008 Mets.) Both sides also have an additional player related to a big leaguer. Fort Wayne reliever Diomar Lopez’s brother Wilton Lopez pitched for the Astros and Rockies from ‘09-14, while Lansing outfielder Joshua Palacios has an uncle, Rey Palacios, who played for the Royals (1988-90).
AS A TEAM: The TinCaps have drawn a MWL-leading 148 walks (4.1/G) and have the 2nd most stolen bases (37).
TATÍS AT THE TOP: It’s only been 5 games so far, but Fernando Tatís Jr. is slashing .409/.480/.682 in the leadoff spot. That’s compared to 25 games in the 3-hole at .207/.308/.304. (He’s also hit fifth 4 times.)
BACK IN STRIDE: Jorge Oña was on the disabled list from April 22-May 7 with a quad strain. After going hitless in his return last Tuesday, he’s hit safely in 4 straight games. That includes a 3-hit, 5-RBI game Thursday and a 2-hit night on Saturday. While Oña is batting .316, no one else on the team is hitting above .256.
SUWINSKI SEES A LOT: Jack Suwinski has seen more pitches this year than anyone else in the MWL. He’s averaged 5.26 pitches per plate appearance. (The MLB leader: José Bautista, 4.56.) Suwinski’s 26 walks rank 3rd in the league.
ROSARIO RIPS IT: Eguy Rosario has hit a line drive 28% of the time he’s put the ball in play this season. That “LD%” is the 8th highest in the MWL. Generally speaking, line drives go for hits more often than grounders or fly balls. Meanwhile, his 9 stolen bases lead the team and rank 8th in the league.
POWERFUL & PATIENT: Brad Zunica’s 6 home runs are tied for the 3rd most in the MWL. His 20 walks are tied for 6th. Better yet, his BB% (21%) leads the league. His .311 ISO (Isolated Power, a measure of a hitter’s raw power that tells you how often they hit for extra bases) also leads the league.