RHP Matt Wisler started the game for Fort Wayne, and like most of the young staff has far more potential than he is currently showing on the mound.
He started off well retiring six of the first seven batters. The difficulty came in the third inning with a double, an error by second baseman Casey McElroy followed by a walk to load the bases with outs.
Shortstop Wes Duval hit a fielder’s choice to third baseman Duanel Jones got the first out on a good throw to the plate to get the force at home. Chief’s catcher Raphael Lopez then lofted a fly ball to left fielder Corey Adamson who made a strong throw to the plate with the runner just barely evading the tag of catcher Austin Hedges.
And that essentially was the game.
“I felt pretty good but some pitches just got away from me and I walked too many guys,” Wisler said on his third loss of the season without a win.
He walked the next batter which was followed by a grand slam home run to make the score 5-0 which was all the Chiefs needed.
“He was throwing the ball well but with him, as its been all year, it was just one bad inning,” said Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin.
“Also we haven’t been playing good defense and maybe if we hadn’t had that error it would have been different.”
“You just don’t know.”
Of the five pitchers in the TinCaps rotation Cody Heber, 21, and Frank Garces, 21, are the “graybeards” of the staff with Adys Portillo only twenty and both Joe Ross and were in high school last year.
“Our pitchers have to learn its just not about trying to throw as hard as you can and trying to strike everyone out,” said Valentin.
“You have to learn how to mix-up your speeds, get batters to chase when you are ahead in the count, kind of like what we are doing at the plate now.”
In the eighth inning the TinCaps staged a rally loading the bases with no outs when first baseman Travis Whitmore, who has been Fort Wayne’s hottest hitter this month singled home two runners to make the score 5-2.
Coming into the game the Pitt graduate, who was a thirty-fifth round pick in the 2011 draft, has been the TinCaps hottest hitter leading the team in nearly every offensive category including RBIs.
“With the bases loaded and no outs you don’t want to strike out,” said Whitmore, who came into the game hitting .333 with 12 RBIs.
“I widened my stance a bit because you have to put the ball in play and bring home at least one run.”
“I was fortunate that the ball found a hole.”
Unfortunately Jones struck out followed by Hedges grounding into an inning ending double play which ended the TinCaps best and only threat of the day.
Despite the team’s struggles, Valentin realizes that at this level its not about wins and losses, but development.
“We are going to get better.”