Fort Wayne made it interesting – good and bad – in a 6-4 win against Kane County on Thursday at Parkview Field.
From putting together a five-run third inning to giving up a three-run eighth, the TinCaps (11-8) sprinkled in moments of intrigue while bringing their home record to 8-1.
Manager Jose Valentin said consistency is this team’s problem. It’s what kept Thursday’s game from holding at 6-1, or turning into a bigger offensive rout.
Instead, it got too close for comfort. And that’s a teachable moment for a talented – but raw – roster.
For some reason, we just lose our aggressiveness at home plate and we just changed our approach, Valentin said. Also, I think pitching-wise, we’re walking too many guys. That’s the reason why we give up too many runs. When you give a free pass to the hitter, he doesn’t earn it, we can’t afford that.
Valentin preaches the same message before, during and after every game: consistency. It’s what separates the majors from the minors, a Padre from a TinCap. Most players at the Single-A level show flashes of MLB potential, Valentin said. It’s a matter of turning a flash in a pan into consistent production.
For the pitchers, it’s about throwing hard at spots and not trying to be perfect. For the hitters, it’s keeping the same aggressive approach whether a batter is 0 for 4 on the day or 4 for 4.
There’s not too much you can do about it, as a staff, Valentin said. You don’t want to see that every day, one guy gets hot and the other two guys not getting hot. You want everybody to stay consistent, but that’s something that’s going to be hard in the game of baseball.
Despite inconsistency, both within the game and throughout the month, the TinCaps have strung together an impressive home record and gotten good pitching and hitting more often than not.
Joe Ross (3-0) was again strong for Fort Wayne, going 5 2/3 innings for the win. He threw 89 pitches. Chris Nunn threw 1 1/3 innings of relief, shut down the Cougars’ rally and picked up the save Thursday.
Right fielder Corey Adamson went 2 of 4 for the TinCaps, including a double and a home run from the leadoff spot. Both at-bats helped spark scoring innings for Fort Wayne, including the huge third that proved decisive.
The 21-year-old from Australia also exemplifies that key trait Valentin keeps stressing. Adamson’s highs aren’t too high, but he doesn’t have dramatic lows, either.
He’s a guy that’s been consistent for us, Valentin said. He’s one of those guys. Not only can he hurt you with the long ball, but he’s a good bunter, good runner. He gets on base, I can do a lot of stuff with him.