FORT WAYNE – The TinCaps are 13-3 at Parkview Field and capable of ninth-inning comebacks and extra-inning wins.
On the road, they were a different team – until their most recent series.
Fort Wayne came back from a three-run deficit to get a 5-4 win against Dayton (12-24) on Monday, which gave the TinCaps their first road sweep of the season. The victory also continued a season-best six-game winning streak.
Early in the season, such road results were hard to come by.
TinCaps manager Jose Valentin couldn’t seem to find a reason for his team’s struggles on the road. Fort Wayne (22-13) is 9-10 in away games and dropped seven straight road games in April after a three-game road winning streak to start the year.
We just change our approach at home plate, swinging at bad pitches, not getting good at-bats, giving too many at-bats away, Valentin said after a 6-5 home win May 8. It’s a game. It’s the same. It’s the same baseball.
The TinCaps are 5-3 on the road since an April 24 victory broke the seven-game skid.
Valentin said his team takes a different approach to road games, and he has tried to combat that.
The way I see those guys going to home plate swinging at bad pitches – they were swinging at everything they saw, he said. You cannot let that happen. I know they’re young hitters, but you can’t change from one day to the other.
I mean, you can’t be that bad.
At home, they haven’t been bad. And things have picked up on the road.
You got to play great baseball at home – that’s the most important thing, second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum said after a home win May 11. If you can play pretty well on the road, it’s going to be a pretty good year.
With the second-most home wins in the Midwest League, the TinCaps have lived up to the first part of that bargain. And the 9-10 record on the road is a far cry from their 3-7 start.
As Fort Wayne has moved toward .500 on the road, it is closing in on the top teams in the Eastern Division. The two teams ahead of the TinCaps – Bowling Green and South Bend – served Fort Wayne four losses in five tries this year.
Those losses came during the TinCaps’ road losing streak, and Fort Wayne will get a shot at Bowling Green at home in a three-game series that starts today.
It’s tough to see that, but the good thing about it is the guys just keep fighting, playing hard all the way, Valentin said before the weekend’s trip to Dayton. They always find a way to get it done, especially at home. I don’t know why they’re not doing it on the road.
Valentin said having the bottom inning might create a sense of urgency and comfort for the TinCaps.
Fort Wayne is 8-1 in games decided by two or fewer runs at home.