TinCaps starting pitcher Max Fried faced trouble immediately in a 9-1 loss to South Bend on Saturday at Parkview Field.
He lacked velocity. His changeup was on and off.
And his curveball, Fried’s best pitch, was rendered ineffective as a result.
The 19-year-old lefty couldn’t rely on anything in his repertoire during his first decision since May 22. That, too, was a loss to the Silver Hawks.
I’ve strung a couple really bad starts together, and it’s really not up to my expectations, Fried said. I try to go up there and help this team win, and for me to sort of have the results that I’ve been having, it’s obviously not what I expected.
But the blame isn’t solely on Fried. The TinCaps’ offense got one hit during Fried’s five innings and pushed just one runner past first base.
South Bend starter Daniel Watts went seven innings, giving up two hits and one earned run. It made Fried’s day – five innings, seven hits and five earned runs – look worse.
A day after their first win against South Bend (46-26) this year, the TinCaps (44-28) sunk to 1-8 against the Silver Hawks.
It’s one of those days, TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. You have to forget about it.
South Bend pitching again confounded Fort Wayne – the Silver Hawks boasted a 1.34 season ERA against the TinCaps entering Saturday’s game, and Fort Wayne had batted .175 as a team against the Silver Hawks staff.
There have been five one-run, low-scoring games between them. The TinCaps finally broke through in those close-fought games with a 3-2 win Friday in the 11th inning.
But Fort Wayne didn’t get the pitching or hitting it needed Saturday.
Instead, the TinCaps suffered their worst loss to the Midwest League Eastern Division leader this season.
A home run by third baseman Chris Burke in the seventh inning highlighted the day for Fort Wayne, which batted .151 against South Bend in front of 7,705.
They’ve just been aggressive to us, Burke said. Sometimes, we’ve been getting ourselves out.
The Silver Hawks had eight extra-base hits and got runners on base in all but one inning.
Fort Wayne has lost three consecutive series against the Silver Hawks, and the teams will play 10 more times before the end of the regular season.
They might also see each other in the playoffs: South Bend won the MWL Eastern Division in the first half, and the TinCaps finished one game behind them for the other playoff berth.
If it has a championship on its mind, Fort Wayne will need to figure out how to put together a complete game against the Silver Hawks.
They don’t feel sorry for nobody, Valentin said. That’s why they’re the best team in the league – because they do everything right.