TinCaps manager Jose Valentin kept his hitters away from early batting practice Friday.
They responded with 20 hits and 16 runs.
"I think we was trying to hard," Valentin said. "I told them that there's not going to be any early hitting. I think it's time to just kind of regroup, kind of relax and save those early swings and just take them in the game."
It worked out well for Fort Wayne in the 16-10 win against South Bend.
"The guys are working, but I think sometimes guys got to step away and just walk away for a little before the game -- not thinking too much," Valentin said. "It's this time of the year where the year feels longer, you need some rest. You need to not only be strong physically, but mentally you need to be stronger than anything."
The physical tools require mental control, Valentin said. Friday, the TinCaps had both.
Relief puts TinCaps in tough spot for Saturday
Valentin had reason to wish for more from his pitchers Friday.
While his offense put together as strong a game as it has all year, the pitching -- the middle relievers, in particular -- let South Bend stay in the game despite eight- and nine-run leads at separate points in the game.
"I'll take 20 hits, 16 runs, but you know, we gave up 15 hits and they scored 10," Valentin said. "They're not pitching well with a big lead. I don't know why. A lot of walks. They can't finish hitters with 0-2 pitchers, 0-2 counts.
"That's something that you can't afford to do."