FORT WAYNE – The quote of the day in the TinCaps pregame notes Saturday came from Ralph Waldo Emerson: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
In which case, consider the TinCaps stubbornly unfoolish.
With a Lansing team in the house they defeated 10 times in 11 meetings going into Saturday night, – the TinCaps seemed poised for a drama-free evening. Instead, it was another blown lead in a dreary 5-3 loss before 7,869 at Parkview Field.
That’s the type of baseball that we’re playing, TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. Second half, we’ve just been lucky in many cases when we win. It’s been horrible. It’s been bad the whole second half.
Bryan Rodriguez took the loss, and the TinCaps (57-52, 14-26 second half) – after Alberth Martinez staked them to a 3-0 lead with a two-run homer in the third – managed just three more hits the rest of the way.
Across the last three innings, they had just one baserunner, and he was immediately erased when Mallex Smith grounded into an inning-ending double play.
We’ve got some guys who maybe just show up on time and put the uniform on and go through the basic stuff, and whatever happens after nine innings just happens, he said. As a coach, you cannot baby-sit them. They’ve got to grow up. They have do it themselves. We’ve got some guys in here who don’t care. They’re just (saying) well, today was a bad day let’s see what happens tomorrow.
The TinCaps scored a run in the first when Smith drew a leadoff walk, stole second and went to third when Lugnuts catcher Daniel Klein’s pickoff attempt sailed into center field. Maxx Tissenbaum drove him home with a single.
Two innings later, Smith lined a one-out single, and Martinez went deep to left to make it 3-0.
It stayed that way until the Lansing fifth.
After scratching out just one hit against Rodriguez, Leyland led off the fifth by beating out a dribbler down the third base line. He moved to second on Leblebijian’s single, then came home on Dwight Smith Jr.’s double.
Leblebijian then loped home on Emilio Guerrero’s ground-out to short, and the TinCaps’ lead was down to one run. One inning and four hits later, the lead was gone entirely, as the Lugnuts (48-62, 16-25) got three more runs out of four hits.
As a manager, you talk to them, but there’s only so much you can do, Valentin said. You can fight with them, but it has to be from them. They have to want it. But I’m still sitting here waiting and waiting for those guys to show up.