Sunday, June 10, 2018 9:10 pm
TinCaps win 15-0; Gore dominant
DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette
Quite simply, this was the best game the TinCaps have played all season.
The pitching was dominant, the hitting was dominant, the team was perfect in the field. It was an all-around performance and it came against one of the best teams in the league, a Lansing team that had been talking some trash during a victory on Saturday. The TinCaps won 15-0 and it really isn't possible to find a negative aspect.
It's difficult to know where to begin with the positive aspects because there are so many, but MacKenzie Gore's performance will probably get most of the publicity, and for good reason. The 2017 No. 3 overall pick pitched only two innings, but they were dominant. He struck out three of the first four hitters he faced and didn't give up a hit or a run in either inning. He threw 24 of his 36 pitches for strikes and he located his fastball immaculately on both sides of the plate. In short, he was the pitcher that was advertised before the season began.
"It's good to have him back in there," manager Anthony Contreras said. "I think he's been anxious to get back in the rotation and get past this blister thing. We got two innings out of him. He was healthy. He was happy with the way it went. We were all happy with what we saw and the best part was, the blister wasn't there."
Gore has seemed a little frustrated with how his season has gone – it's tough to blame him, really – and he seemed to just be excited to get a solid start under his belt. He said he felt completely healthy, with no ill effects from the blister but we've heard that before this season, so the next few days will be key.
The TinCaps' offense was remarkable, as well, pounding a season-high 19 hits (one was changed from an error to a hit after the game) and continuing to tack on late in the game, even as it became clear they would win. They scored six in the fourth to really put the game away and both Justin Lopez and Esteury Ruiz had three hits.
It was also really good to see Jeisson Rosario get in on the offensive act. Rosario had been an integral part of the TinCaps's offense early in the season, but went through a small funk in the middle of May. He's turned it around lately, however, and has two hits in four of his last of five games, including a 2 for 5 performance today with a pair of runs scored.
Aaron Leasher deserves some recognition as well, though he pitched in Gore's shadow. The All-Star has been remarkably consistent of late, throwing 10 consecutive shutout innings, including six today. He struck out six and gave up just four hits, putting any thoughts of a comeback to rest early.
"He's very calm on the mound," Contreras said of Leasher. "It's almost like the complete opposite of what we saw from Gore today, but he's mixing his pitches, getting these guys off balance, getting these guys to pop up, using his defense. That's how you're able to pitch deep in ballgames."
This was one of those games that teams wish could happen every day. They didn't just win, they played well in every facet and did it against a good team. The TinCaps have a chance to take 3 of 4 in this series with a win Monday.