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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, July 08, 2018 10:50 pm

MacKenzie Gore to start Monday for TinCaps

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

After losing three straight games to open their four-game series against Bowling Green, the TinCaps will be looking to avoid a sweep on Monday. Originally, they planned to start Midwest League ERA leader Osvaldo Hernandez in that matchup, but plans changed Sunday night and Fort Wayne will instead send 19-year-old left-hander MacKenzie Gore to the mound. Hernandez will still pitch, acting as a piggyback starter, first out of the bullpen behind Gore.

The start will be Gore's second on the homestand after he pitched six shutout innings and earned his first professional victory on July 4. He was originally scheduled to pitch the series-opener on the road against Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, but will instead get to work in front of the home fans once again.

Gore will be making the first appearance on four days' rest of his pro career (he's been pitching on five days' rest over the last three weeks), which helps explain why the TinCaps have a piggyback starter ready to go. The 2017 No. 3 overall pick is also coming off the best start of his pro career, so Parkview Field fans will get to see whether he can put together two dominant outings in a row.

The piggyback starter will also help save a Fort Wayne bullpen that has pitched 10 2/3 innings over the last two games due to shorter starts from Tom Cosgrove on Saturday and Aaron Leasher on Sunday. Hernandez has already piggybacked for Gore once this season, on June 22, and the 20-year-old was solid, going four innings and giving up one run while striking out six. Still, it will be interesting to see whether this throws off Hernandez's rhythm at all, because he's been phenomenal in his last two starts, giving up one run in 12 innings while only walking one. His ERA is an even 2.00.

dsinn@jg.net