Photos by Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette TinCaps first baseman G.K. Young takes a cut during Saturday's loss to Beloit at Parkview Field. He was 0-3 at the plate.
TinCaps outfielder Rod Boykin keeps his eye on the ball during an at-bat Saturday at Parkview Field. Boykin was 1-3 with a walk.
Sunday, May 14, 2017 1:00 am
Beloit 10 TinCaps 3
TinCaps fall in front of season-high crowd
CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette
Right from the start Saturday night, Hansel Rodriguez seemed off his game.
The TinCaps' right-hander, who had strung together three straight good outings to end April, struggled for a second consecutive start, and Beloit capitalized with a 10-3 victory before a season-high attendance of 8,101 at Parkview Field.
Fort Wayne manager Anthony Contreras pointed to a lack of fastball command as a main reason for why Rodriguez gave up seven runs on eight hits in an early onslaught that gave the Snappers a 7-0 lead.
“He showed some decent off-speed pitches,” Contreras said. “He gets into a trend of not really trusting his fastball, and (Saturday) was kind of the same thing. The fastball, when he had to throw it, was up in the zone.”
Beloit led 3-0 after the first inning courtesy of Luke Persico's RBI single and Luis Barrera's two-run double. In the second, Trace Loehr hit an RBI single, Persico a two-run double and Nate Mondou a sacrifice fly.
Rodriguez (1-4) has been charged with 11 earned runs in May and saw his ERA rise to 6.28.
“He got hurt,” Contreras said. “Leaving the ball up, good professional hitters will do damage on those, and he just wasn't on with his stuff. We had to cut him short and get the other guys in there.”
Pulled after two innings, the 20-year-old Dominican failed to reach the third for only the second time in two years.
The TinCaps (13-23) are off today before opening a three-game set Monday night at Lansing. They committed four errors Saturday (two by Fernando Tatis Jr.) and were outhit 26-13 over the final two games against Beloit.
“Pitching-wise, we do a pretty good job typically of commanding the strike zone, mixing our pitches up,” Snappers manager Scott Steinmann said. “We don't have too many guys that have overpowering stuff, but we have a lot of guys that pitch very well.”
After going down 7-0, Fort Wayne loaded the bases in the second but came away with only Tatis' bases-loaded walk. That run was all they got in four innings against lefty Dalton Sawyer.
The Snappers, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, won the series and are at .500 (17-17) despite having on their roster only one of the top 30 prospects in Oakland's farm system.
Steinmann said he would put Beloit's infield defense up against any in the Midwest League and that the outfield essentially has three center fielders. Also, the Snappers' skipper likes the versatility of their offense.
“We're not overwhelmed with this great talent pool,” Steinmann said, “but I think we have the makings of a pretty good team, and we play for each other and support each other.”
For last-place Fort Wayne, Steinmann sees hope in the TinCaps' youthful roster.
“Position players, I'm looking down the list, and it's like 18, 18, 17, 18, 21, 20, 18,” Steinmann said. “They're very talented, and I'm sure we're all going to see this roster here about three years from now knocking on some doors. They have some young talent, and it's pretty impressive to see a group like that at a pretty high level in this league.”