It's crunch time for the TinCaps.
While team manager Anthony Contreras insists the feel in the clubhouse is business as usual, it's no secret Fort Wayne must win at least a few of the five remaining games in the season.
Currently, the TinCaps (31-33 second half, 63-70) own the final playoff spot in the Eastern Division Midwest League. They're two and a half games back from the division leader, Great Lakes, and one game ahead of West Michigan – whom the TinCaps play the final three games of the season and over whom they own the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Coming off a 3-1 win over Lake County (26-38, 55-79) Wednesday, the TinCaps looked clean and crisp, which isn't always the case as the regular season comes to a close. Catcher Michael Cantu, who's only played five games with Fort Wayne, has a home run in each of the past three games. He went 2 for 3 yesterday with one run and an RBI.
The big story of the night is the debut of left-handed pitcher Joey Cantillo, who was called up along with reliever Nick Kuzi after Luis Patiño and reliever Dylan Coleman were sent to the Arizona League Padres in rookie ball to finish their seasons.
Patiño was expected to pitch tonight so after being in Fort Wayne for a day, Cantillo gets the start. The 18-year-old was selected by the Padres in the 16th round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of Kailua high school in Kailua, Hawaii. In the Arizona League, Cantillo made 11 appearances and nine starts with the AZL Padres two team. He posted a 2.18 ERA in 45.1 innings pitched.
Captains pitcher is expected to be Fancisco Perez. The 21-year-old lefty is 8-10. In 135 innings pitched, he's given up 65 runs on 119 hits.
West Michigan and Great Lakes also play tonight, so the standings could look a little different at the end of the night.