Winning, and then Losing

Let's start with some reading material:

  * with pictures:  29 Reasons Minor League Baseball is the Best
  * without pictures:  The Peculiar Case of MLB Prospect Development
  * TinCaps broadcaster Mike Couzens discovers that Fort Wayne loves me

Meanwhile, in Miami....

Mike Redmond was the Lugnuts' manager in 2011.  He is currently the skipper of the Marlins, and this is the sort of year he's having:

*  *  *

During their last homestand, the Lansing Lugnuts went 7-0.  They are currently 0-5 during the current 10-game roadtrip.  The reasons for the turnabout:

1.  Tougher competition.  The Lugs faced the Eastern Division's worst two teams at home before opposing the first and third place teams in the division on the road.  It's tough to win against the league's best.

2.  Lack of offense.  Lansing scored four runs in the three-game sweep at South Bend, and then scored just one run in the defeat last night in Fort Wayne.  Over the last three days, the Lugs are batting 3-for-22 with runners in scoring position.  It's tough to win without runs.

3.  Bullpen woes.  The relievers were the strength of this team during the eight-game winning streak, but Fort Wayne has scored 10 runs against the relief corps in the first two games of the current series (including seven combined runs in the bottom of the eighth inning).  It's tough to win without a reliable bullpen.

On the bright side:

1.  Ben White is pitching well.  In his first three starts:  10.1 IP, 19 hits (in 53 ABs, a .358 average against), 10 runs allowed.  In his last three starts:  16.2 IP, 15 hits (in 57 ABs, .263), 4 runs allowed.

2.  Daniel Norris is continuing to progress.  The second batter he faced yesterday walloped a home run waaaay over the wall in left, and the TinCaps proceeded to load the bases.  That, as it turned out, was the only earned run scored against him in four innings.  (The 'Caps scored an unearned run off a double play in the third, and this should not be held against him.)  Plus:  6 more strikeouts, thanks to nasty off-speed stuff.

3.  Gustavo Pierre is notching hits by the bushel.  Since May 15th, four three-hit games and three two-hit games, raising his average from .250 to .302.  Plus:  He drew a walk on May 25th!

One more game to go in Fort Wayne, and then it's off to Dow Diamond to take on the Great Lakes Loons.  It's been an up and down sort of first half, and I can't say I'd be surprised if the rollercoaster ride continues.


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