Fort Wayne TinCaps (15-23) @ Lansing Lugnuts (19-16)
RHP Austin Smith (5.92) vs. RHP Justin Maese (4.09)
Wednesday, May 17 — Cooley Law School Stadium (Lansing, MI) — First Pitch 10:35 a.m. — Game 39
LAST NIGHT: The TinCaps thrashed the Lugnuts, 11-4. Fort Wayne tallied a season-high 17 hits, and scored at least 1 run in 6 different frames. On the mound, starter Logan Allen threw 6 scoreless innings.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The TinCaps can sweep a series on the road for the first time since Aug. 31-Sept. 1, 2014 @ Bowling Green. (That’s when Fort Wayne won a doubleheader on a Sunday night, and came back with a Labor Day victory powered by Josh VanMeter to sneak into the playoffs.) Fort Wayne can sweep a series (home or away) for the first time this season. Fort Wayne also has a chance to win 3 in a row on the road for the first time this year… The Lugnuts are trying to put a stop to a 4-game losing streak.
COFFEE WITH…This is the earliest game for the TinCaps all season.
BIG HOMESTAND COMING UP: The TinCaps will host the Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers) Thursday-Sunday. Fireworks will follow the night games Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Meanwhile, Thursday is Colts Night with T.Y. Hilton and Darius Butler on hand. Friday is Star Wars Night. BirdZerk! will provide the entertainment on Saturday.
AS A TEAM: The TinCaps rank 2nd in the MWL in both walks drawn (154, 4.1/G) and stolen bases (41).
TATÍS AT THE TOP: It’s only been 7 games, but Fernando Tatís Jr. is slashing an absurd .469/.528/.875 in the leadoff spot. That’s compared to 25 games in the 3-hole at .207/.308/.304. (He’s also hit fifth 4 times.) Tatís has also stolen 3 bases as the leadoff hitter, and has 9 overall on the season, which are tied for 10th most in the MWL.
POTTS PICKING IT UP: Hudson Potts is 7-for-10 in this series with 2 doubles, a triple, and a home run. Plus, he has 5 RBIs. His batting average has jumped 39 points, while his on-base percentage is up 35 points and his slugging percentage is up 88 points. It’s the second time this year Potts has put together consecutive multi-hit games (last: April 19-20).
ON-BASE BOYKIN: Rod Boykin has reached base in all 12 games he’s played in this month. In April, Boykin slashed .154/.267/.250. In May? .308/.426/.615. He’s also hit 4 home runs over his last 18 games after not homering at all in 2016.
BIG-LEAGUE BLOODLINES: Each team has 2 players who are the sons of former major leaguers. For the TinCaps: Fernando Tatís Jr. and Nate Easley (son of Damion Easley). For the Lugnuts: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette (son of Dante Bichette). The senior Tatís and the senior Guerrero were teammates together with the Montreal Expos from 2001-03. (The senior Tatís and Easley were together with the 2008 Mets.) Both sides also have an additional player related to a big leaguer. Fort Wayne reliever Diomar Lopez’s brother Wilton Lopez pitched for the Astros and Rockies from ‘09-14, while Lansing outfielder Joshua Palacios has an uncle, Rey Palacios, who played for the Royals (1988-90).