Captains Notebook: Captains off to rocky start in finals
The Lake County Captains got their second taste of champagne on Sept. 7 after sweeping the Fort Wayne TinCaps to advance to the championship round of the Midwest League playoffs. Dace Kime crafted a huge outing in Game 2 of the semi-finals and the team's offense stepped up in the clutch. The heart of the Captains lineup has been huge the past week as the duo of first-rounders Clint Frazier and Bradley Zimmer has made quite the difference.
Unfortunately for the Captains, the offense was absent in Game 1 of the championship series in Kane County. The team hit 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base. Championship action continues this week and the team will return home on Sept. 13 for Game 3. Here's what happened the past week:
Nellie Rodriguez, 1B
4 G, 6-for-14, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 5:1 K:BB
Season: .268 BA, .249 OBP, .482 SLG, .832 OPS, 22 HR, 88 RBI, 142:66 K:BB
“Rodriguez remains hot” would probably be the headline that sums up the second half of the Captains season. He picked the perfect time to hit .368 through his last 10 games, which included a monstrous home run that helped the Captains defeat Fort Wayne to advance to the final round of the playoffs.
Dace Kime, RHP
1 G, 0-0, 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 6:1 K:BB
Season: 136.1 IP, 7-14, 5.22 ERA, 108:56 K:BB
You never know what you’re going to get with Kime, but he proved he can pitch in high-pressure situations on Sept. 7 to help the Captains advance to the Midwest League Championships. Kime gave his chance every opportunity to win in his outing, and they’re lucky he did so, considering the bullpen nearly blew the game.
Caleb Hamrick, RHP
1 G, 0-0, 4 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0:0 K:BB
Season: 103 IP, 3-9, 6.64 ERA, 63:51 K:BB
Hamrick stepped up in Game 1 of the championship series after Mitch Brown’s start didn’t go as planned. The four scoreless innings that Hamrick logged not only gave the Captains a chance to win, they helped preserve the bullpen for the remainder of the series.
Walking the Plank
Mitch Brown, RHP
1 G, 0-1, 2 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 1 HR, 2:3 K:BB
Season: 140.2 IP, 8-8, 3.31 ERA, 127:55 K:BB
It wasn’t what Brown had hoped for, and it wasn’t what the expectations called for. Brown started Game 1 of the finals and last two innings, which including a no-out, two-run home run in the first inning. To be fair, the Captains’ loss can’t be entirely blamed on Brown, considering the lack of offense the team showed.
Carlos Melo, RHP
1 G, 1-0, 1.1 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 H, 1:2 K:BB
Season: 27.1 IP, 3-1, 4.94 ERA, 39:23 K:BB
If you ever need proof that win-loss records are a sham of a stat, Melo’s outing on Sept. 7 is it. Melo issued a pair of walks in the eighth inning and issued a double to score one. Then came Melo’s throwing error that brought two home and tied the game. Melo nearly blew the game, so he’s fortunate his team picked him up and crafted a response run to get him off the hook.
Taking on Water
Outfielder Mike Papi was placed on the 7-day disabled list with a thumb injury. As a result, he’ll sit out the remainder of the playoffs.
Outfielder Taylor Murphy joined the team to replace Papi. Murphy was the Indians 18th round pick this year. He hit .262 with three home runs through 53 games with the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers this year.
No Captains were assigned to other teams last week.
On the Horizon
Game 2 of the final series is Sept. 11. Jordan Milbrath will toe the rubber for Lake County against Kane County righty Duane Underwood. The series will continue in Eastlake this weekend with Game 3 scheduled for Saturday night.
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.