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On-Deck with the Captains: 4/4/13 - 4/9/13

On-Deck with the Captains: 4/4/13 - 4/9/13
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It was a rough first week for the Lake County Captains as they kicked off the season with a 1-4 record, putting them in the basement of the Midwest League. The offense has yet to catch much fire and the pitching has allowed some early leads that the team has struggled to overcome.

The team won its home opener, but fizzled against the Lansing Lugnuts’ remaining starting rotation. Part of the early struggles may be attributed to the cold weather through the first week of the month, so as the climate starts to warm up, hopefully the bats will do the same.

Smooth Sailing

Eric Haase, C
5 G, .316 BA, .350 OBP, .824 OPS, 6-for-19, 4 R, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 4:1 K:BB, 1 CS, 1 E

Haase had a great first week with the Captains and he’s been easy to warm up to, despite his hometown roots near Ann Arbor. (For the record, he was an Ohio State commit before he signed with the Indians organization.)

Haase had a big triple during the season opener and went on to score to bring the Captains within one. What’s noticeable about Haase is the fact that he doesn’t run like a catcher. He’s got some speed and travels the bases well, which makes it easy to conclude that won't be his only triple for the season.

Ryan Merritt, LHP
1 G, 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5:0 K:BB, 1.80 ERA

Merritt is the sole lefty of the starting rotation and he had the best first outing of the five. The 2011 16th round pick looked sharp in his first start. He currently fills the second slot of the rotation and is slated to pitch again Wednesday for the second game of the Captains’ double-header.

Luis Morel, RHP
1 G, 3 IP, 2 H, 7:0 K:BB

Morel is still young, despite this being his fourth year in the organization. He signed as an undrafted free agent at the age of 17 back in 2010.  Morel has only appeared in relief for one game with the Captains, but his three-inning outing was impressive as he struck out seven batters and only yielded two hits.

Walking the Plank

Nelson Rodriguez, 1B
5 G, .067 BA, .300 OBP, .433 OPS, 1-for-15, 1 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 6:5 K:BB

It wasn’t the start Nellie Rodriguez was hoping for, especially since many were anticipating some power from the big 6’2”, 255 lb. first baseman. Granted, he does lead the team in walks with five, but he certainly isn’t driving the ball as anticipated. This can probably be blamed on the cold weather, though Rodriguez is a New Yorker so he should be used to the climate.  The walks say something favorable about Rodriguez’s eye, but hitting .000 with runners on isn’t quite what one wants from a clean-up hitter.

Mitch Brown, RHP
1 G, 0.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1:1 K:BB, 54.00 ERA

Though he’s probably the most highly-touted starter in the rotation, Brown had the worst first outing of the five. Brown was in decent spirits after the game though, and perhaps some warmer weather will benefit him.

Notable Numbers

8: The number of strikeouts Dorssys Paulino has. He’s hitting .250 through five games and has just one walk in comparison. Jorge Martinez has also been fanned eight times.

1: The number of home runs the team has so far. Manager Scooter Tucker noted that he doesn’t expect this team to hit many home runs this year and believe it or not, Leonardo Castillo is the only one to do so… except it didn’t actually go over the fence. Castillo’s home run was an inside-the-parker that rolled under the centerfield wall. The Lansing Lugnuts’ centerfielder assumed he’d be granted a ground-rule double, but Castillo kept circling the bases and was awarded the home run.

5.11: The team’s collective ERA. This is the worst in the Midwest League, which may partly explain why the team also has the worst record in the league. It should also be noted that Lake County’s first series was against Lansing, who posts the third-best team ERA in the league (2.65).

10: The team’s collective number of walks. This is actually the best in the Midwest League, the highest being Burlington, whose pitchers have walked 31 hitters. This is also the number of collective team RBIs, which is the lowest in the league. Quad Cities currently has the most with 36.

Taking On Water

Though he was not moved to the DL, outfielder LeVon Washington has not played since Thursday, the season opener. Though he was expected to receive a series of off-days to ease back into an everyday routine, he left Thursday’s game with tightness that may be attributed to his current sidelining.

Fair Sailing

OF LeVon Washington was assigned to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers roster on Tuesday.
OF Aaron Siliga was moved from the Scrappers’ roster to Lake County in replacement of Washington.

On the Horizon

The Captains complete their series against the Great Lakes Loons with a double-header on Wednesday, the result of a Tuesday night rainout. Then the Captains travel to Fort Wayne to take on the TinCaps in a four-game series. The next home stand starts April 16 when the Dayton Dragons come to town.

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.

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