Sweet 16 for Krieger, Trio with Strong Starts, and More in the Captains’ Log
Bob Toth | On 06, Jun 2016
The Lake County Captains have returned to their winning ways, now that they have not had to see the South Bend Cubs for a stretch.
They wrapped up a series split last Monday by taking the fourth game of their series with Fort Wayne by a 5-4 final. They followed by taking two of three from Bowling Green to end their homestand with a 4-3 record. Over the weekend, they captured another series win by taking each of the first two games against Great Lakes in Midland, Michigan, at Dow Diamond before the Loons ended their season-high tying six-game losing streak with a win in the 8-4 finale.
The Captains remain in third place in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division, trailing South Bend by a game and a half and just a half-game behind second place West Michigan.
In other notes from the Captains’ log:
KRIEGER’S HIT STREAK REACHES 16
With a double in Sunday’s loss, second baseman Tyler Krieger extended his hitting streak to 16 straight games for Lake County. In that stretch, he is hitting .349 (22-for-63) to boost his already stellar batting average up from .314 to .325. He has scored 12 runs in that span, hit six doubles, one triple, a pair of home runs, and driven in nine runs.
It is the third long hitting streak of the season for Krieger, who hit in six straight from April 10th to 16th and then in 13 straight from April 19th to May 3rd.
He was second in the Midwest League in runs scored, third in hits, fourth in batting average, and fifth in on-base percentage entering play on Sunday.
ESPARZA SETS A PERSONAL BEST
Right-handed starter Matt Esparza turned in his best start of his professional career on Saturday, taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning and striking out a career-high and Captains season-high ten batters in six one-hit innings as the Captains defeated the Great Lakes Loons, 4-1.
Esparza gave up a high chopper into center in the fifth to Great Lakes’ Omar Estevez, but faced the minimum on the night as his catcher, Francisco Mejia, erased the hit and a pair of walks on stolen base attempts.
In his start last Monday, he allowed just one run on two hits in five and two-thirds innings. He struck out three and walked a pair as Lake County held on for a 5-4 win.
Esparza improved to 6-2 on the season for the Captains with a 3.63 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in eleven starts. He has won each of his last three outings.
PANNONE NEARLY UNHITTABLE AS WELL
Left-hander Thomas Pannone threw seven one-hit innings on Wednesday in a 6-1 win by the Captains over the Bowling Green Hot Rods.
A one-out bunt single in the first inning against the Lake County southpaw was the extent of the damage allowed by Pannone, who retired 17 consecutive batters. It came to an end in the seventh inning, when he walked the leadoff man Michael Russell, who was also responsible for the bunt single, but Russell would be erased by Mejia at third on a caught stealing.
CHIANG GOES SEVEN
Right-hander Shao-Ching Chiang threw a season-high seven innings in his start on Tuesday for the Captains and earned his fourth win of the season. He allowed one run on five hits and needed just 64 pitches to work quickly through the Hot Rods.
MILLER EXTENDS HOMER LEAD
First baseman Anthony Miller’s home run in the seventh inning of Saturday’s win extended his team-high in homers to five.
MEJIA’S STREAK HITS EIGHT
In addition to a solid week of throwing out base runners from behind the plate, catcher Mejia has strung together hits in each of his last eight games, including six in 13 at bats against the Loons over the weekend. The stretch has moved his batting average 18 points higher.
The Captains placed reliever Yoiber Marquina on the seven-day disabled list on Friday. Lake County also received a pair of new faces, getting outfielder Jose Medina and reliever Erick Algarin from extended spring training.
Outfielder Bobby Ison was again relocated, this time to High-A Lynchburg on Wednesday, after a brief stay at Triple-A Columbus earlier in the season. Outfielder Silento Sayles rejoined the Captains from the complex in Goodyear. He had appeared in 14 games with the Captains in April, but was hitting .196 when he was sent out.
Photo: Tim Phillis/TCP Photography