Mejia’s Streak Hits 21, Krieger’s Ends, and More in the Captains’ Log
Bob Toth | On 20, Jun 2016
With a 3-1 loss to the South Bend Cubs on Sunday, the Lake County Captains saw their chance of locking up a playoff berth slip through their hands. The Cubs clinched the final playoff spot from the Eastern Division, while the Captains dropped to third in the division to close out the first half. The Captains lost a 1-0 lead in the sixth when they gave up three runs to the Cubs, who held on for the win.
The Captains finished the first half with a very strong 40-30 record, but went 10-8 to close out the first half in June. The team will take a three-day break for the All-Star festivities, as four Lake County players will take part in the Midwest League All-Star Game on Tuesday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with two of those members starting the contest for the Eastern Division.
The second half of the season resumes on Thursday night, when the Captains return to Classic Park for a 7:00 PM first pitch against the Great Lakes Loons.
In other Captains notes:
MEJIA WINS AWARD
Mejia, who was named an All-Star the previous week, played in six games for the Captains during the week, all home contests at Classic Park in Eastlake. The switch-hitter hit in all six games, with four multi-hit efforts, to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, the second longest streak in the Midwest League this year. He was 13-for-25 (.520) during the week with a double, four home runs, eight runs scored, and eleven runs batted in.
He will be the starting catcher for the Eastern Division in the All-Star Game.
HITTING STREAK HITS 21 FOR MEJIA
Mejia extended his hitting streak to 20 consecutive games on Saturday with a single. It came as part of a Captains rally that led to their 6-4 extra inning win over South Bend.
He made it 21 straight with a single in the first half finale loss to the Cubs. He is hitting .336 at the break with a .370 on-base percentage. His average is third-best in the league and tops on the Captains club, while his 49 RBI are good for second-most in the league while leading the team.
KRIEGER’S STREAK ENDS AT 23
All-Star shortstop Tyler Krieger’s 23-game hitting streak came to an end in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader in Bowling Green against the Hot Rods, an unfortunate casualty to official scoring rules. He was 0-for-2 with a walk in the game, but it was his sixth inning liner that nearly pushed the streak to 24. With a runner on first base, Krieger hit a liner to right. The shot dropped in safely, but base runner and fellow All-Star teammate Willi Castro had to hold at first to see if the ball would be caught. The Bowling Green right fielder was able to field the ball on one hop and fire to second for the force out of Castro for a long fielder’s choice.
His on-base streak ended at 24 games in the second game of the doubleheader, when he went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. He has reached base safely in each of the last four games to close out the first half.
Krieger will join Mejia as a starter in the Midwest League All-Star Game on Tuesday. He is hitting .325 with a .399 OBP in his first full season of minor league action, with his average and OBP at the plate the sixth-best marks in the Midwest League.
ESPARZA MAKES FIRST RELIEF APPEARANCE
Right-handed starter Esparza came on in relief for the first time this season in Sunday’s loss. He gave the Captains two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out three.
The 21-year-old 14th round pick of the Indians in the 2015 draft, Esparza finished the first half with a 6-3 record in 14 games (13 starts). He earned a 3.71 ERA and had a 1.12 WHIP, striking out 74 batters and walking 15 in 68 innings pitched.
MARABELL’S STRONG START TO SEASON
Outfielder Connor Marabell missed receiving a spot on the All-Star team, but it should take nothing away from a solid start to his first full season in the Indians organization.
Selected in the 25th round of the 2015 draft out of Jacksonville University, Marabell has hit .313 (12th in the league) with a .380 OBP through his first 65 games. He had 22 doubles, two triples, five homers, and 40 RBI. His doubles tally is second-most in the league and his RBI production is among the league’s leaders.
LUKES LOOKING GOOD DESPITE SNUB
Another Captains outfielder who was deserving of consideration for a trip to Cedar Rapids this week was Nathan Lukes, the Indians’ seventh round pick out of Cal State Sacramento last June. He is hitting .317 with a .401 OBP this season, with 17 doubles, five triples, two homers, and 23 RBI in 62 games. His average is tenth and OBP fourth in the Midwest League.
Last Monday, the Captains placed second baseman Sam Haggerty on the seven-day disabled list and transferred third baseman Nathan Winfrey to the roster of Mahoning Valley in advance of their season opener on June 17.
Photo: Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer