McKenzie Impressive in Debut, Shane and Chiang Sharp, and More in the Captains’ Log
Bob Toth | On 09, Aug 2016
After ending July on a four-game losing streak, things have gotten a little bit better for the Lake County Captains over the course of the first week of the final full month of the Class-A regular season.
They wrapped up their series with West Michigan to start the month of August, splitting a pair after dropping the first two games of the four-game set. On the second leg of their road trip, they won the opener against Great Lakes, 8-2, but fell 12-3 and 5-2 in the final two games on Thursday and Friday. They came home to Eastlake on Saturday to start a four-game series with Dayton, losing the opener 7-2 before returning the favor by the same score on Sunday night. They clinched at least a series split with a 5-1 win on Monday.
The Captains (18-25), in seventh place in the eight-team Midwest League Eastern Division, will finish their series with Dayton on Tuesday night before returning to Great Lakes for four more beginning Thursday night. They will come back to Classic Park on Monday to host West Michigan before returning to the road once again.
In other notes from the Captains log:
McKENZIE STRIKES OUT ELEVEN IN DEBUT
After tearing up the short-season New York-Penn League with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, 19-year-old pitching prospect Triston McKenzie earned a well-deserved promotion to Class-A Lake County on Wednesday.
Making his debut for the Captains on Friday, he took on the Great Lakes Loons on the road in Midland, Michigan, and was plenty impressive in his overall body of work. He lasted five and one-third innings and threw a season-high 85 pitches, including 63 for strikes. He struck out eleven, did not issue a free pass, and only allowed four hits. He was charged with three runs, one of which scored off of reliever Leandro Linares after McKenzie exited.
McKenzie was 4-3 in nine starts for the Scrappers with one complete game. He was promoted after posting a 0.55 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP, and a .180 batting average against with 55 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings pitched.
SHANE SHARP IN PAIR OF WINS
Right-hander Casey Shane was too much for Great Lakes to handle on Wednesday in the Captains victory on the road. Shane worked a season-high seven innings, giving up just one run on one hit, walking two and striking out three in his impressive victory.
He followed it up with six and two-thirds innings of one-run baseball on Monday night, giving up five hits while striking out six on the night to improve to 7-9 on the season.
HAGGERTY WITH AN INSIDE-THE-PARKER
Sam Haggerty hit an inside-the-park home run on Monday in Shane’s victory to help pad the Captains’ lead. He hit a grounder into the left field corner that the Dayton outfielder thought was lodged under the wall. The umpire never signaled for the ground-rule double and Haggerty kept on running around the bases. By the time the left fielder picked up the ball, it was too late as Haggerty charged all the way around to score.
CARTER HITS IN EIGHT STRAIGHT
Outfielder Jodd Carter has started his Lake County career in impressive fashion by stringing together an eight-game hitting streak, combined with a two-double day in Lynchburg.
That streak ended on Thursday when he was held hitless in four trips, but his two walks extended his on-base streak. He had reached base safely via hit or walk in 15 straight games heading into action on Monday night, but he was held hitless in four trips against the Dragons.
Carter, a 20-year-old Hawaii native, was selected in the 24th round of the 2014 draft. He hit .242 in 28 games for Mahoning Valley and .333 in two games at Lynchburg and had a .348 average through his first 12 games with the Captains.
Catcher Martin Cervenka has been a streaky hitter this season to say the least. He has hits in 21 of his last 24 contests since July 10.
He hit in five straight from April 12 to April 20, nine straight from May 22 to June 9, eight straight from July 10 to July 22 (including three of his four games at Lynchburg this season), six more from July 23 to July 29, and extended his current streak to seven games with a two-hit effort on Monday against Dayton.
CASTRO HAS ANOTHER FOUR-HIT GAME
Willi Castro supplied the Captains’ offense with his third four-hit game of the season in Sunday’s win. He reached base on four singles, drove in a run, and scored once.
ARMENDARIZ HOMERS, HAS FOUR-HIT GAME
David Armendariz had another big game for the Captains on Sunday, getting a professional career-high four hits in Lake County’s 7-2 win over Dayton. He singled and scored in the second inning to give the Captains the early lead. He homered in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at two. He led off the sixth inning with a double and scored on a single to center by Haggerty. In his final at bat and a triple short of the cycle, he singled to center for the perfect day at the plate.
His 4-for-4 day with three runs scored and eight total bases pushed his season batting average from .215 to .243.
CHIANG K’S NINE
Shao-Ching Chiang was the beneficiary of plenty of offensive support in Sunday’s win, but he also did his part. He worked seven innings while throwing 82 pitches. He allowed two runs on five hits, did not issue a walk, and struck out a season- and professional career-high nine batters to earn his seventh win of the season for the Captains.
FITZSIMMONS’ IMPRESSIVE DEBUT
Right-hander Jon Fitzsimmons was signed by the Indians to a minor league contract on Friday and got his first taste of the 2016 minor league baseball schedule on Sunday, working two perfect innings in relief of Chiang. He threw 25 pitches, 19 for strikes, and struck out all six batters that he faced.
Fitzsimmons, 24, had previously pitched in the Pioneer League with the Idaho Falls Chukars in 2013 and 2014 while in the Kansas City Royals organization.
Pitcher Cortland Cox returned to the Captains on Sunday after a brief one-day stay with the Double-A Akron RubberDucks. Kenny Mathews was moved back to short-season Mahoning Valley to make room for him on the roster.
Argenis Angulo, a right-handed reliever, did similar, coming back on Friday from a one-day stay in Triple-A with the Columbus Clippers.
The Captains received right-handed pitcher Trevor Foss on Tuesday, one day after he signed a minor league contract with the Indians. He had not pitched this season after being released by Inland Empire prior to the start of the 2016 schedule.
Photo: Tim Phillis/TCP Photography