After a brief trip on the road to Fort Wayne and West Michigan, the Lake County Captains return to their home at Eastlake’s Classic Park as they begin a homestand twice as long as their season opening two-game set against the TinCaps one week ago.
The Great Lakes Loons, the Class A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, will come to town for the weekend set at Lake County, but Captains fans will not have much baseball to watch before the club returns to the road again. First pitch of Thursday’s series opener is scheduled for 6:30 PM, with gates opening at 5:30 PM.
The Captains are off to a good start, entering play Thursday with a 5-2 record, including a 2-0 record at Classic Park. They swept a three-game series from the West Michigan Whitecaps, despite committing five errors in Tuesday’s 9-7 win and holding on for a one-run win on Wednesday.
The Captains have had some nice offensive contributions up the middle in the first full week of action.
Second baseman Willi Castro has played in six games and leads the club with a .464 batting average. He has ten singles and three triples, has scored six runs and knocked in four, and has a pair of stolen bases, but has committed four errors in the early going.
His double play partner, 2015 draft pick Tyler Krieger, is 10-for-22 (.455) and the plate and has drawn five walks to give him a .571 on-base percentage. He has two doubles and two RBI to his credit and has scored a team-high eleven runs.
Behind the plate, returning Captains catcher Francisco Mejia is hitting .421 with a .500 OBP in five games. He has driven in a team-leading seven runs.
The team has yet to hit a long ball, but is 13-for-15 in stolen base attempts.
Thursday’s ball game will feature both the “Thirsty Thursday” and “Date Night in the Officer’s Club” extravaganzas for fans interested. For one hour before game time, fans can purchase 25-cent beer. Half priced domestic draft beers will be available until 9 PM and half priced fountain sodas will be available all game long. There is also an all-you-can-eat wing and pizza buffet available.
Friday and Saturday are both 6:30 PM evening starts, with gates opening one hour before first pitch. Saturday will be the Captains’ Bob Feller Tribute on the 76th anniversary of his Opening Day no-hitter, still the only such game in Major League history. Sunday’s game will start at 1:30 PM.
Left-hander Sam Hentges (0-1, 15.75 ERA) will get the start for the Captains in the opening game of the four-game set on Thursday night against fellow lefty Michael Boyle (0-0, 5.79). Righty Matt Esparza (0-1, 24.30) will make his fifth career start and second for the Captains on Friday against right-hander Isaac Anderson (0-0, 3.60). Another pair of right-handers will go on Saturday night, as Lake County’s Shao-Ching Chiang (1-0, 0.00) will be opposed by Great Lakes’ Andrew Sopko (0-0, 0.00). The series will conclude with second-year Captains lefty Thomas Pannone (0-0, 1.13 ERA in two starts) and Loons righty Dennis Santana (0-1, 5.40), who will make his first start at the Class-A level.
Photo: Chris M. Worrell/The Plain Dealer correspondent