The Lake County Captains (15-21) ended the month of July in disappointing fashion, dropping each of their final four games after a three-game winning streak earlier in the week. They got back into the win column with an extra inning victory on Monday night.
After taking their road series with Wisconsin with consecutive 6-2 wins last Sunday and Monday, they returned home to host the first place South Bend Cubs. After a 5-4 win in the opener, the Cubs won 3-0 and 11-7 to win the series. The Captains then headed on the road for four with West Michigan and dropped each of the first two games to close out the month. They needed 12 innings to steal a win on Monday as Jose Medina‘s solo homer gave the Captains a 2-1 win.
The Captains will continue their mini-road trip with a final game at West Michigan on Tuesday before moving on to Midland, Michigan, for three games against Great Lakes. Lake County will return home to Eastlake from August 6 to 9 when they host the Dayton Dragons.
In other news and notes from the Captains’ log:
ESPARZA TO LYNCHBURG
Right-handed starting pitcher Matt Esparza was promoted to High-A Lynchburg, the second Captains starter to earn that trip this season. The 21-year-old 14th round pick of the 2015 draft was 8-6 in 20 games (19 starts) for the Captains this season in his first exposure at the Class-A level.
He suffered a tough loss in his first start for the Hillcats, giving up two runs on three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts over six innings in a defeat at Winston-Salem.
LUKES TO LYNCHBURG TO TAMPA BAY RAYS
Outfielder Nathan Lukes was promoted to High-A Lynchburg on Wednesday, July 27, as part of the slew of outfield-related roster moves throughout the Indians organization. But after just five games with the Hillcats (.261 average, one double, one RBI, three runs scored), he was dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the non-waiver trade deadline at 4 PM on Monday, August 1, with Arizona League Indians pitcher Jhonleider Salinas for outfielder Brandon Guyer.
Lukes had hit .301 with a .375 on-base percentage in 89 games for Lake County this season, hitting 21 doubles, eight triples, and five homers while driving in 32 and stealing 14 bases.
COX MAKES FIRST PRO START
Cortland Cox made his first professional start in his fourth year of minor league ball and his 60th pro game on Sunday afternoon against West Michigan. The right-hander went four innings, giving up two runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out four as the Captains fell 3-1.
HARTSON HURT BY DEFENSE IN A LOSS
Brock Hartson did not give up an earned run on Saturday, but took the loss as two big errors led to all five West Michigan runs being unearned off of the Lake County righty.
Hartson pitched five and two-thirds innings in the defeat, striking out six while giving up seven hits.
CASTRO’S FOUR-HIT GAME
Midwest League All-Star Willi Castro had four singles in five trips on Friday night with a pair of runs scored, but it was not enough to defeat South Bend on Friday night.
It was the second four-hit game of the season for the shortstop, who matched his feat done on April 28 against Burlington. He is now hitting .264 on the season.
CARTER’S SIX-GAME HITTING STREAK
Outfielder Jodd Carter had a busy week, moving from the Mahoning Valley Scrappers to the Lynchburg Hillcats on Monday, July 25, before being reassigned to Lake County on Wednesday, July 27. He has not let the travel schedule conflict with his hitting, as he has hit safely in six straight games, with four multi-hit efforts in that span.
He had a pair of doubles in his second game with the Hillcats before he returned to Lake County. There, he has gone 9-for-22 (.409) with nine singles and two runs scored.
The Captains will host their Cleveland Sports History Night on August 6 at Classic Park. UFC champion Stipe Miocic and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA Championship trophy will both be in attendance. Postgame fireworks will be displayed on both August 6 and August 7, the latter of which is Family Fun Sunday. Lake County will host their second Bark in the Park on August 8, with one more to come on August 28.
The Captains received pitcher Argenis Angulo from the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Sunday, July 31. Micah Miniard made the same move before him, replacing Esparza on the roster on Wednesday, July 27.
Also on Wednesday, the Captains received catcher Juan De La Cruz and outfielder Carter from High-A Lynchburg. Outfielders Lukes and Connor Marabell and pitcher Jared Robinson headed to Lynchburg to take their places.
Photo: Tim Phillis/TCP Photography