Despite winning the first three games of their four-game set with the Lansing Lugnuts, any dreams of a division crown fizzled out for the Lake County Captains this week after getting stomped in five straight games in a four-day span by Bowling Green to start an eight-game homestand at Classic Park in Eastlake.
The season is winding down in the Midwest League, as the Captains (29-34 in the second half) have seven games left on their regular season schedule while clinging to a slight chance of a postseason trip. They trail the Great Lakes Loons by three and a half games for the final Eastern Division second half qualifying spot. Lake County has a game against Lansing on Monday night before heading to Dayton for a three-game series to wrap up the road schedule from Wednesday to Friday. They will then return home to host the final three games of their season as they face the Lugnuts again on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
In other scribblings in the Captains’ log:
CLASS-A LIFE TREATING McKENZIE KINDLY
Triston McKenzie made his fifth start at the Class-A level on Friday and pulled in the win with six innings of scoreless baseball on the mound.
The 19-year-old right-hander allowed just two hits and a walk in earning his second win with the Captains. He struck out nine Lansing batters in his first professional start against them.
McKenzie has now worked back-to-back scoreless outings after allowing three earned runs in each of his first three appearances with the Captains. He has a 2-1 record with Lake County in five starts with a 2.73 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and .187 batting average against after starting his season with a 4-3 record in nine starts with a 0.55 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and .180 batting average against while with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
CALICA GETS A PROMOTION AND SHINES
Outfielder Andrew Calica, the Indians’ eleventh round draft pick back in June, got a well-deserved promotion to the Class-A Captains roster for the final stretch of the season after an impressive start to his professional career with the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
Calica was added to Lake County’s roster on Friday and made quite the impression on his new teammates as he went 4-for-4 against Lansing in the third spot in the order with three singles, a double, and two runs batted in. The center fielder did not show much sign of slowing down, either, as he added a single on Saturday and hit a single and a double in the win on Sunday.
In what might have been his final game as a Scrapper, he went 3-for-3 on August 25 in Brooklyn, coming up just a double short of the cycle while hitting his second professional home run. He batted .388 with a .491 on-base percentage for the Scrappers in 40 games.
CARTER’S STREAK ENDS AT FIVE
Jodd Carter’s modest five-game hitting streak came to an end on Saturday with an 0-for-4 performance against Lansing. He was 7-for-21 with a homer and three RBI during his hitting streak.
Since his move to Lake County, the 20-year-old right-handed hitting outfielder is hitting .303 with five doubles, two homers, and nine RBI in 32 games. He hit .242 with seven doubles, a triple, two homers, and 12 RBI in 28 games for Mahoning Valley earlier in the year.
CERVENKA HITTING IN BUNCHES
Twenty-four-year-old catcher Martin Cervenka continued to hit in bunches this week as he racked up four more multi-hit games for the Captains. He went 3-for-4 in the second game of the doubleheader last Tuesday against Bowling Green, driving in a pair of runs. He had a hit the next day against the Hot Rods and added two more on Thursday.
After going 0-for-4 in the series opener with Lansing on Friday, Cervenka followed with a 3-for-3 effort on Saturday and a 2-for-4 performance on Sunday with a homer, two RBI, and two runs scored. He had hit just .214 for the Captains prior to the Midwest League’s All-Star game, but in 51 games since, he is hitting .311, including .346 in August.
MEDINA MAKES HIS MARK
Left-handed hitting Jose Medina has hit in four straight games, including a big three-hit, four-RBI effort in Saturday’s win.
His sixth inning three-run homer put the Captains on top against the Lugnuts and his RBI-triple in the eighth inning drove in what would prove to be the deciding run in the 6-5 victory.
The Captains tallied six doubles on Sunday, tying a season high. Each were needed in Lake County’s comeback win over Lansing, 8-6.
MARQUINA’S QUICK EXIT
Right-handed reliever Yoiber Marquina, who was just activated from the disabled list a week and a half ago, was removed from Sunday’s game after just three pitches.
Right-handed reliever Kieran Lovegrove was placed on the seven-day disabled list on August 26, retroactive to August 24. Pitcher Kenny Mathews returned to the Captains from the Mahoning Valley Scrappers to take his place in the bullpen.
Juan De La Cruz headed to Niles to take Calica’s roster spot on the short-season Scrappers squad.
Photo: Tim Phillis/TCP Photography