And now it goes to the end, bitter or otherwise.
Needing one victory to clinch the last playoff berth in the Midwest League Eastern Division, the TinCaps stumbled over the moment Sunday in Comstock Park, Mich. The West Michigan Whitecaps, with their backs to the wall, used it as a trampoline, raking four TinCaps pitchers for 13 hits and two three-run innings in a 10-3 rout.
That puts it all on the last game of the regular season at 1 p.m. today. If the TinCaps win, they’re in. If the Whitecaps win, they’re in.
“Yeah, nothing like a one-game playoff, huh?” TinCaps manager Shawn Wooten said in a phone interview.
And it happens because Sunday’s game got away from the TinCaps in a hurry. Tied at 2 through four innings, West Michigan’s Dixon Machado led off the home fifth with a single to center, stole second and reached third on Jeff Rowland’s sacrifice bunt then came home on Hernan Perez’ sacrifice fly.
Nick Castellanos followed with a homer to right, the Whitecaps led for good, 4-2.
The Whitecaps added three runs in the sixth on a double by Clay Jones, a single by Steven Moya to drive home Jones and Curtis Casali’s two-run homer to right. They added three more in the seventh on back-to-back singles from Castellanos and Ryan Hamme, a walk, a bases-loaded walk issued by Yefri Carvajal, another bases-loaded walk from his replacement, Deiber Sanchez and a wild pitch by Sanchez.
That pretty much finished the TinCaps, who managed just six hits off two West Michigan pitchers. Emmanuel Quiles had two of those hits and Rymer Liriano hit a home run in the fourth, his 12th of the season.
Now it’s on to today. Wooten will send his ace, Keyvius Sampson, to the mound, and move Dennis O’Grady to the bullpen in case he needs him. But it won’t be an all-hands-on-deck situation.
“We’re still in the development standpoint, so we’re not using everybody,” he said. “We have a bunch of different scenarios we can use, but we do have a few guys that’ll be down.”