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vs. West Michigan
When: 7:05 p.m. today
TV: Xfinity Channel 81
Radio: 1380 AM
Tickets: $12.50, $10, $9, $8, $5 (lawn)
Information: or 482-6400

TinCaps return home hunting for 4th straight playoff berth

– Fort Wayne’s final homestand of the regular season will go a long way in determining whether the TinCaps reach the playoffs for a fourth straight year.

The TinCaps return to Parkview Field today for the first of three games against West Michigan.

“We know that every win is beneficial and every loss kind of hurts us,” outfielder Travis Jankowski said during a phone interview on Monday.

The TinCaps (35-29, 66-68 overall) have a two-game lead over the Whitecaps (33-31) for the wild-card spot in the Eastern Division playoff race.

Fort Wayne gained some breathing room after rallying to defeat Lansing 7-6 on Tuesday at Cooley Law School Stadium. The TinCaps trailed 5-1 after four innings but tied the game with four runs in the fifth inning.

The TinCaps scored twice in the sixth. Jankowski knocked in Kyle Gaedele with a single for the go-ahead run.

West Michigan lost Tuesday to Dayton 9-3.

The TinCaps are tied with Lake County for the top spot among qualifying teams. The Captains lost Tuesday to Great Lakes 6-5. Lake County holds the tiebreaker, placing the TinCaps as the wild card.

“You can only control how your guys play,” Jankowski said. “And if the other teams win, it’s kind of out of your control. It’s fun, exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time.”

Fort Wayne and West Michigan have split the six games played this month.

Fort Wayne has won five of the seven games played between the teams at Parkview Field this year. West Michigan took two of three in the most recent series, at Comstock Park, Mich.

The TinCaps broke out of a mini slump at the plate. Entering Tuesday, Fort Wayne had averaged just 1.8 runs in its previous 10 games, going 3-7 during the stretch.

“We’re taking the same approach day in and day out, it’s just part of the game,” Jankowski said.

James Needy (6-2, 1.95 ERA), Matt Wisler (5-4, 2.54 ERA) and Erik Cabrera (1-2, 4.26 ERA) are the scheduled starters for Fort Wayne.

“Our pitchers are doing real well right now,” Jankowski said. “It’s just from time to time our hitting has been a bit sporadic. If we can put the ball in play and put the pressure on the defense, I think we’ll be all right.”

Note: Catcher Matt Colantonio was placed on the disabled list. Catcher Chris O’Dowd was added to the roster from San Diego’s short-season A team in Eugene, Ore.