TinCaps manager Jose Valentin was angry after a loss Wednesday. After two Thursday, he just seemed resigned, and tired.
And how did he feel?
"Even worse," he said. "Even worse."
Valentin's team started the year with some hot hitting. It has since regressed to the norm, and now far below it.
Fort Wayne went 14 innings without a run Thursday. And after a 5-0 shutout Wednesday, Valentin didn't expect he would see worse from his squad.
He thought they got the message. He was wrong.
And he had plenty to say about it, as well.
"I don't think they realize what we're playing for here. We're playing for being in first place, we're facing the teams that are ahead of us, and I haven't seen that intensity. We go up there and not even try to win the game."
"Guys go up there and swing at everything they saw with no plan at home plate. Today, what, we only faced three pitchers? And we got one lineup in each game? Three pitchers, no adjustment at all. Just swing at everything. A guy's facing the guy three times, at least three times, in a game. Same guys. No clue at all."
And some more:
"We're wasting our time. Completely wasting our time. ... They don't listen, they don't want to work, I mean, they don't want to get better."
The larger message
Valentin blasted his players again Thursday, but again did so with a purpose.
This young roster has to learn.
"I know they're young," he said. "But when are they gonna grow up? ... When is it going to be time to make an adjustment?"
The TinCaps, from top to bottom, will need to. Many of these players have major league dreams. But Valentin doesn't see that kind of potential out of his hitters right now.
"If they can't do it here, I don't think they have any chance at going to the big leagues," the former big leaguer said. "It's not that we're not working. We try and do everything we can. But they're not putting anything in. They're not making any adjustments.
"I guess we'll see what happens."