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The Journal Gazette

Monday, September 11, 2017 7:10 pm

Game 3: TinCaps place faith in Michel Baez

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

DAYTON, Ohio – Six months of baseball come down to this. Win tonight, and the TinCaps are headed to the Midwest League Championship Series for the third time in franchise history. Lose, and their season is over.

This best-of-three Eastern Division Championship Series has been unpredictable. Dayton won 2-1 in Game 1 at Parkview Field on Saturday night, but the TinCaps stayed alive with an impressive 6-0 road win Sunday.

Michel Baez, Fort Wayne's ace, gets the start tonight. He threw seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts in his only start this postseason, but what's different now is he'll be going on four days' rest as opposed to his usual five or six.

"I've pitched on a couple days off before," Baez said through an interpreter. "My arm is OK. Mentally, I'm strong, and I've got confidence."

He also has a track record against the Dragons. On July 31, Baez went 6 2/3 innings and gave up just one run on five hits with 14 strikeouts and did not walk a batter. This will be his first start at Fifth Third Field.

"I faced that team at home," Baez said. "I know a couple of the hitters. I know how I am going to throw them."

Lake Bachar, another starting pitcher, is also available, TinCaps manager Anthony Contreras said.

"Hopefully (Baez) goes as long as he can," Contreras said. "Our bullpen is huge right now. We have guys that are going to be in certain roles depending on what part of the game we're in."

On the Dayton side, manager Luis Bolivar planned to try to keep things loose before the game.

"I will let them be and just treat it like a normal game," Bolivar said. "I don’t need to put any pressure on them. They are aware of the situation, so just go and give the best effort."

Here's the TinCaps' lineup:

Jack Suwinski RF

Nate Easley LF

Hudson Potts 3B

Brad Zunica 1B

Marcus Greene Jr. C

Jorge Ona DH

Gabriel Arias SS

Buddy Reed CF

Justin Lopez 2B

Here's Bolivar's lineup:

Randy Ventura RF

Jose Siri CF

Taylor Trammell LF

Bruce Yari 1B

John Sansone 2B

Taylor Sparks 3B

Hector Vargas DH

Cassidy Brown C

Carlos Rivero SS