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The Journal Gazette

Friday, April 20, 2018 6:00 pm

Pregame: TinCaps (4-10) vs. Dayton Dragons (8-3)

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

The first series of the current TinCaps homestand was against a team that came in on a four-game losing streak. The second series, which starts tonight at Parkview Field, pits Fort Wayne against one of the best teams in the Midwest League in the Dayton Dragons, who come in to the series in a tie for first place in the Eastern Division.

The Dragons are certainly the hottest team in the league, entering this three-game weekend set with eight consecutive wins following an 0-3 start. They haven't lost since April 7 and their pitching has been dominant in recent games, carrying Dayton to a three-game sweep of the South Bend Cubs despite the Dragons hitting just .181 in the series.

Tonight's starter, right-hander Mac Sceroler, hasn't been particularly good this season, pitching to a 7.20 ERA in two starts so far. He's only walked one hitter in 10 innings, but he seems to be throwing the ball around the plate a little bit too much. The 23-year-old has given up three home runs already and opponents are hitting .293 against him. That's good news for the TinCaps' offense, which has gotten just two hits combined against the last two starting pitchers its faced.

Opposing Sceroler will be Fort Wayne lefty Tom Cosgrove, who has also struggled this season. Cosgrove hasn't pitched well in either start, going just 2 1/3 innings and giving up six runs in his most recent outing. He's walked more hitters than he's struck out and opponents are hitting .393. Simply put, the 21-year-old hasn't fooled anyone yet this year and he'll have a tough time getting back on track against a lineup that includes catcher Hendrik Clementina, a 20-year-old who is slugging .857.

The TinCaps' offense will look to continue the patient approach that has helped place them among the league leaders in walks drawn. Jeisson Rosario has been a one-man wrecking crew in this department, drawing 12 walks over his last five games and raising his on-base percentage by more than 130 points. He'll be a key piece for the offense against Sceroler.

Fort Wayne will celebrate its 10th season at Parkview Field tonight, as well. The 2009 team that won the TinCaps' only Midwest League title was one of the most successful teams in league history. This year's group has not matched that standard yet, losing 10 of its first 14 games, but it can make a statement this weekend against one of the league's elite groups.