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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, May 17, 2018 6:50 pm

Pregame: TinCaps (16-22) vs. West Michigan (20-18)

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

The TinCaps have a chance to win their first series in two weeks when they take the field tonight. They've won two out of the first three in this four-game set thanks to solid pitching and some help from eight Whitecaps errors. 

They can probably count on at least the good pitching continuing tonight with left-hander Aaron Leasher getting the start. Leasher has been excellent on the whole this season, pitching to a 3.31 ERA and holding opponents to a .240 batting average. His last time out was one of the best starts for a Fort Wayne pitcher all season. The 22-year-old went seven innings against Kane County, giving up a single unearned run and only four hits. Unfortunately for him, the TinCaps blew a late lead and lost 6-5 in 12 innings, so he ended up with nothing to show for his effort.

One of the most positive signs for Leasher of late has been his walk rate, which has plummeted in his last three outings. After he handed out seven free passes in 8 1/3 innings over his first two starts, the 2017 sixth-round pick has walked just two in his last 15 innings. If that holds tonight, he'll be in position to continue the TinCaps' string of effective starts.

The Whitecaps will start 20-year-old right-hander Jesus Rodriguez and if his season to this point is any indication, they'll need to be better in the field than they've been the last few games. Rodriguez is pitch-to-contact hurler, striking out fewer than 4.2 hitters per nine innings in each of the last two seasons, meaning there will be plenty of balls in play. Rodriguez has a decent 4.05 ERA so far this season, but he's walked more hitters than he's struck out and had help from a lucky .218 opponents batting average on balls in play. The TinCaps should have some opportunities to score before they get to the vaunted West Michigan bullpen.

In addition to the game, tonight is "Colts At-Bat" night at Parkview Field. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett and tight end Jack Doyle will be signing autographs before the game and throwing out first pitches. Blue the Mascot will be signing too.

You can read about the Colts' visit to Parkview Field, as well as their offseason progress, in Friday's Journal Gazette.

dsinn@jg.net