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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 7:10 pm

Pregame: TinCaps (23-28) vs. Bowling Green (33-18)

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Nick Margevicius has already had one start this year rained out May 12 in Kane County and as I write this, he's in danger of having another outing interrupted. The game has been delayed.

Regardless of the status of his start, Margevicius is unlikely to be phased. No matter the circumstances, he has been terrific on the mound all season, turning in what is likely to be an All-Star season and ranking near the top of the league in several important categories. The left-hander is fourth in the league with a 2.35 ERA and third in strikeouts with 59 in 46 innings. Digging a little deeper, his 59-8 strikeout to walk ratio is the best in the league among qualified pitchers. 

The 6-foot-5 Margevicius is coming off his best start of the season, seven shutout innings against the West Michigan Whitecaps last Thursday. It was the second straight start he's pitched seven innings and seems to be getting stronger. The key to his season has been the development of a curveball that has become a strikeout secondary pitch he didn't have in the past.

He'll try to slow down one of the best lineups in the Midwest League, which includes shortstop Taylor Walls hitting leadoff. Walls is coming off back-to-back four-hit games, including 4 for 5 in the series opener Tuesday in which the only out he made was a hard line drive to center that somehow turned into a force out. The 21-year-old ranks third in the league in batting average at .337 and teammate Zach Rutherford is fifth at .327.

The TinCaps' lineup was potent Tuesday as well, with Esteury Ruiz, Tirso Ornelas and Justin Lopez having big games. They'll have to deal with Hot Rods starter Alex Valverde, a right-hander the Tampa Bay Rays picked in the 22nd round out of Miami-Dade College. Valverde has been middling this season, posting a 4.35 ERA and more than five walks per nine innings. Like Margevicius, his best outing came in his most recent start, when he went seven innings and gave up just two runs on five hits.

This will be the sixth straight game the TinCaps have played against a first-place team, but they can stop it from being seven with a win tonight, which would knock the Hot Rods off the top spot.