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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, July 19, 2018 6:10 pm

TinCaps (13-13) vs. Burlington Bees (6-19)

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

The TinCaps let a late lead slip away against the Burlington Bees in the first game of a three-game series Wednesday night. In order to avoid dropping a series at home against the worst team in the league, Fort Wayne must now win the next two games, starting with tonight's matchup at Parkview Field.

After losing nine of their previous 11 games, Fort Wayne will send left-hander Tom Cosgrove to the mound to try to get back on track. The 2017 12th-round pick has taken promoted ace Nick Margevicius' place in the regular rotation and has performed well, going six innings and giving up one run with three strikeouts in his most recent outing. His season ERA is an unimpressive 4.76, but it's inflated by a few rough starts and his walk and strikeout numbers are solid. The TinCaps have had stellar starting pitching even during their slide over the last two weeks, so if Cosgrove gets in trouble, the bullpen is well-rested.

The Bees will counter 23-year-old right-hander Michael Santos. Santos was part of the trade that sent left-hander Matt Moore from Tampa Bay to San Francisco in 2016, with Santos the top prospect going the other direction. He was one of Tampa's better pitching prospects heading into 2017, but he struggled to miss bats in High-A, got moved to the bullpen, and released in the offseason. He signed with the Angels and has made 10 appearances, all in relief, this season, posting a 4.37 ERA and striking out more than 10 hitters per nine innings. He'll make his first start tonight.

Santos will face a TinCaps offense that has been struggling of late, scoring two runs or fewer in five of its previous six games. In the series opener, Fort Wayne scored runs in each of the first two innings, but managed just two hits in its final seven times at the plate and did not score again. Jeisson Rosario got four of the team's seven hits, but someone else needed to step up and no one really did. Santos has good control, so the TinCaps' hitters should be prepared to hit early in their at-bats. Otherwise, they'll fall behind and face 1-2 and 0-2 counts.