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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The TinCaps' Osvaldo Hernandez is scheduled to pitch in the first game of today's doubleheader against South Bend. The 20-year-old left-hander is leading the Midwest League in ERA and tied for the league lead in wins.

Thursday, August 16, 2018 5:50 pm

Pregame: TinCaps (24-26) vs. South Bend Cubs (22-29)

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

The TinCaps and South Bend Cubs saw their series-opener rained out Wednesday night, necessitating a doubleheader beginning at 5:35 p.m. tonight. Of course, as has so often been the case this season, the doubleheader is also threatened by rain. As I write this, it's drizzling on and off outside and seems prepared to do so until late tonight. There will be more urgency to get at least one game in today, because South Bend does not return to Parkview Field this season, so canceling both games tonight means a lost game on the schedule.

The TinCaps will send Osvaldo Hernandez to the mound in the first game. Hernandez was supposed to start Wednesday, but had his start pushed because of the rain. The 20-year-old left-hander is leading the Midwest League in ERA and tied for the league lead in wins. If he gets the victory tonight he'll be the first pitcher on the circuit to reach 11 wins this season. It's becoming difficult to come up with superlatives for Hernandez's season, but he told me Wednesday that he wants to continue to work on his curveball over his final few starts. He wants it to be in more of a 12-6 shape and sometimes it comes across as a 9-3, which makes it more hittable.

In the second matchup, the TinCaps will send left-hander Tom Cosgrove to the mound. The 22-year-old is coming off a start in which he went 5 1/3 innings and gave up three runs with six strikeouts against the Lake County Captains. He is striking out a batter per inning this season. Both Hernandez and Cosgrove will have opportunities to become the first TinCap this season to throw a complete game because both games will be only seven innings, per minor-league baseball doubleheader rules.

The Cubs will start right-hander Javier Assad – Wednesday's scheduled starter – in Game 1. Assad, as I wrote in Full Count on Wednesday, has been a middling starter this season with a 3.83 ERA, but has a 94 mph fastball and a hard-breaking curveball. Game 2 will feature 2017 Cubs first-round pick Brendon Little. The 22-year-old left-hander has struggled in 18 Midwest League starts, posting a 4.81 ERA and walking nearly four per nine innings. Fangraphs ranked him the No. 5 prospect in the Cubs' system in November of 2017 and said his fastball has touched 97. He also has an above-average curveball and average changeup.

The doubleheader tonight is another important marker in the Midwest League playoff race, as well. Great Lakes finally lost Wednesday and are now a full game behind the TinCaps for the final playoff spot, though a Cubs sweep tonight could change that quickly. 

dsinn@jg.net