It's another near-perfect day at Parkview Field as the TinCaps try to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. Fort Wayne has alternated wins and losses in its first five matchups, but can secure a two-game win streak and clinch a series split with a victory against the Dayton Dragons tonight.
The TinCaps will send 20-year-old right-hander Angel Acevedo to the mound to complete their first turn through the rotation this season. Opening Day starter Ryan Weathers will take the ball for the second time on Wednesday, making Acevedo the TinCaps' sixth starter so far. The first five have varied between "good" and "dominant" and the common thread has been a terrific strikeout/walk ratio. The TinCaps' starters have struck out 35 and walked just five in those opening five starts, a tremendous record to open the season and one that would surely be the best in the league if it came anywhere close to continuing.
Acevedo will try to keep that trend going tonight. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound hurler has already pitched in relief once this season, tossing two scoreless innings against Lansing, while striking out two and walking one. He was solid but unspectacular at Tri City last season, going 4-3 with a 3.88 ERA in 65 innings. He isn't much of a strikeout pitcher, but he rarely walks batters and gives up very little hard contact. Acevedo surrendered just one home run all of last season.
The Dragons will counter with 21-year-old right-hander Jared Solomon, an 11th-round pick in the 2017 draft. Solomon showed some ability to miss bats at the lower levels of the minors, but has struggled in A-ball. He went 0-1 in six starts with the Dragons last season, walking more hitters than he struck out and posting a 5.40 ERA. His first start this year wasn't much better: he went four innings, walked four and struck out two while giving up three runs on six hits against Bowling Green in the season-opening series. The TinCaps' offense struggled Monday against starter Lyon Richardson and his big-league fastball before feasting on the Dayton bullpen in the late innings. They might be able to get going a little earlier against Solomon tonight.
That TinCaps lineup will begin tonight without two of its hottest hitters: Xavier Edwards and Agustin Ruiz are resting to start the game, while Luis Almanzar and Grant Little return to the lineup. Don't be surprised to see Edwards and/or Ruiz used to pinch-hit late in a close game; they've been off to terrific starts. Edwards is of course also a pinch-running possibility with his blazing speed and instincts on the bases.
The TinCaps got the four-game homestand off to a terrific start with a 9-3 win in the series-opener Monday. They'll try to build on that and secure a win streak tonight for the first time this season.