The TinCaps game against Dayton on Thursday night got through one inning before the skies opened up and a downpour began falling on Parkview Field, suspending the game prior to the top of the second and sending the more than 4,000 fans in attendance running for the shelter of the concourse.
The suspension of the game, with the score 0-0 and Dayton coming to bat after going down 1-2-3 in the first inning, means a quasi-doubleheader today. The suspended game will resume at 5:05 p.m. and will go the full nine innings and then a second game, the regularly-scheduled Friday matchup, will get started half an hour after the end of the first. That second game, per MiLB rules on doubleheaders, will go only seven innings. The teams originally wanted the doubleheader to take place Saturday, so that more fans could be in the ballpark at the early start of the first game, but MLB rules state the doubleheader must be played at the earliest possible date.
The TinCaps juggled their pitching staff around in light of the twin bill happening tonight. Connor Lehmann, who started Thursday's game and pitched a scoreless first, will not continue his outing. Instead, right-hander Gabe Mosser, Friday's scheduled starter, will "start" the first game. Mosser is still working his way back from an injury that kept him out for a month and pitched only two innings in his most recent start, so it's unlikely he goes more than two or three tonight. He has pitched four scoreless innings in his three appearances since he returned, showing little sign of rust. It's likely that after Mosser works a few innings, the TinCaps will bring in 22-year-old left-hander Gabe Morales, who was a piggyback starter behind Mosser in the righty's last start. Morales, in what was his TinCaps debut following a mid-August call-up from Low-A Lake Elsinore, pitched four innings in relief of Mosser in that contest, giving up one run, striking out four and earning the victory. Morales possesses a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and an impressive breaking ball and changeup.
The second game will be a bullpen game for Fort Wayne and the TinCaps will send right-hander Felix Minjarez to the mound to start it. Minjarez, just two weeks shy of his 25th birthday, will be making his first start in exactly two years, since Aug. 27, 2019, and just his fourth as a pro. He is 3-4 with a 4.63 ERA this season in long relief and Fort Wayne will probably try to get at least three innings out of him, a mark he's hit four times this season (he pitched 4 2/3 in relief in a game in late May). Minjarez is in the midst of his best stretch of the season: in 13 innings over 10 appearances since July 30, he has posted a 1.38 ERA with 14 strikeouts and seven walks. He struck out the side in a scoreless appearance at West Michigan on Aug. 20.
The Dragons plan to send Friday's scheduled starter, Reds No. 11 prospect Christian Roa (1-1, 6.94 ERA) to the mound for the first game. Roa, a second-round pick in 2020, can touch 96 mph with his fastball and has three good secondary pitches: a curveball, slider and changeup. He has 18 strikeouts and three walks in 11 2/3 innings at High-A this season after earlier stints this year in the Arizona Complex League and Low-A. His peripheral numbers (3.72 FIP) are much better than his actual ERA, so it's likely he's been mostly unlucky this season, as a high opponent batting average on balls in play and low strand rate would attest. Roa pitched six innings in a start Aug. 10, so it's possible the Dragons try to push him slightly tonight to save some bullpen innings.
Dayton's second game starter is TBA.