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The Journal Gazette

  • Dylan Sinn | The Journal Gazette TinCaps pitcher Ryan Weathers tossed five innings against the South Bend Cubs at Parkview Field in his final start of the season.

Saturday, August 31, 2019 1:00 am

South Bend 6 TinCaps 4

Weathers falls in his last start

Highly touted prospect's season a roller coaster

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

TinCaps vs. Lansing

Where: Parkview Field

When: 7:05 p.m.

Pitchers: Edwuin Bencomo (TinCaps) vs. Troy Miller (Lugnuts)

TV: Xfinity 81

Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM

TinCaps pitcher Ryan Weathers came into the season as Fort Wayne's highest-ranked prospect, a top 10 pick in the 2018 draft and the expected ace of the staff.

After a terrific start to the season, Weathers hit a bump in the road with an arm injury that cost him three weeks in May. He spent the rest of the season trying to recapture the form that made him so effective in April, losing some velocity but pitching well enough to earn a spot on the Midwest League All-Star Team.

The 19-year-old left-hander made his final start of 2019 on Friday, going five innings and striking out four while giving up three runs in a 6-4 loss to the South Bend Cubs at Parkview Field in front of an announced crowd of 5,262. Weathers finishes the season 3-7 with a 3.84 ERA.

“It was a ton of fun,” Weathers said of pitching for the TinCaps. “A lot of ups and downs this season, a lot more downs than ups. First (full pro season) had to figure out a lot about myself and what I need to do going forward to get to the big leagues and stay in the big leagues.”

Weathers hit 93 mph on his fastball with regularity Friday, several ticks up from where he was in June and July. He cruised through the first 22/3 innings, striking out three, but ran into trouble thereafter. 

After getting the first two outs in the third, Weathers gave up hits to eight of the next nine hitters over the third and fourth innings and the Cubs plated three runs to take a 3-1 lead. It would have been more, but outfielder Michael Curry cut down Darius Hill trying to score from second on a single with a perfect throw to the plate to end the third inning.

Weathers eventually surrendered 10 hits, though none of them was hard-hit. He was still hitting 93 mph in the fifth inning and did not walk a batter.

“I felt good,” he said. “As the season's gone on, my arm's started feeling better. It was just one of those nights tonight, just couldn't get anything going. First three (innings) went really well. In the fourth, it was bad hit after bad hit I felt like. ... Just hats off to them. Could have went my way too, but baseball's a crazy game.

The Cubs led 3-2 in the seventh when Nelson Maldonado broke the game open with a three-run triple to right. On the previous pitch, he'd barely gotten a piece of a Ramon Perez curveball with two strikes. The TinCaps argued it was a foul tip, but the umpires ruled the ball had hit the ground before catcher Chandler Seagle caught it.

Tucupita Marcano went 4 for 4 with a double, two runs scored and a walk, his third four-hit game of the season. 

The win, combined with a Lansing Lugnuts loss clinched the final second-half playoff spot in the Eastern Division for the Cubs. The end of the Lansing game set off a raucous celebration in the South Bend clubhouse that could be heard all the way down the hall.

dsinn@jg.net