WEST MICHIGAN WHITECAPS - 1, LAKE COUNTY CAPTAINS - 0
Aiken Solid in Saturday Night’s Loss
On a chilly Saturday night, the Captains played game two of the four game series against Western Michigan. It was quite the pitchers’ duel out there on the mound. There were only a total of seven hits on the night. Brady Aiken might have shown his most dominant start this season for the Captains. He really has struggled to find his grove at the beginning of the year, but it seems like he might have found his turning point.
“I feel like he had a really good performance,” said manager Larry Day, “Watching what he does In-between his starts, the work he puts in days 1-4, the adjustment he has made through his first couple of starts to now have been great and I was glad to see him reap the benefits of it.”
In his first three starts on the year, he took a loss in each and didn't pitch past the fifth inning. Saturday night Aiken pitched six innings, giving up only two hits with one run. Strikeouts weren't a big part in his outing as he did not record one in the 18 batters he faced, but strikeouts really haven't been a dominant thing for Aiken all year as he has fanned an average of three batters per game.
The colder weather seemed to bring out the 20-year old’s best stuff yet on the year. He made some nice plays in the field as well. In the third inning there was a single by Danny Woodorow to center field that was deflected by second baseman Alexis Pantoja. Center fielder Gabriel Meija then threw the ball to Aiken who was near second base and tagged out the runner to get the second out of the inning. Another nice play made by Brady Aiken was a hard bouncing ball to end the fifth inning in the field for the Captains.
“I think he's always been fine defensively,” Day said, “He’s pretty athletic. So he’s always fielded his position fine.”
Although Aiken received the loss on the night, he seemed to have improved from his previous starts.
Aiken: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 4 BB, 0 K, 71 pitches (37 strikes), L
Brady Aiken 3rd inning: 88 88 87 89 89 86 84
Brady Aiken 4th inning: 78 70 86 87 88 86
Pantoja Continues to Struggle Early On
We are now almost a full month into the season and the 21-year-old continues to struggle for the Captains. He now has a total of seven hits in 59 at-bats. That now puts his average at a team low .119 on the year. Strikeouts are a big stumbling block for the shortstop right now as he is recording almost one per game.
The team overall has been struggling early on offensively, but it seems to be Alexis Pantoja is leading the charge as he has the lowest batting average on the team, while also being the only guy to not have an RBI yet.
“We have to help him. We have to help all of them,” said Larry Day regarding the early struggles of some of the young hitters, “I think it’s too early to say it one way or the other on the hitters. It’s tough hitting conditions when it’s 50 degrees out.”
Alexis Pantoja and the rest of the Captains will look to bounce back on their final home game of the series before an off day to start off May.