West Mich MLN: Starting to Click

One day after their biggest win of the season – a 16-4 thrashing over Lake County – the ‘Caps laid an egg in a 10-4 loss that began a four game skid where 31 runs were given up. Bouncing back, the Whitecaps split their series with Dayton taking two and look to improve upon a second to last standing in the division – 14 games out of first place.

Thanks to a superb start from Wilsen Palacios on Memorial Day where he went 7.2 innings surrendering a single run across five hits, the ‘Caps ended their losing streak. Palacios carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and delivered the second longest outing for a Whitecaps starter this season. The win set the ‘Caps up once again to attempt something they hadn't done since May 8: win back to back games.

Finally able to do so, West Michigan gave Dayton an 8-0 pounding led by Dean Green who knocked in a couple runs off a single and a double. Hoping his team can start a run and gain some momentum off a big win, catcher Patrick Leyland knows how well his team can perform.

"I think we just need to stay the course and we need to play better," said Leyland of the season thus far. "We just haven't played up to our potential yet and I think we certainly will. We need to just keep doing what we're doing because the guys are working hard and it's going to come."

The Whitecaps still haven't won a series in about a month, however, since taking two of three from Fort Wayne on in the beginning of May.

Though with last night's win over Lake County, the ‘Caps have won three games in sequence for the first time since the third week of the season. Thanks to the arm of starter Tommy Collier who tossed the ‘Caps' first complete game and shutout of the season, the 1-0 win was something that the Whitecaps aren't too much used to at this point in the year – winning a one run ballgame.

When Torrealba Toes the Mound

At barely six foot and 150 pounds, the right hand reliever hailing from Venezuela doesn't stand out much from other minor league relief pitchers. But this season, his statistics do all the talking. Appearing in 18 games this season, Michael Torrealba has pitched 26.2 innings and in that span, has allowed only five runs. With exception to a game two weeks ago where he gave up three runs without recording an out, Torrealba has his opposing hitters on lockdown. Possessing an ERA of 1.69, Torrealba also has a team leading WHIP of 0.79.

Knocking the Boys In

It's no secret that the Whitecaps have struggled this season with runners in scoring position. Excluding outfielder Steven Moya and infielder Eugenio Suarez, the team has batted a less than stellar well under .200 average with men in scoring range. So when runners are on, the Whitecaps are hoping to send either Moya or Suarez to the plate who is batting .313 and .360 respectively in those situations.

Leaving on a Good Note

A frustrating ten game homestand saw the ‘Caps assemble a less than impressive 4-6 record. But taking care of business in the finale against Dayton, West Michigan was able to brush their problems under the rug for the time being.

Starter Josue Carreno came into the game winless with a 4.11 ERA and four losses but lasted five good innings to collect his first win of the year. Relief pitching, which has also been a little suspect lately, came through and provided four innings of scoreless work with both Warwick Saupold and Jeff Ferrell going two innings apiece.

The Whitecaps were also able to wheedle five walks at the plate, the most seen in their previous five games combined.

Hoping that his team is finally starting to click, manager Ernie Young says his guys just need to keep enjoying themselves out there.

"Have fun; that's what I always tell my guys. This game is tough and you're not always going to be successful. However, if you just have fun and play hard instead of being passive and always thinking too much, good things can happen."

The ‘Caps will try to think less and have fun on the road continuing a six game road stint against the likes of Lake County and Great Lakes.


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