A big reason the ‘Caps were fighting for a playoff berth until the very end was starter Marcelo Carreno. The second-year ‘Cap tossed some of his best games of the year down the stretch helping his team stay in the hunt and on Tuesday, the league took notice.
Carreno was named Pitcher of the Week due to his performances in his last two starts. Giving up just one run in five innings of work two starts ago against Dayton and then following up that strong outing with another gem, six frames of shutout ball fanning 13 against the Dragons at home, the Venezuela native definitely deserved the hardware. His 13 strikeout game not only set personal and Whitecaps season highs but also was the most by a single pitcher since Duane Below tallied 14 in a 2007 contest.
The Whitecaps couldn't have asked for more out of their nine game winner over the past couple weeks, including pitching coach Mark Johnson, who last week said that his starter had to just "go out there and give us what he's been giving us all year – pitching down in the zone, changing speeds. He has good stuff so he has to just trust it."
It's no doubt that he believed in himself and in his stuff last week and it's unfortunate that we won't get to watch him try to continue his momentum into the playoffs.
To go along with Carreno's 13 punch-outs Saturday night was Slade Smith's seven strikeouts, totaling 20 for the game and setting a franchise record topping the previous mark of 15.
Riding the Wave to a Winning Record
With their win on Sunday, the ‘Caps guaranteed themselves a winning record in the second half of the season and they did so with an attack on offense. Though already eliminated from playoff contention, West Michigan proved they had something to play for still by knocking out 15 hits en route to victory.
Eugenio Suarez blasted a triple in the sixth inning to cement his status as the league leader in hits, finishing with 147 on the year.
Unfortunately, the ‘Caps couldn't finish the season on a high note with the series sweep, falling victim to a 7-3 defeat for the final game of the 2012 campaign.
West Michigan's 72-68 record on the year was good enough for third best in the Eastern division but marks the first time in franchise history that a playoff berth was denied in consecutive seasons.