TigsTown MLN: 'Caps Halfway There

At 37-31 the West Michigan Whitecaps are making the Eastern Division very interesting.

June 12, Adrian Casanova hit a walk-off RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the tenth inning to give the ‘Caps a 1-0 win over the Lansing Lugnuts. The win pulled West Michigan within a game of the Lugnuts in the Eastern Division standings.

New rotation placement Paul Nardozzi threw six shutout innings and kept batters in check with a good mix of pitches. The shutout was the sixth of the season by the Whitecaps pitching staff.

With a 6-3 win over Fort Wayne on Saturday, June 14, the ‘Caps— for the fifth consecutive year— qualified for the playoffs. As of right now the ‘Caps are definitely suitable for a first half wild card team, but could not claim the Eastern Division title, since they lost to Fort Wayne 8-4 on Sunday, June 15— thus snapping an eight game winning streak— and Lansing's 3-1 over Great Lakes Sunday afternoon.

Fort Wayne took a 2-0 lead in the first inning and put the game out of reach with four runs in the sixth during the win over the Whitecaps Sunday. Matt Hoffman started for West Michigan and threw 29 pitches in each of the first two innings. Hoffman lasted 3.1 innings and gave way to Brandon Hamilton who surrendered six runs (5 ER) over 4.1 innings of relief.

Catcher Jordan Newton hit his second home run of the season for the Whitecaps in the seventh inning, but left the game in the top of the eighth inning after taking a foul ball off his throwing hand.

Roger Tomas' hitting streak ended at 13 games Sunday. He went 0-3 with a walk. DePastino, resting most of his talent, batted Tomas in the nine spot and had him play DH.

Tuesday, June 18, brought on the All Star game where the West All Stars beat the East All Stars in extra innings 5-4.

Now that the three day vacation is over the ‘Caps are looking to the upcoming rookies from this year's draft— whom still need to be assigned— to add depth and a possible sway toward team production.

"We still don't know who we have coming here," Manager Joe DePastino said. "We hope whoever we get can come in and provide an immediate impact." Since the beginning of the season the ‘Caps have seen significant improvement among certain players. Alfredo Figaro has filled the role of the top pitcher very well. His 1.22 ERA is tops in the Eastern Division and second in all of the Midwest League. Audy Ciraco— though high on errors— is improving all aspects of his game, and is making tremendous strides at becoming Major League caliber. "Audy Ciraco is my most improved player since opening day," DePastino said. "He has Major League tools and is growing into the certain type of player the organization will want." Center fielder Kyle Peter sat out Sunday's game, but will hit Fifth Third field again June 27 with West Michigan's first game of the second half. The ‘Caps have loved his productivity thus far, and being second in stolen bases in the Midwest League with 25, Peter is proving he is a lead-off threat. The Whitecaps hope to keep their two week tear rolling, even with the three days they have had off. With the draft picks making their way into the Tigers organization it will be interesting to see what the Whitecaps come up with.

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