TigsTown MLN: Misery in the Midwest

So being fourth place in the Eastern Division isn't that bad, right? Ok, so it's obvious there's no making lemonade out of this lemon. Especially since they were on a four game skid this past week. Is there a little good at least? Maybe.

Again, we start with Alfredo Figaro. The talk around West Michigan is that Figaro could be holding a few records come the end of the season. Record one: Most wins. The right-handed ace needs just six wins to surpass Andy Van Hekken and Jon Connolly's single season record of 16. Record two: ERA. To date Figaro has a very impressive 1.46 ERA. With averaging a run against him a game, he might be able to top Connolly's 2003 mark of 1.41. Record three: Shutouts. So far Figaro has two, and the top record is three, set by Calvin Chipperfield in the 2000 season. Record four: Innings pitched. Figaro is no stranger to pitching past six innings a game. This flamethrower has Major League stamina and so far has shown this in the 112.2 innings he has pitched. Nate Cornejo's 1999 record of 174.2 might be a bit away, but it wouldn't be surprising if Mr. Figaro were sitting around that record in August.

With the bad news of Audy Ciriaco on the disabled list breaking out July 15, the ‘Caps look to their bench to provide the much needed help. This help comes in the means of 2008 draft pick (7th round) shortstop Brandon Douglas from the University of Northern Iowa. Douglas is the seventh 2008 draft pick to join the ‘Caps this season. Before being promoted to West Michigan, Douglas was on a seven game hitting streak with the GCL Tigers.

To date Ciriaco, Chris Carlson, Roger Tomas and Andy Dirks sit on the 7-day DL. With the exception of rookie Dirks, there is no doubt the ‘Caps are missing the thick of their lineup to the disabled list. Injuries plague a lot of teams, but come August, West Michigan will need the trio's big bats and experience to carry them through.

Also July 15, the ‘Caps sent catcher Angel Flores to short-season Oneonta. In this rerun-like fashion of "Welcome Back, Cotter" the traveling Clemson alumni returns in West Michigan's rerun "Welcome Back, Casanova", yes, that's right Adrian Casanova will return to call some games behind the plate. He's been all over this season. Starting out in Oneonta, Casanova has been through West Michigan (25 games), and played backup catcher for two games in Double-A Erie and three games with Triple-A Toledo. He was hitting .211 (16-for-76) with one homerun and eight RBI this season for the ‘Caps.

More good news came to West Michigan July 14, when Detroit right fielder Magglio Ordonez came to Fifth Third Ballpark to play in one rehab game. To a sellout crowd of 10,592, Ordonez led the first of 14 ‘Caps hits in a 10-2 win over Peoria that broke their four game slide. He batted third in the lineup and was 1-for-4. Jon Kibler had an impressive game only allowing one run off five hits with four strikeouts and two walks over seven innings pitched.

The ‘Caps are 12-13. What now? Are injuries hurting this team? Or is it a simple as not enough chemistry? One can only imagine what's going on behind the doors of the clubhouse. Today the Whitecaps pick up the action at Beloit, in hopes of much success in the weeks to follow.

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