West Mich MLN: Still Aiming for First Place

Though the ‘Caps sit seven games back from first in the MidEastern division, they are still trying to position themselves as the team to beat in the Midwest League.

Despite a 3-4 week, West Michigan is far from hanging their cleats up. Week after week, a ‘Cap pitcher and a ‘Cap fielder come up big for their team. This week it happens to be a little different. The stars were both on the mound: Casey Crosby and Mark Sorenson. There were no fielders that stood out.

Crosby is 2-1 in the month of July. On Monday, Crosby pitched five hitless innings against the Kane County Cougars. But it was his impressive outing against Clinton July 26th that gave him the MWL Pitcher of the Week award—his second on the year, and a feat that hasn't been done since Mike Hernandez in 2006. Crosby allowed only two hits and one run, striking out seven against the LumberKings.

While Crosby is the rotation's main guy, Sorenson is the quintessential dark horse of all the arms. He is 5-0 this month, 2-0 this past week, and seems to be literally dominating every start. In his last three starts the Michigan State product has held teams to no more than two runs. At 8-2 on the year, and a 2.44 ERA that is tied third in the whole Midwest League, he leads the ‘Caps' pitching rotation.

In other news, shortstop Gustavo Nunez has been reassigned to West Michigan, July 28th, from the GCL Tigers and Hernan Perez has been sent back down. Back on July 13 Nunez was suspended by the Detroit for "conduct detrimental to the organization." This unknown act by the shortstop is still unknown, and Detroit wants to keep it that way.

"We don't publicly discuss what happened—it's strictly between the player and the club." Said Dan Lunetta, the Tigers' director of minor league operations.

The team will be glad to have Nunez back. He provided an essential role in the lead-off spot, and will also be back to provide a great combo with Brandon Douglas in the infield. In Nunez's absence West Michigan was 9-6.

The month of August is approaching fast, and the ‘Caps have a hefty schedule that includes 16 away games—eight straight on two separate occasions—and not to mention the beginning of a series against first place Fort Wayne to end the month. The exciting thing is that Fort Wayne is West Michigan's last three games of the season. If the ‘Caps stay healthy, and maintain their rotation and bullpen, then they could take all the winnings here. Remember, they're only seven games back. If West Michigan can claim this upcoming series, they will not only increase their record against the TinCaps, but will make a strong run at first place. Being in this position will catapult them into the playoffs on a high. However, the Tincaps must be thinking revenge after being pounded by the ‘Caps five out of eight times this season.

The Whitecaps have a playoff spot, but can they bring glory back to West Michigan again? The fans have been waiting for two years.


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