Image credit: Courtesy Lake County Captains

The Captains needed a strong series in South Bend to stay in the tight playoff race in the High-A Central. Quad Cities is in with the top spot but Great Lakes is now a game ahead of Lake County for the second and final spot. The Captains are tied at one game back behind the with Cedar Rapids after they lost on Tuesday. Jhonkensy Noel and Christian Ciaro, as well as surprising sources like Quentin Holmes and Joe Donovan have stepped up with a good bat to keep the club in it. The rotation has had its ups and downs with everyone minus Xzavion Curry, so they’ll need a strong performance from everyone else to chase the stop down. The bullpen took a HUGE hit on Tuesday as Jerson Ramirez went on the IL with an elbow injury that didn’t’ look good when he left the game over the weekend. Nate Ocker finished Ramirez’s save that night, but everyone short of Tim Herrin in the bullpen has had some really shake days all season. It might come down to the bullpen if the Captains find their way playing extra baseball in 2021.

Day by day results

8/31 W 4-3 at South Bend – W: Ramirez; L: Correa
9/1 W 6-5 at South Bend – W: Kelly; L: Carraway
9/2 W 8-5 at South Bend – W: Draper; L: Jesson-Dalton
9/3 L 5-4 at South Bend – W: Bain; L: Gaddis; S: Nunez
9/4 L 6-3 at South Bend – W: Herz; L: Espino; S: Reid
9/5 W 1-0 at South Bend – W: Hickman; L: Clarke; S: Ocker
9/6 W 6-1 vs Dayton – W: Coulter; L: Procter; S: Draper

Prospect of the Week

3B/1B Jhokensy Noel: 6-17 (.353/.389/1.118) 4 HR, 2B, 8 RBI, BB, 4K

Noel has stepped in to replace George Valera’s dominant bat in the lineup, carrying the Lake County offense many nights. He hit two homers and doubled on Tuesday in Lake County’s key win over Dayton where they needed to keep pace with Great Lakes in the playoff race. He’s still an aggressive hitter but he’s making contact and driving pitches with authority and has played almost third base exclusively lately.

Who’s hot

INF Christian Cairo: 7-22 (.318/.348.545) 2 2B, HR, RBI, BB, 7K, 3/3 SB

Since his promotion, Cairo has done a good job getting on base and staking his claim at second base and the leadoff spot for Lake County as they searched for one after moving up Brayan Rocchio and moved Jose Tena down. He has a nice compact swing without much load, so it’s geared for contact and he does a decent job of that. He’s also played a good second base, sometimes filling it at short when Tena needs a rest.

RHP Mason Hickman: 6IP, H, 2BB, 9K

It’s been an up and down year results wise for Hickman. He took a hard luck loss vs. Great Lakes last week despite holding that lineup to three runs and he did gut out a 1-0 win Sunday in a much needed victory for Lake County.

Who’s not

RHP Daniel Espino: 3.2 IP, 5H, 4ER, HBP, 3BB, 5K

Espino has had games where he’s utterly dominant, and other games where his control has been shaky and he becomes hittable when he is forced to throw strikes and fastballs. His control seems to hit a bump from the stretch, so that’s all part of his growth process and finding more consistent control. He’s got two starts left, maybe three if Lake County makes the playoffs.

OF Julian Escobedo: 0-11, BB, 5K, 2R

For a while Escobedo occupied the leadoff role for Lake County but hit the skids offensively. Cairo moved to the top of the order and Escobedo moved down. Even with the move down he has struggled and is now losing time to Quentin Holmes in CF while Micah Pries and Johnathan Rodriguez are playing OF too. He brings good defense and speed to the table, but he hits the ball in the air too much for a speed/contact/defense profile and doesn’t get to use his speed Picking up spin is still a question for him as well.

Transactions

  • August 31, 2021 – C Angel Lopez reinstated from the Development List; Cleveland selects the contract of C Gianpaul González to be added to the 40-man roster
  • September 8, 2021 – C Angel Lopez transferred from Lake County to Columbus; C Mike Amditis activated from the Injured List
  • September 8, 2021 – RHP Jerson Ramirez on Injured List (elbow)

On deck

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9/9 -9/12 6:35 vs Dayton
9/14 6:35 vs Beloit

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