August 26, 2016 Lake County

On this date in 2016, Triston McKenzie made his second to last, and best, start of the season with the Lake County Captains. Facing the Lansing Lugnuts, he started the game off with a single allowed, but struck out the side after as Andrew Guillotte stole second and third, but wound up stranded. He struck out two more in a scoreless second, then one more in a perfect third. He allowed his second hit of the game in the fourth, but made it through that and the fifth without another base runner and struck out three more in the sixth.

This would be McKenzie’s final inning and, when he was pulled, the game was still scoreless. The Captains had two hits in the first and one in the fourth, but couldn’t score largely due to the dominance of Lugnuts starter Ryan Borucki who struck out eight in the first four innings and picked off a runner. He was pulled from the game following the fifth inning and that was all the help the Captains needed to turn things around. Willi Castro bunted back to the new pitcher, Tyler Saucedo, for a lead-off single. Jodd Carter then singled him to third and both scored on an Andrew Calica double. Li-Jen Chu finished out the inning strong with an RBI single to give the Captains a 3-0 lead and put McKenzie in line for the victory.

Leandro Linares relieved McKenzie in the seventh and struck out three of four batters faced that inning. The Captains then attempted to add on in the bottom half with a Anthony Miller walk and Castro single, but Castro was caught attempting to steal second for the final out.

Calica waits to hit during 2018 Indians MiLB spring training batting practice in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Linares stayed on for the eighth, and again struck out three. His wildness was apparent, however, as he also allowed a single, wild pitch and walk, but kept the shut out intact. Erick Algarin was responsible for the save after Linares’ two inning hold and he ensured the win with a 1-2-3 inning.

Calica was unquestionably the performer of the game with four hits, two RBI and a run scored in four at bats. The three pitchers combined for 16 strike outs, two walks and four hits allowed with McKenzie responsible for nine K’s, one walk and two hits. McKenzie’s run with the Captains in 2016 was an interesting one as his early season starts with the Scrappers partially mask his poor performances.

Overall for the year, he had a 1.62 ERA and .195/.257/.289 line against through 15 starts, which is incredible, but with Mahoning Valley he was particularly dominant with no earned runs in six of nine appearances and none with more than one earned run. Following his August promotion, however, he allowed exactly three runs in four of six starts for the Captains. Interestingly, his strike out and walk numbers improved during this period, but he was allowing far more hard contact. That’s something that makes this particular game stand out as he limited all contact against him for the first time in Lake County and really set up the great season he would have in 2017 with Lynchburg.

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