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Brandon Inge Doubles Twice in Return to West Michigan


Great Lake Loons 7, West Michigan Whitecaps 6 (box)

It was clear to me that Brandon Inge (former Whitecap turned current Whitecap) is a fan favorite in West Michigan; it seemed that 50% of the fans donned an INGE 15 shirt (more women at the ballpark than usual, come to think of it). Being the nice guy that he is, he spent much of his warm-up time signing autographs for the fans (hope he wasn’t signing with his broken hand).

Nothing really remarkable happened in the field for Brandon. He made a few routine plays, but there wasn’t much action at the hot corner (starting pitcher Patrick Cooper gave up a ton of fly balls).

At the plate, though, Boy Wonder showed the West Michigan fans why he feels he’s ready to return to the Tigers’ lineup. He rocketed doubles to the deep outfield in his first two plate appearances (deep center first, then off the right field wall). He finished the game with just the two hits, but 2-5 with two doubles is still a nice day. He looked fine physically; nothing I saw gave me the indication that he’s rushing it back too soon.

(more game observations after the jump)

I was interested to see Patrick Cooper pitch. He was drafted in the 14th round in June, and earned a promotion to West Michigan after beginning well in Connecticut. His numbers have been pretty good so far (3.27 ERA overall, with a 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio), but my untrained eye didn’t notice any particularly good stuff. His fastball topped out at 87 on the stadium gun, and he didn’t show a swing and miss off-speed pitch. His ending line was good enough (5 IP, 1 ER, 3K), but he gave up eight hits in the process, and pretty much everything was in the air. Not really a prospect type player, but he seems to have enough control over the strike zone to be a good “organizational depth” type guy.

The play of the game for me was a web gem by outfielder Michael Rockett. He tracked a deep fly ball to the fence and made a leaping attempt to rob a home run. No one could quite tell if he made the catch or not until he nonchalantly whipped the ball out of his glove after jogging four or five steps back to his position. The runner was already rounding second and had an “I can’t believe he caught that” look on his face.

I finally got to see Richard Zumaya, Joel’s brother, pitch. Nothing really remarkable here, but I didn’t really expect much. On the downside, he didn’t throw 103 mph (more like 87), but on the upside, his arm didn’t fall off.

That’s really all I have as far as the game was concerned. The ‘Caps aren’t very good this year, but it’s always a good time at Fifth Third Ballpark.