A coincidence, Jake Bauers believes.
The TinCaps first baseman can’t imagine a game being played during the day rather than at night could make such a difference.
Yet after getting crushed by Bowling Green on Sunday, the TinCaps are 6-16 in day games this year, a .273 winning percentage.
When the TinCaps play at night, they’re much better: 24-23 (.511).
Manager Michael Collins said his players went through their full pregame routine before the latest loss in the sun, a 12-3 doozy that closed the first half of the season.
He’s seen the 238-percentage-point split between day-and-night success.
“It’s definitely something to look at and prepare ourselves as best we can,” said Collins, who has occasionally shortened batting practice.
Regardless of whether the trend is totally random, it was another first-half theme on display Sunday at Parkview Field.
The TinCaps gave up four unearned runs, bringing their season total to 80, which is 19.3 percent of the total runs they have allowed.
Four more errors secured their grip on the Midwest League’s worst fielding percentage. It was at .953 when the day began.
The TinCaps’ 125 errors are easily the league’s most.
And then there’s the shaky rotation. Walker Weickel (1-8) lasted four innings and gave up three earned runs on 11 hits.
TinCaps starters have pitched at least six innings only 15 times. Fort Wayne was 7-8 in those games.
Overall, Collins’ starters have a 5.50 ERA.
Despite the TinCaps leading the league in runs scored, those flaws – the day-night differential, defense and starting pitching – have left them with a 30-39 record entering the All-Star break.
“We knew we were going to face our challenges,” Collins said. “We just have to bring it all together.”
That task becomes more difficult with the pending promotion of center fielder Mallex Smith, who went 2 for 4 in perhaps his final game in the Summit City.
He’ll play in the All-Star game Tuesday and then move up to Advance-A Lake Elsinore.
Bowling Green (32-37) took two out of three in the series and racked up 22 hits in the finale, two shy of the most ever against Fort Wayne.
Two of the Hot Rods’ four runs in the second inning scored on errors by second baseman River Stevens.
Bauers later epitomized the club’s frustration when he was ejected in the fifth for arguing a called third strike.
On his way back to the clubhouse, Bauers smashed a bat against the wall.
It was that kind of day.
Now the TinCaps can rest and regroup until they resume play Thursday at West Michigan.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the second half,” Collins said. “With the offense we have, we have the pieces in place. All you can do is let the chips fall where they may.”