COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The 2017 theme of strong pitching prevailed once again for the West Michigan Whitecaps as Eudis Idrogo, and Eduardo Jimenez combined for a four-hit, 2-0 shutout of the Cedar Rapids Kernels in front of 5,173 fans on a muggy Wednesday night at Fifth Third Ballpark.
West Michigan and Cedar Rapids, both playoff-bound teams, entered the first game of a three-game series boasting two of the top pitching staffs in the Midwest League, but the 'Caps manufactured a run in the first inning of Kernels starter Domenick Carlini. Austin Athmann singled to right-center field, scoring Danny Woodrow, who had singled and stole second base earlier in the inning. The 1-0 Whitecaps lead held as Eudis Idrogo, making his 15th start of 2017, rebounded from a rough last start on July 6th, by limiting Cedar Rapids to two singles over his first six innings, and striking out six. West Michigan had chances to pad their slim lead off Carlini but stranded five baserunners-including three at third base in the middle innings. The sixth inning proved to be the only other run scored in the game as Zac Shepard gave the 'Caps a 2-0 margin with a long double to the base of the wall in left field, plating Cole Bauml who scored from first base.
A key defensive play by the Whitecaps help secure their lead in the fifth inning. An Athmann pick-off throw to second base sailed over second baseman Anthony Pereira's head enabling the Kernels Hank Morrison to race around third base towards home but Woodrow fielded the baseball in center field and placed a solid one-hop throw to Athmann, who applied the glove tag and preserved the 'Caps lead.
Idrogo (4-4) proved masterful in his seven innings or work and picked up his first victory since June 10th, allowing only three singles, issuing no walks and accumulating seven strikeouts. Eduardo Jimenez entered the game in the eighth inning for the Whitecaps and worked two impressive innings-his first multi inning relief appearance since May 19th. Jimenez gave up a lead -off double to Trey Cabbage in the eighth but no more baserunners in picking up his fifth save of 2017, and striking out the last four Kernels to end the ballgame. West Michigan recorded a Midwest League leading 17th shutout of 2017 and improved their second half record to 14-5, and 59-27 overall. Cedar Rapids came into the contest with wins in eight of the last 12 but the loss evened their second half record to 10-10 and 49-41 overall in 2017
The Whitecaps continue this series Thursday night against the Cedar Rapids Kernels at 7:00p.m. Pitcher Alfred Gutierrez gets the start for West Michigan against Kernels lefty Evan Sanders. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty and Jack Doles of WOOD-TV begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 6:50p.m. Tickets can be reserved for any Whitecaps 2017 home contest by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.