A 2.57 ERA, 40 strikeouts in eight starts and a 3-1 record.
Capitals pitcher Miguel Cienfuegos has been on fire — or even “fuego,” as his nickname goes — since the start of the season, but the Quebecer claims he doesn’t know it.
“I’m aware that things are going well, but I’ve made it my goal not to look at the statistics until halfway through the season,” says the sympathetic gunner.
“I just see them from time to time, on the scoreboard, when I’m warming up,” he continues. Or when my parents send them to family discussion groups.”
If we listen to him, the 25-year-old left-hander must therefore not be aware that after just over 30 games played in the Frontier League, he is third in the circuit for the average points allowed (before the Tuesday meetings).
“I’ve been doing the ‘job’ from the start,” he says. Just don’t let go. And it brings a lot more opportunities than you think.
Interest in Mexico
Because yes, “opportunities”, Cienfuegos has some that have been offered to him recently, even though he is only in his second season in the Frontier League. The Mexican league was particularly interested in his services.
When such opportunities arise, he listens to his coaches, asks for advice, because he is aiming for “the next step”.
And this, even if the Capitals still represent a dream for the gunner from Laval, who wanted at all costs to play for Quebec this year.
He also says that he felt something unique when he put on the white and blue uniform for the first time for the home opener on May 24. A meeting for which he was the starting pitcher.
“It was really special! he admits. Being here, with the “fuego day” [l’expression utilisée quand Cienfuegos est le partant]a concept that we started last year and which is getting tough now, with the fans who are starting to know me, I’m having so much fun!
“I feel in the right place, I have so much fun here, he adds. And as long as it’s going to stay like that, I tell myself that the opportunities elsewhere, they will come when they come.
But also in Panama
Mexico can therefore wait, he said. Especially since this offer did not suit him perfectly.
“It was not the right decision to make, explains Cienfuegos. Here, I am a starter, everything is fine, my name is starting to circulate a little more, so I prefer to continue on this momentum.
There is also Panama – where he played during the winter – which is eyeing him in anticipation of the next World Baseball Classic, in 2023.
To say that not so long ago, the Quebecer thought he might be done with baseball.
Not even two years later, he is trying to save his arm so as not to spoil the offers he could receive, with the support of the coaching staff of the Capitals.
For example, Cienfuegos was supposed to get Friday’s start against the New Jersey Jackals, but he will face them on Saturday instead, in order to get more rest.
Still undefeated at Stade Canac
Michael Austin was brilliant on the mound against the New York Boulders on Tuesday, helping the Capitals go undefeated in 13 games at Stade Canac this season and get back on track after a long and hazardous journey.
Supported on offense by David Glaude, who hit twice from the safe, and TJ White, who slammed his ninth long ball of the season, Patrick Scalabrini’s team won 5-1.
Austin (4-1) stayed on for more than six innings, giving up only four hits. The right-hander was taken out of the game when he allowed his first run, on his 92nd shot.
The American left the hill under the applause of some 2,500 spectators who came to watch the match.
More fear than harm
The biggest scare he caused in the game was when he was seen chasing the pain after being shot in the ankle in the fifth inning. But much to his coach’s relief, Austin was more scared than hurt.
“Yeah, I was nervous when I saw that! conceded Scalabrini. It was going so well for him, I was hoping he could give us a sixth run.”
The manager was particularly pleased with the performance of his gunner. Especially since he was on the mound when the Capitals lost 17-6 to those same Boulders last week.
“It was doubly important [compte tenu de ce dernier résultat], noted the coach. He had to be able to come back strong, something he did. We made big adjustments before facing them [mardi].»
They ring and break
It was Pedro Gonzalez who woke up the Quebec offense in the second inning. The outfielder’s double pushed Reece Yeargain home plate. Then, David Glaude also struck from a safe place, allowing Gonzalez to score in turn.
The sticks of the Capitals resounded again three innings later. And even broken: Kyle Crowl smashed his on a shot by Josh Loeschorn (0-1), but his single turned into a double when the ball jumped over Francisco Del Valle in right field.
White then crossed home plate. He would do it again in the seventh, when his home run to center field allowed the Capitals to score two runs.
“The circuit broke their kidneys, recognized Scalabrini. We had a few tough sets, but [mardi] it was a clean match.”