Kyle Funkhouser dominates in West Michigan debut

Editor's note: Emily Waldon will be providing regular minor league recaps this seasonto keep you updated on what's happening in the Tigers' farm system. Be sure to follow Emily on Twitter at @emilywaldon2080!

Thanks to one of Mother Nature's famous mood swings, the West Michigan Whitecaps (2-0) fell victim to a forced rescheduling of their Opening Day against the visiting South Bend Cubs (0-2). Thankfully, the elements agreed with the two clubs on Friday evening and a double-header consisting of a pair of seven-inning games became the order of the day.

Game 1

When the Tigers signed 23-year-old righty Kyle Funkhouser (1-0, 0.00 ERA) as their 4th round pick in 2016, Detroit made the move in hopes that they would walk away with a steal on their hands.

Following his debut with West Michigan on Friday night against the Cubs, Funkhouser gave the fans a glimpse of just how valuable he plans to be for the Tigers organization in 2017.

Funkhouser commanded five solid scoreless innings for West Michigan, maintaining control of the Cubs, holding them to one hit, walking one and posting a career-high nine strikeouts, including three consecutive strikeouts in the third inning.

At the plate, West Michigan was unable to offer much in the way of run support with the exception of new West Michigan addition, Anthony Pereira. The 20-year-old corner infielder finished the evening going 2-for-2 with an RBI-triple, one of two total RBI in the first half of twin bill.

Outside of Pereira's pair of hits, West Michigan finished 0-for-19 at the plate with three strikeouts. 

On top of Funkhouser's dynamic evening, Bryan Garcia (S, 1) tossed 16 pitches to close the door on the Cubs and earn his first Save for the 2017 season with Funkhouser walking away with the win...but you probably figured that out.

Game 2

If you were looking for offense or the ability to crawl into bed on time, a marathon Game 2 between South Bend and West Michigan was not the place to go. Following a low-scoring first half to the double set from both clubs, West Michigan southpaw Eudis Idrogo took the hill for the Whitecaps in Game 2, carrying on the solid work began by Kyle Funkhouser from Game 1. Idrogo maneuvered five scoreless against the Cubs, allowing three hits and striking out five without surrendering a walk.

At the plate, West Michigan struggled to make anything happen, with infielder Will Savage and outfielder Jacob Robson leading the offense with two hits apiece on the night. Returning outfielder Cam Gibson closed the twin bill going hitless through a combined 10 plate appearances for West Michigan.

Following a 16-inning marathon with a combined 12 hits between the two clubs, West Michigan infielder Blaise Salter singled home Jacob Robson to give West Michigan the 1-0 victory and complete the double-header sweep over South Bend. Whitecaps reliever Trent Szkutnik (1-0, 0.00 ERA) takes the win to complete a 21-inning day of baseball at Fifth Third Ballpark.

Coming up next: West Michigan will pass their hosting responsibilities to the Cubs as they travel to South Bend on Saturday for a two-game road series. 
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