By any measure, the Lexington Legends have been an on-field train wreck this year.
Never mind that the Legends put together a season-best four-game winning streak through Monday. Columbus ended that with a 5-2 win Tuesday at Applebee's Park.
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But even disaster movies can have feel-good moments.
Jonathan Fixler gave the Legends such a moment Sunday when he homered in his first three at-bats. In fact, Fixler has pretty much been a feel-good story all season.
Fixler went 2-for-3 Tuesday, making him 8-for-11 over his last three games.
Overall, the catcher from the northern Chicago suburb of Riverwoods is batting over .270. And that's not all.
Manager Gregg Langbehn points to a “pretty incredible” ratio of RBI to hits (36-51), an on-base percentage over .345 and a slugging percentage of about .460.
“He's just produced. He just steps in and does a great job,” Langbehn said. “Defensively, he blocks balls very well. He's been throwing runners out at about a 40, 45 percent rate ... which is exceptional. And he's done a super job calling games.”
Langbehn says anytime a catcher throws out more than 30 percent of would-be base-stealers, those are good results. Fixler has caught 18 of 37 (48.6 percent).
Fixler, a 2007 19th-round draft pick out of Indiana University, even takes cares of his pitchers while deflecting praise from himself.
“Our pitchers do an outstanding job of holding runners and being quick to the plate,” said Fixler, a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder. “So a lot of times, if we don't throw the runner out, it's on me.”
But three homers in three at-bats, that's pretty much all on him, too.
“Obviously for myself and my family it was pretty exciting,” said Fixler, who has seven homers overall. “It was just a great day to be a part of the Legends team. It was fun.”
So family was on hand?
Almost. Fixler's mom, grandparents and uncle left Lexington a day earlier; his dad left Sunday morning.
“But they all watched it on the computer and listened to Rob (Gidel) call the game,” he said.
Although Lexington's other catcher, Max Sapp, is a (2006) first-round draft pick, Fixler doesn't take on a winner-takes-all mind-set. He says he and Sapp are great friends, even rooming together.
“We have a great relationship and, during the course of the game, when he's catching he'll ask me, ‘Fix, how's my form look?' Or ‘does it look like I'm a little slow with my feet?'” Fixler said. “Stuff like that. I'll give him an honest answer. And I'll do the same with him.
“Neither of us are trying to move up in this organization by tearing each other down. We're both trying to help each other. I mean, the only way you can make it is by performing yourself, and not banking on someone else's failures. So we're both just trying to do the best we can and, hopefully, things work out for both of us.”
■ Columbus got to Legends starter Jake Leonhardt (3-10) for back-to-back two-run, three-hit innings in the third and fourth to lead 4-0.
Reid Fronk and Stephen Vogt each doubled in a run. One scored on Shawn O'Malley's sacrifice fly, another on a double play.