Toledo MLN: Rotation Lacking Support

Coming of one of their strongest weeks of the season, the Toledo Mud Hens followed up by posting one of their worst weeks of the season, dropping five of their first six games during the team's current eight-game home stand.

The Mud Hens lost the first three games of their home stand to Charlotte, before recovering to win the final game of the four-game series on a walk-off double by Will Rhymes.

Toledo has lost the first two games of a four-game set against Leigh Valley. The two teams play again tonight, and finish the series on Thursday.

Pitcher of the week

Mud Hens left-handed pitcher Duane Below was named International League pitcher of the week, the league office announced Monday.

Below allowed just two runs and nine hits in 14 innings last week, while he led all league pitchers with 16 strikeouts.

The southpaw earned a win at Pawtucket May 3 after giving up just seven hits and two runs in six innings, then gave up just two hits and one run to Charlotte Sunday in a game the Mud Hens won in the bottom of the ninth.

For the season, Below is 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA and has 31 strikeouts in 36.1 innings.

He is the second Mud Hen to be honored by the International League in as many weeks after Andy Dirks was named IL player of the week last Monday.

No support

After both Adam Wilk (four innings, six runs) and Thad Weber (5 1/3 innings, six runs) each struggled to start of the Mud Hens' home stand, the team's starters have buckled down and given Toledo a chance to win.

However, they were not given much offensive support.

On Saturday, Charlie Furbush allowed only one hit and one run in eight strong innings against Charlotte. However, the Mud Hens were unable to score on Gaby Hernandez, who threw seven shutout innings. The game was Hernandez's first win of the year. Prior to that outing, he had not allowed fewer than four runs in any of his first four starts.

On Monday, Andrew Oliver allowed only one run in seven innings against Leigh Valley. However, he was outdueled by Ryan Feirerabend and the IronPigs' bullpen. The win was also Feirerabend's—who threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings—first of the season. Former Tiger Jason Grilli and Juan Perez combined to finish the last 3 2/3 innings of the game, allowing one hit and a walk combined.

Yesterday, Wilk rebounded from his start Thursday to give up three runs in seven innings, but Toledo was unable to score on Leigh Valley's Brian Gordon, who's 6 2/3 innings was his longest outing of the season.

In addition to being let down by the team's offense, the Mud Hens' starters had the bullpen let them down this week as well. Below picked up a no-decision Sunday, despite allowing only one run in eight innings, after Enrique Gonzalez blew the save, allowing two runs in the ninth.

Quick hits

-The Mud Hens have hit only two home runs (Ryan Streiby on Thursday and Scott Thorman on Friday) on the current home stand.

-Despite allowing only five base runners in seven innings Thursday, Jake Peavy allowed five runs to the Mud Hens in his second rehab start for Charlotte.

-Will Rhymes is hitting .182 (4-for-22) since he was sent down to Toledo on May 3.

-Omir Santos was sent back to Toledo on May 4 to make room for Victor Martinez on Detroit's 25-man roster. He has started three games since then, hitting 1-for-7 for the Mud Hens.

-Toledo begins an eight-game road trip Friday, taking on Gwinnett and Charlotte in a pair of four-game sets. The Mud Hens will return home May 21 for a four-game series against Pawtucket.

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