The 2-5 week has the Mud Hens sitting 22-25 as they prepare for a series with the Durham Bulls, and they will have to do so a bit short-handed on the mound.
By the end of this week, the Mud Hens will have lost three starters of their rotation to big league call-ups.
On Saturday, Charlie Furbush was called up by the Tigers to pitch in the bullpen after Brad Thomas was placed on the disabled list. He picked up his first major league win Monday, pitching 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief against Tampa Bay.
Perhaps the biggest loss of all is in a transaction that has not happened yet. Staff ace Andrew Oliver was lifted from Tuesday's start after only two innings because the team was informed that he will be starting Saturday's game for the Tigers.
"Obviously he's a talented guy … he's moved through the system quickly, and I think that he's become mentally talented as well," said Toledo manager Phil Nevin. "He's done a lot of things to make himself better."
Last year, Oliver struggled for the Tigers in five starts last year, going 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA. However, he feels that what he learned last season will help him be more successful the second time around.
"I just have to continue to mix up my pitches, work on my secondary pitches, try to get ahead of guys and just try to keep them off balance," Oliver said.
Going the extra mile
Prior to the series against Pawtucket, the Mud Hens had not played an extra inning game this season. They then, naturally, played in two extra innings games during the series.
The first one came Saturday, when Toledo rallied from four runs in the eighth and ninth inning against Red Sox reliever Michael Bowden. Scott Thorman hit a three-run homer in the bottom on the ninth to tie it, and Ryan Strieby hit a walk off single in the 11th to finish the comeback.
"It's more fun [to wait until the last out to win]," Strieby said after the game. "It was a great comeback and a great win for us."
The Mud Hens played another extra inning game Tuesday, with the result being less positive for the team. With the bases loaded and no one out in the 10th, Pawtucket's Tony Thomas hit a grounder to third. Danny Worth threw home to get the runner out, but Omir Santos' throw the first missed the target, allowing Josh Reddick to score what would be the game winning run.
The Mud Hens' bullpen had a rough week, in particular during Monday's game against Pawtucket.
After Duane Below threw 100 pitches in eight strong innings, allowing three runs—two earned—and down 3-2, Jose Ortega and Robbie Weinhardt combined to throw 61 pitches in the ninth inning, allowing nine runs on eight hits and two walks.
The outing caused Ortega's ERA to rise to 16.20, and Weinhardt's to 8.80.
"[With Ortega] it might have been poor pitch selection, but that's part of learning," Nevin said. "I never thought that going into the ninth down 3-2 I'd have my DH warming in the bullpen."
However, the bullpen did pitch well Tuesday after Oliver was pulled early.
Former friend, new foe
Former Toledo infield Brent Dlugach, now with Pawtucket, played his first game as a visitor at 5/3 Field over the weekend. Dlugach, who has battled through injuries this season, was a member of the 2006 Mud Hens team that won the Governors' Cup.
He came back to play for Toledo in 2009 and 2010, hitting 15 home runs for the Mud Hens in 242 games played over those two seasons.
He was traded to Boston last November.