Erie MLN: 'Wolves Struggling, Crosby Cruising

The Erie SeaWolves split a double-header Tuesday against the Binghamton Mets to put a positive cap on an otherwise disappointing week that saw the Wolves lose four out of five at its onset.

Overall, the SeaWolves racked up a 3-6 record since last Tuesday. Erie's record currently stands at 23-27.

Despite the lackluster week of play, manager Chris Cron said the team is growing together.

"It's never easy. It doesn't matter what level your at," said Cron. "A lot of developing is going on with this team."

Crosby Cruising

Coming off a season-ending elbow injury in 2010, 22-year-old Casey Crosby has been no short of lights out in his last seven outings.

Crosby currently possesses a 2-2 record with a 3.02 ERA in nine starts on the season. However, in his last seven starts, Crosby's ERA is a minute 1.98.

"The first couple outings I was just trying to get back into it," Crosby said.

"Just trying to get comfortable up there and acclimated with everything. Now I'm relaxed and I'm really focused on what I need to do, what pitches I need to throw."

In his last start Saturday against Reading, Crosby pitched six scoreless innings, but did not receive a decision, as a struggling offense coupled with an inefficient bullpen cost the Wolves a 2-1 loss.

Crosby, nonetheless, continues to improve and show the potential he flashed when he was drafted out of high school in 2007.

In 2009, his only injury-free season, Crosby posted a 10-4 record along with a 2.41 ERA in 24 starts at Western Michigan. After elbow soreness in 2010 proved to be a season-long setback, Crosby said he's happy to be back, and is just taking it one game at a time.

"It was frustrating. Really frustrating," he said. "Right now I'm healthy, I'm feeling good and just got to ride with it."

With mid-90s fastballs, Crosby and Jacob Turner comprise a formidable one-two punch in the SeaWolves rotation, and are legitimate prospects. Both are rated as top-ten prospects in the Tigers' organization.

Offensive Struggles

In what seems to be amounting to an ongoing trend, Erie's offense continues to struggle.

In six of their last nine games, the SeaWolves have registered three runs or fewer.

Much of the Wolves' ineffectiveness can be attributed to lesser players replacing promoted prospects.

In their latest significant move on offense, Bryan Pounds was recalled to Toledo. Pounds, who was hitting in the clean-up spot, was hitting .281 with three home runs and 14 RBIs as Erie's third baseman. In his place, the SeaWolves called up outfielder Michael Rockett, who was hitting .261 with no homers and five RBIs at Lakeland.

Although the SeaWolves rank third in the Eastern League in batting average, with a .267 clip, Erie is near the bottom in the power categories. The SeaWolves rank second-to-last with 27 home runs on the season.

Staff Dissection

In the last week, the SeaWolves have replaced a member of their starting rotation, as well as two relievers.

Starter L.J. Gagnier was promoted to Triple-A Toledo Wednesday after posting a 3-3 record with a 4.42 ERA in nine starts with the Wolves.

In his place, Erie re-acquired Jay Voss from Lakeland. Voss was 3-0 with a 3.21 ERA for the White Caps after breaking camp and making one start with the SeaWolves to begin the season.

The 23-year-old recorded his first win for the Wolves Tuesday, when he allowed one run in five and 2/3 innings in Erie's 3-1 win in the first game of a double-header.

The SeaWolves bullpen received a major overhaul in the last week.

After Ramon Garcia was transferred to Toledo May 21, Erie acquired Zach Samuels from Lakeland. However, Garcia's stay in northwestern Ohio was a short one, as the left-hander returned to Erie after Cory Hamilton suddenly retired.

Hamilton, 23, had a 7.80 ERA in 11 appearances, and had strung together three consecutive scoreless outings.

Garcia maintains a 1-1 record with an 8.74 ERA with the Wolves.

Notes: After getting off to a rocky start, relief pitcher Rob Waite has not allowed a run since May 11. Cron on Waite: "He's moving up the ladder. He's really doing a hell of a job."… Outfielder Justin Henry saw his league-leading streak of consecutive games reached ended at 27 Tuesday, when he went 0-for-3 in the first game of a double-header. Henry is hitting .321.

The Week Ahead

Erie will conclude a four-game series with the Mets Thursday, before travelling to Harrisburg, where the SeaWolves will battle the Senators in a three-game series.

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