West Mich MLN: Quest Back to the Top

When a team has worked its way to the bottom of their division or league, it's common knowledge that the quest to get back to the top is not an easy one, with the 'Caps no exception.

So when they started their second Western Division swing - coming off of a four game losing streak, no less — West Michigan must have decided that there was no better time than the present to begin their quest.

They did just that, sweeping their next two series against against Cedar Rapids and Peoria. Their Western Division finale, though, was a daunting one against Midwest League-leading Burlington.

However, West Michigan did not disappoint.

The 'Caps swept their series against Burlington, giving them nine wins in a row going into tonight's game against Bowling Green. They're not at 30-33 on the season, putting West Michigan six games behind division-leading Lansing.

Third baseman Nick Castellanos is a big reason for this recent success, as he is starting to blossom into a very talented hitter for the organization. His 34 RBI ties him with catcher Rob Brantly for the team lead, and his .274 batting average is nearly twenty points higher than where it was a month ago. He also leads the team in triples and doubles, and is second in extra base hits, behind first baseman James Robbins.

Second baseman Hernan Perez continues to be a model of consistency for the organization, at least from an offensive standpoint. His .313 batting average is good for best on the team, as well as sixth in the league. And although his eleven errors on the year are undoubtably troublesome, he's definitely improved vastly from last year, both offensively and defensively.

Perhaps the most surprising hitter has been right fielder Ryan Hamme, who has put up a .301 batting average and eight RBI in only twenty-six games this season. Furthermore, his .392 on base percentage is a team-high.

On the mound, pitcher Kyle Ryan (4-5, 3.50) continues to be the team's workhorse, and is gradually improving his stuff as the season progresses. With that being said, the bullpen is still the story of this team this season, as both Patrick Cooper (3-3, 2.30) and All Star closer Bruce Rondon (2-1, 1.96, 10SV) have carried the team on the mound.

The Whitecaps have the second-best team ERA in the Eastern Division, just behind Dayton. They also lead the division in complete games, with three.

The 'Caps finish their road swing against Eastern Division foe Bowling Green, before returning home for a three game set against Lake County.

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