Toledo MLN: Staying Flat Toward the Finish

With just under two weeks to go in the regular season, the Toledo Mud Hens have seen their record sort of flat-line, as they continue to put up consistently mediocre win totals after a fantastic July. The Mud Hens went 3-4 this past week and continue to sit six games out of third place in the International League West standings.

Return of a friend

For the first time since mid-May, Andy Dirks suited up for the Mud Hens. He was optioned to Toledo Aug. 20 after Brandon Inge was promoted.

He's hit 5-for-13 (.384) since his return, playing in three of four games. He's added a home runs, four RBI, two runs scored and a steal.

Dirks' value to the team is easily measured. Even though he has only played in 37 Triple-A games this season, his 11 steals are sixth on the team, and his seven home runs are tied for fourth. And while he has much fewer at-bats, his .333 Triple-A average is 28 points higher than anyone else currently on the roster.

He has also shuffled through the lineup a bit, hitting cleanup in his first game back, before being placed at the top of the order for the last two.

Dirks was expendable due to the Tigers' recent acquisition of Delmon Young, as well as by Inge's offensive reemergence with the Mud Hens.

First time

After an up-and-down Triple-A debut, top prospect Jacob Turner picked up his first win as a Mud Hen on Aug. 21.

Facing Louisville, he threw six strong innings, allowing two runs on five hits and no walks with eight strikeouts. He threw 87 pitches.

In two Triple-A starts, the 20-year old has a 4.76 ERA, but boasts an impressive 7:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Rebound start

After struggling his last time out against Buffalo, Andrew Oliver threw his best start since early July on Aug. 22 against Louisville.

He threw seven innings of one-run ball, striking out nine and allowing only three hits. However, as has been his biggest issue this year, he walked five hitters.

On the season, he has a less than 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ration (133:69). As a result, his WHIP has risen to 1.54 this season.

Despite some early season success, Oliver's numbers as a whole have regressed this season. While his strikeout rate his risen, so has is walk rate. Batters are hitting 31 points higher than they did against him last season, and his groundball rate has gotten slightly worse.

However, he did have slightly more success in his brief major league stint this season, posting a 6.52 ERA this season, as opposed to a 7.36 ERA last season.

Sour/solid debut

After a moderately successful season with Single-A Lakeland, Trevor Feeny received a late season start this the Mud Hens this week.

However, that start did not go as he probably would have liked it, as he gave up eight runs in 2 2/3 innings. He allowed two home runs, 11 hits and Louisville batters hit .611 against him.

In 24 starts with Lakeland, he posted eight wins and a 4.39 ERA, to go along with a modest 3.2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Conversely, Shawn Teufel's Triple-A debut went much smoother. Also spending his entire season with Lakeland, Teufel threw six shutout innings against Buffalo, allowing three hits and three walks with seven strikeouts.

In 20 appearances – eight starts – with Lakeland, Teufel has a 3.76 ERA

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