West Mich MLN: Fighting Through a Skid

Following an exciting and hard fought series against the Lansing Lugnuts, the Whitecaps lost a little steam and faltered over the past week suffering a dreary 2-5 record.

Once again on the wrong side of a pair of one run decisions, the ‘Caps were also handed their most lopsided loss of the season – a 12-4 beating on the road to Fort Wayne. Sitting not so comfortably at 18-21 marks the first time this team has gone three games below .500 this year.

Inconsistency was the name of the game again for West Michigan when after knocking a season high 15 hits the night before, the ‘Caps returned home last Wednesday only to muster three hits and four base runners in a 2-1 loss. The loss wasted another dazzling performance by Tommy Collier, the Tigers' 2011 22nd round pick. Collier scattered three hits over six scoreless innings of work – extending his scoreless inning streak to 18 which would eventually climb all the way up to 23 innings without a run allowed – while striking out five.

In the end, however, the ‘Caps lost another one run ballgame. So far this season the Whitecaps have had an astonishing 17 games decided by a single score and according to manager Ernie Young, is an incredible amount of those types of games given the ‘Caps have 21 losses on the season.

"That's incredible to play that many one run games and have that many losses," said Young. "I would say one thing – we have to be the best team in the Midwest League from that standpoint. We're in every game with an opportunity to win, tie or whatever the case may be. I just keep telling the guys that it's going to turn our way. These one run games are going to make us better come June, July and August when we're accustomed to playing close games and not succumbed to the pressure."

The Good News

Outfielder Steven Moya returned to the lineup last week after recovering from injury on the Disabled List. Prior to his injury, Moya was batting a stellar .377 during the opening month of the season but four games into his return, he's struggled to regain his stroke at the plate collecting only two hits in 16 at bats. These types of numbers shouldn't last too long though as Moya possesses too much raw power and hopefully this is only a matter of time before he returns to his April form.

Also activated from the Disabled List this past week was right hand pitcher Jeff Ferrell who saw his first action on the mound since May 22, 2011. Riding the wave of Dean Green's home run that capped a four run rally in the eighth inning, Ferrell was awarded his first win of the season Saturday and his first win since dating back to May 10 of last year.

The Bad News

With all of the come from behind victories and tight games in the end, the ‘Caps have had their share of ugly losses, including this past week's 12-4 rout and a 4-0 defeat – their fifth shutout loss of the season.

On top of that, the Whitecaps watched their lead disintegrate yesterday against the TinCaps when reliever Melvin Mercedes gave up a pair of eighth inning home runs and was the eventual losing pitcher in a 5-4 decision.

But the season is still young and as third baseman Jason King points out, this team is still gelling and molding itself together.

"We got a really good team and once everybody gets going – we've been kind of up and down – at the same time, we're going to be really, really good."

Ernie Young had some additional thoughts on that.

"When you're used to having success and you're not having a lot of success right now, it gets frustrating," said Young. "And I think they are frustrated more than anything else right now. But the bottom line is that we play a lot of games and we have a lot of ballgames left."

The Whitecaps continue their seven game road trip this evening against the Great Lakes Loons before returning home Saturday where they will play their next ten games.

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