Lakeland MLN: Starting the Second Half Right

Winners of four of seven, the Flying Tigers improved to 5-4 this past week. Lakeland is currently in fourth place, one game behind the Brevard County Manatees.

Much of their success this past week can be credited to their production at the plate. Over the last seven games, the Flying Tigers cranked out 31 runs off 59 hits. While averaging a tick above four runs per game might sound mediocre, keep in mind Lakeland was held to just a single run in two of those contests.

Finishing off their road trip with a winning record is a victory in itself; especially when you consider how well they've played at home this season. However, if the Flying Tigers wish to play ball past the first week of September, they've got to break their cycle of simply hanging around by playing .500 ball. Thankfully a little home cooking is on deck as Lakeland hosts Clearwater and Daytona later this week.

Catchers Chipping In At the Plate

With all due respect to the Flying Tigers' current backstops, James McCann's promotion to AA-Erie left some big shoes to be filled. Two of McCann's successors have wasted no time seizing their opportunity though.

Curt Casali has picked up right where he left off in the Midwest League. Casali was 8-for-25 (.320) with three doubles, three runs batted in and a walk this past week. The 23-year-old has hit .321 since his promotion to Lakeland.

Backup catcher Adolfo Reina has made the most of his opportunities as well. The 22-year-old Panamanian native is batting .364 over 33 at-bats since joining the Flying Tigers last month.

The Usual Suspects

Just another routine week at the office for Tyler Clark; the 23-year-old reliever was a perfect three-for-three in save opportunities this past week. Clark allowed one hit, walked two and struck out five over 3 1/3 innings. This season Clark is 4-0 with a sparkling 0.92 ERA and 37 strikeouts over 29 1/3 innings.

Avisail Garcia continued to swing a hot bat this past week. The 21-year-old was 8-for-27 with a double, a triple, two home runs and three runs batted in. Garcia also recorded his 13th and 14th stolen base during game two of June 27th's double-header.

After starting the week 0-for-6, Tyler Collins finished strong thanks to a three hit game that jump-started his cold bat. Collins hit .316 with a double, and a two-run home run. The 22-year-old also swiped his ninth stolen base of the season.

After hitting .311 in June, first-baseman James Robbins' second half surge has continued into July. The 21-year-old first-baseman went 12-for-21 with three doubles and six runs batted in this past week. Unfortunately, the strikeouts continue to pile up. Robbins is striking out in 36% of his at-bats and he leads the Florida State League with 95 strikeouts.

Looking Forward

Southpaw Shawn Teufel gets the ball for the Flying Tigers tonight in the rubber match of their three-game series against Daytona. Teufel looks to turn things around; he's surrendered eleven runs--nine earned--over his last two starts.

Wednesday, Lakeland returns home to Joker Marchant Stadium for a six-game home stand against Clearwater & Daytona.

James R. Chipman is the Lakeland Flying Tigers correspondent for TigsTown. Be sure to follow him on twitter @JAYRC_TigsTown.


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