WMI MLN: Offense Hot & Cold, Collier Shines

Despite their fast start to the second half of the season, the ‘Caps played just over .500 ball as they watched their offense go hot and cold. Yet they find themselves only a game back from second half leader Fort Wayne before kicking off a homestand for the Fourth of July.

West Michigan started this past week off with a dominating performance against Bowling Green as they were able to complete the series sweep – their third sweep of the season – with a 7-0 thwarting over the Hot Rods. Wilsen Palacios toed the rubber for Whitecaps and lasted 7.2 innings to collect his team and league leading ninth win of the year.

Cleveland Rocks for Collier

Starting pitcher Tommy Collier loves pitching in Cleveland. Last week Friday's game proved to be no different for the right-hander from Houston. Collier tossed seven strong innings against the Lake County Captains to amass his sixth win of the season and improve his record at Classic Park in suburban Cleveland to 3-0.

Over those three road starts, he's accrued a spectacular 0.82 ERA and has now thrown 19 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run at the home field of the Captains. For the game, Collier scattered six hits and gave up an unearned run in the seventh due to an error after pitching through the first six innings flawlessly.

2012 draftee Slade Smith continued to shine pitching a scoreless eighth inning in the contest and helped lead the ‘Caps to their eventual 4-2 victory.

What Goes Up Must Come Down

With a few dazzling performances to highlight the last week of play also comes a few contests to forget. Losing games 9-7 and 7-4, the ‘Caps were able to put together an 8-5 triumph before suffering their seventh shutout loss of the season, a 1-0 defeat, to the Great Lakes Loons.

Not only were the Whitecaps shut out but also were nearly no-hit. Four outs away from being on the wrong side of history, the ‘Caps were finally able to break up the no-hitter in the eighth inning with their first of only two singles in the game.

Palacios was denied the opportunity to become the league's first ten-game winner despite giving six solid innings of work where he allowed only a single run on four hits.

Too Hot to Handle

Infielder Lance Durham was recently acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays organization and was transferred to West Michigan's squad back on June 9. But his explosive start with the ‘Caps allowed him the opportunity to try his bat in Lakeland in order to make room on the roster for catcher Pat Leyland who is coming off the Disabled List.

Through his last ten games as a Whitecap, Durham was hitting .382 with ten RBI and a concrete .500 on-base percentage. Whatever the future holds for this bright young prospect in his baseball career, whether or not he makes it back to West Michigan he'll always look back on his short stint fondly.

"I loved it here [in West Michigan]. I was in Lansing last year so I was familiar with the area a little bit but it was great. It was a great atmosphere to play in and the fans were awesome. My teammates and coaches were great and I was treated really well."

The ‘Caps will look to find better consistency with their offense as they begin back to back three game series at home against Lake County and Lansing who was able to secure a first half playoff berth with their first place finish two weeks ago.

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