Lakeland MLN: Offense Heating Up

The Flying Tigers dropped five of eight games this past week, falling to 16-14 in the standings. After dropping both games in Monday's doubleheader, Lakeland now finds themselves two-and-a-half games behind Tampa in the division race.

Doubleheader Disaster

Drew VerHagen never really found his comfort zone in game one of yesterday's double dip. VerHagen struggled to consistently find the zone, hitting a batter and issuing two walks early on in the contest. The right-hander quickly reached his pitch-count, lasting just 2 1/3 innings. VerHagen allowed five hits, and three runs while striking out two. Despite 3 1/3 shutout innings from Ryan Woolley the Flying Tigers went on to lose game one by a score of 3-1.

Unfortunately, Lakeland's bats were kept quiet in game two as well. Despite batting an FSL best .264; the Flying Tigers mustered just two hits against Tampa. They also struck out nine times in the seven-inning game. Making matters worse, Alex Burgos surrendered seven runs off eight hits and five walks. It had appeared as if things were finally headed in the right direction for Burgos as he had previously strung together four consecutive solid starts. The young southpaw will have a chance to get back on track this weekend in St. Lucie.

Heating Up

Third-baseman Wade Gaynor is enjoying a modest seven-game hit streak. The 24-year-old was 8-for-27 (.296) with a double and a homer this past week.

While Hernan Perez has teed off against left-handed pitchers (.303), right-handers have stifled the 21-year-old prospect to a meek .220 average this season. Despite facing right-handed pitching the majority of the last ten games, Perez has been on fire. The Venezuelan native is 15-for-35 (.429) with three doubles, two homers and seven runs batted in.

Outfielder Daniel Fields also had a big week at plate. The 21-year-old was 10-for-26 (.385) with two walks, two doubles, and two runs batted in this past week. Fields' recent hot streak has raised his batting average to a respectable .270 mark.

Right-handed reliever Ryan Woolley has been on a bit of a tear too. The 24-year-old hasn't allowed a run since July 8th—-a span of 11 innings. He's controlling his pitches better, allowing less base-runners and striking out batters more often.

On Deck

Lakeland has a chance to salvage the series and gain some ground as their home-and-away series with the Yankees continues tonight. Previously sidelined with elbow soreness, right-hander Kevin Eichhorn is slated to return to the hill this evening. Eichhorn, who last pitched May 14th, is 3-2 with a 4.00 ERA over eight starts this season.

Thursday, the Flying Tigers travel two and a half hours south for a four-game series against the St. Lucie Mets. The Mets are currently an FSL worst 12-19.

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

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