Lakeland MLN: Losing While Catching Fire

After a disappointing slide, Lakeland fell two more games behind the first place Yankees this past week. Winners of just two of their six games, the Flying Tigers find themselves in third place, two and a half games back in the standings. Despite falling in the standings, a few position prospects caught fire and a key starter is set to return to the backend of the rotation.

Mean Green

Dean Green had a monster week; thanks largely in part to back-to-back three-hit performances in Clearwater. The 23-year-old first-baseman is finally figuring things out at the plate after struggling mightily in his first couple weeks in the Florida State League.

This past week, Green was 9-for-22 with a walk, a double, a homer and ten runs batted in. The former eleventh round pick has a .366 batting average and a .934 OPS over 41 August at-bats. Green has recorded 21doubles, ten homers, 64 RBIs and a .804 OPS between West Michigan and Lakeland this season.

Lemon's Streak Continues

Utility-man Marcus Lemon continued to swing a hot bat this past week. Lemon extended his hit streak to eleven games, going 6-for-12 with two walks and two stolen bases. Lemon also collected his fifth four-hit-game over the weekend. The 24-year-old is batting .488 since July 26th, raising his batting average to .329 this season.

Perez Perking Up Known primarily for his defensive skill-set, second-baseman Hernan Perez's bat has started to perk up. Since the break, the 21-year-old is batting .284 (nearly forty points higher than his first half average) with ten extra-base hits. Thanks largely in part to a .306 average over his last ten games, Perez has raised his average to .262 this season. Flashing his sneaky speed, Perez has also recorded a team high 24 steals.

Stroud Talks Rehab and Adjustments

Almost two weeks ago, right-hander Brian Stroud was placed on the disabled list with shoulder discomfort. Over the weekend Stroud was kind enough to check in and update me on the status of his rehab.

"[The shoulder] has been doing a lot better," Stroud stated. "I'm very excited to be getting off the DL here soon. Rehab has been coming along great. The throwing program is going as scheduled. I threw a short touch and feel side today and it went very well."

Prior to the injury, Stroud posted a 1.41 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP over six consecutive starts for Lakeland. Which, with all due respect, was a complete one-eighty from his career numbers. When asked about his string of impressive starts, the right-hander attributed much of his success to his continued work with the coaching staff and rovers.

"Changes. Definitely changes. The few changes I made consisted of lengthening out my stride, going over my head during my windup--instead of keeping my hands at my chest--and working on my balance," said Stroud. "Greg Sabat really helped me a lot while I was in EST and then Mike Maroth has continued to help me a lot during the season with Lakeland."

Despite being drafted in the 31st Round, Stroud offers great value for a Flying Tigers team that's hungry and clawing their way for a playoff birth.

On Deck

The Flying Tigers look to re-gain some ground after a disappointing week of play. Tonight, Lakeland hands the ball to right-hander Drew VerHagen in game one of their three game series against Daytona. VerHagen is 0-2 with a 3.78 ERA over 16 2/3 innings since joining the Flying Tigers in July.

Lakeland's six-game home stand continues on Friday as they welcome the Dunedin Blue Jays for a three-game set. Winners of eight of there last ten games; division rival Dunedin is just three games back in the competitive FSL North division.

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

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