MiLB 5/10 Week Review: Bernard Leads 'Wolves

Last week was the most eventful stretch of baseball of the year for Tigers affiliates. One team saw the end of a 6-game losing streak, while another snapped a 12-game skid. There was elite relief pitching in West Michigan, an offensive explosion in Lakeland, two walk-off wins, including the first walk-off homer in the system this year, and one player stretched his hitting streak to 17 games.

AAA Toledo Mud Hens
11-18, 4th in West Division

The Mud Hens had the worst week of any team in the system. They did snap a 6-game losing streak on Friday, but they went just 1-5 on the week, and have now lost eight of their last nine games. The low point may have come on Thursday, when they jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the 2nd inning, and led 5-2 heading into the 7th, only to lose 6-5. The Hens now occupy last place in the West Division, and have the 2nd worst record in the International League. There were some good individual performances last week, however. Kyle Ryan and Buck Farmer provided solid starts, while Xavier Avery had a strong week at the plate, and reliever Ryan Perry and infielder Corey Jones performed well after being called up from Erie.

  • Bryan Holaday provided a walk-off single to help the Mud Hens win on Friday night, and a few hours later he was back in Detroit with the Tigers.

  • On April 21st Jefry Marte was among the league leaders in RBIs with 14. He hasn’t knocked in a run in 17 games since then.

  • Farmer’s 40 strikeouts lead the IL. No other Hens’ pitcher has more than 20.

AA Erie Seawolves
10-19, 5th in Western Division

On Monday Erie snapped their 12-game losing streak, and they added three more wins during the week, riding strong pitching performances for two wins, and relying heavily on the bats for their other two victories. Starters Derek Hankins and Chad Green got the week started off right by combining to allow just one earned run over 11 inning. The team was outscored 11-2 in two losses that followed, but they showed great fight against Reading over the weekend, coming back from down five runs on Friday and winning on a walk-off homer by Connor Harrell, and then battling back from 3-run and 4-run deficits to win 10-9 on Saturday.

  • Harrell had a terrific week, going 11-for-26 with 4 RBIs. He has hit in eight consecutive games, raising his average from .172 to .261.

  • Wynton Bernard has now hit safely in 17 consecutive games, the longest streak for a SeaWolves player since 2008.

  • Reliever Edgar De La Rosa continues to struggle in Erie, having given up at least two earned runs in four of his last five appearances.

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers
13-16, 5th in North Division

The Flying Tigers finished a very solid 4-2 week with with a 15-1 thrashing of the Dunedin Blue Jays, topping Lakeland’s best single-game output on the season by eight runs. All nine Flying Tigers reached base safely in that game, led by Francisco Martinez who went 3-for-5 with a home run, and Raph Rhymes, who went 2-for-4 with two homers. Julio Felix earned two wins on the week by providing six scoreless innings of relief, while starters Tommy Collier and Kevin Ziomek picked up the other two wins with terrific starts on Tuesday and Thursday. Dominic Ficociello helped pace the offense, going 8-for-24 with three walks and five RBIs, while Javier Betancourt reached base 11 times and chipped in with four RBIs of his own.

  • Reliever Confesor Lara was promoted to AA on Sunday, finishing his time in Lakeland with a 1.10 ERA, 20 strikeouts, and just 3 walks in 16 1/3 innings.

  • Infielder Curt Powell continues to be a steady offensive performer, going 7-for-20 with five RBIs, and hitting safely in all six games last week.

  • Don’t talk to the Flying Tigers about home cooking. Their 4-11 record at home is the worst in the Florida State League by far, while their 9-5 record on the road is the best in the league.

A West Michigan Whitecaps
13-17, 7th in Eastern Division

The Whitecaps played all six of their games on the road, but still had a decent week, winning three and losing three, and splitting a doubleheader on Wednesday. West Michigan earned two wins thanks in part to good starts from A.J. Ladwig and Spencer Turnbull, but the story of the week had to be the bullpen. Relievers Tyler Ford, Paul Voelker, Joe Jimenez, Gabe Hemmer, Gabe Speier, and Johan Belisario combined to surrender one run over 14 1/3 innings last week, striking out 20 and allowing just two walks. On offense Michael Gerber continued to swing a hot bat, going 10-for-22 with six RBIs, while newcomer Will Kengor got on base 12 times during the week.

  • Gerber has reached base safely in 18 consecutive games, and he now leads the Midwest League in hits(40), RBIs(24), and batting average(.364).

  • It was a different story for fellow outfielder Derek Hill, who struggled to a 1-for-22 week with nine strikeouts.

  • Voelker, Hemmer, Speier, and Belisario are all striking out at least one batter per inning, while Jimenez has a remarkable 13 Ks in just 6 1/3 innings pitched.

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