Minor League Notebook: 6/2

The Tigers had a good day, but their minor league clubs didn't share the same fate, compiling a 1-2 record on Wednesday, with Toledo having an off day. A pair of the Tigers top pitching prospects each started Wednesday but only one of the two had a strong outing. Meanwhile, West Michigan struggles to find direction without their star.

AAA Toledo 27-26, Third place in West division
The Mudhens were off on Tuesday, they start a 4-game home series with Pawtucket on Thursday.

AA Erie 30-19, First place in Southern division
The Seawolves fell to Akron on Tuesday night by a score of 9-3. Matt Roney started for the Seawolves, but wasn't too successful, as he was tagged for 5 runs in 6 innings to see his ERA rise above 4 for the first time this season. Leadoff man David Espinosa had a good night, going 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI, but little else went right for the Seawolves. They close out the series with Akron on Thursday night.

The loss definitely isn't good, but what is more concerning is the quick demise of Roney. After an extremely hot start, Roney has cooled off as of late, having not earned a win since May 17th. In his last 3 starts (all losses), Roney has a 5.68 ERA. Roney's vitals are still strong (17 strikeouts to 5 walks in 19 innings pitched), so hopefully this is just a small setback in Roney's march back to Detroit. However, if he hopes to see a promotion this season, he'll need to revert to his pitching in April.

High-A Lakeland 23-32, Fifth place in West division
The L-Tigers were the lone farm club of the Tigers to pull out a victory on Wednesday, topping Clearwater 2-1 behind the pitching of Joel Zumaya. Zumaya was a little wild, handing out 5 walks over 6 2/3 innings, but struck out 5 and only allowed a single run. Zumaya got a no-decision, but pitched well enough to earn the win. Offensively, Lakeland's run production came from their new Shortstop - Tony Giarratano, who went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, knocking a run in on each of his pair of singles. Thursday night the L-Tigers play at Clearwater again.

While Roney has struggled as of late, Zumaya appears to just now be finding his groove. Zumaya still hasn't earned a win since May 10th, but has pitched well in his last 3 outings. He may still be very rough around the edges, but next to teammate Kyle Sleeth, he possesses the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the Tiger farm system, as long as he can stay on the mound and off the DL, as he had trouble doing in 2003 with West Michigan.

Low-A West Michigan 21-31, Sixth place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps fell on Wednesday to Fort Wayne again, as they continue to struggle. Jordan Tata had a rough outing, allowing 5 runs in 5 1/3 innings. It certainly could have been worse, but the Whitecaps just don't have the offense to out-hit many teams, and so that type of start just isn't going to put up many 'W's. One player on offense who did carry his weight was CF Vincent Blue, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, as he was moved back into the leadoff hole.

Blue is having a decent season so far for the Whitecaps, still showing potential but not really capitalizing on it. Blue, who was drafted right out of high school, spent 2 years in rookie ball before playing in short season A ball last summer, breaking out with a .288 average, showing patience at the plate and the ability to cover plenty of ground. Blue is currently hitting .265, however, his .345 OBP is nothing to write home about, and he's already struck out 45 times, way too much for a potential leadoff hitter. He would be helped by a stronger lineup, but that's a luxury he doesn't have right now, but in the mean time he needs to concentrate on making good contact at the plate and cutting down on the strikeout numbers.

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