AAA Toledo 33-30, 3rd place in West division
The Mudhens came out big on Saturday, downing Norfolk by a score of 10-1. John Ennis got the win, pitching 5 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits before giving way to James Baldwin, who pitched the final 4 innings without allowing a run. At the plate, almost everyone was in on the action, with Nook Logan, Danny Klassen, Joe Vitiello, Mike DiFelice, Derek Nicholson and Brant Ust all chipping in with 2 hits. Ust had 3 RBI, and Klassen had 2.
Brant Ust has received much fanfare as he's moved up the ladder, in fact, he's received none. The now 25-year old was a 6th round pick of the Tigers in the 1999 draft, but his hitting was very slow to come around, which prevented him from moving up the ladder. His defense at the hot corner was always good, but he hadn't been able to do much with the bat, until this season anyway. Ust still isn't patient at the plate and doesn't hit for much power, but his .297 average is a big improvement. Ust has also been getting work in around the diamond, in hopes of potentially making it to the majors as a utility Infielder. The Tigers aren't in serious need of a utility man, but Ust is presenting himself as a possible option should the need ever arise.
AA Erie 35-24, 1st place in Southern division
Matt Roney came up big for the Seawolves on Saturday, pitching a complete game shutout in a 7-inning edition against Harrisburg. Roney only allowed 3 hits while striking out 7 to get the win, his 6th of the year. The Seawolves put up all 4 runs in the top of the 7th, with Curtis Granderson's bases loaded double scoring 3 runs for Erie. The unfortunate part for Harrisburg was that the entire inning could have been avoided if not for a dropped foul pop-up that would have ended the inning without a run scored.
Granderson hasn't wowed anybody this year, not playing spectacularly in the field, nor being a huge threat at the plate. But Granderson simply comes into the game and does his job. He's having a decent season at the plate, hitting .276/.362/.424 (AVG/OBP/SLG), but he's done everything the Tigers have expected of him, and continues to look like he'll be ready to compete for a big league job within the next year or two.
High-A Lakeland 27-34, 5th place in West division
The Florida State League is on its All Star break. Pitchers Lee Rodney and Kyle Sleeth, Catcher Mike Rabelo, and Shortstop Anderson Hernandez were named to the team. Hernandez is already up with AA Erie, so he was ineligible for the game.
Low-A West Michigan 24-37, 6th in Eastern division
The Whitecaps were able to beat their in-state rival, the Lansing Lugnuts, 6-5 on Saturday. Brian Rogers came up big with 7 1/3 innings, allowing 3 runs with 6 strikeouts. Luis Sabino was the star at the plate, going 3-for-4 with 3 RBI, which came in the 8th inning after the Lugnuts took the lead in the top half. Juan Francia and Kody Kirkland each had an RBI earlier in the game.
Brian Rogers isn't as impressive as Jon Connolly last year for West Michigan, but they definitely have a similar make-up. Both found ways to get outs, despite not having great stuff. Rogers has a mid 80's fastball and an average curveball, but continues to be the most consistent starter for the Whitecaps. His stuff indicates he doesn't have a real future in baseball, but you can never write-off a pitcher that just gets people out.