Minor League Notebook: 7/16

The Tigers are striving to get to the .500 mark, just 3 games under, meanwhile their farm system accomplished that record in a single night, going 3-3 overall. Like the Tigers, Toledo is in a division chase - although much closer than Detroit at just a game out of first place, meanwhile things continue to go poorly in Erie, with Matt Roney getting hit real hard. (FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT)

AAA Toledo 50-43, 2nd place in West division
The Mudhens got a big win on Friday, defeating Durham 6-5. The win puts them just a game behind Columbus in the division standings. James Baldwin started, pitching 7 innings while allowing 4 runs, he got a no decision. The winner was Danny Patterson, with Toledo on a rehab assignment, for the 1 inning he worked (he got the win despite walking 2 and allowing a run). Franklyn German struck out 2 in the 9th to get his 19th save. At the plate, the hero was Andy Barkett, who hit a 3-run Home Run to give the Hens the lead. Another Tiger on a rehab assignment, 3B Greg Norton, didn't quite produce as well, going 0-for-4.

Greg Norton could very well be playing himself out of Detroit at this point. He's a favorite of Alan Trammell, but he's done little with the big league club, and now even in AAA he's hitting just .133 with no Home Runs and no RBI. With Eric Munson hitting well, and Brandon Inge more than capable of backing him up, Norton's time in Detroit could very well be coming to a close. Meanwhile Danny Patterson's outing wasn't particularly impressive, but that could easily be attributed to rust. The Tigers bullpen is still in need of help, so don't be surprised if Patterson gets the call back up after another outing, even if it's not his best work.

AA Erie 48-42, 2nd place in Southern division
The Seawolves got plain shelled on Friday, falling to Akron by a score of 20-9. Matt Roney got the loss, allowing 11 runs in just 4 innings of work - a game that certainly won't help his chances of following Wilfredo Ledezma back to the big leagues. A number of players had big games at the plate, but it obviously wasn't nearly enough. Curtis Granderson went 4-for-4 with 3 runs scored, Rich Gomez had 3 hits and an RBI, and 1B Juan Tejada had a 2-run double in his only at bat.

Roney certainly did not pitch well on Friday, and is showing that he probably shouldn't have been considered on the same level as Ledezma, who is now back in Detroit after dominating Eastern League hitters. Roney's ERA sky-rocketed to 4.70 after his performance, also leaving his record at 7-7 for the season. He hasn't pitched poorly all year, but it is becoming evident that Roney probably will never be a top starter, as he simply doesn't possess any pitch that can be considered above average. The Tigers were hoping that would develop with time in the minors, but it appears as if Roney will be destined to be more of a swingman than a reliable starter.

High-A Lakeland 9-14, 5th place in West division
After a rough start to the 2nd half of the season, the L-Tigers are on an upswing, winning 3 straight, including a 5-0 triumph over Sarasota on Friday. Humberto Sanchez pitched 7 shutout innings, striking out 6 batters, for his 6th win of the year. CF Victor Mendez had 2 RBI, as did 1B Jody Roughton, hitting in the 9th hole for Lakeland. Brent Clevlen also scored 2 runs.

Clevlen has had a very rough stretch, but he slowly appears to be coming out of it. His batting average is still sitting low, and he didn't get a hit on Friday night, but he did take 2 walks - a good sign as not only had he stopped hitting, but he stopped walking as well. If Clevlen can regain some patience at the plate, he'll be able to put himself in better counts, and in turn, get better pitches to hit. June and July haven't been great for Clevlen, but there's no reason to lose faith in the young Outfielder just yet.

Low-A West Michigan 8-12, 6th place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps, possibly still reeling from their 13 inning heartbreaker on Thursday, lost yet another 1-0 nothing game, this time to Kane County. Christhian Martinez got the loss, although he certainly pitched well, giving up just 3 hits and the 1 run in 7 innings. Unfortunately, the Whitecaps again struggled to get hits, managing just 3 singles for the entire game.

The Whitecaps have little as far as offensive firepower goes, with just 1 regular (SS Juan Francia) hitting above .260. What's worse, there is just one player (OF Garth McKinney) who has a slugging percentage over .400. The problem of course is that Francia can't do much else besides slap the ball (he has just 7 extra base hits all year), and even his glove isn't very reliable (19 errors). McKinney on the other hand can reach the fences and the gaps - when he makes contact, and that has been his problem all along, carrying just a .230 average. Bottom line - if the Whitecaps hope to stay out of the cellar, they'll need some added offense to get there.

SS-A Oneonta 13-13, 3rd place in Stedler division
The O-Tigers pulled out a close one on Friday, beating Tri City 3-2. Nate Bumstead struck out 10 batters in 5 1/3 innings en route to getting his first win of the year. A late threat by Tri City was put down by Tyler Jacobson, who got the final 2 outs of the game to get his first save. Brooks Colvin had 2 hits at the top of the order for Oneonta, and Justin Barnes had a solo Home Run (his 3rd).

Bumstead has gotten a very impressive start to his minor league career with Oneonta - already striking out 23 batters in just 12 1/3 innings of work. Besides those impressive strikeout numbers, he's also carrying an ERA under 1 (0.73), certainly not a bad start for a 32nd round draft pick out of Louisiana State University. Don't get too excited about him yet as he's only pitched 3 games, but Bumstead could turn out to be a steal.

Rookie GCL Tigers 10-13, tied 2nd place in Northern division
The GCL Tigers were shut out Friday by the GCL Yankees by a score of 3-0. Adriano Santos took the loss.

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