Minor League Notebook: 7/25

The Tigers had a big day at the plate - but it was nothing compared to the Mudhens - who put up a season high 18 runs on Sunday - and incredibly enough, still lost. The farm clubs combined for a 2-3 record on the day, but did get very good outings from pitching prospects Virgil Vasquez and Preston Larrison - although Larrison yet again wasn't able to come out with a win despite pitching well.

AAA Toledo 55-48, 1st place in West division
The Mudhens lost on Sunday, but at no fault to their offense. The Mudhens put up a season-high 18 runs, and still lost to Scranton 19-18. After Adrian Burnside, Rick Kirsten, Matt Anderson and Erik Eckenstahler all struggled, Craig Dingman and Jason Karnuth each pitched 2 shutout innings, handing a 2-run lead over to Franklyn German. But German couldn't hold it, allowing a 3-run triple in the 9th, and taking his 2nd loss of the year. At the plate, Joe Vitiello and Greg Norton each had 2 Home Runs, while Warren Morris and Rayner Bautista each had a pair of RBI.

On Monday, the Tigers finally made the move, permanently optioning 3B Greg Norton to Toledo. Norton had no success with the Tigers - and was blocked by Eric Munson and Brandon Inge with the team. His slow start with the Mudhens certainly didn't help his chances of making it back either. But his production on Sunday shows that he can still hit some, albeit not at the level he was once capable of. Norton will more than likely man the hot corner for Toledo for the final month of the season, in hopes of helping get the team to the postseason.

AA Erie 52-46, 2nd place in Southern division
The Seawolves got a 9-3 win over Harrisburg on Sunday. Preston Larrison got another no-decision, giving up 2 runs in 5 2/3 innings - he also walked 2 and struck out 1. Rick Palma however got the win in relief. At the plate, Derek Nicholson had a Home Run and 3 RBI, and CF Curtis Granderson had another big game at the plate, going 3-for-5 with 2 RBI and a run scored. Scott Tousa also had 3 hits for Erie.

Larrison is currently 2nd on the team in ERA (3.09) and first among the starters, but for whatever reason he has only been able to manage 5 wins all year. Larrison has been productive as far as earned runs goes, but where he hasn't been as sharp is his secondary stats. His strikeout to walk ratio is just 1.6, and none of his other numbers (Home Runs allowed, WHIP, K/9 IP) are good. You never look down on a player who has pitched as well as Larrison has, but he'll have trouble once he reaches the big leagues if he isn't able to strike batters out, or keep them off the basepaths.

High-A Lakeland 12-19, 6th place in West division
Lakeland was off on Sunday, as was the rest of the Florida State League. They resume play on Monday night against St. Lucie.

Low-A West Michigan 12-17, 5th place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps got a win on Sunday, defeating Quad Cities by a score of 9-2. They did so with help from arguably their three top prospects - Virgil Vasquez, Garth McKinney, and Kody Kirkland. Vasquez earned the win to improve to 10-5 on the season, pitching 6 innings with 1 earned run, striking out 6. McKinney had a huge day, going 4-for-4 with 3 runs scored, including a Home Run (his team-leading 15th) and 4 RBI. Kirkland also was big at the plate, going 3-for-5 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI.

Maybe it was just coincidence, but after it being stated here that McKinney (or another one of the few prospects on the Whitecaps with real potential) needed to step up, he has. Over his last 5 games, McKinney is hitting .563 with 2 Home Runs and 6 RBI - exactly the type of production the Whitecaps (and Tigers) like to see out of this power-hitting Outfielder. But more important than his recent power onslaught is his average, which is up 15 points over the 5 game span. If McKinney can make more consistent contact, there's no telling how good he could be.

SS-A Oneonta 17-18, 2nd place in Stedler division
Oneonta lost both games of a doubleheader against Tri City on Sunday. In the first game, no one could stop Tri City's offense, as all 3 pitchers that appeared (Lavon Lewis, Damien Myers, Matt Righter) gave up 4 runs. Juan Llamas did go 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored, and Justin Justice had 2 hits and 2 RBI in the losing effort. The 2nd game was closer, but the O-Tigers still came up on the short end of the stick. Josh Kauten gave up 5 runs in 5 innings, taking the loss. Llamas had another pair of hits and an RBI in the losing effort.

Rookie GCL Tigers 13-14, 2nd place in Northern division
The Gulf Coast League was off on Sunday, but play resumes on Monday with the GCL Tigers facing the GCL Phillies.

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