Minor League Notebook: 7/30

The Tigers got another one-run victory on Friday night, but there was just one one-run game in the minors on Friday - an extra innings win for the GCL Tigers. Among the six teams, they combined for a 3-4 record (the GCL Tigers had a doubleheader with the GCL Yankees). The Mudhens lost another one, but the Erie Seawolves have gotten hot, winning their 5th game out of their last 6. All that, plus what A-ball prospect is finally coming around at the plate.

AAA Toledo 58-50, 1st place in West division
The Mudhens suffered a tough loss on Friday, falling to Buffalo by a score of 14-3. Adrian Burnside was the starter but wasn't very effective, lasting just 2 1/3 innings before giving way to the bullpen - he gave up on 8 runs on 10 hits. None of the bullpen members had success either, as Erik Eckenstahler and Steve Colyer struggled as well. 2B Rayner Bautista did go 2-for-4 with an RBI at the plate, and 3B Greg Norton also had a pair of hits.

Adrian Burnside, who was acquired from Pittsburgh as one of three players for Randall Simon, continues to exist as an enigma in the Tiger system. He pitches well for stretches, and then he has terrible outings (like Friday) that balloon his ERA up and make those in the front office question whether or not he can ever be an effective big league pitcher. Burnside has moved back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen for Toledo this year, with inconsistent results in both roles. The bottom line with Burnside is that he's a lefty without a single good pitch and struggles with his command (39 walks in 71 1/3 innings). It wasn't a bad trade having Burnside in the deal, because he has shown potential, but it doesn't look like he'll ever make much of an impact at the big league level.

AA Erie 55-47, 2nd place in Southern division
The Seawolves have gotten hot lately, as they have won 5 of their last 6, including an 8-2 win over Harrisburg on Friday. Rick Kirsten, after returning from Toledo, got the start and the win for the Seawolves, pitching 6 innings with 2 earned runs and a walk and a strikeout. The Seawolves got plenty of support at the plate, as Anderson Hernandez and Curts Granderson each had a Home Run, while Juan Tejada and Derek Nicholson had 3 hits and an RBI each.

He doesn't get much recognition, but Rick Kirsten has been a very good pitcher for the Tigers system for a few years now. Kirsten is now 26 years old, so he's not exactly a top prospect, but no matter where he's pitched or in what capacity, Kirsten has done what has been asked of him, and gotten hitters out. There's no telling whether or not Kirsten will ever get a shot with the big league club, since there are many other prospects ahead of him. Kirsten could become one of those players that simply resides in the minor leagues and does his job, even with little future of making a big league roster.

High-A Lakeland 14-21, 5th place in West division
Lakeland came up on the losing end on Friday night, falling to Brevard County 7-1. Corey Hamman, who had pitched very well for the L-Tigers, wasn't at his best and took the loss, giving up 7 runs in 3 2/3 innings, struggling with his command as he walked 4 batters. Andy Baldwin, working in relief, pitched well, going 3 1/3 innings, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 4. Lakeland got plenty of hits, but could never capitalize on any of their opportunities. Victor Mendez, Chris Maples, and Jody Roughton each had 1 hit apiece.

The 22-year old Baldwin finally had a good outing for the L-Tigers after being moved up from West Michigan but having little success. However, Friday night's outing was a good indication of what Baldwin can do, giving the L-Tigers a few good innings in long relief. Some questioned whether or not Baldwin was ready to be moved up, but with Lakeland short in the pitching staff, the move was out of necessity, and possibly at the expense of Baldwin. So, regardless of his performance the rest of this year, his solid pitching with the Whitecaps is much more telling as far as his status as a prospect is concerned.

Low-A West Michigan 14-19, 5th place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps were victorious on Friday night, beating Peoria 5-2. Jordan Tata got the win, just his 3rd of the year, pitching 8 innings while giving up 2 earned runs on 8 hits. Eulogio Delacruz came in and pitched a perfect 9th for his 12th save. At the plate, 3B Kody Kirkland went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, while 2B Eric Rodland had 3 hits and an RBI, and Juan Francia had 2 hits, 2 runs and a stolen base.

Kody Kirkland has finally put up a little streak where he's hit consistently well. Over his last 5 games, Kirkland is 9-for-21 with 6 RBI, hitting mostly in the 5th hole for West Michigan. Kirkland did commit another error on Friday, he leads the team with 25. However, his slugging percentage is now up to .388 on the year, and he's just been making more consistent contact. Kirkland is still very young, just 21 years old, but needs time to work with his bat. His defense at Third Base is poor, and it's probably time for Kirkland to make a move, either to the Outfield or across the diamond to First Base (where his 6' 4" frame can come in handy).

SS-A Oneonta 19-20, 2nd place in Stedler division
The O-Tigers fell to Hudson Valley on Friday 6-3. Lavon Lewis took the loss, giving up 5 runs in just 3 innings of work - Lewis is now 0-4 on the season. Not too much happened at the plate, as Oneonta managed just 4 hits, and none of them were extra base hits. Justin Justice had the team's only RBI, a 2-out single after the team got their first 2 runs via errors.

Rookie GCL Tigers 17-17, 2nd place in Northern division
The GCL Tigers got another extra inning win on Friday, beating the GCL Yankees 7-6, but losing in the 2nd game, 4-2. In the first game, Dallas Trahern struggled as the starter, giving up 4 runs in 1 inning before being taken out. Landon Harper would get the win in relief for pitching 2 scoreless innings, including 4 strikeouts. At the plate, Luis Gil had a bases loaded triple that cleared the bases, while Cole Miller had 4 hits including his 4th Home Run. Miguel Linares also had 3 hits and 2 runs.

In the 2nd game, Orlando Perdomo had a solid outing but received a no decision, pitching 5 1/3 innings with 1 earned run and 10 strikeouts. Stephen Young went 4-for-4 leading off for the GCL Tigers, while Leonardo Grullon went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

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