Minor League Notebook: 8/12

It was a slow day down on the farm for the Tigers, as only 3 of the 6 clubs played games (Toledo and Oneonta were postponed, Erie was off), and all 3 took losses. West Michigan had a chance to win but a blown save contributed to ending their winning streak, and while the GCL took a loss, the game didn't go without a great performance from their top pitching prospect. Plus, an injury update from Lakeland on one of the Tigers top prospects.

AAA Toledo 60-59, 2nd place in West division
The Mudhens got rained out on Thursday, and weren't able to get their game in with Charlotte. They'll now start a 2-game series with Richmond on Friday night.

AA Erie 63-52, 2nd place in Southern division
Erie was off on Thursday, but kicks off 5 straight games against Akron (2 at home, 3 on the road) on Friday.

High-A Lakeland 16-31, 6th place in West division
Lakeland was able to play, and lost again on Thursday, falling at the hands of Dunedin 3-1. Mike Howell took the loss but pitched well, giving up 2 earned runs in 6 innings. The pitching wasn't poor, but the offense just wasn't able to generate much of anything. The L-Tigers lone run came off a solo Home Run by Brent Clevlen. Only two other players had a hit (Scott Moore and Neil Jenkins), but they came innings apart.

It certainly hasn't been the year anyone was hoping for from Brent Clevlen – but it appears after a month and a half of sliding, he appears on the way back up. His average is back up to .222 after falling to .208 just last week. Over the last few games, Clevlen appears to have given signs that he's returning to his old self, with a 2-for-3 day on Wednesday and the home run Thursday. He's certainly taken a step back in virtually all facets of the game, but no one is ready to give up on Clevlen yet. Now the challenge will be for Clevlen to return to where he was at the beginning of June.

On the downside, Tony Giarratano has now been lost for the season with his shoulder injury. Giarratano has been out since August 2nd, and will not return in 2004. Giarratano will be ready to go by spring however, and the organization is still very optimistic that he'll be available for the Instructional league this fall.

Low-A West Michigan 24-23, tied 3rd place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps lost one, falling to Fort Wayne in extra innings 3-2. An unfortunate outcome as Christhian Martinez had an excellent start, going 8 innings with no earned runs on 3 hits with 7 strikeouts. But, Eulogio Delacruz couldn't close it out, giving up a pair of runs in the 9th, and Anthony Tomey lost it in the 10th. At the plate, Vincent Blue went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Danilo Sanchez had a double and a walk in a weak offensive effort from the Whitecaps.

As evidenced, the Whitecaps will only win when their hitting is hot. The Whitecaps got both their runs unearned in the 8th inning, via an error and a wild pitch. More important than that, the team needs to continue to make contact and avoid so many strikeouts. The Whitecaps 2 through 7 hitters totaled 11 strikeouts, certainly not a number that is showing the team can make contact. Their recent surge has been impressive, but to keep it up, the offense needs to keep playing like they did in the first weeks of August.

SS-A Oneonta 25-26, 2nd place in Stedler division
Oneonta was also rained out on Thursday in their finale with Tri City. They now start a 2-game series with Vermont.

Rookie GCL Tigers 21-25, 3rd place in Northern division
The GCL Tigers lost 4-3 to the GCL Braves on Thursday, but not without a couple impressive performances. Jay Sborz got a no decision, pitching 6 1/3 innings while allowing 2 runs on 4 hits with 9 strikeouts and a walk. An excellent sign for the big right-hander, who is slowly coming along with his control and off-speed pitches. Cole Miller had a solo Home Run in his lone at bat of the game, while Brandon Timm went 2-for-4 with a run.

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