Minor League Notebook: 8/15

Sunday was a solid day from the Tigers farm clubs, as they compiled a 3-1 record (with Lakeland and the GCL being off with Hurricane Charley making its way through Florida). Toledo continues to struggle without any of its notable players, meanwhile Erie players continue to crush the ball, and don't look now, but a team that has struggled mightily for most of the season is just 1 game out of first place in their division.

AAA Toledo 61-61, 2nd place in West division
The Mudhens continued their slide on Sunday, falling to Louisville 10-6. Rick Kirsten got a no decision as the starter, but did not pitch well. He gave up 6 runs on 9 hits in 4 innings of work. Fortunately, the offense produced and the two teams entered the ninth tied at 6. But 4 runs off reliever Franklyn German gave Louisville a comfortable lead, and gave Toledo another loss. At the plate, Eric Owens went 3-for-4 with an RBI, while Guillermo Rodriguez drove in 3 runs for the Mudhens. Rich Gomez and Brant Ust also chipped in a pair of hits each.

AA Erie 66-52, 2nd place in Southern division
Humberto Sanchez got his first win in double-A ball, as he pitched 6 2/3 innings with 2 earned runs and an extremely impressive 9 strikeouts. John Birtwell, also recently called up from high-A Lakeland, pitched the final 2 1/3 innings to get his first save with Erie. Teams continue to try and avoid pitching to Curtis Granderson (3 walks on the day), but that didn't stop him from blasting another Home Run, his 19th on the year. Russ Cleveland also had a Home Run, while Ryan Raburn went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. Chad Meyers also went 4-for-5 with 2 runs.

The Tigers are showing a bit of aggressiveness with their prospects in promoting both Sanchez and Joel Zumaya up to Erie - but so far, it has worked out well. Sanchez is definitely the further along of the two prospects with Zumaya carrying a higher ceiling - but both should give the Seawolves some needed help with their pitching staff.

High-A Lakeland 16-31, 6th place in West division
Due to hurricane Charley, most of the games in the Gulf Coast League were called off over the weekend – that included Lakeland's games on Friday and Saturday. The L-Tigers were off on Sunday as well, but will try and make their return on Monday in Fort Myers.

Low-A West Michigan 27-23, 2nd place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps were victorious again on Sunday afternoon, beating Dayton 12-4. Virgil Vasquez got another win (now 13 on the year), pitching 5 innings with 3 earned runs and 4 strikeouts. The offense had plenty of stars, with Kelly Hunt leading the way with 2-for-3 day, including a Grand Slam and 3 runs scored. Eric Rodland went 3-for-5 with 3 runs as well, while Jason Knoedler went 2-for-5 with a Home Run and 4 RBI.

Don't look now - but the Whitecaps are just 1 game out of first place in the Eastern division. The Tigers are now in a position where they are probably going to let Lakeland suffer for the final few weeks of the season, because of a reluctance to break up a group currently playing so well, despite the fact that Lakeland's top 3 starters from opening day are all now with Erie.

SS-A Oneonta 27-27, 2nd place in Stedler division
The O-Tigers also got a win on Sunday, beating Lowell 7-2. Jair Jurrjens got his first win with Oneonta, pitching 7 innings while giving up 1 run on 6 hits with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. Juan Llamas was the star at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a Home Run and 3 RBI as the 24-year old continues to tear apart New York-Penn League pitching. 1B Rafael Mendez also had an RBI double for the O-Tigers.

Rookie GCL Tigers 21-25, 3rd place in Northern division
Just like Lakeland, Hurricane Charley cancelled most of the Gulf Coast League games over the weekend. The GCL Tigers will attempt to get back on the field on Monday against the GCL Phillies.

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