Minor League Notebook: 8/19

After a very good day from the minors on Wednesday, the organization couldn't follow that act up, as the teams combined to go 2-4 on Thursday, with just West Michigan and Oneonta getting wins. The Whitecaps got a great game all around, while Oneonta's Third Baseman (predictably) continues to tear the cover off the ball.

AAA Toledo 61-65, 2nd place in West division
Toledo's losing streak was extended to 5 games on Thursday with a 6-5 loss to Durham. Matt Roney got a no decision as the starter, giving up 5 runs in 5 innings with 4 strikeouts - not exactly the start the team was hoping for. Jason Karnuth ended up taking the loss in relief, allowing a run on 3 hits in an inning of work. Guillermo Rodriguez had a 2-run Home Run for Toledo, while Brant Ust went 2-for-4 with a solo Home Run. Rich Gomez also went 2-for-4 with a solo Home Run in the leadoff slot, but it wasn't enough to get the team a win.

It seems as if Toledo is just cursed, no matter who they throw out there, they can't get a win. The organization was hopeful that Roney could come up and add some spark to the rotation and give the team a boost, but thusfar it hasn't quite worked out. In his 2 starts, Roney has yet to get a decision, with an ERA of 6.55. Many still expect Roney to straighten out once he adjusts to the competition - but he still hasn't been able to give the Mudhens any help in getting back in the win column.

AA Erie 67-55, 2nd place in Southern division
The Seawolves fell also on Thursday, being beaten by Reading 8-2. Kyle Sleeth was the pitcher of record, giving up 7 runs in 7 innings of work, falling to 3-4 for Erie this season. Sleeth also struck out 5 and walked 2. Ryan Raburn went 2-for-5 for Erie, scoring both of the team's runs, while Kurt Airoso and Juan Tejada also each chipped in 2 hits in the losing effort.

Sleeth's promotion continues to make some wonder - moreso, his sudden propensity to give up the long ball. Sleeth gave up 3 long balls on Thursday, bringing his total with Erie up to 13 - not a good sign considering he's pitched just 61 innings. Sleeth is struggling adjusting to the mechanical adjustments the Tigers made with his delivery, and while it will probably help him stay healthy in the long run, it will probably hurt his performance in the short term.

High-A Lakeland 17-34, 6th place in West division
Lakeland took a loss on Thursday, dropping their game against Clearwater 7-3. Mike Howell took the loss, giving up all 7 runs on 9 hits in just 2 1/3 innings of work. Howell is now 2-8 on the year. Lakeland was able to get 3 runs off their 6 hits but no one had a monster game. Victor Mendez, Scott Moore, and Jody Roughton each drove in a run for the L-Tigers.

Low-A West Michigan 29-24, 2nd place in Eastern division
Well, the losing ways stopped with the Whitecaps, as they beat Beloit 11-0. Brian Rogers got the win, pitching 5 scoreless innings, including 6 strikeouts. Daniel Zell closed it out, pitching the final 4 innings with just 1 hit, striking out 4. Garth McKinney had a big day, launching his 18th Home Run and driving in 5 runs. An impressive day for the team in general, as they scored 11 runs off of just 7 hits. Kody Kirkland, Kelly Hunt, Vincent Blue and Jason Knoedler also each had a hit and 2 runs (Knoedler's hit happened to be a Home Run).

McKinney's average is still poor at just .222, but it's extremely hard to ignore his impressive power stroke. McKinney now has 18 Home Runs on the season, which when adjusted for the park factor, would leave him among the top Home Run hitters in all of minor league baseball (that's how much Fifth Third Ballpark can affect Home Runs). As it is, he's still tied for 4th in the Midwest League in Home Runs. But the organization has known that he has plenty of power in his bat - what he needs to show is that he can make consistent contact. Because as we have seen with the big league club, if you can't hit for average, you won't play.

SS-A Oneonta 30-27, 2nd place in Stedler division
The O-Tigers were also victorious, beating Lowell 6-3. Nate Bumstead got the win to improve to 3-0 on the year, pitching 5 innings with 1 earned run and 4 strikeouts. Ezequil Perez pitched the final 2 innings with 2 strikeouts for his 4th save. Juan Llamas continues to hit the New York Penn League pitching, going 3-for-4 with a Home Run and 4 RBI. Bo Flowers also had a solo Home Run and scored 2 runs.

Rookie GCL Tigers 23-27, 3rd place in Northern division
The GCL Tigers fell on Thursday, losing to the GCL Braves 4-2. Lucas French got a no decision as the starter, giving up 2 unearned runs in 4 innings. He also struck out 2 and walked 2. Dominic Carmosino got the loss, allowing a pair of runs in his 2 innings of work at the end of the game. Only 2 Tigers managed hits, with Stepehen De Leon going 2-for-4 and Jeramy Laster went 3-for-4, scoring both of the team's runs.

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