Minor League Notebook: 8/21

It was a good day all around for the Tiger organization, with only the O-Tigers of the New York Penn League going the day without a win. Combined, the minor league clubs went 6-2, including a win from Toledo, who finally ended their losing streak. Plus, which Whitecap is quietly having a good year, and which recent draftee might be getting a position switch already?

AAA Toledo 62-66, 2nd place in West division
The Mudhens finally got a win, beating Louisville 3-1 on Saturday. James Baldwin ended up being the pitcher to pull the team out of the funk, pitching 7 strong innings, giving up 1 run on 7 hits. Lino Urdaneta and Franklyn German each pitched a scoreless inning to close it out to get the win. 1B Andy Barkett went 2-for-3 with 2 doubles, and DH Jorge Toca went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Well, the Mudhens were finally able to get a win, and it happened to come against Louisville, the team they are trying to hold off in the division standings (Toledo is now 2.5 games ahead of them). But, despite the win, this team still isn't at a point where it can challenge again for the division crown - their offense isn't the same without Nook Logan and Joe Vitiello, and by the time they get either or both back, it will probably be too late, with the team now 5.5 games out of first place. It was a nice run for the Mudhens though, giving Mudhen fans an entertaining summer, something they haven't gotten with regularity over the past several years.

AA Erie 69-55, 2nd place in Southern division
The Seawolves won both games of a doubleheader against Reading on Saturday. The first game, they were victorious, 8-4. Alex Lontayo got the win, going 5 1/3 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits with 4 strikeouts. Lee Rodney closed it out for his first save as a Seawolf. Kurt Airoso had a huge game, going 3-for-4 with a Home Run and 3 RBI. Jack Hannahan also had a 3-run double to start the scoring in the 1st. The second game was a shutout for Erie, as a trio of relievers combined to pitch 7 shutout innings. Felix Cuello pitched the first 4 1/3 innings, not allowing a hit or a run (although he did walk 5). Kevin McDowell pitched 1 2/3 innings, and Lee Rodney capped it off to get his 4th win. Ryan Raburn went 2-for-4 with a double and a Home Run, and Derek Nicholson also added a 2-run Home Run.

Kurt Airoso isn't a prospect, but he's provided a good power presence in the middle of Erie's lineup throughout the season. Airoso is also taking advantage of Jerry Uht Park's small dimensions, as his Home Run on Saturday gave him 27 on the year. Airoso is slugging .524, and while his average is still low at .255, he now leads the team with 74 walks and has been the cleanup hitter, protecting Curtis Granderson and allowing him to develop into one of the top hitters in the Tigers system.

High-A Lakeland 18-36, 6th place in West division
Lakeland also had a doubleheader on Saturday, splitting the 2 games with Sarasota. They won the first, 4-1, but fell in the 2nd game 3-1. No stats were available from the first game. In the 2nd game, Andy Baldwin took the loss, allowing 3 runs in 4 innings. Chris Maples' RBI double scored Brent Clevlen, and that accounted for all the scoring in the 2nd game.

Lakeland appears to just be riding out the final weeks of their disappointing season, but one player seems to just be turning it back on, as Brent Clevlen is back up to the .220's, and back up to 3rd in the lineup - the spot he was expected to hold all season long. When Clevlen stays patient and doesn't try and kill the ball, he's a very solid hitter - it's when he over-swings and tries to do too much with one swing that he gets himself into trouble. The Tigers haven't yet decided whether or not to move him (as well as his teammate, Scott Moore) up to AA Erie, or leave them in Lakeland for a second stint, but either way, the Tigers will want to see more production out of both.

Low-A West Michigan 31-24, 2nd place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps won their 4th straight, a 4-2 victory over South Bend. Virgil Vasquez got the win, pitching 8 innings of 3 hit baseball, giving up 2 runs (1 earned) with 2 strikeouts. Chris Homer pitched the 9th for his 9th save. At the plate, Danilo Sanchez had a good game, going 2-for-3 with a Home Run and 2 RBI. Juan Francia also had a pair of hits and scored a run, and Kody Kirkland had an RBI triple.

Danilo Sanchez doesn't receive a lot of attention, but is quietly having a very good season for the Whitecaps. The 23-year old is hitting .273 for West Michigan, with solid power numbers to boot (8 Home Runs, .426 slugging percentage) in just 256 at bats. Sanchez, originally a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic, is a bit old for low-A ball, but his solid defense and presence at the plate are making some noise, and getting him some recognition among the top catchers in the organization.

SS-A Oneonta 30-28, 2nd place in Stedler division
The O-Tigers fell on Saturday to Lowell 5-2. Lavon Lewis took another loss (he's now 0-5 on the year), giving up 2 runs on 5 hits in 5 innings. He also struck out 3. Collin Mahoney did pitch 1 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball, a nice sign for the struggling flamethrower. At the plate, Rafael Mendez drove in both runs with a double in the 9th inning. Dusty Ryan also went 2-for-3 with a double and a run.

Rookie GCL Tigers 24-29, 3rd place in Northern division
The GCL Tigers also won on Saturday, beating the GCL Yankees 8-6. Troy Pickford made his first appearance in 2004, pitching a scoreless inning with no hits and a strikeout. Donald Trahern then came in and pitched well, giving up 2 runs in 5 innings, but got a no decision. Sendy Vasquez would end up getting the win, despite allowing 4 runs in his 2 innings of work. At the plate, Santo De Leon had a monster game, going 4-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Leonardo Grullon and Joshua Lee each went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, and Maximo Soto and Cory Middleton (who has now been seeing action at Shortstop, his high school position) went 2-for-4 with a run.


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