Minor League Notebook: 8/27

Another mediocre day down on the farm, as the minor league clubs combined to go 3-4. And, as has been the case as of late, only West Michigan and Erie have been playing well, as the two teams were responsible for the 3 wins (Erie winning both games of a doubleheader). Plus, which free agent acquisition has turned out to be a bigger bust than Fernando Vina?

AAA Toledo 63-71, 2nd place in West division
The Mudhens lost again, as they continue their freefall. This time it was a 5-0 shutout at the hands of Louisville. Pat Ahearne took the loss, allowing 5 runs on 10 hits in 5 innings. He struck out 4 and walked none, while falling to 9-11 on the year. The offense however still couldn't do much, as they managed just 4 meaningless singles. Mike DiFelice did managed 2 of those 4 hits in the loss.

Mike DiFelice is at least making an attempt - but one player who many thought would be able to perform well, and help offset the loss of Marcus Thames hasn't been doing that at all. Greg Norton, who struggled mightily with the Tigers, has continued those struggles in AAA. Norton is hitting below .200 (.198), slugging below .300 (.296) and hasn't really done much of anything. Manager Alan Trammell was a big fan of Norton's, but it's obvious that this was one experiment that didn't pan out.

AA Erie 75-56, 2nd place in Southern division
The Seawolves won both games of a doubleheader on Friday, beating New Hampshire 4-3 and 1-0. In the first game, Roberto Novoa got the win in relief to improve to 7-0, giving up 1 unearned run in the final 2 innings. Pedro Daiz started, giving up 2 runs in 5 innings. Chad Meyers had a big game at the plate, going 3-for-4, scoring 2 runs, and launching a solo Home Run. Ryan Raburn also went 2-for-3 with a solo Home Run. The second game was also won by a reliever, this time Chris Mears. Mears combined with Jorge Cordova to pitch a 3-hit shutout. Meanwhile, the lone run of the game came from the bat of Kurt Airoso, whose solo Home Run in the 4th proved to be the game winner. Raburn did keep his hitting streak going (now at 19) with a triple in the 3rd.

With the wins, Erie is now just 3 games back of Altoona, bringing them closer to making a final push for the Southern division title. If they're going to make a push though, they'll have to be virtually perfect down the stretch, as they are 3 games back with just 10 left on the schedule. But one thing is for sure, this team wouldn't be where it is without Kurt Airoso, whose veteran leadership and presence in the middle of the lineup have been a big aide to the Seawolves all season. Airoso's 28 Home Runs for the season are good for 4th in the Eastern League, as he closes in on the single season Home Run record for the Seawolves. Regardless of whether or not he gets there, Airoso has done his job, allowing for the development of the youngsters hitting around him.

High-A Lakeland 20-38, 6th place in West division
The L-Tigers took the loss, dropping their game to Clearwater by a score of 4-2. Matt Parris pitched well as the starter, giving up 2 runs in 6 innings. He however walked 3 and didn't strike out a batter. Ian Ostlund took the loss in relief, allowing an unearned run via a poor throw by Scott Moore that allowed the go-ahead run to score from 2nd base. Gilberto Meija led the way at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a solo Home Run and scoring both runs. David Mattle also had a pair of hits.

Gilberto Meija is another player that doesn't receive much press, but he's quietly had a good season for Lakeland in a year where not many can claim the same. Meija has split time between Second Base and Shortstop, sliding over to Shortstop full time once Tony Giarratano went out for the season with his shoulder injury. Meija doesn't hit for a ton of power, slugging .383, and his .263 average isn't earth shattering, but for a team that has struggled mightily in almost every facet of the game, Meija has done well, providing steady offense and a good glove for the L-Tigers.

Low-A West Michigan 35-25, 1st place in Eastern division
It was another close win for the Whitecaps, beating Wisconsin 3-2 this time, and maintaining their 1-game lead in the Eastern division. Virgil Vasquez started and took a no decision, going 5 innings with 2 runs (1 earned) while striking out 5. Kenon Ronz took the win in relief, pitching 1 1/3 innings of perfect baseball. Kelly Hunt was the star at the plate, going 3-for-4 and driving in all 3 Whitecap runs via 2 long balls.

SS-A Oneonta 32-33, 2nd place in Stedler division
The O-Tigers suffered a 3-1 loss to Lowell on Friday. Jair Jurrjens took the loss, now at 1-4 on the year with Oneonta, giving up 3 runs in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out 5 and walked 1. Not much was going at the plate, as the team managed just 4 hits. Robert Tulk drove in the lone run via an RBI double, but no one else did anything of note as the team managed just 4 hits total.

Rookie GCL Tigers 24-35, 3rd place in Northern division
The GCL Tigers fell again, dropping their game against the GCL Braves 1-0. Donald Trahern was the losing pitcher, giving up the 1 Braves' run in 5 1/3 innings. He also walked 2 and struck out 5. The offense managed just 3 hits, with Maximo Soto's double the only extra base hit. Cole Miller and Jamaal Peeples had the other 2 hits.

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