Minor League Notebook: 8/31

As the 2004 minor league season comes to a close, the Tigers still have a couple teams looking to play beyond Labor Day weekend. The Erie Seawolves have captured a berth in the playoffs, while the Whitecaps are closing in on a spot. Both teams (along with Oneonta) got wins on Tuesday, while Toledo was the only team to fall (Lakeland was postponed once again).

AAA Toledo 64-74, 2nd place in West division
The Mudhens had another tough loss, falling 3-2 to Indianapolis. James Baldwin took the loss but pitched well, throwing another complete game but giving up 3 runs in his 8 innings of work. Baldwin also struck out 4. At the plate, Eric Owens and Chad Alexander each had an RBI, while Warren Morris chipped in 2 hits.

In other news, Mike DiFelice will not finish out the season with Toledo, as he was traded to the Cubs for a Player to be Named Later, or Cash Considerations. DiFelice originally signed with the club expecting to share time with Brandon Inge, but lost that opportunity when the team added Ivan Rodriguez. It's a bad situation turned good for DiFelice, who will get the chance to return to the big leagues and spend the final month playing for a contender.

AA Erie 76-59, 2nd place in Southern division
The Seawolves broke their 3-game losing streak with a 6-5 win in 11 innings on Tuesday. Mark Woodyard got the win in relief, pitching 3 shutout innings, including 3 strikeouts. Alex Lontayo was the starter, going 4 1/3 innings with 4 runs allowed. Ryan Raburn drove in the game winning run in the 11th. Raburn went 2-for-6 in the game. David Espinosa and Maxim St. Pierre each had Home Runs, while Anderson Hernandez also had a good game, going 2-for-4 with a run and 2 RBI.

Woodyard, who is now 5-4 with the Seawolves, will be heading off to the Arizona Fall League at the conclusion of Erie's season, in a bit of a surprise move by the Tigers. Woodyard, at 25, isn't considered a top prospect in the organization, arguably not even in the top 30 among the prospects. However, the Tigers apparently feel like Woodyard needs the extra work, and this could be a potential audition for the team as to whether or not they think he can compete for a bullpen spot with the big league club in the Spring. A bit of a stretch, but Woodyard is getting a great opportunity, and needs to make the most of it.

High-A Lakeland 21-40, 6th place in West division
Lakeland's game with Fort Myers on Tuesday was postponed. No word yet on when (or if) the game will be made up.

Low-A West Michigan 38-26, 1st place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps got back at Lansing for the beating they took on Monday with a 6-2 victory on Tuesday. Jordan Tata got the win, improving to 8-11 on the year. Tata gave up 1 run on 8 hits, including 9 strikeouts. The team's Catchers, Andrew Graham and Danilo Sanchez, both had good games at the plate. Sanchez, who DH'ed, went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Graham went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. Jason Knoedler went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Kody Kirkland and Vincent Blue each scored 2 runs.

Jordan Tata has definitely emerged as one of the organization's better pitching prospects, his latest outing just another example of that. Tata is 5-0 in August, and has won 6 straight going back to July. Virgil Vasquez has been the most consistent starter for the team this season (and has the record to prove it), but Tata has now passed him in ERA. Tata is still a bit wild (66 walks in 161 1/3 innings, 13 wild pitches) and certainly isn't getting any younger (will turn 23 next month), but his solid finish to the season gives the organization reason to be hopeful for his future.

SS-A Oneonta 33-36, 2nd place in Stedler division
The O-Tigers pulled out a close 6-5 win over Auburn on Tuesday. Ed Clelland got the win in relief, improving to 5-0 on the year. Lavon Lewis started but struggled, giving up 5 runs in 3 2/3 innings of work. Another good note; Collin Mahoney pitched 2 innings of shutout baseball, including 3 strikeouts. Juan Llamas had another big game at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a run and 2 RBI. Brooks Colvin also had a good game, going 2-for-4 with 2 runs scored.

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