MiLB Recap Blog: Starters Struggle

Each morning, check in for the Minor League Recap Blog. Get all of the results from the games, the latest standings and the daily blog recapping the previous day's action.

April 12th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – BUFFALO 3, TOLEDO 0
6-3, 3rd in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – BINGHAMTON 11, ERIE 10
6-4, 2nd in West division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – LAKELAND 5, CLEARWATER 4
5-5, t-3rd in West division

A West Mich. Whitecaps – GM1: CLINTON 8, WEST MICH. 7

6-3, 2nd in Eastern division

Chris Lambert turned in another solid start, but the Mud Hens offense was blanked, resulting in Lambert's first loss of the year. Casey Fossum also made his Toledo debut, pitching two innings of no-hit relief; a promising sign from someone the Tigers might be looking to in the near future for bullpen help. The offense managed just three singles and managed just one scoring opportunity, but couldn't get runners home from second and third with only one out in the sixth.

For the second straight day, the 'Wolves fell took a tough loss despite reaching double digits in runs scored. Andrew Kown took the punishment this time around, surrendering ten runs in just four innings of work. Three 'Wolves drove in two runs apiece (Freddy Guzman, Max Leon and Deik Scram) and Max St. Pierre managed a solo home run.

Lakeland put together a come-from-behind effort to snap their two game losing skid - tying the game in the seventh off a Michael Bertram single that scored Cale Iorg, and taking the lead in the ninth via the same combo. Iorg finished the day with four hits, while Jeramy Laster added two hits and an RBI.

Finally, West Michigan dropped both games of a doubleheader with Clinton, losing the first on a walk-off homer, and then seeing the second game get away via a five run sixth inning for the Lumberjacks. Manny Miguelez was chased early from his start, giving up six runs in 1 2/3 innings, while Lauren Gagnier took the loss in the second game, giving up four runs despite striking out eight and pitching five shutout innings of baseball. Justin Henry managed two RBI in the first game, and took two walks in the second game.

Posted by: Wez, 4/13

April 11th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – TOLEDO 4, BUFFALO 1
6-2, 1st in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – BINGHAMTON 18, ERIE 13
6-3, 2nd in West division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – CLEARWATER 1, LAKELAND 0
4-5, t-4th in West division

A West Mich. Whitecaps – PPD: RAIN
6-1, 1st in Eastern division

The Mud Hens got back in the win column on Friday after being rained out Thursday with a 4-1 win over Buffalo. Jeremy Johnson, who finds himself back in the rotation, picked up his first win, giving up a run over five innings, while three solo home runs paced the offense, including Jeff Larish's fifth.

The 'Wolves fell in what more resembled a football score than a baseball score, with a combined 31 runs scored on Friday evening. Luke French suffered the most, giving up 14 of the 18 Binghamton runs, ten of which were earned. Every member of the lineup had at least one hit, and seven of the nine drove in at least one run, but on Friday it just wasn't quite enough.

Gabriel Benitez allowed just one run, but the Lakeland offense couldn't generate any run support. The offense managed just four hits, none for extra bases.

And the Whitecaps were rained out once again, and will attempt to make up the game on Saturday as part of a doubleheader.

Posted by: Wez, 4/12

April 10th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – PPD: RAIN
5-2, 1st in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – ERIE 10, BINGHAMTON 7
6-2, 1st in West division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – SARASOTA 10, LAKELAND 5
4-4, t-3rd in West division

A West Mich. Whitecaps – CCLD: RAIN
6-1, t-1st in Eastern division

The rain that hit the metro Detroit area on Thursday spread its wings, also knocking out games in Grand Rapids and Toledo, as only the 'Wolves and Flying Tigers were able to get games in.

Erie got a strong start from Ben Fritz, only to see the lead evaporate in relief under Anthony Tomey. Luckily, the Erie offense came to play and took the lead back with a five run seventh inning, highlighted by a Danny Worth grand slam, his first homer of the year. Wilkin Ramirez also had a big night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three RBI.

Jonah Nickerson got hammered in his second start for the Flying Tigers, giving up six runs before being pulled in the third. Angel Castro came on in relief, but didn't provide much, giving up four more runs in his inning and a third of work. Every member of the lineup had a hit for Lakeland except Cale Iorg, with Jeramy Laster blasting a three run home run. Shawn Roof also had two hits and two RBI.

Posted by: Wez, 4/11

April 9th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – TOLEDO 10, CHARLOTTE 3
5-2, t-1st in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – HARRISBURG 2, ERIE 1
5-2, 1st in West division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – LAKELAND 4, SARASOTA 2
4-3, t-2nd in West division

A West Mich. Whitecaps – CCLD: RAIN
6-1, t-1st in Eastern division

Armando Galarraga became the 2nd member of the organization to get his second win, as he picked up an easy victory for Toledo on Wednesday - giving up three runs over seven innings, but getting ten runs to help him out. Four 'Hens had home runs, including Jeff Larish (league leading fourth), Brent Clevlen, and Ryan Raburn. Raburn had three hits and three RBI to go with the homer.

Erie suffered a tough defeat, with the pitching staff allowing just two runs, but the offense only managing one run on seven hits, none of which were for extra bases. Juan Cedeno took the loss, giving up one run in relief as his ERA has now risen to 12.27.

Duane Below, TigsTown's reigning Minor League Pitcher of the Year, picked up his first win of the season for Lakeland, striking out nine over six shutout innings. Brennan Boesch got Lakeland the lead early with a solo blast, and then Shawn Roof would add a pair of RBI throughout the game to help the cause.

And after suffering their first defeat of the season, West Michigan had no trouble getting back into the win column, blanking Great Lakes 9-0. Alfredo Figaro almost matched Below's effort, striking out seven over six shutout innings. Casper Wells had two hits and two runs driven in, while Kody Kaiser and Chris Carlson each had two hits and an RBI.

Posted by: Wez, 4/10

A few quick updates on topics mentioned in past entries....

The Toledo Blade is reporting that Macay McBride is suffering from a 'stretched ligament' in his elbow. In reality, the proper term is more likely a ligament sprain, and depending on the degree or grade of that sprain, there could be some amount of tearing within the ligament. He will be heading to New York for a second opinion, and there are well-founded fears that his season could be over. Surgery is likely, if not now, then sometime further down the road.

Taking McBride's spot in the rotation -- at least temporarily -- will be right-hander Jeremy Johnson, an organziational veteran with solid stuff and the ability to eat innings. Johnson's trip to the rotation may be short-lived, as the Tigers have signed lefty Casey Fossum to a minor league contract. Fossum was released by the Pittsburgh Pirates at the end of spring training, and he will remain on the temporarily inactive list until his arm strength is built up enough to begin appearing in games. Toledo Manager Larry Parrish indicated in a Blade article, that Fossum's role on the team would be dictated by the Tigers front office.

Continuing to update on potential Major League relief help at the minor league level, Preston Larrison has now appeared in four games for the Mud Hens, giving up five hits, two walks, and three runs in just four innings of work. While Larrison does not appear to be on the Major League horizon, veteran reliever Blaine Neal may be making a strong case to be the next in line, with a walk and five strikeouts in three innings, without allowing a run.

At the Double-A level, both Matt Rusch and Anthony Tomey have had bright spots; while also showing the ugly side of things in their other outings. Neither is likely to be an immediate option. After his strong spring, hard-throwing Casey Fien has tossed 2-2/3 scoreless innings for the SeaWolves, and if things don't get better in the bullpen, he could see himself in Detroit by the end of May.

Posted by: Mark, 4/9

April 8th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – CHARLOTTE 9, TOLEDO 7
4-2, t-1st in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – ERIE 3, HARRISBURG 2
5-1, 1st in West division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – SARASOTA 7, LAKELAND 3
3-3, t-3rd in West division

A West Mich. Whitecaps – GREAT LAKES 5, WEST MICH. 1
5-1, t-1st in Eastern division

Virgil Vasquez turned in another strong start, but the bullpen couldn't hold his lead, giving up seven runs, with Clay Rapada losing the lead and Preston Larrison taking the loss. The bullpen's miscues overshadowed a great offensive showing from a few key 'Hens; Ryan Raburn and Matt Joyce each had home runs, and Brent Clevlen had three hits.

At Erie, Josh Rainwater picked up his 2nd win, and Brett Jensen earned his first save of the season. Rainwater, making a spot start, was especially impressive, giving up just one run while striking out six and walking none. Will Rhymes led the way at the plate, as he was responsible for bringing home all three 'Wolves runs via three run homer in the 3rd.

Rick Porcello suffered his first pro loss, but didn't allow an earned run. Porcello allowed four unearned runs, brought on by three errors (two by Cale Iorg) in the fourth inning. The Lakeland offense did manage to put a few runs on the board late in the game, but it was too little, too late. Iorg did manage three hits as he attempts to get his offense back on track.

Finally, Great Lakes got to Ramon Garcia early and often, and the 'Caps offense could only muster one run while scattering six hits. Audy Ciriaco brought home the team's lone run.

Posted by: Wez, 4/9

April 7th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – TOLEDO 11, CHARLOTTE 4
4-1, 1st in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – HARRISBURG 12, ERIE 5
4-1, t-1st in West division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – GM1: LAKELAND 6, CLEARWATER 5

3-2, 2nd in West division

A West Mich. Whitecaps – WEST MICH. 11, GREAT LAKES 1
5-0, 1st in Eastern division

Even if the Tigers can't seem to find their winning ways, the rest of the farm system hasn't had that problem - three of the four clubs are in first place, with Lakeland in second after splitting a doubleheader (finishing up Sunday's game).

Both the Toledo and West Michigan offense continue to cruise. Toledo got a big game out of Timo Perez (3-for-5, four RBI), while Casper Wells led the way for the 'Caps (4-for-5, two home runs, four RBI). Lakeland also got a big game in the first game from Ryan Strieby, who drove in five.

Ryan Raburn, who was sent down to Toledo as the Tigers try to find effective relievers, went 1-for-2, but took three walks and ended up scoring three runs.

One player not off to a hot start; Cale Iorg. He is currently hitting just .111, has struck out six times in 18 at bats, and hasn't taken a walk yet.

On the mound, Jon Kibler and Eddie Bonine picked up wins as the starters, with Kibler giving up just one unearned run.

Posted by: Wez, 4/8

A couple of quick notes as we kick off the first full week of minor league action:

Right-hander Josh Rainwater will make a spot start for the Seawolves tomorrow, as the rotation gets back on track from the recent double-header. Rainwater has extensive experience starting games, but was slated for a full-time move to the bullpen this season; a move that is expected to continue once this start is out of the way.

Updating the injury news on lefty Macay McBride, he is expected to go in for an MRI on his elbow today. Despite initial reports that he left his first start of the season with a leg injury, he in fact was suffering from ternderness in his pitching elbow. McBride was placed on the 7-day disabled list by the Mud Hens, and his roster spot was filled from extended spring training by righty Matt Righter. McBride's next scheduled start against Charlotte, is expected to be picked up by Jeremy Johnson.

Posted by: Mark, 4/7

April 6th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – DURHAM 5, TOLEDO 4
3-1, 1st in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – ERIE 5, BOWIE 0
4-0, 1st in West division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – SPD: RAIN
2-1, N/A in West division

A West Mich. Whitecaps – WEST MICH. 11, SOUTH BEND 5
4-0, 1st in Eastern division

Toledo suffered its first loss of the season, while Erie and West Michigan remained undefeated.

Each team that got their game in yesterday had a star at the plate, with Matt Joyce ripping a two run homer for Toledo, same for Wilkin Ramirez with Erie, and Chris Carlson having four hits and driving in four. Erie also got three extra base hits out of Will Rhymes, who is currently slugging over .700 so far this season.

Andrew Kown also put together an impressive start - tossing six shutout innings before giving way to the 'pen. Kown had a solid '07 season, but has the potential to be even better in '08, and solidify himself as a potential option for the Tigers pitching staff later this summer, or in September.

Posted by: Wez, 4/7

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