TigsTown MLN: Porcello, Sizemore Star

With a cast of new players and new manager Andy Barkett, the Flying Tigers look to make 2008 a season to remember. As of Tuesday morning, the team is second place in the FSL West division with a record of 3-2.

Twelve guys on the new roster have seen playing time in Lakeland before, while the other fifteen have yet to play at this level, including first round draft pick Rick Porcello.

Porcello, 19, started the season opener with a 4-1 win on the road in Tampa, allowing one hit in five innings of work, while striking out three. The young ace was drafted 27th overall in the 2007 draft and became the #1 prospect in the system after several moves were made within the organization during the summer.

Helping Porcello and the rest of the starting staff have been the Flying Tigers' bats. Lakeland is tied with Dunedin for the most home runs in the league with five. Ryan Strieby is tied for the league lead with two home runs, with the most notable of these being a grand slam that enabled Lakeland to beat Clearwater 6-5 in the first of a Monday night doubleheader.

While Strieby's bat has been impressive, second baseman Scott Sizemore has pieced together an even better start for the season. The former Whitecap is batting .533 with one home run and eight hits in only five games. The young slugger pieced together back to back 3-3 performances on Friday and Saturday.

Once the runs have been put on the board, the bullpen has been able to maintain the lead. Several Flying Tigers from last season have combined to help in this area. Ed Clelland has appeared in two games while Freddy Dolsi has appeared in three. Both pitchers have managed a save.

The team will head on the road for a series in Sarasota followed by a series in Clearwater, before returning home next Monday.

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