MLN: 'Wolves Crawling Out of the Cellar

The weather is starting to heat up in Erie, Pennsylvania and so are the Erie SeaWolves. The temperature inched closer to the 80 degree mark and the SeaWolves continue to climb out of the basement in the Southern Division.

They remain 11 games out of first place but they are showing signs of an improvement. This past Thursday they completed their first series sweep since opening the season with a four game sweep in Bowie. In the series clincher they put together an eight run fifth inning after falling behind 4-1 in the fourth. The eight run inning was the 'Wolves biggest one inning output this season. The 'Wolves had not won three games in a row since the final three games of a four game home series with the Altoona Curve April 25-27. "We weren't sure it was in the immediate future but we knew we had it in us" said SeaWolves outfielder/designated hitter Jeff Frazier .

It was no secret that the team was down during their slump but the overall atmosphere surrounding the team has changed considerably with the recent success the team has enjoyed. "The team's pretty happy right now but tomorrow we still have to come out and play the game" Frazier said after completing the series sweep of Reading on Thursday. "As a team we know now that when things are going bad, we can still pull through that" added Frazier. "At this point a win is a win and taking three straight from these guys is a step in the right direction" said manager Tom Brookens. "We had a stretch there where we weren't playing so well" said Third baseman Kody Kirkland "It makes playing here a lot more fun" he added.

The SeaWolves biggest strength this season has been their speed, power and overall offense. They continue to lead the Eastern league in runs scored with 304, stolen bases with 67 and they are second in the league with 50 home runs. "Our offense is good enough that we can score some runs but we need to shore up our defense a little bit" Brookens said. The offense suffered through a slump that accompanied the long losing streak but they scored at least six runs in four of their seven games this week.

One of the guys hitting home runs recently is catcher Max St. Pierre. St. Pierre hit three home runs this week, including two in a 8-3 SeaWolves victory in game one of a doubleheader on Saturday. His three home runs this week doubled his season total to six in 131+ at-bats. This week St. Pierre was 5-for-21 with five runs scored, three home runs and six RBI. He now has 30 RBI which is good for second on the team behind Wilkin Ramirez. He has not only been great offensively but his work behind the dish cannot go unnoticed. He has thrown out 15-of-23 runners , good for 65.2% and the Eastern League lead.

Ryan Roberson has been hitting for power all season but he has been on a tear recently that has seen him increase his average to .257. This week he was 14-for-31 with one home run, six runs scored and seven RBI. He is now tied with Wilkin Ramirez for the team lead in home runs and he increased his RBI total to 26. His batting average has hovered around .220 all season but he has increased it to a season high .254.

Jeff Frazier and Will Rhymes have started contributing to the 'Wolves offense . Frazier has seen his average balloon to .306, making him one of only three SeaWolves hitting above.300. The other SeaWolves hitting above .300 are Wilkin Ramirez at .306 and Max Leon who is leading the team with a .324 batting average. Frazier is 11-for-25 this week and he has five RBI including two in the 'Wolves 9-7 win on Thursday. Rhymes was 9-for-27 this week and he has scored five runs while driving in four to increase his RBI total to 25.

Andrew Kown had his best start of the season on Tuesday at Jerry Uht Park against the Reading Phillies. He pitched eight strong innings allowing only four hits and one earned run on a solo home run by Reading second baseman Brad Harmon. Kown lasted into the eighth in his second start of the week but suffered the loss allowing 10 hits and five earned runs. The loss dropped his record to 3-6 on the season. Kown has been much more effective in the rotation since being demoted to the bullpen for one appearance on May 11. "He's pitched well, he's getting the ball down and I think his breaking ball is a little bit crisper" Brookens said.

The entire pitching staff is pitching better and they received a big boost getting Josh Rainwater back off the DL with an oblique strain."Right now I think the pitching has settled down and we're getting some quality outings out of starters" said Brookens. Rainwater pitched five solid innings allowing six hits and three earned runs in his only start since returning off the DL. Rainwater was able to get through his first outing without suffering any effects of the injury. "It feels good, I wish it would have felt like that three weeks ago" said Rainwater.

The 'Wolves will have Monday off and will travel to Portland for a three game series against the Portland Pirates. The Pirates will conclude a four game series with the New Hampshire Fischer Cats on Monday before playing Erie on Tuesday. The Pirates and Fischer Cats have combined for 70 runs and 98 hits in the first three games of the series. Portland has taken 2-of-3 and they had 20 hits in each of their victories. The 'Wolves will complete their road trip with a three game set against New Hampshire that will conclude on Sunday. It is the only time this season the 'Wolves will travel to Portland and New Hampshire.

News and Notes: The Tigers have signed Dominican third baseman Ernesto Martes, The 6-2, 190 pound, 18-year old will debut with the DSL Tigers today. Also looking to make their debuts with the DSL Tigers will be the following recently signed players: right-hander Alvin Acosta, shortstop Samuel Ortiz, and outfielder Robinson Figueroa. TigsTown will bring you all the details on each of these new prospects, as they become available.

The Florida State League has announced the All-Star squads for its June 14th mid-summer classic. From the Lakeland Flying Tigers, right-handers Rick Porcello and Matt O'Brien will toe the rubber. They will be joined by catcher James Skelton, second baseman Scott Sizemore, and shortstop Cale Iorg. Right-hander Luis Marte was also selected to the All-Star team, but will be unable to participate due to his promotion to Double-A Erie and his sore elbow that currently has him sidelined.

Also, Angel Flores has been moved from extended spring training to West Michigan to fill out the 'Caps roster.


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