TigsTown MLN: Erie Starters Lead the Way

The Erie SeaWolves began by spending their off day dining on world famous seafood from Portland, Maine and it ended with a 5-2 loss to the New Hampshire Fischer Cats. In between the SeaWolves played pretty good baseball winning three times on a tough road trip.

The 'Wolves lost two of three to the Portland Sea Dogs to begin the week but they took the first two games against New Hampshire before losing on Sunday.

The 'Wolves received a couple of really good performances from their starting pitching this week. Danny Christensen shutout the high powered Sea Dogs offense in a 5-0 rain shortened victory on Wednesday night. Christensen has been one of the best pitchers on the Erie staff as of late. The SeaWolves have won in his last four starts and he has won his last three decisions. The win on Tuesday was the first shutout of the season for Christensen. He has allowed only three earned runs in his last 18 innings over his last three starts.

Andrew Kown continues to be impressive for the 'Wolves since rejoining the rotation. On Saturday he made his fifth start since rejoining the rotation on May 17 and he earned his second victory in that time. Kown lasted 7 2/3 innings without allowing a run before being lifted from the game. It was the fourth consecutive start that he worked at least six innings. The victory improved his record to 4-6 with a 4.68 ERA in 12 appearances and 11 starts.

Josh Rainwater also had a good start, his second since returning off the disabled list last week. He pitched five strong innings allowing only three earned runs on seven hits for his second consecutive victory and his fourth of the season. Rainwater has allowed three or less earned runs in six of his eight starts. He began the season in the bullpen but he was quickly moved to the rotation because of injuries and he has pitched well. He has a 6.06 ERA but it was inflated by two consecutive poor starts before going on the disabled list on May 10.

It hasn't been just pitching helping the 'Wolves win ball games, the offense has contributed as well. Jeff Frazier is the only player on the club hitting above .300 after Wilkin Ramirez and Max Leon were both called up to Toledo. He has been hitting the ball well, batting .400 in his last 10 games. He has at least two hits in five of his last 10 games including a perfect 4-for-4 on Saturday in the 'Wolves 3-1 win against New Hampshire. Despite playing at hitter friendly Jerry Uht Park, Frazier has been better on the road hitting .362 away from Jerry Uht Park. He has also hit four of his five home runs on the road as well.

Another player who has been hitting well recently is Kody Kirkland. He is also hitting near .400 in his past 10 games and he was 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI in the 'Wolves 9-4 victory Friday night. It was his first four hit game of the season and his eighth multi-hit game. Kirkland started the season poorly but has been steadily increasing his production. After hitting just .194 in April he is batting .375 in June thus far.

The 'Wolves replaced Wilkin Ramirez and Max Leon in the lineup by calling up Joe Tucker and Casper Wells. Wells wasted no time making an impact on the Erie lineup, going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk in his first game. He hit his first home run in Double A on Saturday, a solo home run off of RHP Scott Richmond. He is 3-for-12 in his three games with the 'Wolves. Joseph Tucker did not get an at-bat until Sunday and he went 1-for-3 in his Double A debut.

The 'Wolves have another off day on Monday before beginning a six game home stand on Tuesday. The Portland Sea Dogs will make their only trip to Erie for a three game series beginning Tuesday. The Sea Dogs took 2-of-3 from Erie in Portland last week. The home stand continues with a three game series beginning on Friday against the New Hampshire Fischer Cats. The 'Wolves just completed a series in New Hampshire winning 2-of-3. The expected starters for the 'Wolves are LHP Danny Christensen (3-4, 4.13 ERA), LHP Luke French (3-6, 4.54 ERA) and RHP Josh Rainwater (4-2, 6.06 ERA).

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