Portland took two of three from the 'Wolves last week in Portland and Erie returned the favor by taking two of three from the Sea Dogs at home. After splitting the first two games with the Fischer Cats they completed the series on Fathers Day with a 8-6 victory. The win on Sunday gave the 'Wolves two series wins on this home stand and their second consecutive winning home stand.
The 'Wolves offense received a huge boost when Ryan Roberson returned after a 10 day stint with the Toledo Mud Hens. He played seven games in Toledo with a .240 batting average, two doubles and a RBI. He rejoined the Erie lineup on Saturday and he is 5-for-9 with a couple of doubles and six RBI in two games since returning to Erie. He has raised his average to .272 after a slow start to the season, hitting only .225 in April. "Roberson has been a big lift for us, coming up with some big hits" Brookens said. Roberson has also hit safely in his last seven games with the SeaWolves.
Kody Kirkland has been one of the big stories for the SeaWolves recently. His struggles at the end of last season and the early part of this season have been well chronicled. It seems that he has put those struggles behind him and is continually getting better. This week he had five hits including two triples and he added six RBI to bring his season total to 31 which is amongst the team leaders. Tom Brookens had this to say about Kirkland, "He struggled a bit this season and he struggled last season and right now he's been playing well" adding "seeing him getting better is a direct reflection that he is believing that he can do it".
Dusty Ryan has always been known for being a defensive catcher but this season he has contributed with his offense as well. He hit two home runs this week to increase his season total to 10 which is one ahead of Roberson for the team lead. "Dusty has been real big for us and what has impressed me about Dusty is that a lot of these hits have come with two strikes on him" said Brookens. He has also become more versatile defensively, playing some first base last week in the absence of Ryan Roberson. "It's been fun, I've never played first before in my career so it was little bit different" Ryan said.
There is nobody in the SeaWolves lineup that is as hot as Jeff Frazier. He has hit safely in 17 of his last 20 games and he has raised his batting average to .319, the best on the team. Frazier cooled off a bit after hitting over .400 in his last 10 games but he continues to get on base for the 'Wolves. In addition to his team high .319 batting average, he has hit five home runs and 29 RBI.
The SeaWolves pitching has become much more consistent in recent weeks. One of the biggest reasons has been the return of Josh Rainwater off the DL. He is 3-0 in his last three starts including 6 2/3 shutout innings on Thursday in a 5-0 win over the Portland Sea Dogs. "Rainwater was excellent tonight, he has been really good since returning off the DL" SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said, adding "he's been consistently down in the zone all season.
Danny Christensen has been one of the more consistent pitchers on the SeaWolves staff. He pitched twice this week and he earned a no decision his best outing of the season on Tuesday. He pitched eight innings and allowed only three hits and one earned run in a 5-1 Erie loss. The 'Wolves allowed four runs in the top of the 10th inning to fall in the first game of the recent home stand. Christensen followed up that performance by earning his fourth win of the season and improving his record to 4-4. Christensen leads all SeaWolves pitchers with 39 strikeouts but he does not consider himself a strikeout pitcher. "I know that if I keep throwing the ball over the plate and inducing contact, than things will keep going my way and everything will be alright." Christensen said.
The SeaWolves will be off on Monday and than will embark on a 10 game road trip which will be their longest of the season and their longest since 2005. The road trip will begin on Tuesday with a three game series against the Binghamton Mets. It will be the 'Wolves last trip to Binghamton this season, they dropped two of three in Binghamton back in May. The trip will continue with a three game series in Harrisburg that will begin on Friday and conclude on Sunday. It will be the third and final trip to Harrisburg for the SeaWolves this season. They will play Harrisburg nine more times after next week but all will be played at Jerry Uht Park. The 'Wolves are 3-6 against the Senators this season but they are 3-3 in Harrisburg.
News and Notes: Max St. Pierre has been moved to the reserve list in Erie, no reason has yet been disclosed. To fill his slot, Angel Flores has been called up from West Michigan.