The end of the season is approaching and thus holds many exciting moments and unpredictable events - draft picks are signing and making their professional debuts while other veterans are reaching the end of the road of their professional careers. However, one pitcher who has enjoyed success at the start of his young career is nineteen year old Rick Porcello.
This week Porcello pitched six innings while giving up six hits and one earned run. The top prospect generally only throws five innings so this longer outing was an improvement. He also managed to strike out six. As usual, he received no run support and was not able to register the win. Regardless, he continues to throw in the 90's with a wicked slurve thrown in that is still baffling batters. While Porcello didn't register the win, three Lakeland starters did this week – Duane Below, Jonah Nickerson, and Guillermo Moscoso.
Below lasted six and 1/3 innings while giving up three earned runs and walking six batters. On the bright side, he did manage to strike out ten batters. This was his first win in seven starts, so it was certainly a step in the right direction. Cody Satterwhite pitched the last inning and registered his second save of the season.
The last pitcher to win a game this season was Guillermo Moscoso who finished a game started by Dontrelle Willis. Willis faced a longer outing than usual, going four and 1/3 innings while giving up three earned runs and walking three. His ERA in Lakeland is now 4.82. On the offensive side, several bats were hot this week. Ryan Strieby batted for a .353 average this week with two home runs and six RBIs, despite snapping his home run streak of six straight games. He is tied for the league lead in home runs with twenty three and is in second place in RBIs with seventy seven.
In addition to Strieby, Justin Justice seems to have found his groove again, batting .381 on the week. Finally, Brandon Timm is hitting .418 this week following his rare pitching performance. Timm, who went to college as a closer, pitched the final inning in a game this week as Lakeland was running out of pitchers. He allowed zero hits and struck one batter out. While some batters excelled this week, several struggled to make contact. James Skelton batted .222 this week which dropped his team leading batting average below the .300 mark. Also, Jeramy Laster continues to hover around the Mendoza line after registering only one hit this week. His nine strikeouts contributed to his league leading total as well.
The team will remain at home this week to finish their series with Tampa before heading to Sarasota for a three game series.