TigsTown MLN: Youth Leads Way in Erie

The Erie SeaWolves are too far out of contention to compete for a playoff berth but they are playing like a playoff team. The were 5-2 this past week, including a sweep of the Reading Phillies at Jerry Uht Park. The team is 12-7 since the all-star break despite dealing with 23 roster moves in that time.

The 'Wolves have seen Danny Worth, Casey Fien, Kody Kirkland and Dusty Ryan called up to Triple -A Toledo while young guys have filled their roster spots. Caonabo Cosme is the only SeaWolves player over the age of 26 left on the roster after all the recent movement.

Casper Wells and Santo DeLeon are two of the guys that have made an impact offensively on the Erie lineup since being called up from Single-A. DeLeon was called up from Lakeland on July 18 and Wells was called up back in early June. Santo DeLeon has hit safely in each of his last 11 games and he is hitting .333 in his 18 games since being called up from Lakeland. In Lakeland DeLeon put up good numbers, hitting .292 with four home runs and 18 RBI in 174 at-bats but he has improved upon those numbers in Erie with two home runs and 12 RBI in only 66 at-bats.

Casper Wells started off slow in Erie but he has really turned it on lately. His batting average is up to a .266 and he seven home runs and 29 RBI in 49 games played. Wells hit only .208 in June but he really started hitting in July, he hit .282 in July with 5 home runs and 20 RBI in 29 games. He is batting .385 to start the month of August. He hit a grand slam back on July 17 at Akron and on Tuesday he accomplished an even bigger feat, hitting for the cycle at Akron. It was the first time a member of the Erie SeaWolves hit for the cycle since Juan Francia did it on August 9, 2005, also at Akron.

The 'Wolves pitching has been much better as of late, including some help from young guys. Guillermo Moscoso made his Double-A debut on Sunday and he pitched six strong innings, allowing only three hits and striking out 10 Phillies hitters. Moscoso was 2-3 with a 2.42 ERA in 15 appearances at Lakeland. He had impressive strike out numbers, striking out 72 and walking 13 in 52 innings of work this season. Moscoso was the pitcher of the year at Oneonta last year where he fired a perfect game back on July 15, 2007 at Batavia.

Josh Rainwater fell just short of matching his best performance of the season, pitching seven shutout innings in a 9-0 victory on Saturday night. Rainwater allowed three hits and four walks in the first three innings before settling down and allowing only two hits in his final four innings of work. "He got better as the game went on, he was struggling with his command in the beginning of the game" Tom Brookens said. It was his best performance since he pitched eight scoreless innings with a season high nine strikeouts against Akron on July 3. "After the Bowie game when I gave up nine runs, I couldn't wait to get back out there" Rainwater said. Rainwater had his worst performance of the season last Sunday against the Bowie Baysox allowing eight earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. The win on Saturday improved his record to a team best 8-5 and he is second on the team with 64 strikeouts.

Luis Marte earned his first victory since returning off the disabled list on July 21 but he still didn't have great stuff. He pitched five innings and allowed five hits and two earned runs in an ugly 10-6 victory on Friday night. The 'Wolves committed seven errors but managed to win the game on the strength of 11 hits and a grand slam off the bat of Ryan Roberson. "He hasn't been as sharp as I've seen him be in the past and that may be a little bit of getting accustomed to Double-A" Brookens said, continuing "I liked the way he popped his fastball, I liked his change up and I liked the movement on his pitches tonight". Marte is slowly regaining the form that he had before injuring his elbow and being placed on the disabled list on May 23.

Roberson continues to lead the 'Wolves with 20 home runs and 65 RBI. After cooling off a little bit, Roberson is back to hitting the ball well. He was 7-for-26 this week with two home runs, including the grand slam on Friday night against Reading. "I had a few bad at-bats early because I wasn't getting my hands back, I figured the breaking ball was coming, I just tried to get my hands back and take a nice easy swing" Ryan Roberson talking about his grand slam on Friday night.

After sweeping the Reading Phillies the 'Wolves will try to continue their home success against the Harrisburg Senators. This will not be the final meeting between Erie and Harrisburg, they are scheduled to play a three game series in the final week of the season at Jerry Uht Park. Erie is expected to start LHP Danny Christensen (5-8, 4.21 ERA) on Monday,LHP Luke French (5-11, 4.22 ERA) on Tuesday and RHP Luis Marte (1-2, 6.08 ERA) on Wednesday. The 'Wolves complete the week by traveling to Reading for the final time this season. They will play only 10 of their remaining 26 games away from Jerry Uht Park.

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