The sun came just in the knick of time. Jordan Newton and the rest of the Flying Tigers were starting to feel the affect of the long layoff. "I was just talking to a couple of my teammates and we were talking about being sore after the first couple of games we played after the long break" They couldn't of drawn a worse opponent to break the rust off. The Jupiter Hammerheads are third in the Florida State League with a team ERA of 2.92
It looked like Lakeland caught a break when the rain started on Tuesday to suspend the game with reigning pitcher of the week Jose Rosario on the mound. However it just made the trek harder. Lakeland had to face Major Leaguer Anibal Sanchez then Rosario in the same game. It was just one of those weeks for the Flying Tigers.
You could say Lakeland were fortunate to win half their games this week. They were out scored for the week 26-36 which brought the season's run differential to -8. It could have been a lot worse if Lakeland didn't find their offensive stroke. They scored 51 percent more runs in May than they did in April. It only translated into a .500 record for the month but they were able to improve in one key area.
Going into Palm Beach the Flying Tigers were just 2-6 in one run games. After going into extra innings and trailing in the ninth, the results could have been disastrous. Instead Chris white and Michael Bertram came through in the clutch to win two one-run contests on the road.
In all close games, it's vital for your team to have strong arms in the back of the bullpen. Scott Green has been bearing the load for the Flying Tigers all season. In his past ten games he allowed just one run in 13 innings, while striking out 12 batters. Green has been attacking the zone with his fastball and using his curve to get strikeouts. It helped this weekend when he pitched in back to back games to earn the save in the first contest against Palm Beach and the win on Sunday's game.
Green does have a tendency to walk a tight rope when he's on the mound. With a WHIP of 1.61, it's far from ideal to average that many base runners in save situations. He does make the majority of hitters earn their way on which is part of the attacking nature of the Lakeland staff. However opposing batters are hitting .329 off of him. His bend but don't break appearances are hard to take, but he is still getting the job done.
The versatile arm of Trevor Feeney also has been coming through for Lakeland. Feeney has been in almost every situation a pitcher can expect to get in. He has been a late inning reliever, earning two saves. He has been used in middle and long relief. On Sunday he rounded out his pitching resume when he made his first start. He pitched admirably, going five innings without giving up a run and only allowing five men to reach base while striking out four. The successful start has brought his ERA for May down to just 2.07 in 13 innings of work. His ability to adapt to the task at hand has been a savior for the Lakeland pitching staff.
The runs seem to be coming in bunches in Lakeland. It helps when the middle of the order are coming through with hits. Kody Kaiser has made a home in the lineup while batting third. He has been batting .357 in the past eight games with four extra base hits. Not too be out done Michael Bertram has been providing some hits of his own. In the past nine games Bertram has had an OBP of .515 and batting a hot .393. If they can come close to this productivity, the Flying Tigers might have the fire power to go on the winning streak they need to get back in contention.