Lakeland certainly had their opportunities to move up in the standings. The starting rotation provided four quality starts and two near quality starts. When the pitching staff came through and pitched a gem, the bats would stay in the dugout. When the starter left the game in the bullpen's hands, the relief wouldn't come.
The Flying Tigers were outscored 22-to-26 for a negative four run differential. It was a tough week to point a finger at since, at some point, some aspect of the team wouldn't carry its weight.
To find the silver lining in the games this week, you'd have to look at the starting rotation. The 4.38 ERA for the starters during the week doesn't really do it justice. The only poor outing came when Charlie Furbrush was starting against the Mets.
Furbrush was cruising along in his start striking out three of the first seven batters. Then he had to sit in the dugout for close to an hour. The Flying Tigers were starting a rally and then the rain came for a 20 minute delay. When Furbrush finally took the mound again he didn't have his control, walking three batters including one with the bases loaded. After just two and two thirds of an inning Furbrush was pulled for Brett Jacobson, who promptly allowed a grand slam to the first batter he faced.
It was a rough start, but it could have had a different outcome. It looked like Furbrush could have pitched like he did in Palm Beach, where he threw six innings of two hit ball. If it wasn't for the rain the results may have been different, though we shall never know.
Without Furbrush's tough outing the starters ERA would be a very solid 3.22. Lauren Gagnier was the most snake bitten starter for the week. Lakeland squandered his two quality road starts. The first came when L.J. Gagnier took the hill in Palm Beach. In his six innings of work he struck out a season high ten batters, but the results were a loss.
The second outing Gagnier only allowed two hits in six innings while striking out six batters, which also resulted in a loss. In each start the two runs he allowed were one too many. Losing two to one twice in one week should be a crime. If the Lakeland bats could have shown up it could have been a remarkably different outcome for the week.
In his first start since being elected to the Florida State League All-Star team Thad Weber boasted a quality start. Weber followed pitching coach Joe Coleman's philosophy by pounding the strike zone into submission. Of the 91 pitches he threw 65 percent of them were for strikes and he only allowed one free pass.
The admirable start was wasted when Brendan Wise allowed two runs in his inning of work. Wise threw a 91mph fastball that was left in the middle of the plate, which resulted in a towering homerun to right field that cleared the scoreboard. Wise did show some resiliency, the very next batter Wise threw a perfectly place 90mph fastball on the outside corner to strikeout the Mets most dangerous hitter. It's just too bad it happened one batter too late.
The most consistent threat in the Flying Tigers lineup has been Kody Kaiser. Kaiser has hit some monster home runs while batting from the left side of the plate, though this week he showed some power when he hit his first home run while batting right handed. The daunting moon shot also broke a bizarre streak. This was the first game where Kaiser hit a round tripper which resulted in a win. He's hoping to start a less ominous streak, while he continues his five game tear.
The Flying Tigers lineup almost took a significant hit when Michael Bertram went down. Bertram jammed the wrist on his throwing arm which pulled him from a game and had him out of the starting lineup for two games. It looks like there won't be any significant prolonged affects since he was back in the starting lineup on Sunday. In the game Bertram pulled a double to right in his first at-bat. If he can stay healthy the lineup should continue to score runs, which fits right into a week full of ifs.