Erie MLN: And They're Back!

Just when we thought they were down and out, the SeaWolves show up and play the most inspired baseball we've seen from them since before the All-Star break, and has everyone buzzing again about their chances of capturing the Southern Division's Wild Card.

A 16-0 no-hit shutout over the division leaders will do that for a team, especially when you prove it was no fluke by following it up with an 8-1 win the very next day.

The Erie SeaWolves are back.

Just last week I filled this space with a eugology of sorts. The team was pretty much dead. They had dropped eight of their last 11 games, the offense wasn't producing, the pitchers looked like they were going through the motions, and then Thad Weber showed up on his white horse and threw arguably the best game the Eastern League has seen this season, this side of Jeanmar Gomez's perfect game for Akron earlier this season.

Then Ryan Strieby re-emerged after battling his wrist issues and then another stint on the bench after getting plunked in the head earlier this week. With his first game back on Saturday, he made sure we all realized that he was fine and well by bashing two-homers, one a grand slam, in his first two trips to the plate.

Even Cale Iorg is hitting the ball, as he went 3-for-5 over the first two games against Akron before missing Saturday's game after taking a knee to the head while sliding into second on Friday night.

You want to know how much of a turn-around there has been in Erie in recent days?

Iorg posted a .462 OBP over the last seven games, well up from the .279 he's carrying on the year.

Ramon Garcia, the owner of a 5.79 ERA, threw 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball against Akron on Saturday in that 8-1 win.

Even Jeff Kunkel, who has never been known for his bat, went 3-for-5 with a homer and two doubles on Friday.

"They say that offense is contagious. When one guy starts hitting, everyone else does too. I think that's what has been going on here," Kunkel said. "It couldn't come at a better time, though."

Erie ended up splitting the series with Akron 2-2, but that isn't important. What is important is that this team is no longer a walking corpse. There's life back in the Erie clubhouse.

This couldn't have come at a better time, either. With Erie a game and half away from a playoff spot, this is the perfect time for them to peak. They are currently trailing the Reading Phils, and happen to be heading there today for a pivotal three game set.

Things could be better, though.

Pat Stanley could be lost for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

"It's always disappointing to get hurt, but I don't look at it that way. I put it in God's hands. He has a plan, everything happens for a reason. If I can't pitch again this year I'm sure there's a reason for it and some other opportunity will come along because of it," Stanley said.

Stanley had MRIs taken this week that will be sent to the team doctor in Detroit, who will then determine the appropriate action to take moving forward.

Andy Dirks is also nursing an injury and at this point is considered day-to-day.

However, they will get a much needed lift in the bullpen with Alfredo Figaro returning to Erie to start his Major League rehab assignment after he injured his wrist in July.

"The team is planning on using him as reliever down the stretch when rosters expand on Sept. 1, so that's the plan of action right now. I wouldn't expect to see him the rotation at any level the rest of the year," Brookens said.

Right now, Erie is just going to focus on each day and hope that they the win the one that is infront of them.

"Every game counts right now. I'd be lying if I said we weren't keeping an eye on Reading, but we can't be worried about them right now. We just have to come out, take care of business and, if we do, everything will work itself out," Weber said.

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