It was only a week ago when the Lakeland Flying Tigers, briefly, had first place, but a lot can happen in only a few days. The road ahead saw them battling the team they hadd seesawed the top spot with (and the team they'd previously gone 1-2 with earlier this month) the Clearwater Threshers, and the league champion Tampa Yankees (of which they'd previously gone 1-3 to start out the season).
After going 2-3 this past week, Lakeland is now at .500 (9-9), and two games behind in fourth place above Daytona and Brevard County. Just a bit of a setback, but the season is still young.
With the Flying Tigers now on a losing skid, what exactly happened? For starters, Tyler Stohr, and Lester Oliveros were added to the seven-day DL due to elbow and bicep injuries, and they lost Ramon Garcia to Erie. On a higher note, Michael Morrison and Rob Waite found themselves reassigned to the club this past week, along with a reactivated Austin Wood who struck out the side in his return to the mound this past Friday night against Clearwater.
Another thing hurting the club is still being without Casey Crosby - TigsTown's #1 prospect has been on the DL from the start of the year and is unlikely to return anytime soon. However, Tigers minor league pitching coordinator Greg Sabat recently indicated an upcoming throwing program to try to get him back on the field. Some good news to hang onto as an ace at the top of the rotation would be a huge help!
At the plate, Brent Wyatt has continued his hot hitting. He had nine hits this past week (good for a .474 average) with three RBI, and a near-cycle performance came from John Murrian Sunday, in Tampa, when he fell a triple short of attaining every hit with two RBI.
One final player off to an early season slump but showing signs of a break out is Billy Nowlin, who had 6 hits in 21 at-bats this week. Nowlin is still hitting just .192 but still leads the team in RBI (just ahead of Rawley Bishop and Alden Carrithers) and should be one of the club's top hitters.
This next week, the LFT take aim at a three game stretch in Daytona before heading home to host two games against third place Dunedin, and another three against Daytona. With a 6-2 record at home, where the LFT fell a little short last week on the road, this week could see a dramatic turnaround. So, expect some wins this week in Lakeland.