Erie started this recent stretch off in Akron (29-30). The ‘Wolves led the season series 2-1 after Akron visited Jerry Uht Park on May 10-12. At the time Akron was in the cellar of the Western Division and Erie was riding high.
Things were different this time when the two teams met.
The Aeros swept all three games from the ‘Wolves. The Erie offense managed just six runs in the series, while the pitching surrendered 13 runs.
Erie (26-32) moved on to Bowie after being swept and split the two games that were played there. Another came was suspended and will resume on June 28, at 6:00 p.m. Erie is 8-3 on the year against the Baysox.
The ‘Wolves returned home for a much needed six game home stand. There opponent in the first three games of the series was the Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox).
Home was not the answer as Erie dropped the first two games of the series 4-3 and 10-6.
Portland Comes to Town
The Sea Dogs (31-27) came to Erie for their first and only time of the season. Portland had struggled against the ‘Wolves at Jerry Uht Park in recent seasons. Erie has dominated the Sea Dogs winning the last four series before Portland took the first two games of the recent three game series.
Portland took game one of the series despite Erie sending TigsTown's No. 9 prospect Andrew Oliver to the mound.
Oliver (5-3, 3.80) struggled in the game. Although he struck out three batters through the first two innings, he did surrender four straight hits and escaped the second inning only because of Deik Scram (TigsTown's No. 30 prospect) cut down Juan Apodaca at the plate.
"He (Oliver) didn't have his great stuff and was still able to get outs," said manager Phil Nevin. "He just ran into trouble, but I saw a lot of good things from him."
The second game was a different story.
Erie jumped out to a 4-0 lead off of Portland starter Robert Coello. This time it was the Portland pitcher hanging around and battling.
The ‘Wolves fell apart surrendering 10 unanswered runs to Portland.
A Year Removed
It has been nearly a year from when TigsTown's No. 49 prospect Duane Below went under the knife and had Tommy John surgery.
Some may not remember that Below in 2009 started the season in Lakeland and earned a promotion to Erie after posting an impressive 1.86 ERA in the Florida State League. The left-hander started out strong in Erie going 1-0 in his two starts before suffering his injury.
The numbers might not look all that impressive for Below (2-5, 4.15), but his stuff is starting to round back into shape. His fastball is sitting in the low 90s, touching as high as 93 MPH recently. He has shown the ability to control the fastball in recent starts.
What has been really impressive for Below is that his breaking ball is starting to round into shape. It is showing good bite, and he is starting to have better control with it.
Although there is still caution when he is on the mound and he still has a pitch count going, good things should be expected of Below in the future.
Ramirez Gets Promoted, Scram Comes Back to Erie
TigsTown's No. 5 prospect outfielder Wilkin Ramirez was called up to Triple-A Toledo. Ramirez led the Eastern League in home runs at the time of his promotion with 15. He also led the Eastern League in strikeouts with 82.
"It was neat to give Wilkin the news," said Nevin. "It was difficult for him to start the year off in Double-A, but he was a leader, a positive guy, and did everything we asked."
"Hopefully he'll do what he was doing here (Erie) there (Toledo)."
To make room for Wilkin in Toledo the Mud Hens sent Deik Scram back to Erie.
Scram was promoted to Triple-A earlier in the season despite hitting just .192 at the time. In Toledo Scram was hitting .208 in 31 games. "I struggled really for the first time in my career," said Scram. "I'm back here to work on my swing and get back up to Toledo."
He did take the demotion in stride.
"I have a job, and I'm going to focus on working hard and getting better," Scram said.
- Michael Bertram collected his team leading 17th multi-hit game of the season in the ‘Wolves 10-6 loss to Portland. Bertram is batting .279 on the season and .316 (12-for-36) over his last 10 games.
- Erie is a member of the 60-60 Club right now. The ‘Wolves lead the Eastern League with 62 home runs on the season, and are second with 60 stolen bases on the year.
- Ben Johnson was signed as a minor league free agent and assigned to the SeaWolves. Chris White was sent to Lakeland to make room for Johnson. - Erie completes their six-game home stand with the final game against Portland on Thursday before welcoming the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. New Hampshire currently is in first-place in the Eastern League Eastern Division by ½ game over the Trenton Thunder.