Although the ‘Wolves (45-66) have found themselves in the cellar of the Eastern League's Western Division they have never given up.
"This team battles," said manager Phil Nevin. "They play till the final out and I couldn't be prouder."
This was never more evident in Erie's 11-8 victory in the second game of the Binghamton (54-47) series. The Mets knocked out Erie starter Anthony Shawler after just 1 2/3 innings. Shawler surrendered five runs.
"Shaw didn't have his best stuff tonight," Nevin said.
With the season that Erie has had they could have easily packed it in and accepted defeat, but as said before this team battles.
Bryan Pounds brought Erie to within a run in the bottom of the second inning, connecting on a grand slam. It was part of a 3-for-5, five RBI, night for the third baseman. Since being recalled from Lakeland on July 26, Pounds has batted .313 with a home run and seven RBIs.
"Remember before he was sent back to Lakeland he had some big hits for us, but obviously tonight the grand slam was huge for us," said Nevin. "It got us back into the game and led us to a great team win."
With this solid week behind them Erie continues their first and only trip to New Britain (33-78) before finishing up in Reading (54-55). After the six-game road trip Erie returns home to face the Rock Cats before a familiar foe the Bowie Baysox (60-50) come to town.
Garcia to the Rescue
Ramon Garcia has had different roles for the ‘Wolves pitching staff this year. At first the left-hander found himself working out of the bullpen, but it wasn't before long that several transactions were made, and he found himself thrust into the starting rotation.
As a starter Garcia's numbers are not stellar. He started seven games and went 0-4 with a 7.59 ERA.
It's as a reliever that Garcia has found his calling in the organization. He has appeared in 13 games in relief. Garcia has a 2.51 ERA and has produced 18 strikeouts. Seven of those came in relief against the Binghamton Mets on July 30.
Garcia came in for an ineffective Anthony Shawler and held the Mets to just two runs over his four innings of work.
"The job Garcia did was just what we needed," said Nevin.
The only troubling thing that can be said of Garcia is as a left-handed reliever he is struggling to get lefties out. Left-handed hitters are batting .355 against him for the season. He will need to improve upon those numbers if he hopes to be moved up to Triple-A.
TigsTown's No. 19 prospect Brandon Douglas has made his presence known since being called-up to Erie. In just a small four game sampling the second baseman is batting .389. This comes on the heels of Douglass hitting .331 while at Lakeland.
In his very first start with the ‘Wolves Douglass went 3-for-5 while scoring two runs. He provides a solid contact hitter at the top of the line-up that allows Nevin to put runners in motion.
"He'll bat second most of the time," said Nevin. "He puts the bat on the ball and I like what I see from him."
This is promising to see Douglass in Erie this year because he was sidelined by a hamstring injury for most of the thing. If he can remain healthy he should continue to provide an offensive spark to the top of the Erie line-up.
Billy Nowlin (TigsTown's No. 16 prospect) garnered his first Double-A hit against the Altoona Curve on July 28, an infield single.
"I'm just happy to get that hit out of the way," said Nowlin.
Since his infield single the ‘Wolves First Baseman/Outfielder is hitting .350 with two home runs and eight RBIs.
"It's a fun experience to get up here (Erie)," said Nowlin. "Now I just have to get used to the pitching."
"There are a lot more off-speed pitches in fastball counts."
- Erie's most consistent offensive player outfielder Andy Dirks received a much-earned promotion to Triple-A Toledo this past week. Dirks, an Eastern League All-Star was batting .278 at the time of his promotion with career-high 11 home runs. He also led the Eastern League in outfield assists with 14.
- Reliever Zach Simons, also and Eastern League All-Star and TigsTown's No. 33 prospect earned a promotion to Triple-A Toledo too. Simons has not allowed a run over his last four games, working 5 1/3 innings. It marks his second promotion to Toledo this season. He did not appear in a game with the Mud Hens during his last stint.