Lakeland MLN: Late Push Comes to a Halt

A promising August run at competing for the second-half division title came to a screeching halt last week. After dropping three straight to the first-place Tampa Yankees over the weekend, Monday's double-header, scheduled to make-up for a rainout earlier in the year, was canceled due to additional showers.

Those three losses dropped the Flying Tigers under .500, at 27-29, and 9.5 games out of first place with 12 games to play, effectively slamming any open playoff doors.

The Flying Tigers entered the week 11-5 for the month and winners of six of their last eight. After taking two out of three from Brevard County to start the week, they were just 6.5 games behind Tampa before their scheduled weekend five-game series.

That's when the bats fell asleep.

Jacob Turner threw five innings of shutout baseball in the first game against Tampa, striking out seven and allowing just four hits. However, he got the no-decision, as the Lakeland offense mustered just four hits of their own and failed to score while the Yankees tagged the Flying Tigers' bullpen for four runs in the final four innings, and Lakeland fell, 4-0.

On Sunday, in the first game of their first scheduled double-header, back-to-back doubles by Gustavo Nunez and Kyle Peter to start the game gave the Flying Tigers their first lead of the series, as they jumped out to an early 1-0 lead.

But it wouldn't last long.

Lakeland would add just two more hits in the game, both by Jordan Lennerton, and lose the game, 4-1. The nightcap was similar, as Lakeland scored early to tie the game 1-1 in the second inning. But the Yankees poured on seven runs, including a four-run fourth inning, to cruise to an 8-1 win.

Despite the week's struggles and sliding out of contention, likely for good, Lennerton had another good week. He was 10-for-21 with a pair of doubles and three home runs during the week, and he is now hitting .325 with a .408 OBP and a .554 slugging percentage, giving him a team-high .963 OPS. His nine home runs also lead the team.

He also won FSL Player of the Week honors for the period of August 16-22, belting two game-winning home runs during that stretch while hitting .406 and slugging .938. Lennerton is the third consecutive Flying Tiger to win such honors, as pitchers Jon Kibler and Adam Wilk won FSL Pitcher of the Week the two previous weeks.

Wilk did not fare well in his most recent start, allowing five runs (one earned) on six hits in five innings against Brevard County. Nevertheless, the 22-year-old lefty and his team-high nine wins were called-up to Double-A Erie on Tuesday.

Likely out of contention, the Flying Tigers (27-29) host the last-place Dunedin Blue Jays (24-33) in a three-game set. They play six of their last 12 against Dunedin, and play the second-place Daytona Cubs (35-23) in the other six games to round-out the 2010 season.

Transactions:

8/24

LHP Cole Nelson and RHP Bruce Rondon assigned to Lakeland Flying Tigers from GCL Tigers

RHP Erik Crichton and LHP Adam Wilk assigned to Erie Sea Wolves from Lakeland Flying Tigers

8/23

OF Alexander Moreno assigned to Lakeland Flying Tigers from GCL Tigers

CF Kyle Peter assigned to Lakeland Flying Tigers from Erie Sea Wolves

8/22

RHP Jeff Barfield assigned to Lakeland Flying Tigers from GCL Tigers

8/20

CF Luis Castillo and C Gabriel Purroy assigned to Lakeland Flying Tigers from GCL Tigers

OF Brent Wyatt, FL Matthew Mansilla and C John Murrian assigned to Erie SeaWolves from Lakeland Flying Tigers


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