"I was talking to Ray (Burris) the other day," said manager Phil Nevin. "And we said it's nice to have the same group for awhile. Early in the year we had a group together and we were in first-place. Then a lot of things changed, but that is minor league baseball."
"Now we have this group that played in Lakeland together, and we are playing well."
"They're a good group of guys."
The overall record of 59-71 may not be impressive but the recent success allows the ‘Wolves to play spoiler over the final week and a half of the season.
Erie began this past week at home taking two of three from the Reading Phillies (62-66). In the opener TigsTown's No. 42 prospect Thad Weber had his third straight strong outing. Against the Phillies Weber had his third straight quality start working 7 2/3 innings allowing three runs, while striking out seven.
"Thad's been throwing the ball well," said Nevin. "He's an inning guy, and you know he is going to work deep into games."
Weber has thrown at least five innings in all of his 25 starts, and leads the Eastern League in innings pitched at 167 2/3. What Weber has improved on of late is putting batters away. In his last three starts he has 26 strikeouts while only walking five.
"He's (Weber) a very good pitcher, said catcher John Murrian. "He just knows where he wants to throw the ball and he is usually puts it there."
"Thad knows when to waste and not waste pitches," Nevin said. "He's very efficient."
Erie closed the series out against the Phillies splitting a doubleheader on Sunday August 22. Andy Shawler picked up the win.
After the quick home stand Erie hit the road for Altoona (76-53). This was the last time that Altoona and Erie would meet for the season, and it was the first opportunity that the ‘Wolves had to shake things up in the Eastern League Western Division.
Unfortunately Erie dropped the first two games of the three game series before salving a victory in the finale.
TigsTown's No. 47 prospect Adam Wilk made an impressive Double-A debut on Wednesday. The left-hander worked eight scoreless innings, allowing just one hit.
The ‘Wolves now move on to Akron for a four game series. Erie and the Aeros play eight games over the final week and a half. Akron (66-64) is 10 ½ games out of first-place in the Western Division but trail Harrisburg by only 3 ½ games for the final playoff spot.
Erie has had close to 100 transactions this season with many of them coming from Lakeland after earning their promotion to Double-A.
Lakeland had a strong first half of the season going 37-33. The success of the Flying Tigers and the injuries that Detroit suffered allowed for the promotion of players through out the organization.
"We have a lot of chemistry since we've played together in Lakeland, and it really helps," Murrian said.
That chemistry has been evident since this is the best the ‘Wolves have played since earlier in the season.
TigsTown's No. 19 prospect Brandon Douglas has been one of the emerging stars for Erie. He is batting .354 in his 23 games with the ‘Wolves. He also always seems to be involved in late rallies for the team.
The second baseman has shown versatility of late playing shortstop due to the recent promotion of Cale Iorg (TigsTown's No. 14 prospect).
"Douglas said to me during a game the other day that we were now an all Lakeland infield," said third baseman Bryan Pounds.
The infield consisted of Pounds (third base), Douglas (shortstop), Carrithers (second base, TigsTown's No. 41 prospect), and Rawley Bishop (first base).
The youthful influence has been well received from the Erie fans, and Pounds said it best.
"We're trying to finish strong so we can open some eyes in the organization, and hopefully start in Erie together next year."
One of the staples of the Erie pitching rotation Thad Weber earned a promotion recently. That promotion allowed for Adam Wilk to come up and make his Double-A debut.
"I don't know a whole lot about these guys," said Nevin. " What I do know is that Mansilla is a tools guy, but he may be a little young to be here, so we'll put him in positions that we feel he can succeed in."
"Wyant can play all over the field and he has some surprising pop in his bat."
"And we feel Murrian is one of the top-prospects and he'll get the bulk of the catching innings, especially since (Jeff) Kunkel got hurt."
- Erie starter Brooks Brown has struggled of late. The right-hander has lost his last two outings allowing 11 earned runs in just 5 1/3 innings of work.
- Alden Carrithers has been sizzling over his last 10 games. The second baseman/outfielder is hitting .406 (13-for-32). Carrithers a left-handed hitter has handled left-handed pitching extremely well batting .320 (16-for-50) since arriving in Erie.