Erie MLN: Finishing Strong

When a baseball season comes to a close a team tries to finish strong, and take solace in the strides they have made. That is just what the Erie SeaWolves are doing in the month of August and into September.

"There is something to be said about finishing strong," said manager Phil Nevin. "A lot of these guys know they will probably back here next year so they want to carry momentum into the off-season."

If this is an audition for next year then these players should and, will be getting callbacks.

The ‘Wolves (63-74) finished the month of August with a 17-11 record and got a huge monkey of their back when they defeated Akron 7-4 on Sunday. It was the first time Erie won in Akron since May 24, 2009, a 19-game losing streak.

"I don't know what it was about the place, it's just a black-hole," said Nevin. "We just had a different energy there that was uncharacteristic of our club."

"We came out Sunday and didn't want to get swept obviously."

The ‘Wolves used the momentum built from finally winning in Akron to take the first three games of a four game series against the Richmond Flying Squirrels (64-72). Erie has won four straight games and has a chance to sweep Richmond and even their record against the Squirrels at 7-7 for the year.

Erie also evened their record at home to 33-33, with five games left on the schedule. There is as said before one against Richmond and four more against the Aeros (70-67).

Thanks to the four-game wining streak Erie finished the week with a 4-3 record.

Driving the Squirrels Nuts

The ‘Wolves have limited Richmond to just five runs through the first three games of their four game series.

TigsTown's No. 47 prospect left-hander Adam Wilk got the Richmond series started off on the right foot tossing eight innings of two hit baseball, allowing the only run to score on a Clay Timpner home run. The crafty lefty struck out eight hitters.

In two starts in with the ‘Wolves Wilk is 2-0 with a miniscule 0.56 ERA.

"It's been great coming up here," Wilk said. "Anytime you can move up a level that's what you want to do."

Also in the mix of driving the Squirrels crazy has been TigsTown's No. 19 prospect Brandon Douglas and No. 16 prospect Billy Nowlin. So far in the series the two have combined to go 12-for-22 (.545), 5 RBIs, 2 HR, and 6 runs scored. "Douglas has been steady since he got here," said Nevin. "Same with Billy they come up with hits in key situations."

Former ‘Wolves Follow Up

There have been a lot of transactions in the Detroit organization with many of them going through Erie. Some have made their way to the Triple-A level while others have spent some time in the Majors.

Former TigsTown's No. 5 prospect Wilkin Ramirez was designated for assignment shortly after he participated in the Futures Game over All-Star weekend. He has landed with the Atlanta Braves organization and is currently with their Triple-A team in Gwinnett. Ramirez hit .241 with Erie and still has the team lead in home runs with 15.

Former catcher Max St. Pierre earned a promotion to the Detroit Tigers after moving up from Erie to Toledo. St. Pierre struggles some while in Erie only producing a .217 average, but had maybe the biggest hit of the season, a walk-off home run on his 30th birthday. At Toledo St. Pierre batted .300 in 39 games.

TigsTown's No. 2 prospect Andy Oliver reached the Majors earlier than many may have expected. In his first two starts Oliver picked up losses, but allowed just four earned runs. Then things started to unravel. Over his next three starts the lefty allowed 14 earned runs in just 10 innings of work. No one doubts the left-handers fastball but there is a lot of work that needs to be done with his secondary pitches. Oliver struggled with command while in Detroit walking 13 in 22 innings.

Outfielder and TigsTown's No. 32 prospect Andy Dirks may have had the biggest rise of any former SeaWolves player. While in Erie Dirks was named a mid-season all-star while hitting .278. Since arriving in Toledo Dirks has continued to produce batting .328 in his 17 games.

Utility infielder Shawn Roof has made the most of his opportunity at Toledo. Roof has played 22 games and is batting .368 in that span. He has been especially hot in his last 10 games hitting .419.

"No one deserved the call-up more," said Nevin.

Shortstop Cale Iorg was the last of the ‘Wolves regulars to be called up to Toledo. After struggling for the majority of the season at Erie TigsTown's No. 14 prospect started quickly, but as of late has started to come back to Earth. In his last 10 games he is hitting .262, but has struck out 12 times (151 times in 122 games combined between Erie and Toledo). His average sits at .271 in his 12 games. If his average could maintain that level over the next year Iorg could have a chance to make it to the Majors since it is his offense that is holding him back.

Quick Hits

- TigsTown's No. 21 prospect Duane Below has been strong in his last three outings leaving with the lead in each of them. He earned his sixth win of the season against Akron in their series finale.

- With a win Thursday Erie will be tied with Richmond for last place in the Eastern League Western Division and if they close out strong against Akron they could climb out of the cellar all together.

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