Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mission Notes vs. Jupiter (July 20-23)

THE SERIES ... Lakeland swept Jupiter in four games on the road May 27-30 winning the first two games by one run and game three by two runs, before hammering the Hammerheads 12-2 in the finale. Chad Wright led Lakeland in the series with eight hits while five other Flying Tigers each had five base knocks. This four-game home series gets underway Sunday at 1:00 pm. Game two is Monday at 6:30 pm with game three Tuesday at 10:30 am as the Flying Tigers welcome area summer campers in a Parks and Recreation Day. The series finale is Wednesday at 6:30 pm.

THE FLYING TIGERS (6-21, 6th, 11.0 GB; 48-46 overall) ... Lakeland snapped a six-game losing streak with a 9-4 win at Charlotte on Saturday. Lance Durham homered and singled to drive in four runs to lead the Lakeland attack as eight of the nine Flying Tigers in the line-up all got base hits. Lakeland had ten base hits in the game for the first time in the nine games. In that stretch, the Flying Tigers hit just .207 with 27 base hits—11 doubles, 1 triple and 6 homers. Lakeland has the second lowest team batting average (.245) in the Florida State League while the staff ERA of 3.32 has dropped to sixth in the league. The Flying Tigers’ defense remains atop the FSL standings with a .980 fielding percentage and a league-low 72 errors.

THE HAMMERHEADS (5-22, 6th, 15.5 GB; 32-64 overall) ... Jupiter lost 12-7 at Dunedin Saturday despite out-hitting the Blue Jays 14-13. The loss was the Hammerheads’ third in a row and gives them a 10-39 record since May 23. Viosergy Rosa, who has played in more games (95) than any other FSL player this season, is second in the league with 63 runs batted in. Jupiter’s team batting average of .260 is tied for fifth best in the league while the staff ERA of 4.45 is second highest in the FSL. The Hammerheads have been charged with the second most errors in the league. However, Colin Moran tops all league third baseman with a .971 fielding percentage.

LAKELAND PROBABLE STARTERS:
7/20 - RHP Yorfrank Lopez (4-7, 4.60 ERA) ... Lopez has dropped his last three starts giving up a combined 13 runs—12 earned—on 21 hits with nine strikeouts and six walks. In his last start in the first game of a doubleheader at St. Lucie on July 14, he tossed 6.0 innings in a complete game, giving up three runs on eight hits. Over his last seven starts, he has a 2-4 record and a 3.16 ERA. Lopez has not faced Jupiter.
7/21 - RHP Kevin Eichhorn (5-2, 2.40 ERA) ... Eichhorn, who is sixth in the league with a 2.40 ERA, has not pitched since July 8 when he gave up one run on five hits in 5.0 innings in taking the win against Brevard County. He has allowed just three runs in his last 10.2 innings over his last two starts and has 11 starts in which he has held opponents to two or fewer runs. Eichhorn beat Jupiter on May 28 after giving up one run on four hits over 7.0 innings with four strikeouts and two walks.
7/22 - RHP Edgar De La Rosa (5-7, 2.52 ERA) ... De La Rosa, who ranks eighth in the FSL with a 2.52 ERA, lost his last start on July 17 at Charlotte, allowing three runs on seven hits over 7.0 innings. He has now lost three of his last four decisions. De La Rosa, who is also second in the FSL with a .211 opponents average, had given up just two earned runs in 31.1 innings prior to the July 17 outing. In a previous outing against Jupiter on May 29, he picked up the win by holding the Hammerheads to one unearned run on five hits in 7.0 innings with four strikeouts and one walk.
7/23 - LHP Locke St. John (0-2, 7.71 ERA) ... St. John was tagged with the loss in his last start on July 18 after giving up five runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings with three strikeouts and five walks. He has allowed three runs or more in each of his three starts and has struck out three batters in each game. St. John was wrapping up his junior year at the University of South Alabama when the Flying Tigers last played Jupiter.

DRUMMIN’ ALONG ... Calvin Drummond has allowed just three runs in last his last 16.1 innings over 12 appearances. He has struck out 23 in those 16.1 innings, but has also walked 10 batters.

AWESOME AUSTIN ... Austin Green has had hits in 12 of last 14 games (15x44) for a .341 clip.

MOVIN’ MAC ... Jeff McVaney is 7x21 (.333) his last six games.

ROCKIN’ ROBBINS ... James Robbins has hits in 11 of last 13 games (14x46) for a .304 mark, but has knocked in just five runs in the 13 contests. He is one of three players tied for second in the Florida State League with 12 home runs.

NON-JOLLY JULY ... Lakeland has managed a 3-13 record in July and just a .204 batting average in the month after going 10-13 in June with a .248 mark. The Flying Tigers are 13-26 since going 19-10 in May.

MOYA NAMED ASG MVP ... Former Flying Tiger Steven Moya was named the Eastern League All-Star Game MVP. Moya, playing for Erie and the West Division, belted a grand slam in the fifth inning to lift his squad to a 5-2 win over the East. He finished the first half of the season leading the Eastern League with 22 homers and was second with 75 RBI.

PAIR OF FORMER FLYING TIGERS MAKE MLB DEBUTS ... Former Flying Tigers Drew VerHagen and Curt Casali made their Major League debuts on Friday. VerHagen, who pitched during the 2012 and 2013 seasons for Lakeland, started for Detroit Friday and struck out four in 5.0 innings, but gave up three runs on five hits in getting the loss. Casali, who played for the Flying Tigers in 2012, started behind the plate for the Tampa Bay Rays and wasted no time in getting his first big league hit, singling in his first at bat.

BIG FINISH ... Daytona and Fort Myers battled for 17 innings on Friday night before Rock Shoulders hit a walk-off grand slam to give the Cubs a 11-7 win over the Miracle. The two pitching staffs combined for 39 strikeouts, one shy of the Florida State League of 40 set in a 29-inning game between Miami (Orioles) and St. Petersburg (Cardinals) on June 14, 1966. (On a side note, the manager of the St. Petersburg club in that game was Sparky Anderson, who would go on to win World Series titles with Cincinnati and Detroit.)

FSL QUICK HITS ... The grand slam by Daytona’s Rock Shoulders on Friday was his second of the season and the 23rd bases-loaded homer in the FSL this season. Adam Brett Walker has had three of Ft. Myer’s league-high seven grand slams. Lakeland’s James Robbins and Lance Durham have each hit one grand slam this season ... Brevard County’s Victor Roache is the only player in the FSL to hit three homers in one game this season, going yard thrice on May 4 ... The Manatee’s Tyrone Taylor and the Cubs’ Albert Almora have each hit for the cycle this year ... Lakeland’s Curt Powell is one of three players in the FSL to have five hits in a game twice this season. Daytona’s Almora and Tampa’s Jake Cave are the others ... There hasn’t been a no-hitter in the FSL since Daytona’s Matt Lossen kept Dunedin hitless in a 9-inning win on July 8, 2013. The Miracle’s Jose Berrios came the closest this season, throwing a one-hitter over seven innings on June 1 against Tampa. 

CLOSING IN ON 4000 ... Lakeland enters the Jupiter series with 3,993 all-time wins, needing seven more victories to reach 4,000. Lakeland has a 3,993-4,227 record since 1963.

UP NEXT ... Lakeland concludes an eight-game home stand by hosting Bradenton for four games May 24-27. The Flying Tigers then hit the road for four games at Palm Beach May 28-31, before returning for yet another eight-game homestand with Fort Myers August 1-4 and then Dunedin hitting town Aug. 5-8. Lakeland will close out the season with just eight home games over the final three weeks.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mission Notes vs. Charlotte (July 16-19)

THE SERIES ... The last time these two clubs met, it took 19 innings and over five hours to decide the winner with Charlotte emerging with the 5-3 win. The Flying Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the sixth in that game with the Stone Crabs coming to tie it in the eighth. That’s the way it remained until Charlotte plated two runs in the top of the 19th. The two teams combined for 30 hits in 143 at bats while eleven pitchers on the two teams combined for 34 strikeouts. Charlotte took the series opener 8-0 while Lakeland won games two and three by scores of 9-4 and 6-4 as the two squads split the four games. Curt Powell and Jared Reaves both had seven hits in the series for Lakeland while Connor Harrell added six knocks. Leonardo Reginatto led Charlotte with six hits while Justin O’Connor and Andrew Toles each had five. The second half has not been kind to these two teams as they have combined for a 12-35 record. 

THE FLYING TIGERS (5-18, 6th, 10.0 GB; 47-43 overall) ... Lakeland won the opening game of its last series with a 9-3 victory at St Lucie, but the Mets came back to take the last three games including a doubleheader sweep, 3-2 and 6-1, on Monday. The Flying Tigers are 2-14 dating back to June 26. James Robbins is one of three players tied for second in the Florida State League with 12 home runs. The Flying Tigers are batting just .208 in the month of July with 98 strikeouts in 379 at bats. Lakeland’s staff ERA of 3.23 has dropped to fifth while the team batting average of .247 is second lowest in the FSL. 

THE STONE CRABS (7-17, 5th, 11.0 GB; 38-53 overall) ... Charlotte won game one of its series against Brevard County 6-2 and then lost the next two 2-1 and 7-5 with the finale begin rained out. The Stone Crabs are 4-4 their last eight games and 8-23 since June 7. Leonardo Reginatto is 10th in the Florida State League with a .303 average while Patrick Leonard is of three players tied for second in the league with 12 homers and ranks second with a .489 slugging percentage. He has also scored 59 runs, which is second most in the FSL and is third with 153 total bases. Thomas Cole ranks third with 19 stolen bases while Justin O’Connor is second with 27 doubles and tied with Leonard for second with 35 extra base hits. The Stone Crabs 4.22 ERA is fourth highest in the league while the team batting average of .258 ranks sixth in the FSL.

LAKELAND PROBABLE STARTERS:
7/15 - RHP Kevin Eichhorn (5-2, 2.40 ERA) ... Eichhorn gave up one run on five hits in 5.0 innings in taking the win against Brevard County on July 8. He has allowed just three runs in his last 10.2 innings over his last two starts and has 11 starts in which he has held opponents to two or fewer runs. Eichhorn worked 6.2 innings in his only previous start against Charlotte on May 23. He struck out five and walked two in that game while holding the Stone Crabs to two runs on three hits.
7/16 - RHP Edgar De La Rosa (5-6, 2.39 ERA) ... De La Rosa got the win in his last start on July 11 at St. Lucie after holding the Mets to one unearned run on four hits. He has now allowed just three runs—two earned—in his last 31.1 innings and five starts for a 0.57 ERA. He has 12 starts in which he has held opponents to two or fewer earned runs. De La Rosa, who leads the FSL with a .205 opponents batting average, has not faced Charlotte this season.
7/17 - LHP Locke St. John (0-1, 6.75 ERA) ... St. John is making his third start of the season. He has surrendered nine runs—seven earned—in his first two outings with six strikeouts and five walks and nine hits allowed. In his last start, he worked 5.0 innings at St. Lucie on July 12 and gave up three runs on four hits with three strikeouts and three walks. He has not faced Charlotte this season.
7/18 - RHP Yorfrank Lopez (4-7, 4.60 ERA) ... Lopez has dropped his last three starts giving up a combined 13 runs—12 earned—on 21 hits with nine strikeouts and six walks. In his last start in the first game of a doubleheader at St. Lucie on July 14, he tossed 6.0 innings in a complete game, giving up three runs on eight hits. Over his last seven starts, he has a 2-4 record and a 3.16 ERA. In his one previous start against Charlotte on May 20, he surrendered a season-high eight runs-—only three of which were earned—on a season-high 10 hits allowed in taking the loss.

HURLERS PROMOTED ... On Tuesday, Detroit promoted pitchers Jake Thompson and Josh Turley to AA Erie. Thompson was 6-4 with a 3.14 ERA while Turley was 7-1 with a 1.85 ERA. Turley leads the Florida State League with a 0.96 WHIP and ranks second with a 1.85 ERA and a .205 opponents batting average while ranking fifth with 81 strikeouts. Tommy Collier, who played for Lakeland last season, rejoins the Flying Tigers from AA Erie where he was 4-7 with a 5.88 ERA in 17 starts.  

ONCE, TWICE, THRICE ... Austin Green entered the recent St. Lucie series with four homers on the year. He left with seven as the All-Star catcher homered in each of the first three games of the series. Green had hit just two homers last season in 24 games at Connecticut and 11 games at West Michigan. Green has hits in seven of his last nine games, going 10-for-30 during that stretch for a .333 clip. 

GOING YARD ... Lakeland homered in five straight games from July 8-14, collecting seven homers. In addition, the Flying Tigers have had at least one double in eight straight games for 11 two-baggers. 

STEADY HAROLD ... Harold Castro has hits in six of the last seven games he has played and is 6-for-23 during that stretch. 

ROLL A SIX ... Jared Reaves brings a six-game hit streak into this series and is 7-for-19 during those half dozen games with a .368 mark.

JAMMIN’ JAMES ... James Robbins has collected at least one hit in eight of his last nine game and is 11-for-34 for a .324 average with six runs. 

DIRKS RECALLED ... on Wednesday, Detroit recalled Andy Dirks, who was in Lakeland on a MLB rehab assignment. The outfielder batted .313 in six games with the Flying Tigers going 5-for-16 with four runs scored.

DRAFT CLASS STAFF ... All three of Lakeland’s pitchers in the 5-4 extra-inning loss on July 12 were products of this year’s draft by Detroit. Locke St. John, the Tiger’s pick in the 32nd round, started the game and allowed three runs on four hits over 5.0 innings. Trent Szkutnik, who was Detroit’s pick in the 20th round, made his Lakeland debut and gave up one run on 2.0 hits in 2.0 innings. Nate Fury, a 36th round pick by the Tigers, worked the final 2.1 innings and, despite striking out three, took the loss when his wild pitch in the 10th allowed the winning run to score.

RARE START ... With Jake Thompson having played in the SiriusXM Futures All-Star Game on Sunday, reliever Logan Ehlers made his first start of the season in game two of Monday’s doubleheader. He gave up two unearned runs in 2.1 innings as five Flying Tigers pitched shared time on the mound. It was just the second start in two seasons for Ehlers and the fifth of his three-year career.

PROSPECTS SQUARE OFF IN FUTURES GAME ... Detroit prospects Jake Thompson of Lakeland and Steven Moya of Erie, faced each other in the SiriusXM Futures All-Star Game on Sunday. Moya started for the World Team while Thompson came on in relief to face Moya in the top of the sixth inning. Thompson got the best of his organizational teammate, striking out Moya on a called third strike to end the inning. Thompson would come back to open the seventh and strike out a second batter before being leaving the game as the pitcher of record and getting the win. Moya struck out twice and walked in four at bats while playing the entire game in left field.

UP NEXT ... Lakeland will take July 15 off and then play a four-game series at Charlotte on July 16-19. Once returning to Joker Marchant Stadium on July 20, Lakeland will play 16 of 20 games at home with two eight game home stands extending into August sandwiched around a four-game road trip.