Coming into the home stretch, several of the Tigers' minor league affiliates are officially preparing to end their season, an end that will not include postseason activity. Despite a rollercoaster campaign from Advanced-A up to the Triple-A level, each program managed to produce key individuals who, in their own way were able to give the fans achievements to appreciate. On Wednesday evening, the Erie SeaWolves were the next in line to officially close the door to the playoffs, falling short to Binghamton in a 3-1 loss.
Remaining hope for advancement among the affiliates falls to the Connecticut Tigers and West Michigan Whitecaps. Currently sitting four games out of first place behind the Fort Wayne TinCaps, West Michigan looks to build a win streak to leverage them into their second consecutive playoff run under Coach Andrew Graham. Over in Connecticut, the Tigers find themselves with a few steps to make up, as they stand four and a half games out of first place behind Lowell and Tri-City with 13 games left in the regular season.
Columbus Clippers 12, Toledo Mud Hens 2 (box)
Luis Cessa (1-2, 7.00 ERA) was battered for 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs and fanning six. In relief the Toledo bullpen fared no better as they were tagged for an additional seven runs. Ryan Rohlinger continued to pester the Mud Hens, going deep for the second day in a row; this time around offering up a grand slam in the fifth. Manny Pina worked to set the tone at the plate for Toledo with three hits, but fell short as Toledo dropped their third straight, securing the series sweep for Columbus.
Josh Turley (11-8, 3.50 ERA) settled in for seven innings of work, striking out five and surrendering three runs off seven hits to the Mets in his campaign. Erie offense came up quiet, though as is custom these days, Wynton Bernard added another hit with his fourth home run this season. Three runs was all the Mets needed to close the door on Erie, officially eliminating them from postseason play.
As West Michigan (68-59) faced the visiting South Bend Cubs (58-67) for another round of action, Spencer Turnbull(10-3, 3.19 ERA) toed the rubber for six innings, fanning seven and surrendering a pair of runs. In the end, a couple of kids from Tennessee led the charge in a quiet night at the plate for West Michigan. A.J. Simcox posted a pair of hits, scoring two runs and Christin Stewart wrapped the night with a triple and four RBI to lift West Michigan to a late inning victory behind West Michigan closer Joe Jimenez (5-1, 1.58 ERA).
Connecticut Tigers 3, Tri-City ValleyCats 1 (box)
The Tigers exploded for 12 hits off the ValleyCats (35-28) pitching with Shane Zeile and Cam Gibson among the hit leaders for the night. Patrick Mackenzie added his own touch with a launch that cleared the wall in the sixth inning; his first home run of the year. Connecticut front man Sandy Baez (3-3, 3.79 ERA) worked five solid innings, striking out four and only allowing one run to Tri-City. Jake Shull earned his sixth save in the Connecticut victory.
Mud Hens: The Mud Hens will make their way to Columbus on Thursday for the start of a two-game stand in Clippers' territory. Tim Melville (6-9, 4.88 ERA) scheduled for the Toledo start.
SeaWolves: Erie will play host for the start of a four-game stand at Jerry Uht Park on Thursday with the visiting Harrisburg Senators (62-67). Michael Fulmer (9-3, 1.82 ERA) will be set to go on the hill for the SeaWolves.
Flying Tigers: The Flying Tigers return to action, following a day off to start their four-game road series against the Dunedin Blue Jays (23-34).
Whitecaps: West Michigan will kick off the second portion of their home stand by hosting the Lansing Lugnuts (26-30) in a three-game standoff. Right hander A.J. Ladwig (10-9, 3.90 ERA) slated to start for the Whitecaps.
Tigers: Connecticut welcomes the Lowell Spinners (32-31) to town on Thursday to begin their three-game home stand with Tyler Alexander (0-2, 0.87 ERA) scheduled to take the hill for the Tigers.