Things were somewhat quiet around the Tigers’ farm system on Monday, as both Toledo and Erie were idle. Casey Mize was named the Eastern League’s Pitcher of the Week because duh, while Christin Stewart has looked good to go down in Lakeland and should rejoin the Tigers shortly. Franklin Perez is throwing again in extended spring training games, while Ulrich Bojarski continued his reign of terror for the West Michigan Whitecaps. Let’s get into Monday’s action.
Lakeland Flying Tigers 6, Florida Fire Frogs 0 (F/7) (box)
Elvin Rodriguez wasn’t particularly good in game one on Monday’s doubleheader, but he was effective. Rodriguez held the Frogs scoreless over 5 2⁄3 innings despite issuing four free passes. Wladimir Pinto did the rest, getting the final four outs with a walk allowed to one strikeout. Kody Clemens forced home A.J. Simcox with a fielder’s choice ground ball in the first inning that gave the Flygers the early league. That would account for all the scoring through five innings. However, in the sixth, Lakeland erupted with a five-run inning that put this one on ice. Rey Rivera started things off with a two-run home run, his third, to pad the lead. Cole Peterson and Simcox followed with RBI hits, and a Christin Stewart sacrifice fly made it 6-0 where it ended.
Rivera: 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI
Simcox: 1-4, 3B, 2 R, RBI, SO
Rosa: 3-3, R, 2 SB
Rodriguez (W, 3-2): 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO
Lakeland Flying Tigers 6, Florida Fire Frogs 2 (F/7) (box)
Lakeland kept the hot hand at the plate in the nightcap, a makeup game originally scheduled for May 2, and managed to sweep the doubleheader with good pitching and timely hitting. That’s generally how it works. Christin Stewart plated Cole Peterson with a sacrifice fly in the first inning to get the Flygers on the board. In the second, Rey Rivera, Daniel Reyes, and Luke Burch started the inning with consecutive singles and Frogs’ starter Keith Weisenberg grew deeply uncertain about his prowess. He issued a four-pitch walk to Cole Peterson, and then hit Kody Clemens, forcing home two runs. Stewart struck out for the first out, but Brady Policelli came through with a single that made it 4-0 and sent the Frogs to their bullpen. A sacrifice fly from Brock Deatherage added on one more run and the Flying Tigers cruised from there.
Starter Burris Warner allowed a pair of runs in the fourth, but was otherwise decent, punching out five hitters. Billy Lescher and Jason Foley carried the lead the rest of the way to the house. This was Foley’s ninth outing, and he needed just 20 pitches to go two innings. The velocity appears to have returned to pre-Tommy John surgery levels, and that is a good sign. In 16 at-bats, Stewart has posted a 1.164 OPS with two extra base hits and two strikeouts. He appears ready to return to the Tigers’ lineup this week.
Policelli: 2-3, 3B, R, RBI, BB
Peterson: 1-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB
Warner: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 5 SO
Coming up next: The Frog and Flying Tigers meet up at 6:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday night.
West Michigan Whitecaps 2, Peoria Chiefs 0 (box)
Garrett Hill’s amazing scoreless run to start the season continued on Monday night. The Tigers’ 26th round pick in 2018 out of San Diego State went seven innings of one hit ball, blanking the Chiefs and striking out six to just one walk. Hill now has 26 innings in the can without a run against him this season. His offense couldn’t get anything going until Hill was already done for the day. It was the powerful Ulrich Bojarski — the Australian sensation, the Thunder from Down Under, the Mo’ Jacks Horseman, take your pick — who, a day after hitting for the cycle, came through to crush another homer, his fifth of the year. This one went deep to left with John Valente aboard to provide the margin of victory. Angel De Jesus went two innings with no issues for the save.
Bojarski: 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI
Valente: 2-4, R
Hill (W, 2-0): 7.0 IP, H, 0 ER, BB, 6 SO
Coming up next: Gio Arriera gets the ball for the Whitecaps on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET as they take on the Chiefs again.