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Matt Manning masters Reading in a potential postseason preview

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Scores, news, and notes from around the Detroit Tigers’ farm system for Thursday, August 15, 2019.

Toledo Mud Hens 9, Buffalo Bisons 2 (box)

Kyle Funkhouser threw a solid game, and the Mud Hens’ offense blew away the Bison with a pair of big innings early on to win on Thursday. Funkhouser walked four and needed 99 pitches just to go five innings, so the breakthrough some have hoped for still isn’t forthcoming. However, he allowed just one earned run along the way. That was plenty good enough after Mikie Mahtook mashed his 18th home run with two aboard in the first inning. Danny Woodrow roped a two-run triple in the third inning and then scored on a Chad Sedio single, and the Hens were off to the races. Willi Castro and Christin Stewart added RBI hits as they piled up runs in the middle innings to win going away.

Stewart: 2-5, 2 R, RBI, BB, SO

Mahtook: 1-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB, SO

Cameron: 1-5, 2B, R, RBI, BB, SO

Funkhouser (W, 3-6): 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 4 SO

Coming Up Next: The Hens now head to Pawtucket to take on the Red Sox this weekend. First pitch on Friday night is set for 7:05pm ET.

Erie SeaWolves 1, Reading Fightin Phils 0 (box)

This matchup is a likely preview of the Eastern League championship, and it ended with a sweep for the SeaWolves. Derek Hill singled, stole second, and scored on a Jose Azocar RBI single to put the SeaWolves on the board in the first inning, and that was enough with Matt Manning on the mound. Manning took on the Eastern League home run leading Fightin Phils’ lineup, and dominated them with excellent command of his overpowering fastball and a mix of curveballs and changeups.

Here’s a sample of the changeup in action.

Here’s another.

Manning earned his 11th win of the season if you care about such things, tossing five innings of one-hit shutout ball, and extending his Eastern League strikeout lead to 137 on the season. He allowed a double to the first batter he faced, and did not allow another hit, retiring the next 15 batters in a row. Manning still had a bit of trouble putting hitters away with his secondaries, but there were precious few hard-hit balls as the Phils shortened up in desperation to put the ball in play. The big right-hander threw a lot of strikes and even appeared to get squeezed numerous times, tallying 51 of 71 total pitches for strikes while punching out three hitters on the night.

The Tigers appear to be reining in Manning’s pitch counts as the season goes along, but strong work from the bullpen made it a moot point in this one. Ethan DeCaster and Nolan Blackwood were impressive, while Drew Carlton earned his 16th save of the season.

Hill: 1-2, R, 2 BB, SO, SB

Pinero: 2-3

Manning (W, 11-4): 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 SO

Coming Up Next: The SeaWolves welcome in the Akron RubberDucks for a weekend set. Joey Wentz gets the ball on Friday night at 7:05pm ET.

Lakeland Flying Tigers, Jupiter Hammerheads (postponed)

Rain had the Hammerheads’ field in unplayable condition on Thursday, and so they’ll have to try and get the game made up next week when the Hammerheads come to Lakeland. The Flying Tigers head home and welcome in the Bradenton Marauders on Friday night at 6:30pm ET. It is Woodstock Tie Dye T-Shirt Giveaway night, so get there early.

West Michigan Whitecaps 5, Great Lakes Loons 1 (box)

Adam Wolf threw his best game of the season for the Whitecaps, and the offense stormed back late to win on Thursday. Wolf allowed a run in the second inning but no more. He scattered four hits, and struck out four without allowing a walk. Zach Shepherd tossed two innings of scoreless relief, but walked three. The experiment continues.

The Whitecaps didn’t get on the board until the fifth inning. With two down, Sam McMillan walked and then advanced to third on a Riley Greene single. The Whitecaps then pulled off the double steal with McMillan delaying just slightly. The throw home went wild and Greene advanced to third and scored on a Parker Meadows single to make it 2-1 Whitecaps. In the 8th, Andre Lipcius got things going with a two-out single. He advanced on a Dayton Dugas single and they both rode home on a Jack Kenley double.

McMillan: 1-3, R, BB

Lipcius: 2-4, R

Kenley: 1-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, SO

Wolf (W, 4-10): 6.0 IP, ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 SO

Coming Up Next: Chance Kirby (4-4, 4.40 ERA) takes on the Loons on Friday night at 7:05pm ET.

Bonus: Now check out this Manny Machado looking play from Lipcius at third with our buddy Dan Hasty on the call.

Connecticut Tigers 2, Hudson Valley Renegades 1 (Gm 1)(F/8)(box)

Tigers’ pitching was on point in this one, and the Tigers rallied in extra innings to take game one. Marco Jimenez started things off with four scoreless innings in another good outing. He allowed three hits and two walks, striking out four. Raul De Los Reyes was excellent in relief, punching out five in three innings while allowing four hits. This one was set for seven innings, so Kory Behenna took over in the eighth under extra innings rules and allowed a run on one hit. In their last chance, Avery Tuck tripled to score Andrew Navigato from second. Moises Nunez struck out, and the Renegades intentionally walked Kingston Liniak. It availed them not, as Ryan Kreidler singled to right to score Tuck and walk it off.

Kreidler: 2-4, RBI

Tuck: 1-2, 3B, R, RBI

Jimenez: 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 SO

Connecticut Tigers 2, Hudson Valley Renegades 1 (Gm 2)(F/8)(box)

Take a look at the box scores and this game was almost indistinguishable from game one. Kyle Thomas, Chavez Fernander, and Bryce Tassin went eight innings, with only an unearned run against Tassin in the top of the eighth on their ledger. Tassin was actually the most impressive, punching out six over the final four innings of this one, while allowing just three hits, a walk, and a run under extra innings rules. In the first game, the Renegades intentionally walked Kingston Liniak in the eighth. In this one, the Tigers loaded the bases for him, and Liniak delivered a walkoff single that scored Jose King and Andrew Navigato.

Liniak: 1-4, 2 RBI, 3 SO

Tassin (W, 2-0): 4.0 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 H, BB, 6 SO

Coming Up Next: The two clubs meet up at 7:05pm ET again on Friday night.