Toledo Mud Hens 4, Lehigh Valley IronPigs 2 (box)
Lehigh Valley IronPigs 7, Toledo Mud Hens 5 (F/7)(box)
Lehigh Valley IronPigs 6, Toledo Mud Hens 2 (box)
The Toledo Mud Hens had little fun in Lehigh Valley. Apart from Friday night’s game the IronPigs pretty much had their way with the Hens, taking the series 5-1.
Joey Wentz did carry the ball on Friday night though, punching out 12 Pigs as he led the Hens to victory. He allowed two runs in the second inning, but only walked one and pitched 5 2⁄3 innings before Aneurys Zabala took over to finish the sixth. Zack Logue threw a pair of perfect innings of relief, and Trey Wingenter struck out the side to earn the save. It’s been a struggle for the right-hander since he went down with an injury in April. Maybe he’s finally turning the corner.
The Hens seized control in the third when Michael Papierski led off with a single. Lehigh Valley went to the pen, but Corey Joyce greeted the new guy with a double and Parker Meadows did likewise, driving them both in to make it 2-2. Donny Sands pulled a grounder through the left side to plate Meadows, and that 3-2 lead held up. Sands added a solo shot in the fifth.
Sands: 2-3, R, 2 RBI, HR, BB, SO
Papierski: 2-3, R, BB, SO
Meadows: 1-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B, SO
Wentz (W, 1-1): 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, BB, 12 SO
On Saturday, the Hens may have just run out of time, as rain eventually washed out the final two innings of play. Sawyer Gipson-Long made his Triple-A debut and it went...ok. The IronPigs jumped him for three runs in the first but he settled in to go five innings without allowing another run. He walked just one and struck out seven.
Colt Keith got the Hens on the board in the third with a lined two-out single to center, scoring John Valente. Nick Solak was throw out at the plate trying to follow him home, ending the inning. In the fifth, Valente tripled with one out, and again Keith lined a single into the outfield to plate him.
Colt Keith with a 407-foot missile to center field, but it ends up as just an RBI single because Nick Solak was thrown out at home. pic.twitter.com/TQ3KyhbLRB— Tigers ML Report (@tigersMLreport) July 23, 2023
Colt Keith shoots a line drive the opposite way for a solid 2-out RBI knock that pulls the Mud Hens to within one run. pic.twitter.com/0T7J75Qtiy— Tigers ML Report (@tigersMLreport) July 23, 2023
Unfortunately Blair Calvo was a mess in the sixth, allowing three runs. Matt Wisler allowed another run in the top of the seventh. In the bottom half, Joyce, Valente, and Meadows singled to lead off the inning. Solak popped out, but Keith walked to force in a run. Tyler Nevin followed with a two-run single to make it 7-5 Lehigh Valley, but Sands grounded into a double play to end it.
Keith: 2-3, 3 RBI, BB, SO
Valente: 3-3, 3 R, 3 B
Meadows: 1-2, R, 2 BB
Gipson-Long (L, 0-1): 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, BB, 7 SO
On Sunday, Ashton Goudeau got slapped around for four runs in four innings, while the offense was pretty quiet after an early outburst against the IronPigs’ starter. Justyn Henry-Malloy returned to action after a brief stint on the injured list, going 1-for-4 with a strikeout. Corey Joyce doubled in Grant Witherspoon and John Valente in the bottom of the second, but they only got one more hit the rest of the game.
Joyce: 2-3, 2 RBI, 2B
Valente: 1-3, R, BB, SO
Meadows: 1-3, BB, SO
Goudeau (L, 1-5): 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 SO
Coming Up Next: The Hens head to St. Paul this week to play the Saints. Game 1 is set for 8:07 p.m. ET on Tuesday night.
They’ll also be adding a new 2B/OF in Wenceel Perez. Perez dealt with back issues at the end of the 2022 season and it continued this spring. Been heating up lately. Could be a really interesting role player for the Tigers with his speed and contact ability.
Erie SeaWolves 5, Binghamton Rumble Ponies 2 (box)
Erie SeaWolves 3, Binghamton Rumble Ponies 1 (box)
Binghamton Rumble Ponies 2, Erie SeaWolves 0 (box)
After losing two of three to open the series, the SeaWolves took control with wins on Friday and Saturday, before the Rumble Ponies earned a split on Sunday.
On Friday night, Lael Lockhart gave the SeaWolves a good outing to work with and the offense chipped away at an early Binghamton lead and seized control late. Lockhart allowed two runs in the fourth, but that was all, and he scattered three hits and three walks while striking out seven.
The SeaWolves scored first as Chris Meyers and Danny Serretti opened the top of the second with singles. A Diego Rincones sacrifice fly scored Meyers to make it 1-0. Serretti would later be caught trying to steal home, ending the inning.
Lockhart lost the lead in the fourth, but in the sixth a still red-hot Justice Bigbie hit a solo shot the opposite way to tie the game. That was Bigbie’s 10th of the season. Combined with plenty of extra base hits and a miniscule strikeout rate, the 1B/OF is creating some buzz and will bear watching to see if he can sustain this. In 29 games at the Double-A level he’s holding a 1.018 OPS so far.
And here’s Justice Bigbie with three hits, including an oppo homer, and a walk. pic.twitter.com/lfboqwCguo— Tigers ML Report (@tigersMLreport) July 22, 2023
Finally in the eighth the SeaWolves took control. Trei Cruz led off with a walk and Bigbie and Wenceel Perez followed with singles, scoring Cruz. Meyers doubled them both home before getting cut down trying to steal third, but they didn’t need anymore as Tim Naughton and Andrew Magno made sure the lead held up.
Bigbie: 3-4, 2 R, RBI, HR, BB
Meyers: 4-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B, CS
Cruz: 1-3, R, 2 BB
Lockhart: 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 7 SO
Saturday’s victory featured the Keider Montero show. It’s been really interesting watching him develop from a guy throwing 93-95 mph with a high spin slurve of erratic shape into a 94-97 mph guy with a power fourseamer and the slurve now differentiated into a very good slider/curveball combination with distinct shapes. Pretty good work from the club’s development team. Fastball command still needs more consistency, but he’s pushed his way up into the rankings of Tigers pitching prospects. Jackson Jobe is the only one I’d put on a clearly higher tier at this point.
Montero allowed a first inning run but pumped 68 of 96 pitches for strikes, scattering four hits and two walks while striking out five. Nothing special. Just another solid outing.
Julio E. Rodriguez cracked home run number 11 on the year to open the third inning. With one out, Trei Cruz singled and Bigbie did it again, driving a two-run shot to right center field to make it 3-1 Erie.
And Justice Bigbie went 406 feet to right center for a 2-run blast that proved to be the game winner for the @erie_seawolves. It was his 5th home run with Erie, and his 11th overall this year. pic.twitter.com/fDKcQa4CZH— Tigers ML Report (@tigersMLreport) July 23, 2023
Both teams dominated in the pitching department the rest of the way. Adam Wolf, Angel De Jesus, and Ty Mattison didn’t allow a hit the rest of the way. The only blemish was a walk issued by Mattison, but since he struck out five in two hitless frames to earn the save, we’ll allow it. Mattison is your best relief prospect at this point, and he and Magno both could possibly get to Detroit this season. More likely the Tigers will consider them part of the next wave in 2024.
Bigbie: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, HR, BB
Perez; 1-4, SB
Montero (W, 9-2): 5.0 IP, ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 SO
Ty Madden threw a great game on Sunday, but the offense managed just six singles and a walk and got shut out. Madden allowed a solo shot in the second inning, but only two singles and two walks otherwise. He struck out 10 and really had his fastball command and slider dialed in.
Navigato: 2-4, CS
Cruz: 1-3, BB, SO
Rodriguez: 2-3, SO
Madden (L, 2-2): 5.0 IP, ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 10 SO
Coming Up Next: The SeaWolves welcome the Akron RubberDucks into UPMC Park on Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. ET. No starters have been announced yet.
They’ll also be getting a new second baseman, as Jace Jung has been promoted to Double-A.
Jace Jung’s final appearance for the Whitecaps today was impressive. 3-for-4 with a home run and 3 RBI. https://t.co/HJPKQ2SWKw— Tigers ML Report (@tigersMLreport) July 24, 2023
I also want to thank the mighty Tigers Minor League Report again for putting together so many of these recap reels from various performances around the system.
Here’s Wilmer Flores from Thursday night.
South Bend Cubs 10, West Michigan Whitecaps 7 (box)
West Michigan Whitecaps 5, South Bend Cubs 4 (box)
The Whitecaps were up 2-1 in the series entering the weekend, but losses Friday and Saturday forced them to win on Sunday to salvage a split.
On Friday, the offense was just smothered by Cubs pitching. Troy Melton leaked a couple of runs early, but didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight along the way. He left the game in the fifth with three runs, two earned allowed. Two out singles from Carlos Mendoza and Eliezer Alfonzo produced the ‘Caps only run in the sixth when the Cubs’ right fielder threw the ball away trying to get Mendoza going first to third. That was it for the scoring.
Mendoza: 2-4, R, SO
Jung: 1-3, 2B, BB
Melton (L, 1-1): 4.2 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 8 SO
On Saturday, starter Williander Moreno was clobbered for seven earn runs and got knocked out of the game in the fourth inning down 7-3. The Whitecaps offense heated up, but the bullpen couldn’t contain the Cubs and they were in a deep hole to begin with.
Roberto Campos led off the top of the fourth by reaching on an error and Jung singled him over to third. Gage Workman struck out, but Brady Allen was hit by a pitch and Josh Crouch walked to force in their first run. A Dillon Paulson double scored Jung and Allen to make it 6-3 Cubs at that point. Moreno allowed a run before departing in the bottom half, so it was 7-3 Cubs when the Whitecaps struck again in the sixth.
Luis Santana sparked a three-run rally with a one-out double. Dom Johnson walked, and Izaac Pacheco mashed home run number nine to right center field. 7-6 Cubs. Brady Allen added a solo shot in the seventh, but the ‘Caps bullpen allowed single runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth as the Cubs fought off the Whitecaps’ charge.
Izaac Pacheco goes yard, with a three run shot, putting West Michigan within a run. pic.twitter.com/fNp24ISAQm— Tigers ML Report (@tigersMLreport) July 23, 2023
Pacheco: 1-5, R, 3 RBI, HR, SO
Allen: 1-3, 2 R, RBI, HR, BB, SO, HBP
Crouch: 1-3, RBI, 3B, 2 BB
Moreno: (L, 3-2): 3.1 IP, 7 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, SO
Needing a victory, the Whitecaps turned to their relative ace, Carlos Pena on Sunday. The lefty tossed five innings of one-run ball, walking four but only allowing a hit. He didn’t strike out a single batter, however.
Jace Jung got the ‘Caps on the board with his 14th home run of the season in the top of the first. The Cubs tied it in the bottom half, but in the third Austin Murr reached first on a dropped strike three and later scored on an Allen ground out to make it 2-1.
14th home run of the season for Jace Jung. pic.twitter.com/7cRyWGHQbe— Tigers ML Report (@tigersMLreport) July 23, 2023
Finally in the seventh, the Whitecaps broke it open a bit. Santana homered to left with one out to make it 3-1 West Michigan. Murr was hit by a pitch and Lazaro Benitez singled him to second. Carlos Mendoza drew a walk to load the bases and after Allen struck out, Jung came up big with a two-run single to make it 5-1.
The bullpen leaked a couple of runs, but Dario Gardea took over in the eighth and ninth and silenced the Cubs to pick up his third save.
Jung: 3-4, R, 3 RBI, HR, BB
Santana: 3-3, R, RBI, HR
Pena (W, 3-6): 5.0 IP, ER, H, 4 BB, 0 SO
Coming Up Next: The Whitecaps welcome in Fort Wayne this week starting Tuesday night at 6:35 p.m. ET. They’ll have Jackson Jobe added to their rotation this week, and Luke Gold promoted as well to take Jung’s place.
The following players have been promoted in the @tigers player development system:— Detroit Tigers Player Development (@RoadtoDetroit) July 24, 2023
RHP Jackson Jobe moves from Lakeland to West Michigan.
INF Luke Gold moves from Lakeland to West Michigan.
INF Wenceel Pérez moves from Erie to Toledo. pic.twitter.com/FqcBYLA2sd
Lakeland Flying Tigers 2, Dunedin Blue Jays 1 (box)
Dunedin Blue Jays 1, Lakeland Flying Tigers 0 (box)
Lakeland Flying Tigers 10, Dunedin Blue Jays 4 (box)
The Flying Tigers needed a win on Sunday to split the series with Dunedin, and the offense came through with a big day to make that happen.
Right-hander Colin Fields, signed to a minor league free agent deal last year, made his third Low-A start on Friday for the Flying Tigers. The 23-year-old out of Valparaiso blanked Dunedin for four innings on two hits and a walk, with four strikeouts. His fastball barely scrapes 90 mph right now, but his spin rates are in the 2500 rpm range with his fastball and a cutter at 87-88 mph. His low 70’s curveball touches 3000 rpms, so while he needs more gas, there is plenty to work with there.
The game was scoreless until the top of the sixth when Cristian Santana led off with a walk and Moises Valero singled him to second. A ground out from Carlos Pelegrin forced Valerio at second and moved Santana to third. Pelegrin took second on a wild pitch, and a balk scored Santana and moved Pelegrin to third. Luke Gold walked, and then they pulled off the double steal, Pelegrin stealing home as Gold took second base. 2-0 Lakeland.
They wouldn’t get any more, but the bullpen made sure they didn’t need it.
Stephenson: 1-4, 2B, 2 SO
Fields: 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, BB, 4 SO
Saturday’s game was another well pitched, low scoring contest but the Blue Jays came out on top. Jackson Jobe looks ready for promotion after striking out seven of the 14 hitters he faced in this one. The young right-hander was 96-98 mph with his typically fearsome high spin slider and a pretty good changeup now too. He allowed a solo shot before exiting in the fourth inning but his stuff was electric and his command appears to be rapidly coming together after a year of growing pains. Expect him in West Michigan shortly.
Andrew Jenkins had a pair of singles, and Manny Sequera and J.D. McLaughlin each had a hit and a walk, but offense totaled just five hits and never really mustered too much of a scoring threat in this one.
Jobe (L, 0-1): 3.2 IP, ER, 3 H, BB, 7 SO
Sunday’s game finally saw the Flying Tigers break out offensively. They racked up 13 hits and four walks, and mashed four home runs on the day, though two of them belonged to veteran minor league catcher Mike Rothenberg rather than the prospects.
A one-out single from Luke Gold started things off in the top of the first. Rothenberg mashed his eighth homer to score Gold, and then Carlos Pelegrin followed with a solo shot. Garrett Apker allowed a Blue Jays’ run in the bottom half, so it was 3-1 in the top of the second when Seth Stephenson launched a solo shot with two outs. Apker allowed a run in the third, but in the top of the fourth the Flying Tigers started to pull away.
Cristian Santana led off with a double. Sergio Tapia struck out but J.D. McLaughlin walked and Stephenson singled in Santana. 5-2 Lakeland. Gold grounded into a force at second, but McLaughlin scored and then Rothenberg mashed his second homer of the day, again with Gold aboard. 8-2 Lakeland. Pelegrin added his second homer of the game in the seventh, and they got one more run in the top of the ninth as they cruised to victory and a series split.
Pelegrin: 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR, BB, SO
Rothenberg: 2-5, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 HR, 2 SO
Stephenson: 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR, 2 SO
Apker (W, 1-3): 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 SO
Coming Up Next: The Flying Tigers welcome the Daytona Tortugas into Publix Field on Tuesday night. The real intrigue this week though, comes from seeing where the Tigers new draft class is assigned. Most will play some Complex League ball for a week or three before getting their initial regular assignment, but Lakeland is about to get more interesting even with Jackson Jobe looking like he won’t be there much longer.
Here are a few swings in Kevin McGonigle’s inaugural BP this morning in Lakeland. Very personable young man, took some extra base running/footwork instruction when everyone else was done. Wishing him well! #2023draft pic.twitter.com/bpWg5Epmci— Terri A Nummer (@NterriA) July 22, 2023