Detroit Tigers Minor League Baseball Commentary and Analysis
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Well it’s official; I have landed and settled into my room here in Hawaii. For now we haven’t really done anything baseball related, unless you can call sitting on the beach and trying to adjust to the time difference, baseball related. Well don’t feel too sorry for me just yet, we do have a practice tomorrow morning at 8 am, so it’s not all play, I am getting some work done out here. I have also learned that I will be playing for the West Oahu Cane Fires along with my fellow organizational teammates, Kyle Peter and James Skelton. So far I have learned a lot about Hawaii the most being how to pronounce the street names. I still don’t know how to say the cross street I am on (it’s Kanekapolei St. if you want to try it on) but it is one of my goals to learn the culture better before I leave. I just hope that I don’t get lost at night and have to ask for directions. I am very excited to meet the rest of my team and get to playing some baseball, seeing as how that is the real reason I came down here. However if we have some extra free time, I am in the right place.
I have arrived in Lakeland, FL for my pre-Hawaii workouts and am having deja vu all over again from spring training. It feels like I was just here but it has been several months now so I guess one can say that there is something mystical about Tigertown. Never mind, my personal issues with this city are neither here nor there, however since my notice of moving out to the islands I have had to do some interesting and, quite frankly, ridiculous sharing of e-mails between myself and the city of Kalamazoo. As if there was not enough on my plate at the time with coordinating my travel plans, I find out that I have been summoned for jury duty. Funny thing is, this is my second time. The first came earlier this year when I was going to be at spring training. So I wrote an e-mail explaining my situation, and apparently using the “I play for the Tigers” line wasn’t getting me anywhere. Then I had to have our financial director fax the city my contract and a statement saying I will be out of the city. Really, if I was going to think of an excuse to get out of jury duty, don’t you think I would have come up with a better excuse. Finally it was settled, and I was excused. Back to the present; I received a phone call from my mom saying I had another summons sitting there at home and I said I can handle it. What do I do? I took the lease contract for my hotel in Hawaii, the player information packet i was sent and the actual e-mail from our operations director telling me I was going along with his contact info. I threw in the playing for the Tigers line once again, just in case someone who is a fan got the message, and said “sorry, I can’t make it. Here’s why (barrage of info following).” Basically I threw the book at them and likewise, remembered who I was and had no further inquisitions to my procrastination to civil duty. You see, if you tell people you play professional baseball, apparently it’s like saying the dog ate my homework. But, if you plug it long enough, it can get you out of jury duty, twice.
Hold the phone, stop the presses. Just as you may have thought you weren’t going to hear from me until next spring, well life just keeps throwing me curveballs (no pun intended). Just as life throws them at me, I get to go throw some of my own, as I have been selected to play in the Hawaiian winter baseball league. Yes folks, Hawaii. I am going to explain what this is because I have had to explain to everyone I know outside of baseball what exactly this means. This is a league which is played after the season for guys the organization wants to see more of. It consists of players from all over minor league baseball (mostly A and AA) and also from the Japanese and Korean professional leagues. Now that I am done giving the details, I want to rundown how it was I came to find out this information. I was in Ann Arbor relaxing, taking it easy thinking to myself, “Ahh it feels good to do nothing for awhile” when I got a phone call from Glenn Ezell, out minor league player development coordinator. My first thought was that I was going to have to go spend an extra month in Florida doing development work in the instructional league. And then to my shock and almost dropping the phone, he asked me if I felt like playing in Hawaii for a couple months. Now did he really need to ask, who in their right mind is going to say, “You know what, I find getting paid to play baseball in Hawaii, gets a little tedious in the fall.” There is a little bit of bittersweet though, because I thought I was going to be able to spend some quality time with my girlfriend, Amanda, after a long summer apart, and now have to turn right around and go. But, if you look behind any great baseball player, there is a great woman always there supporting them in his journey. I am extremely excited to have this opportunity and hope to make the best of it. So this means for you, the reader, will get to hear a few more months of tales from the Pacific rim about me and baseball. Please try keep the comments light-hearted, I realize the jealousy may get overwhelming at times.
Well the season has officially come to an end for myself and the rest of my Whitecap teammates. As you the reader probably knows, we suffered a tough game three loss to South Bend by one run at home. Was it a little sad? Yeah, it was. Saying goodbye to everyone right there after the game is never easy, especially when I had spent every single day for six months with the same people. However, was it a relief to finally be done and move on to a normal life for awhile? Most certainly. I am looking forward to a nice offseason where I don’t have to panic everyday while worrying whether or not I am going to be late to the field. This year wasn’t all bad though, actually it wasn’t bad at all for me personally. Going into the last week of spring training I didn’t think I was going to have a spot on any team and wound up playing my first full year of professional baseball right in my own backyard and doing fairly well. The year was a blast, from the road trips to making new friends and to the bullpen games to kill time during long innings. We didn’t have a bad year on the field either. I mean, could we have done better? Sure, but that’s baseball sometimes it just doesn’t go the way you planned. Take it from me right now, if you ever hear anyone say baseball is easy, slap them in their face. The grind of playing 140 games in a season along with the travel and being away from home makes the game even harder than it is. However, each and every day is worth it to try and keep playing for our shot at the American dream. As for myself, well I will be in Ann Arbor watching ever so intently the new look Michigan football team as well as spending several hours on a couch on Saturdays in front of a TV screaming. In between weeks I am going to work and train for next March when that smell comes in the air and I start to get the itch to make the long trek down I-75 for Lakeland, Florida. Until then, hopefully the baseball season has some fun twists and turns here in October (parody is always fun), and who knows, maybe I will be back, telling how it is in the life of an up and coming ballplayer.
The White Caps lost a tough one tonight in a deciding third game against South Bend. The final was 3-2 but the White Caps hung in there and even put together a rally in the ninth inning before going down. Joseph Tucker had the big hit with a two out, two run single in the sixth inning but unfortunately that was all the White Caps would get in this one.
Mauricio Robles struck out eight in five shutout innings but oddly, he was pulled in the sixth when Wilton Garcia gave up a leadoff solo homer for the first run of the game. Garcia was credited with the the other two runs as well but both were unearned because of a throwing error by Audy Ciriaco and the tying run actually came on a bases loaded walk by Brett Jacobson.
Still, it was a great season so the White Caps should be commended. Unfortunately, they were the only TIgers affiliate to make the post season so that’s it for the next few months at least from me on the site.
Trevor Feeney improved to 3-6 on the season with a spectacular start in the Tigers 2-0 win over Vermont. He gave up three hits and he struck out nine in seven shutout innings. Daniel DeLucia gave up two walks and didn’t give up a hit in two shutout innings to earn his first save of the season.
The Tigers managed five hits but it was good enough for the win. Wade Lamont singled and drove in a run while Billy Nowlin drew a walk and drove in one.
The White Caps took care of business with their backs against the wall in a 11-0 win over South Bend. The win forces a winner take all game three tomorrow. Thad Weber was outstanding and he gave up just two hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in six shutout innings. Andrew Hess threw a shutout seventh and Orlando Perdomo closed out the game with two shutout frames.
Alex Avila went two for five with three RBIs and a run. Roger Tomas went three for four with a double and two runs while Justin Henry went three for four with two runs and two RBIs.
Oneonta scored two runs in the first inning and then didn’t score again before the pen gave up three late runs to cost the Tigers a win. Nicholas Cassavechian gave up the two ninth inning runs and he fell to 0-1. It’s too bad because a solid start by Mark Sorenson went to waste. He gave up four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in six innings of work.
Bryan Pounds singled and drove in both Tiger runs. Brent Wyatt went two for five with a run.
Oneonta blew out Lowell 14-6 and while there were plenty of hitting stars, Billy Nowlin was a notch above the rest. He went three for four with a homerun, five RBIs and three runs. Mike Gosse went two for four with two RBIs and three runs.
Darwin De Leon had a rough start but with all the offense, he improved to 6-3. He gave up four runs on nine hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in five innings.
These three game series are tough because game one is so important. The White Caps and South Bend played an ugly one though in a game that saw the two teams combine for eleven errors. The first inning was the big frame and six of the eight runs scored came in that inning. Jonathan Kibler took the loss and he gave up four runs (just one earned) on eight hits and a walk with three strikeouts in four innings.
Jordan Newton went two for four with a double and an RBI in the 5-3 loss. Justin Henry singled twice and drove in a run.
Mike Goose drew a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the thirteenth inning and that pushed across the winning for Oneonta in their 2-1 win over Vermont. Hayden Parrott had a nice game and he went four for five with a run while Tyler Weber had a pair of doubles.
Anthony Shawler was one of the pitching stars in the game. He struck out six over three perfect innings of relief. Santo Mieses threw a shutout thirteenth and he improved to 1-0.
Jared Gayhart gave up three runs in the seventh inning and a one run lead turned into a two run loss in the blink of an eye. It’s too bad because a solid start by Trevor Feeney went to waste. He gave up two unearned runs on two hits and three walks with five strikeouts in five innings.
Brent Wyatt went two for four with a run. Wade Lamont doubled and scored a run in the 5-3 loss.
Virgil Vasquez saved the best for last as he threw his second shutout of the season in the Hens 4-0 win. He gave up five hits and a walk with ten strikeouts and the win pushed his record to an even 12-12.
Erick Almonte went two for four with two doubles, a run and an RBI. Kody Kirkland went two for four with an RBI.
Aaron Fuhrman fell to 0-1 in the White Caps 5-4 loss as the regular season wound to a close. He gave up five runs (four earned) on eleven hits with six strikeouts in four strikeouts. Andrew Hess threw three shutout innings of relief and that allowed the White Caps to pull to within one run but they couldn’t complete the comeback.
Jordan Newton went three for five with a double and a run. Kody Kaiser went two for three with a three run homer.
The SeaWolves were held to just four hits and one run as they finished their mediocre season with a 4-1 loss to Akron. Brandon Douglas accounted for the lone Erie run with a solo homer in the third inning, his first since joining the SeaWolves. Douglas wraps up a 63 game stint in his first minor league season with four different spots ranging from the Gulf Coast League to Double A. Douglas was the Tigers eleventh round draft pick in this year’s draft and he finished the season with a solid .323 average over his four stops.
Daniel Christensen fell to 7-10 with the loss. He gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts in six innings.
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