Detroit Tigers: Matt Manning Shines in Lakeland Debut
By Rob Low
Lakeland Flying Tigers
Lakeland broke even with a 3-3 week. The Flying Tigers lead the second half standings in the Florida State League North at 9-3. Their overall records stands at 45-37.
Manning’s Masterful Debut
Matt Manning made his first start since earning a promotion to Lakeland this week. The former first rounder tossed five shutout frames, yielded one hit, one walk, and struck out nine.
Manning posted a 3.40 ERA in 11 starts for West Michigan prior to his promotion, but seems to have taken things to the next level as of late. In his last three starts, he’s allowed one run on 12 hits over 19.0 innings. The righty is throwing more strikes too, having walked three, while collecting 25 strikeouts.
Watkins Snags Weekly Award
Spenser Watkins picked up the seventh Pitcher of the Week award for a Detroit Tigers minor leaguer in 2018 this week. Watkins earned the honor for an outing in which he tossed a seven-inning one-hit shutout on June 27, and came within two outs of a no-hitter.
The righty followed that up with another quality start this week. Watkins gave up two runs on four hits over six innings on Tuesday, adding four strikeouts. His 1.67 ERA leads the Florida State League, sitting nearly a full run lower than the next closest qualifier. Watkins joins former Flying Tiger Alex Faedo as the two Lakeland pitchers to pick up a Pitcher of the Week award in 2018.
All-Star Sittinger Heads South
Midwest League All-Star Brandyn Sittinger also debuted for Lakeland this week, making a pair of relief appearances. In his debut last Friday, the righty fanned the only batter he faced. Two days later, he struck out three and did not surrender a hit over three scoreless frames.
Sittinger struggles with walks at times, but the strikeouts have always been there during his minor league career. This season, he struck out nearly 12 batters per nine innings with West Michigan, but was walking more than five. For his career, Sittinger’s strikeout rate is 11.4/9, and his walk rate is 4.3/9.
Montgomery Hits the DL
Troy Montgomery started the season in Erie, but his struggles resulted in a demotion to Lakeland. For several weeks, the speedy outfielder continued to draw walks, but his average remained low.
Finally, Montgomery seemed to find his stroke again, collecting four multi-hit efforts in the span of a week. However, he left Monday’s game with an injury, and landed on the disabled list. Hopefully it’s a short stint on the DL for Montgomery, and he can pick up where he left off before the injury.