For the first time since 2019, we have minor league baseball as the Detroit Tigers minor league squads kicked off last night. There was plenty of excitement in the air as there were many new names and some familiar faces in new places.
Triple-A: Toledo Mud Hens (1-0)
The Mud Hens home opener was overcast and rain fell down in Toledo as they opened up against the Nashville Sounds. Matt Manning started and went five innings, allowing five runs over six hits and struck out six but allowed three home runs, including one to former Tiger Dustin Peterson in the 3rd. Manning relied mainly on his fastball and was able to paint the corners as he struggled with command of his curve and changeup.
The first run of the season for Toledo came off a solo shot by Nomar Mazara, who was on a rehab assignment and was the DH.
Two batters later, Renato Núñez also went yard to pull the Mud Hens within two at the time. Kody Clemens would triple then later score on a wild pitch and Toledo pulled within a run at 4 to 3.
Clemens would get the Mud Hens offense going in the sixth with a leadoff single before Eric Haase drove Clemens in with an RBI double. Then later in the inning, Christin Stewart hit a three-run blast to put the Mud Hens ahead up for good.
Right-hander Jason Foley looked impressive as he struck out the side in a clean 8th inning.
Double-A Erie SeaWolves (1-0)
The SeaWolves offense lead all the affiliates last night in the 12-4 win at Reading. They set a record for most runs in a season-opening game.
Jacob Robson started the scoring for Erie with a two-run home run in the second to put the SeaWolves on the board. Paul Richan started for the SeaWolves and went four innings, allowing five hits, three of which were home runs, walked two and struck out four, and got the no-decision.
Three new prospects in Double-A made their presence felt. Riley Greene went 2-for-5 and Ryan Kreidler, who continues his impressive spring went 2-for-4 with a walk. Left-hander Max Green pitched two scoreless innings to pick up the win.
Left outfielder Dylan Rosa, the Tigers 18th round pick from 2017, hit the second home run of the evening with a three-run shot in the 6th.
High-A West Michigan Whitecaps (0-1)
The Whitecaps started the season in Fort Wayne against the Tincaps and provided one of the stranger stat lines you will ever see. 11 walks and 11 strikeouts issued by Whitecaps pitching in the 8-0 loss.
The bats were silenced as they were able to produce just four hits. Bryant Packard was the only Whitecap with an extra-base hit as he had a double. Third baseman Spencer Torkelson went 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts. As a team, West Michigan struck out 16 times. Jesus Rodriguez struck out four in 2.1 innings of work.
Low-A Lakeland Flying Tigers (1-0)
Like the SeaWolves, the Flying Tigers had no problem scoring runs as they won on the road in Clearwater 8-2. Wenceel Perez, starting at second base for the first time since rookie ball in 2017, lead the Lakeland offense, going 4-for-5 with a two-run shot in the 4th. 4th round 2020 draft pick Gage Workman started the game at shortstop and went 2-for-4 in his professional debut. Outfielder Ulrich Bojarski went 2-for-4 and had a walk.
On the pitching side, the bullpen provided six innings of scoreless relief lead by three 2019 Tigers draft picks. 9th rounder Austin Bergner, who pitched two innings and picked up the win, allowing a pair of hits and striking out three, Micheal Bienlen, a 24th round pick, who struck out 4 in 2.2 innings pitched, and Bryce Tasslin, picked in the 31st round, who pitched the final 1.1 innings.
All the teams will be back in action this evening. Welcome back!