Detroit Tigers Minor League Report: Flirting with Perfection

Erie SeaWolves starting pitcher Elvin Rodriguez delivers a pitch.
Erie SeaWolves starting pitcher Elvin Rodriguez delivers a pitch. /

All four of the Detroit Tigers’ full-season affiliates suffered from a lack of offense on Tuesday, but that wasn’t the case last night, as the clubs combined to score 33 runs. But the biggest story may have been on the mound in Erie. Read about that and more in the…

Detroit Tigers Minor League Report

Triple-A: Toledo Mud Hens (2-5)

The Mud Hens played a matinée game in Indianapolis, and unfortunately they were the only affiliate to lose, falling 5-3 to the Indians. Toledo starter Drew Hutchison (4.2 IP, 4H, 4ER, 4BB, 6K, 2HR) made it through the order once, but Indianapolis went double-homer-homer with two outs in the 3rd to take a 3-0 lead. The Hens clawed back in the 5th on a Zack Short RBI double and a Victor Reyes sac fly, but some sloppy play in the bottom of the frame gave the Indians another run. Christin Stewart made it interesting in the 9th with his second home run of the season, but Derek Hill struck out with a man on 3rd to end the game.

Double-A: Erie SeaWolves (5-3)

Erie took an early 2-0 lead over Akron thanks to a lead-off single from Riley Greene, an RBI single from Josh Lester, and an RBI double from Kerry Carpenter. They added two more runs in 5th when Greene singled again (he went 3-for-4 on the night with a steal) and Ryan Kreidler hit his second home run of the season. That was all the offense the SeaWolves would need, as starter Elvin Rodriguez (5IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 8K) was spectacular.

A few days ago we mentioned finding another pitching prospect is key for the Detroit Tigers this season, and it looks like Rodriguez is making his case. He was perfect through five innings, and then Billy Lescher kept the perfect game going through the 6th, before Brad Bass allowed a hit in the 7th. The RubberDucks managed just two hits though, and Erie’s 4-0 win was also the 1,000th career victory for manager Arnie Beyeler.

High-A: West Michigan Whitecaps (3-4)

For most of the night it looked as though the Whitecaps would cruise to a victory over the Great Lakes Loons. A bullpen collapse briefly spoiled things, but West Michigan managed to come through with some late heroics in a 9-8 victory. Starter Garrett Hill was very good (4.1 IP, H, ER, BB, 5K, HR), and when he left the game the Whitecaps were up 7-1. Two errors, a pair of wild pitches, a walk, and a Dillon Dingler single led to three West Michigan runs in the 1st inning, and then two walks, two hit batters, and two sacrifice flies led to three more runs in the 2nd.

Great Lakes scored twice in the 5th inning, but then they added six runs in the final two frames to shock the Whitecaps and take an 8-7 lead. It didn’t last long, though, as Andre Lipcius hit an infield single and then scored on a Daniel Cabrera double to tie the game. Four batters later Cabrera scored on a wild pitch and the Whitecaps earned their first home win of the season, scoring nine runs on just six hits.

Low-A: Lakeland Flying Tigers (4-4)

Hits weren’t a problem in Lakeland, as the Flying Tigers piled up 13 knocks on the way to a 15-4 win over Tampa. Lakeland jumped all over Tarpons starter Blane Abeyeta, scoring six times in the first inning thanks to a Gage Workman triple, a pair of singles, a sac fly, and a two-run double from Eric De La Rosa. The Flying Tigers plated four more in the 2nd when Workman doubled and Dane Myers singled, and the rout was officially underway.

Myers was a two-way player for Rice, but the Detroit Tigers drafted him as a pitcher in the 6th round in 2017. Things didn’t work out for him on the mound, and he’s now trying to make it as a hitter. Flygers starter Carlos Guzman (3IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 4K) was solid, showing off his mid-90s fastball and getting strikeouts with his best pitch, a low-80s changeup. Then 2019 draft pick Austin Bergner tossed the final three frames to close out the win and claim his first save of the season.

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