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2006 Erie Seawolves Diary

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I'm surprised to see a report that has Rogers throwing 89-92. I've never seen him touch 90, and I've seen him probably a dozen times in person. He's always been consistently in the 85-88 range with good movement and very good breaking pitches.

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SeaWolves limp home after rough start



Show of Strength

Erie SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer labeled starting pitching and defense as his club's top two strengths entering the regular season.

Both have been constants through the first week of the season on a young team whose roster includes 12 players who are Double-A rookies.

In Erie's first six games, the SeaWolves' starting rotation combined to allow just five runs and 18 hits in 31 innings while striking out 35 and walking seven.

Right-hander Nate Bumstead (2-0) hasn't allowed a run over 10 innings in two starts. Right-hander Preston Larrison (1-0) pitched five scoreless, hitless innings in his first outing.

Right-hander Humberto Sanchez worked five scoreless innings in his first start. Right-hander Virgil Vasquez, who will start Erie's home opener tonight at 6:35 against Bowie at Jerry Uht Park, lost his first start despite giving up only one run and three hits over six innings against Harrisburg last week.

Vasquez was 2-8 with a 5.27 ERA in 15 starts last season with Erie after a midseason Double-A promotion from Class A Lakeland.

"If the starters can keep giving us five or six strong innings, we'll win a lot of those games,"Dyer said.

But that will depend on how well some of the young arms in the bullpen adjust to Double-A and how quickly they can acclimate and settle into their roles.

Erie's bullpen has been inconsistent, allowing a combined 20 runs and 31 hits in 20 2/3 innings in the team's first six games.

Right-hander Brian Rogers has been extremely sharp, throwing 5 2/3 shutout innings of scoreless relief with seven strikeouts and no walks. He also has one of Erie's two saves.

Closer Chris Homer has a save and one blown save in two appearances. He led Class A Lakeland with 29 saves last season. His lost save came in the season opener April 6, when the Harrisburg Senators touched the right-hander for a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 1. Erie lost 2-1 in 10 innings.

On Sunday, Homer was summoned to pitch the ninth against Harrisburg and worked a scoreless inning to preserve a 3-0 win.

"I think everybody the first time out had the jitters and didn't know what to expect,"Homer said. "I was talking to my family on opening day and kind of joking around and telling them that we were going to win that night and I was going to close it out and get the ball rolling. But we started out with a bump in the road."

No one in the bullpen is struggling more than prospect Eulogio De La Cruz, a 22-year-old right-hander who has touched 100 mph with his fastball. De La Cruz had three forgettable outings on Erie's season-opening seven-game road trip, allowing 10 runs and 13 hits in just two innings.

"He's one of our better prospects," Dyer said. "He has a great arm but he has to start getting some people out. He's too high in the strike zone, he's getting balls up and out over the plate. It's mechanical. He's a young kid and he's lacking confidence now. He needs to go out and have a good outing."

Five of Erie's seven relievers - Rogers, Homer, De La Cruz, lefty Ian Ostlund and lefty Daniel Zell - are Double-A rookies after pitching together at Lakeland in 2005. The exceptions are 34-year-old lefty and former major leaguer Bobby Jones and right-hander Pete Sikaras, 27, who has Double-A and Triple-A experience.

"I hadn't formed any opinions about the younger kids coming here, though I didn't think they would come here and tear up the league because they're facing older hitters and better hitters," Dyer said. "It's not that easy jumping from the (high Class A) Florida State League to the Eastern League."

One early season trend that Dyer expected from his offense has materialized.

The SeaWolves have flashed power - they led the league with eight homers before Wednesday's game at Altoona - but have not been able to manufacture runs from a lineup top-heavy with younger, power-hitting, strikeout-prone prospects.

"We need to do a better job of getting runners over, and we're not getting a lot of hits with men in scoring position," Dyer said. "We're getting a couple of men on with no outs or a man on third with less than two outs and not getting them home. We're scoring all of our runs on homers. When you have three or four power hitters, it makes it tough at times on the offense."

SeaWolves first baseman Kelly Hunt, who has three of Erie's eight home runs, isn't worried.

"There's that saying that hitting is contagious," Hunt said. "One through nine in the lineup, we have hitters. We haven't been able to string hits together, but we know we will get that going soon. I don't think that's going to be a problem."


Meet The Players


Series Preview

Bowie Baysox (4-3)

at Erie SeaWolves (2-5)

At Jerry Uht Park

Today-Saturday, 6:35 p.m.

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

Pitching matchups:

# Today: Erie RH Virgil Vasquez (0-1, 1.50) vs. Bowie RH Brian Finch (0-0, 0.00)

# Friday: Erie RH Preston Larrison (1-0, 0.00 ) vs. Bowie LH Richard Stahl (0-1, 0.00)

# Saturday: Erie RH Jeremy Johnson (0-1, 7.20) vs. Bowie LH Craig Anderson (0-0, 2.57)

# Sunday: Erie RH Nate Bumstead (1-0, 0.00) vs. Bowie RH James Johnson (2-0, 3.18)

Erie notes: Vasquez was a tough-luck loser in his first outing, allowing one run and three hits in six innings of a 3-1 loss at Harrisburg on Saturday. ... Erie designated hitter Kurt Airoso and first baseman Kelly Hunt and New Britain's Doug Deeds shared the league's home run lead with three apiece. ... The first 1,000 fans at tonight's home opener receive a free SeaWolves calendar. ... The first 1,000 fans at Friday's game receive a free magnetic schedule.

Bowie notes: The Baysox roster features seven of the Baltimore Orioles top 30 prospects rated by Baseball America. Left-handed starter Adam Loewen, 22, is Baltimore's No. 2-ranked prospect. In his first start this season Friday, Loewen carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning of a 4-0 win over the Reading Phillies. ... Other top Bowie prospects are right-hander James Johnson (8), outfielder Jeff Fiorentino (11), right-handed starter Brian Finch (14), right-handed reliever Chris Britton, right-handed reliever Salas Marino (25) and third baseman Tripper Johnson (30). ... Bowie's roster includes Leo Daigle, who spent the 2003 season with the SeaWolves, hitting .238 with 13 homers and 54 RBIs in 118 games.

-- from staff reports

Daigle was released by the Tigers in April 2004. He spent the remainder of the 2004 season and all of the 2005 season in the Chicago White Sox's farm system among Class A Kannapolis, Triple-A Charlotte and Class A Winston-Salem. Daigle signed with the Orioles in November.

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From 4/14 articles:

Euphoria of opener erased

6-run 6th inning too much for 'Wolves to overcome


Erie Seawolves designated hitter, Kurt Airoso greets his teammates after being introduced at the home opener against the Bowie Baysox. (JACK HANRAHAN/Erie Times-News)

By Ron Leonardi


Balmy 72-degree temperatures at gametime, the unveiling of a new $1 million video board, and an early 2-0 Erie SeaWolves lead gave a home-opening crowd of 4,089 at Jerry Uht Park reason to be in a festive mood.

One rocky inning that included three Bowie Baysox home runs was all it took to deflate it and send the SeaWolves to a 9-3 loss.

Bowie (5-3) entered Thursday's game with five homers in its first seven games. Leading 3-2, the Baysox broke it open by belting three homers in a six-run sixth inning. An Erie error in that inning also proved costly, leading to four unearned runs.

Erie highlights included solo homers from third baseman Kody Kirkland and left fielder Garth McKinney.

"We've gotten off to a slow start, and it's early, but at the same time we want to start getting things going a little bit and start getting our situational things done, because that's what's kind of killing us," Kirkland said. "We're getting our hits, but the timely hits is what we're missing out on. It's frustrating. Every single guy here wants to win. We played real well in spring training and haven't gotten it going yet."

Despite the loss, which dropped the SeaWolves to 2-6, Erie manager Duffy Dyer saw improvement from his offense.

"I was happy with our at-bats tonight," Dyer said. "We were actually hitting the ball the other way more and not pulling off the ball quite as badly, especially early in the game. In the middle of the game, I liked our approach. We were hitting the ball pretty hard and hitting it up the middle and the other way, and we haven't been doing too much of that."

Dyer expects some of his Double-A rookie position players to struggle the first half of the season until they become acclimated to the league and learn to make adjustments at the plate.

"Late in the game was a great example," Dyer said. "They were looking for fastballs in fastball counts - 2-0 and 3-1 counts - and they didn't get them. They were getting change-ups and breaking balls and that's tough for a hitter, because I don't think they saw that too much last year (at Class A Lakeland)."

The SeaWolves grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third off of Bowie starter Brian Finch.


Erie SeaWolves second baseman Juan Francia turns a double play in the first inning as Bowie Baysox runner Brooks Badeaux tries to force a bad throw Thursday. (JACK HANRAHAN/Erie Times-News)

Kirkland opened the inning with his second homer this season, a shot to right-center. Kelly Hunt drove in the second run on a two-out, bases-loaded infield single in which he legged out a slow roller to third.

Bowie answered with three runs in the fourth. Noah Hall doubled and scored on Tony Alvarez's single. Leo Daigle's run-scoring triple to right center tied it. Daigle scored on a two-base error on Erie right fielder Brent Clevlen.

In the sixth, Bowie received a two-run homer from Tony Alvarez off of Erie starter Virgil Vasquez and solo homers from Rayner Bautista and Gera Alvarez off of SeaWolves reliever Pete Sikaras.

"We had good momentum going the first three innings and lost it all of a sudden," Dyer said. "Vasquez was pitching well and it seemed like he started elevating the ball in the fourth inning and our defense wasn't too good behind him in that one big inning. In this park, you can give up a lot of big innings if you're not careful."

The four-game series resumes tonight at 6:35.


SeaWolves notes

# SeaWolves right-hander Nate Bumstead hasn't allowed a run in his first two starts and ranks second in the league with 14 strikeouts.

Bumstead has allowed just three hits in his two five-inning outings. Bumstead went 12-4 with a 2.58 ERA in 25 starts at Single-A Lakeland last season.

# Former SeaWolves pitcher Mark Johnson is working out with the team and throwing batting practice. Johnson, who pitched for Erie in 2002, 2003 and 2005, resides in Girard.

As a middle reliever and spot starter with the SeaWolves last season, Johnson was 4-3 with a 5.06 ERA in 32 games. He also made seven appearances, including two starts, with Triple-A Toledo in 2005.

# The SeaWolves are scheduled to play games the first 21 days of the season and don't have their first scheduled off day until April 27.

Better now than later, manager Duffy Dyer said.

"That's the minor leagues for you,"he said. "Nobody likes playing 21 days in a row, but I'd rather have it now when we're fresh and the weather is a little cooler than not have any days off in the middle of the summer when it's hotter, you've played 50 or 60 games and you're starting to wear down a little."

# Nine former SeaWolves opened the season on Triple-A Toledo's roster: infielders Don Kelly, Jack Hannahan and Ryan Raburn; catcher Max St. Pierre; outfielders Nook Logan and David Espinosa; and pitchers Wilfredo Ledezma, Mark Woodyard and Corey Hamman.

Logan was placed on the disabled list April 7 with a broken finger.

# Bowie right-hander Chris Britton was recalled by the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday and made his major league debut Wednesday in the Orioles' 7-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in Tampa.

Britton, who made two relief appearances with Bowie last week, relieved in the eighth and retired both Tampa Bay hitters he faced.

# The Chicago White Sox roughed up former SeaWolves right-hander Justin Verlander on Thursday in his second start with the Tigers this season. Verlander allowed seven runs in 22/3 innings of a 13-9 loss, the Tigers' fourth straight.

Verlander, who made seven starts with the SeaWolves in 2005, struck out none, walked one and gave up two homers. Verlander threw a two-hitter over seven innings his first start last week.

# Mayor Joe Sinnott and Erie County Executive Mark DiVecchio threw out first pitches before Thursday's home opener.

-- Ron Leonardi

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Same ol' situation

Erie squanders scoring chances vs. Bowie, falls to 2-7


By Ron Leonardi


The scoring opportunities were there.

The one or two big, clutch, timely hits were nowhere to be found.

The SeaWolves' 6-4 loss to the Bowie Baysox on Friday night before 1,473 fans at Jerry Uht Park dropped Erie to 2-7 and again showcased some situational-hitting difficulties that have plagued the club the first two weeks of the regular season.

"We're not stringing along hits, but it's still early," shortstop Tony Giarratano said. "We're hitting some home runs, but we're not getting the big hits, getting the guys over and executing well right now. Eventually it will come and it has to come for us to be successful. It doesn't matter how much talent you have, you've got to do it on the field. We have to turn this thing around."

Erie, which outhit the Baysox 9-8, had three good opportunities to do that in the final four innings.

After designated hitter Kurt Airoso's RBI single to left in the sixth inning pulled Erie within 5-2, the SeaWolves had runners on the corners with one out.

The threat ended there, with first baseman Kelly Hunt grounding into an inning-ending double play.

In the eighth, with Erie still trailing by the same score, Giarratano flied out to center to end the inning with runners on first and second.

In the ninth, after scoring a run to get within 6-4, the SeaWolves again had an opportunity where a big hit could have tied or won the game.

With runners on first and second and one out, Giarratano grounded sharply to shortstop and into a game-ending double play.

"We're having trouble stringing some hits together right now, but that stuff will come," SeaWolves designated hitter Kurt Airoso said.

"The guys aren't comfortable right now and as we get going, more guys will get comfortable and we'll start stringing some hits together. I think the guys need to relax a little bit. Some guys are trying to do too much, like they have to come through. You can't put added pressure on yourself."

SeaWolves third baseman Kody Kirkland took over the club lead with his third and fourth homers this season, both solo shots. His second, a line-drive that cleared the batter's eye in center field in the eighth inning, cut Bowie's lead to 5-3.

Bowie entered the game hitting only .197 as a team against right-handed pitchers, but used two homers and a breakout game from right fielder Cory Keylor to build a 5-2 lead through six innings.

Erie right-hander Preston Larrison, who pitched superbly in his first start last week in Harrisburg, saw his record drop to 1-1. He allowed five runs on six hits, struck out three and walked two.

In his first start on Sunday, Larrison pitching five scoreless, hitless innings in a 3-0 win at Harrisburg.

The Baysox entered this weekend's four-game series having hit five homers in their first seven games. Bowie has already equaled that in the first two games of the series.

After hitting three homers in Thursday's 9-3 win to spoil Erie's home opener, the Baysox connected for two more on Friday. Left fielder Tony Alvarez staked Bowie to a first-inning lead with a two-run homer to left.

Keylor entered the game hitting .083 (1-for-12), but went 2-for-3 with a homer, drove in three runs, walked once and stole a base. His solo homer to left in the fifth put the Baysox ahead 3-1. His two-run single to center in the sixth made it 5-1.

NOTES: SeaWolves left fielder Garth McKinney threw out Bowie designated hitter Mario Delgado at second base in the fourth inning. Delgado was trying to stretch his single down the left field line. ... When Bowie first baseman Leo Daigle was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning, it marked the ninth straight game Bowie has had at least one player hit by a pitch. Bowie batters have been hit by pitches a league-high 13 times this season.... Right-hander Jeremy Johnson (0-1, 7.20) will start for Erie tonight against Bowie left-hander Craig Anderson (0-0, 2.57).

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

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'Wolves whiff at home


The Erie SeaWolves’ Brent Clevlen is tagged out at home by Bowie Baysox pitcher James Johnson during the third inning of Sunday’s game at Jerry Uht Park. Clevlen tried to score when the ball got away from catcher Raul Chavez. (Janet B. Campbell / Erie Times-News)

By Ron Leonardi


Manager Duffy Dyer conducted a team meeting Sunday morning and told many of his younger players to relax and try to have some fun. Dyer emphasized that the early season swoon the Erie SeaWolves are mired in is not the end of the world.

"I told them don't go up to the plate like all the burdens of the world are on your back," Dyer said. "Some of the kids are struggling right now and they're beginning to realize that. They have to improve a little bit mentally first before the physical part probably comes."

Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Bowie Baysox before 1,151 fans at Jerry Uht Park did not exactly produce a positive impact on the SeaWolves' collective psyche.

Bowie (8-3) completed a four-game series sweep of Erie, sent the reeling SeaWolves (2-9) to their fifth straight loss and kept them winless (0-4) at home this season.

Erie hitters managed eight hits but struck out 15 times in Sunday's loss without coaxing one walk from three Bowie pitchers.

The SeaWolves struck out 36 times and stranded 32 runners in the four-game series.

"We obviously have a lot of work to do and we have to be patient," Dyer said. "The hitters are going to have to make some adjustments and if they don't do it, it's not going to get any better. They're capable of doing a lot better than this. We're just trying to keep their confidence up."

Has Dyer succeeded in achieving that?

"That's up to them, I don't know," Dyer said. "They say so. A couple of them might be lacking a little bit of confidence."

More than a few Erie hitters are struggling at the plate, which is to be expected early in the season from a team whose roster includes numerous Double-A rookies making the jump from single-A Lakeland.

"We're hanging in there, but we're just not getting those timely hits, but they'll start coming," SeaWolves right fielder Brent Clevlen said. "We're striking out too much and trying to do too much. We have to try and put the bat on the ball more, maybe work a couple of walks. When you're struggling, you have to sometimes take some pitches to get your timing back. Mostly it's just timing when people are striking out a lot."

With the wind blowing in at Uht Park on Sunday, it would have been conducive to try and hit line drives and keep the ball on the ground, but making contact proved to be Erie's biggest hurdle.

Bowie starter James Johnson (3-0), the Class A Carolina League pitcher of the year in 2005 at Frederick, allowed eight hits, struck out eight and had no walks in five innings. Baseball America rates the right-hander as the Baltimore Orioles' No. 8-best minor league prospect.

Baysox right-hander Calvin Maduro struck out six over three scoreless, hitless innings, and right-hander Marino Salas pitched a scoreless ninth inning, striking out one, to earn his fourth save.

The SeaWolves have struck out 100 times in 11 games, an average of nine per game, and are second in the league in strikeouts behind Binghamton (104).

Erie left fielder Garth McKinney led the SeaWolves' strikeout parade Sunday with four, while Clevlen, third baseman Kody Kirkland and second baseman Juan Francia each struck out twice.

"When you put the ball in play, you give yourself a chance," SeaWolves infielder Scott Tousa said. "When you're striking out, the defense doesn't have to do anything. That's something that we could definitely improve on."

If there were a positive from Sunday's loss, it was that Erie hitters delivered a pair of two-out, RBI hits -- designated hitter Kurt Airoso's RBI double in the first inning and Clevlen's run-scoring single in the fifth inning.

Clutch hits have been a non-entity from an Erie lineup laden with power-hitting prospects, but one that's struggled heavily moving runners, stringing hits together and manufacturing runs.

Dyer said improved situational hitting could take a while to materialize with any consistency.

"A couple of our hitters are just pretty big, strong guys who take big swings and you just can't automatically change that," Dyer said. "It's not that easy to say, 'Well, I'm going to hit the ball the other way and I'm going to be a singles hitter today."'

Dyer said he and SeaWolves hitting instructor Pete Incaviglia want their hitters to develop a better two-strike approach and to improve on shortening their swing with two strikes.

"If you're not used to doing it, that's not that easy of a change," Dyer said. "We have to be patient. We have to start hitting more line drives and making better contact. It will come, but I don't know if it's in the near future. I think it's going to be."

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

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Francia leads off 'Wolves' offensive woes

By Ron Leonardi


Second baseman and leadoff hitter Juan Francia's early season slump has compounded the Erie SeaWolves' offensive maladies in their first 11 games.

Francia was in a 1-for-22 slump (.045) before he collected a single in four at-bats in Saturday's 7-1 home loss to Bowie.

Francia hit leadoff again Sunday and went 1-for-5 with a run scored, a swinging-bunt infield single and two strikeouts. He also tried to bunt for a base hit in the seventh, something SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer would like to see more of.

Francia is 3-for-31 this season, and the SeaWolves have received just four hits from the leadoff spot in their 11 games.

"Juan is our catalyst and we have to get those guys at the front of the lineup on base so we can get our bigger guys in the middle of the lineup to drive in some runs," Dyer said.

Dyer has begun to use some other personnel in the leadoff role, including shortstop Tony Giarratano and outfielder Vince Blue.

"Juan has been hitting the ball in the air too much and chasing a lot of bad pitches," Dyer said. "We're trying to get him to ease up a little bit and quit being overly aggressive. He needs to hit more like a leadoff hitter and get a few walks and make the pitcher work. He's got to start hitting more ground balls and line drives."

Baysox's Keylor snaps slump: Bowie right fielder Cory Keylor entered the Erie series hitting .083 with one hit in 12-at bats in the Baysox's first seven games. He finished the four-game series against the SeaWolves 8-for-15 with five runs batted in, two walks and three runs scored. He was 4-for-4 with an RBI in Sunday's game.

Rabelo gets first hit: SeaWolves catcher Mike Rabelo picked up his first hit of the season Sunday with a one-out single to right in the fourth, ending an 0-for-11 start.

SeaWolves turn two: Erie turned five double plays in Sunday's game, with four coming on ground balls and one on a strikeout-throwout situation.

'Wolves' pitching ranks low:Erie's 4.67 team earned-run average before Sunday's game ranked 11th out of 12 teams in the league. Erie pitching has allowed a league-high 10 homers. The SeaWolves were hitting .217 as a team (eighth).

Taking one for the team: Bowie center fielder Noah Hall has been hit by a pitch a team-leading five times in 11 games. Washington Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson set the Eastern League single-season hit-by-pitch record with 37 in 1999 for the Norwich Navigators. Baysox hitters have been hit by a pitch a league-high 16 times this season. Sunday's game marked the first time this season Bowie did not have a batter hit by a pitch.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.


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Monday Morning Musings:

Well, another week, and more of the same. The 'Wolves, further to be known as the " 'Ooofs" until they get their hitting (& pitching) together.

As mentioned in the Times-News article above, they struck out 36 times in the just completed 4 game series with Bowie. The 32 LOB just indicates to me that if they actually had been able to put wood to ball they might have scored some runs.

Now granted there is a lot of youth, that is AA rookies, on this team, and as many say, especially here, AA is THE differentiator for players making the climb. Now it is still very early, but so far, the adjustment has been rough.

If it wasn't for having minor league veteran Kurt Airoso in the lineup, they could very well be 0-9.

Well, yesterday, Nate Bumstead came back to earth a little bit. Now I'm not saying this game is an indicator of what is to come anymore than I thought he was going to pitch shutout ball the rest of the season. Not sure right now what to predict for him. Not really a bandwagon guy (except Kevin Whelan), so we'll see and root for him.

Not a good sign when you get a whole article on you detailing your poor play, but Juan Francia has done that. Well he has inched closer to the "Buhl" line (wasn't sure what to call it, so decided to call it the "Buhl line" in honor of Bob Buhl a lifetime .089 hitting pitcher over 15 seasons), now hitting .097.

Now this guy hit .290 in 70 games at Erie last year so it is not like this is his first taste of AA. I'm sure there are alot of new pitchers, but as Duffy Dyer indicates he is not using his speed, hitting the ball in the air too much. Now this guy is probably never going to hit for any type of power, but if he going to be of any value to the organization, he's got to use his speed - bunts, hitting down on the ball.

Gotta a say a word about Brent Clevlen. Although his average is still not great, he is showing indications that he will be fine. Guys still got an arm, but feel he will be fine. Will check back in a month.

When I was looking at the team stats and the above articles, the thing that jumped out at me wasn't the .215 batting average (well not as much at least), but that they are next to last in ERA. Here is partial list of the 'Oof's pitching:

The Good:

Bumstead 1-1, 2.30, WHIP=1.47

Vasquez 0-2, 4.09, 1.09

H Sanchez 0-1, 1.80, 1.40

Brian Rogers 8 ip, 1.13, 0.50!

The Ugly:

Jeremy Johnson 0-2, 7.56, 2.28

Preston Larrison 1-1, 4.50, 0.80

Pete Sikaras 7.1 ip, 7.36, 1.23

Eulogio De La Cruz 5.1 ip, 16.88, 2.81

Ian Ostlund 6.1 ip, 5.68, 2.53

Danny Zell 5.1 ip, 6.75, 1.88

I feel that this is the make or break year for both Johnson and Larrison. They both had arm surgeries over a year ago and need to show their stuff to be even considered worth retaining for next year, let alone moving up to fill in at Toledo as required this year. Same with Ian Ostlund. I was actually surprised he was still in the org. The fact that he is a lefty that has had some lower level success helps, but his "clock is ticking". For all three, the pressure, for lack of a better term, of 2006 draft prospects behind them in Lakeland and WM has a bit to do with this thinking as well.

As for De La Cruz, I believe he only had 1 (or 2) appearance this week. It was a middle relief appearance which he did well in. I am guessing, not being there, that they may be working on the side with him, on making better use of the pitches he has. Word in this forum is that he may have hit his proverbial wall. We'll see.


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Airoso delivers in 10th

'Wolves end losing streak at 5


Erie SeaWolves third baseman Kody Kirkland holds up his glove after tagging out the Harrisburg Senators’ Josh Whitesell when Whitesell tried to advance on a single by Salomon Manriquez on Monday. (Jack Hanrahan / Erie Times-News)

By Ron Leonardi


SeaWolves designated hitter Kurt Airoso has a penchant for struggling at the plate early in the season and usually revitalizes his bat once the weather warms in late May or early June.

But this season, the SeaWolves'career home-run leader is throwing a curve at Eastern League pitching.

Airoso's game-winning RBI single in the 10th inning Monday lifted the struggling SeaWolves to a 2-1 win over the Harrisburg Senators in front of a Buck Night crowd of 3,048 at Jerry Uht Park.

Erie (3-9) snapped a five-game losing streak and earned its first home win of the season.

Airoso drilled a first-pitch fastball off of Harrisburg right-hander David Reuckel into left field, scoring Juan Francia from second with the winning run. Francia struck out swinging to open the inning, but reached first when the ball got away from Harrisburg catcher Salomon Manriquez. Francia moved to second on Tony Giarratano's sacrifice bunt. Erie's Brent Clevlen was intentionally walked.

"They went to the mound, they talked and they started Clevlen off with a couple sliders," Airoso said. "I thought maybe they were talking about a different game plan for me. I was looking for a first-pitch fastball and I was lucky that's what I got."

With Monday's 1-for-2 performance that included three walks, Airoso increased his average to .348.

He entered the game eighth in the league in hitting, tied for second in homers (three) third in the league in slugging percentage (.636) and tied for first in extra-base hits (seven) with Harrisburg's Frank Diaz.

"I don't feel real great at the plate now," Airoso said. "I had a sun hit on Sunday that dropped in and I've had a few infield singles that fell in for me, so that has a lot to do with it. I'm trying to be aggressive at the plate and get good pitches to hit and, right now, I'm getting decent pitches to hit."

Airoso, 31, is in his fifth season with the SeaWolves. His career home run total stands at 93, and he set the franchise's single-season home run record with 34 in 2004.

A notorious warm-weather hitter and a tireless worker in the batting cages whether he's in a slump or on a tear, Airoso said he is seeing the ball better than he normally does early in the season and is getting a lot of good pitches to hit.

"I'm working hard like always and I'm taking maybe even more swings than usual," he said.

"You can see his experience coming through," SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer said. "He's swinging the bat good and he feels pretty comfortable. He is a veteran player and you can tell that he is exuding with confidence right now."

On a young team with numerous Double-A rookies, Airoso's leadership in the clubhouse is another important job that Dyer wants him to perform.

"I had a meeting with him in spring training and I said we're going to depend on you to help us out with some of these kids who are going to be at Double-A for the first time," Dyer said. "He said, 'Don't worry about it, I'll take care of it.' He's not a rah-rah type of guy, he's very quiet, but I think he gets his point across to some of the guys. If they just watch him play and how hard he works, they have to learn something from his worth ethic."

The SeaWolves received six innings of one-run ball from starter Humberto Sanchez and four scoreless innings from the bullpen.

Erie notched its first home win despite wasting a bases-loaded, no-out opportunity in the seventh with the game tied at 1.

"That was rough, and that's why it was good to come back and win, so you could hopefully forget about that," Airoso said.

"Offensively, we're still struggling a little bit, but it was a big win for us," Dyer said. "You have to win those kind of games if you're going to be a good ballclub and especially when you're not going well. That was a big hit for Airoso and the whole club, so I hope that's a start for us."

Harrisburg took a 1-0 lead in the second on Manriquez's RBI single.

Harrisburg starter Kip Bouknight no-hit the SeaWolves for 5 1/3 innings before Francia reached on a slap-bunt infield single to shortstop. Francia went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Clevlen's double to center.

NOTES: Erie right-hander Virgil Vasquez (0-2, 4.09) is scheduled to start today against Harrisburg right-hander Anastacio Martinez (2-0, 3.65). Vasquez will make his second start this season against Harrisburg. He lost to the Senators on April 8 despite giving up just one run and three hits in six innings of a 3-1 loss.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

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Tata's near future with Tigers uncertain

Erie could get Detroit reliever

By Ron Leonardi


The Erie SeaWolves could learn within the next two weeks whether right-hander Jordan Tata returns to the club.

Tata, who was set to begin the season in Erie's starting rotation, has made three relief appearances with the Detroit Tigers since they purchased his contract from the SeaWolves on April 2.

"Although he's pitched very well and actually deserves to stay there, I think the organization wants him to get some innings in,"SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer said. "He's awfully young just to be up there and pitch three or four innings a week. I think they'd like him to come down not because he's not capable of pitching up, but just because of the position he's in right now, he won't get enough innings in."

On Saturday, Tata, 24, pitched four scoreless innings in relief of Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman against the Cleveland Indians in a 7-2 loss.

"It's definitely a confidence-booster," Tata told MLB.com. "That's a good lineup over there. Hopefully, the next time out, I'll be in the strike zone a little more."

Tata has thrown 8 2/3 innings of relief for Detroit and is 0-0 with a 3.12 ERA. He's allowed three runs and four hits with four strikeouts and seven walks.

Tata was recalled by the Tigers one day after Tigers closer Todd Jones was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled hamstring.

"He's a great kid," Tigers manager Jim Leyland told MLB.com. "He's probably not ready yet to start at this level, who knows? Sometimes you get pressed into things."

Jones has said he hopes to return from the disabled list in the next week or two.

The Tigers have not indicated what they plan to do with Tata when Jones returns.

"I think the organization wants him to come down and get some starts in and then possibly take him back up for something,"Dyer said. "It's not a matter of not thinking he can't pitch up there because he's showing he can.

"In the role he's in now, being the 11th or 12th pitcher, you're not going to get a lot of innings in," Dyer added. "I think as far as development goes, he needs to come down and get some starts under his belt."

If the Tigers elect to send him back to the minors, there's also the chance that Tata could drop down to Triple-A Toledo.

"There's a good chance they send him there and send us somebody else or send him here," Dyer said. "Nothing has been said. Right now, I'm not worried about it because I have enough to worry about without him."

Tata made his major league debut April 6 against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. He was 13-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 25 starts at Single-A Lakeland last season. He was named the Florida State League's pitcher of the year and the Tigers' minor league pitcher of the year.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

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Wednesday articles:

'Wolves find way to win

Erie holds off Harrisburg for 2nd straight victory at home

Thursday articles

Series sweep lifts SeaWolves' spirits

After a loss to Bowie on Sunday in which they struck out a season-high 15 times, the SeaWolves trudged back to their Jerry Uht Park clubhouse with a 2-9 record and entrenched in a five-game losing streak.

Wednesday night, they boarded a bus and left town forthe start of a seven-game road trip with renewed confidence and their first series sweep of the season.

Despite being held to five hits, the SeaWolves scored twice in the eighth to defeat the Harrisburg Senators 3-2 before 1,495 fans at Uht Park. Erie (5-9) swept the three-game series from the Senators (8-6) and took a 4-3series lead on their Southern Division opponent.

"We opened the season in Harrisburg and lost three of four and they saw our worst, but now they saw what we really can do,"Erie closer Chris Homer said.

Trailing 2-1, the SeaWolves used power and small ball, plus a costly Harrisburg error in the eighth, to take the lead.

Erie left fielder Garth McKinney went 2-for-3 and tied the game at 2 with a one-out homer to left off of right-hander Dan Kolb.

Kolb then worked himself into further trouble by issuing back-to-back walks to Erie's Vince Blue and Tony Giarratano.

The Senators summoned right-hander Roy Corcoran to pitch to the right-handed-hitting Kody Kirkland, who hit a broken-bat, slow roller between the mound and first base.

As a piece of Kirkland's shattered bat landed nearby, Harrisburg first baseman Josh Whitesell fielded the grounder and attempted an underhand toss to Corcoran covering first on a bang-bang play.

The ball eluded Corcoran and rolled away, allowing Blue to score the go-ahead run on Whitesell's throwing error. Kirkland was credited with an infield single.

"That was a big hit, and I think the bat went farther than the ball did, but we'll sure take it," SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer said.

Homer, a Double-A rookie who had 29 saves at Single-A Lakeland in 2005, came on to start the ninth and retired the Senators in order for his second save in as many nights and his third of the season.

In Erie's season-opening 2-1 loss to Harrisburg on April 6, Homer gave up a two-out, RBI hit in the bottom of the ninth that allowed the Senators to tie the game before winning in the 10th.

"I think he got over that first-game jitters and ever since then, he has pitched very well," Dyer said.

Asked if Homer exhibits a different mentality like many closers possess, Dyer said, "I don't know him that well yet. He's very quiet and he doesn't seem to be as goofy as most closers, so I'd have to ask his roommates what he's like. He's giving us what you need out of your closer."

Dyer said his club continues to struggle offensively, but is encouraged that his hitters are beginning to see the ball better and not swinging at so many bad pitches. The SeaWolves have also begun to generate some walks that are leading to runs.

"We sure are getting some pitching," Dyer said. "If we get in a lot of close games, it's good to have some confidence you can win these types of games."

SeaWolves right-hander Preston Larrison had another quality start, allowing two runs and scattering six hits over six innings.

Larrison was struck in the right thigh by a line drive from Harrisburg designated hitter Tony Blanco in the fifth inning. Larrison threw out Blanco on the play and remained in the game.

"It hit me square and flush," said Larrison, who had his thigh wrapped tightly in ice after the game. "It was nothing at first, it felt like maybe a tennis ball hit me, but when I started sitting around between innings and the swelling started getting going, that's when it became a factor because that's my push-off leg."

After finishing the sixth inning, Larrison asked to be taken out because his thigh was bothering him. He threw 84 pitches and was on a 90-pitch count.

"They wanted me to go back out there, but I was honest and I told them I couldn't push off. It's starting to get some bruising now and that's a bad sign because the next two days, there's probably going to be some pretty strange colors coming out of there. There's seam marks and a big brown ball mark on my thigh, but I'll get through it."

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail




Series Preview

Erie SeaWolves (5-9) at Binghamton Mets (9-5)

Today, 6 p.m.

Friday, 7 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday, 1:35 p.m.

# Pitching matchups:

Today:Erie RH Jeremy Johnson (0-2, 7.56 ERA) vs. Binghamton RH Brian Edwards (1-1, 5.79)

Friday: Erie RH Nate Bumstead (1-1, 2.30) vs. Binghamton LH Evan MacLane (1-0, 4.20)

Saturday:Erie RH Humberto Sanchez (0-1, 1.69) vs. Binghamton RH Miguel Perez (1-0, 2.12)

Sunday:Erie RH Virgil Vasquez (1-2, 3.50) vs. Binghamton LH Willie Collazo (2-1, 2.81)

# Binghamton notes: Five Binghamton players are ranked among the New York Mets' top-30 prospects by Baseball America: outfielder Carlos Gomez (No. 3), first baseman Brett Harper (10), shortstop Corey Ragsdale (27), right-hander Henry Owens (28) and left-hander Evan MacLane (29). ... Gomez hit .275 with eight homers and 48 RBIs and led the South Atlantic League in steals (64) in 2005, which was second overall in the minors. ... Harper, the son of former major leaguer Brian Harper, was second in the Eastern League with a .405 average (17-for-42) entering Binghamton's game Wednesday at New Hampshire. ... Owens is a fireballing closer who struck out 74 in 54 1/3 innings at Single-A St. Lucie in 2005. ... Left-handed starter Willie Collazo was the Eastern League pitcher of the week for the week ending April 16 after posting a 2-0 record with nine strikeouts and a 0.00 ERA in 12 innings. ... Binghamton is 6-1 at home this season.

# Erie notes: Right-hander Jeremy Johnson has not been sharp in his two starts, surrendering seven runs and 13 hits in 81/3 innings with eight strikeouts and six walks. Johnson Erie's No. 5 starter was scheduled to begin the season in the bullpen but was inserted into the starting rotation after the Detroit Tigers purchased the contract of SeaWolves right-hander Jordan Tata on April 2.

-- Ron Leonardi

Johnson gave up a league-high 23 homers in 2005. ... After allowing no runs in 10 innings during his first two starts, both on the road, Erie right-hander Nate Bumstead struggled in his first home start Sunday. He allowed 11 hits and five walks and gave up four runs over five innings in a 5-2 loss to Bowie. ... Sanchez has had three solid starts, striking out 20 and allowing three earned runs in 16 innings, but has yet to collect a win. Sanchez is coming off of a six-inning no-decision against Harrisburg on Monday in which he allowed one run and four hits while striking out eight and walking two.


Friday articles:

'Wolves get wild victory in 13th

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Thirteen was a lucky number for the Erie SeaWolves.

The 'Wolves won a marathon victory over the Binghamton Mets on Thursday. Tony Giarratano watched the winning run score on a wild pitch in the top of the 13th inning, then followed with a two-run single for a 9-6 win before at 2,272 NYSEG Stadium.

The 4-hour, 49-minute game was the start of a seven-game road trip for Erie (6-9), winner of four straight.

The game stood at 6-6 after the Mets' Bobby Malek hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Each team then squandered numerous scoring chances and combined for 27 runners left on base.

The 'Wolves and Mets had runners on third base five times in extra innings before Erie scored in the 13th.

Kelly Hunt led off with an infield single against Binghamton's Henry Owens (1-1). Mets shortstop Corey Ragsdale tried to catch the line drive, but mistimed his jump.

The ball struck Ragsdale flush in the face and he left the game with a bloodied uniform. Ragsdale's removal led to several improvised defensive changes for Binghamton manager Juan Samuel.

Erie manager Duffy Dyer also sent in Chris Maples to run for Hunt before Garth McKinney stepped in to bat. McKinney sacrificed Maples to second, but on the bunt back to the mound Owens made an errant throw to first. The runners advanced to second and third.

Erie's Vince Blue was intentionally walked to load the bases. Owens got Juan Francia to pop up, but allowed Maples to score on a wild pitch to Tony Giarratano.

On the next pitch, Giarratano drove in McKinney and Blue with a bloop single.

Ian Ostlund (1-0) picked up the win as Erie's fifth pitcher. Ostlund struck out the Mets'Jorge Padilla with two outs and runners on first and third in the bottom of the 12th.

Ostlund then retired Binghamton in order in the 13th.

Erie's Mike Rabelo had two hits and four RBIs.

Padilla had four hits for the Mets and scored a run.


Not mentioned in the article on last night's game is the 20 strikeout performance by the Wolves batters. They won, which is great! But 20 Whiffs, even in a 13 inning game is incredible.

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Mets trip up 'Wolves

Erie loses for first time in 5 games

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- The Erie SeaWolves saw their four-game winning streak come to an end Friday night.

Binghamton's Carlos Gomez drove in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fourth inning and the Mets added three more in the seventh for an 8-4 victory before 3,469 at NYSEG Stadium. The win came the day after Binghamton lost a 4-hour, 49-minute game that went 13 innings.

Erie (6-10) lost despite Kurt Airoso's three-run home run in the third inning. The 'Wolves scored all four of their runs in that inning off Mets starter Evan MacLane (2-0).

Binghamton led 4-0 when Juan Francia singled and Tony Giarratano followed with a bunt single down the third-base line. Brent Clevlen then drove in Francia with a one-out single to center.

Airoso followed with a three-run homer to left field that tied the score 4-4. It was Airoso's fourth homer this season.

The Mets (10-6) took the lead for good an inning later. Enrique Cruz doubled to left off Erie's Nate Bumstead (1-2). Gomez followed with his lone hit, an RBI single to left.

Binghamton added three more in the seventh off 'Wolves reliever Pete Sikaras. Jonathan Slack doubled with one out and Sikaras intentionally walked Brett Harper.

Padilla followed with a single to center that scored Slack. Harper and Padilla later scored on Bobby Malek's two-out single.

The Mets' Anderson Garcia picked up his first save with four innings of scoreless relief. Garcia allowed only one hit, Vince Blue's one-out single in the seventh, but picked off the Erie center fielder at first base.

Garcia struck out six, including Kody Kirkland and Kelly Hunt in the ninth.

Airoso's home run was his only hit. Giarratano and Clevlen each had two.

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Airoso leads 'Wolves' offensive barrage

From staff reports

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Kurt Airoso homered twice and Erie banged out 16 hits en route to a 15-4 victory over Binghamton on Sunday before 2,164 at NYSEG Stadium.

The SeaWolves (7-10) took two of three in the series, and have won five of their past six games.

Erie also got home runs from Kody Kirkland and Mike Rabelo. Kirkland finished with five RBIs.

Airoso went 4-for-5, drove in four runs and scored four times. His RBI single in the first inning staked the SeaWolves to a 1-0 lead.

Erie led 2-0 before erupting for five runs in the top of the fifth after Tony Giarratano, who had three hits in the game, led off the inning with a triple. Kirkland drove in two runs with a single to left and Scott Tousa drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Garth McKinney also drove home a run with a single to right field.

The 'Wolves added a single run in the sixth inning before scoring five more times in the eighth and twice more in the ninth.

Erie starter Humberto Sanchez went seven innings to improve to 1-1. He allowed four hits and two earned runs, walking two and striking out eight.

Sanchez held the Mets scoreless through the first six innings before Jay Caligiuri hit a two-run home run off of Sanchez in the bottom of the seventh.

Binghamton (10-7) starter Miguel Perez did not fare nearly as well. Perez (1-1) lasted four innings, allowing six hits and five earned runs. He walked three and struck out five.

Erie's road trip continues tonight with the first of three games at Bowie. After an off-day Thursday, the 'Wolves return home against Binghamton on Friday.

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SeaWolves series preview

Erie SeaWolves (7-10) at Bowie Baysox (10-7 )

Today-Tuesday, 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday, 11:05 a.m.

Pitching matchups: Today: Erie RH Virgil Vasquez (1-2, 3.50) vs. Bowie LH Richard Stahl (1-2, 2.08)

Tuesday: Erie RH Preston Larrison (1-1, 3.94) vs. Bowie LH Craig Anderson (2-0, 1.89).

Wednesday: Erie RH Jeremy Johnson (0-2, 8.31) vs. Bowie RH James Johnson (3-0, 3.31)

Erie notes: The SeaWolves have won five of their past six games after opening the season 2-9. ... Erie has won back-to-back series for the first time this season, sweeping Harrisburg in a three-game series at home last week and winning two of three games at Binghamton over the weekend. ... With eight strikeouts in Sunday's 15-4 win at Binghamton, right-hander Humberto Sanchez evened his record at 1-1 and increased his league-leading strikeout total to 28. ... Designated hitter Kurt Airoso has homered in back-to-back games. His two homers Sunday against Binghamton gave him a league-high six this season and 96 in his SeaWolves career. His four RBIs on Sunday also put him first in the league with 17. ... The SeaWolves belted four homers Sunday, increasing their league-high total to 19. ... Right fielder Brent Clevlen extended his hitting streak to nine games Sunday. ... Bowie swept a four-game series from Erie April 13-16 at Jerry Uht Park. ... Erie hitters struck out 36 times and the SeaWolves stranded 32 runners in that series. In the series finale, a 5-2 Erie loss, the SeaWolves struck out a season-high 15 times.

Bowie notes: The Baysox outscored Erie 27-10 in their four-game series earlier this season. ... James Johnson earned the win in a 5-2 victory over Erie on April 16 at Jerry Uht Park, allowing two runs and eight hits over five innings. He struck out eight and did not walk any. ... Left fielder Tony Alvarez was leading Bowie in homers (three) and RBIs (15) entering Sunday's doubleheader with New Hampshire. ... First baseman and former SeaWolves player Leo Daigle was hitting .263 with no homers and 10 RBIs in 15 games. ... Bowie right fielder Cory Keylor entered the first series against Erie hitting .083 after collecting one hit in 12 at-bats in the Baysox's first seven games. But in four games against Erie, Keylor went 8-for-15 with five RBIs and three runs scored. His .351 average on Sunday was ninth in the league.

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Monday Morning Musings:

First of All, the Seawolves have their new website up and going. Cleaner and much brighter (I hated the dark background of the old one).


A lot of the minor league teams are going to a standard MiLB format. I was wondering if MiLB approached the Erie folks about that format.

As part of the diary (until we get some local Erie coverage, at least), I am going to post where the Wolves players are in the Eastern League leader board and their stats as of each Monday. If someone is doing week to week splits, I would appreciate if I could get them, otherwise I'll do the rough math every Monday. Thanks.

Eastern League Leaders (in top 5):



HR: Kurt Airoso - 6 (1st, tied)

Kody Kirkland - 5 (3rd, tied)

RBI: Kurt Airoso - 17

Slg Pct: Kurt Airoso - .667 (2nd)

Doubles: Tony Giarratano - 8 (2nd)

Brent Clevlen - 6 (5th, tied)

Runs: Kurt Airoso - 12 (2nd, tied)

Hits: Kurt Airoso - 22 (4th, tied)

Walks: Vince Blue - 10 (3rd, tied)

Kurt Airoso, Brent Clevlen - 9 (5th, tied)

Strikeouts: Garth McKinney - 27 (2nd, tied)

Kody Kirkland - 24 (4th, tied)


Innings: Humberto Sanchez - 23.0 (4th, tied)

Walks: Nate Bumstead - 12 (2nd)

Strikeouts: Humberto Sanchez - 28 (1st)

Nate Bumstead - 21 (5th)

Team Stats:


Individual Stats (Batting) (click column headers to sort)
Kurt Airoso OF 17 67 12 22 4 0 6 17 44 9 20 0 0 .408 .657 .328 1.065 0
Scott Tousa 2B 8 18 1 5 1 0 0 1 6 1 5 0 0 .364 .333 .278 .697 0
Brent Clevlen RF 17 65 9 18 6 0 1 8 27 10 14 1 0 .382 .415 .277 .797 1
Chris Maples 3B 7 15 2 4 2 0 0 1 6 0 6 0 0 .267 .400 .267 .667 1
Tony Giarratano SS 17 73 10 19 8 1 0 5 29 3 17 3 1 .289 .397 .260 .687 1
Kody Kirkland 3B 17 67 10 17 2 1 5 10 36 2 24 1 2 .296 .537 .254 .833 5
Vincent Blue OF 17 55 5 13 2 0 0 2 15 10 11 2 3 .354 .273 .236 .627 0
Garth McKinney OF 15 56 7 13 2 0 3 5 24 3 27 1 0 .271 .429 .232 .700 2
Mike Rabelo C 7 25 2 5 0 0 1 5 8 2 2 0 0 .286 .320 .200 .606 0
Kelly Hunt 1B 15 59 4 11 1 0 3 8 21 1 14 0 0 .210 .356 .186 .566 1
Danilo Sanchez C 12 33 1 5 1 0 0 1 6 4 3 0 0 .282 .182 .152 .464 2
Juan Francia 2B 13 55 6 6 0 0 0 1 6 2 12 2 1 .169 .109 .109 .279 1

Individual Stats (Pitching) (click column headers to sort)
Humberto Sanchez1 1 1.96 4 4 0 0 0 23.0 19 7 5 1 0 7 28 1.13 0 0
Nathan Bumstead 1 2 3.86 4 4 0 0 0 21.0 20 9 9 1 0 12 21 1.52 0 0
Virgil Vasquez 1 2 3.50 3 3 0 0 0 18.0 14 10 7 2 2 3 15 0.94 0 0
Preston Larrison1 1 3.94 3 3 0 0 0 16.0 12 7 7 2 1 3 11 0.94 0 0
Brian Rogers 1 0 0.69 6 0 0 0 1 13.0 7 1 1 0 1 0 16 0.54 1 3
Jeremy Johnson 0 2 8.31 3 3 0 0 0 13.0 22 12 12 3 1 7 11 2.23 0 0
Pete Sikaras 1 0 8.38 7 0 0 0 0 9.2 10 9 9 3 1 3 5 1.34 0 1
Bobby M. Jones 0 0 3.12 7 0 0 0 0 8.2 9 4 3 1 2 5 9 1.62 2 0
Ian Ostlund 1 0 4.15 6 0 0 0 0 8.2 10 4 4 1 1 8 11 2.08 2 3
Eulogio De La Cruz0 2 11.25 7 0 0 0 0 8.0 17 10 10 1 1 6 7 2.88 1 1
Danny Zell 0 0 4.70 8 0 0 0 0 7.2 11 4 4 0 0 5 5 2.09 1 3
Chris Homer 0 0 5.14 7 0 0 0 3 7.0 7 4 4 0 0 1 6 1.14 0 6

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From Tuesday (Monday's game):

Daigle haunts SeaWolves with HR

Former Erie player lifts Bowie in 9th

BOWIE, Md. -- Leo Daigle got the best of his former team Mon-day night.

Daigle, who played for the Erie SeaWolves in 2003, hit a two-run home run for the Bowie Baysox with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 6-5 victory. Bowie rallied for three runs over the final two innings before 1,420 at Prince George's Stadium.

The Baysox's Tony Alvarez singled off of Chris Homer (0-1) with one out in the ninth. Daigle then hit his second homer of the year.

Erie broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth. Kurt Airoso led off with a double and scored when Kelly Hunt singled to center. Hunt moved to second on the relay throw and scored when Chris Maples singled to right.

Bowie (11-7) got one run back in the eighth. Gerardo Alvarez drove in pinch-runner Pete Maestrales with two outs.

Erie had a chance to make it 6-3 in the ninth. Scott Tousa singled and advanced on an error, but Bowie's Jason Pearson (1-0) stranded him at third.

The Baysox led 2-0 when Kody Kirkland crushed a three-run homer off of Bowie starter James Johnson. Kirkland and Airoso are tied for the Eastern League lead with six homers each.

Bowie tied the score at 3-3 on Rayner Bautista's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth. Bautista, another former SeaWolves player, had one of the Baysox's 12 hits.

Rabelo, Airoso and Hunt each had two hits for the 'Wolves. Airoso also scored twice.

The three-game series continues at Bowie today when Erie right-hander Preston Larrison (1-1, 3.94 ERA) takes on Bowie ace left-hander Craig Anderson (2-0, 1.89 ERA).

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SeaWolves outlast Baysox in 15

Garth McKinney scored the go-ahead run in the 15th inning as visiting Erie topped Bowie, 5-3, on Tuesday.

McKinney and Tony Giarratano began the frame with walks against Baysox reliever Matt Bruback (0-1). After a sacrifice bunt by Scott Tousa, McKinney gave the SeaWolves a 4-3 lead, coming home on a fielder's choice groundout by Brent Clevlen. Giarratano gave Erie (8-11) insurance by scoring on a wild pitch.

SeaWolves reliever Bobby M. Jones (1-0) gave up one hit and struck out three in pitching scoreless 13th and 14th innings. Chris Homer retired the side in order in the bottom of the 15th for his fourth save.

Bruback had a strong relief outing despite taking the loss. He gave up two runs on one hit and two walks with five strikeouts in four innings.

The teams combined to use 13 pitchers in the game. Brian Rogers worked 3 2/3 scoreless frames for Erie. Calvin Maduro and Marino Salas each tossed two scoreless frames for the Baysox.

Clevlen extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the third, but went hitless in his next six at-bats.

Mario Delgado went 3-for-4 for Bowie (11-8). Erie went up 3-0 in the fifth on Mike Rabelo's RBI single and Kelly Hunt's RBI double. Hunt led the SeaWolves with three hits.

The Baysox came back with three runs to tie it. Gerardo Alvarez cracked an RBI single in the fifth. Brooks Badeaux homered in the sixth, and Robert Andrews came home on Tony Alvarez's RBI bunt single in the eighth.

The teams conclude the three-game series at 11:05 a.m. ET on Wednesday. -- Eric Justic/MLB.com




The hitting was not much with only 8 hits in 15 innings. In fact, they recorded another 20 strikeout game! They had one last week, and, granted this was a 15 inning game but, they got 20 here.

Here is the main whiffers:

Kody Kirkland - 5 (1-7)

Kurt Airoso - 4 (0-7)

Tony Giarratano - 3 (1-7)

Garth McKinney - 3 (0-5, 2 bb)

Scott Tousa - 2 (1-5, 2 bb)

Brent Clevlen - 2 (1-8)


Their pitching was for the most part exceptional.

Larrison had a nice outing going the first 5 2/3 allowing only 2 runs, no walks, and 2 whiffs.

Ian Ostlund (0.2), Danny Zell (0.1), Rogers (3.2), Bobby Jones (2), and Chris Homer (1) all pitched shutout ball. E De La Cruz allowed a run in his 1 2/3 to allow Bowie to send it to extra frames, but struck out 3.

A huge stat here is that the Erie pitching did not allow a single walk in the 15 innings!

For all the talk about Kevin Whelan, etc., Brian Rogers has quietly gotten out the gates even better.

3 more stellar shutout innings brings his line to:

18 ip

9 h

1 r/er

0 bb

22 k

1-0, 1 save

That's a 0.50 WHIP with an infinite k to bb ratio for those of you scoring at home!

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From Thursday's paper:

'Wolves lose another in extra innings

BOWIE, Md. -- After the Erie SeaWolves beat the Bowie Baysox 5-3 in a 15-inning marathon that ended early Wednesday morning, later that morning the two Eastern League clubs began another game that went extra innings.

For the second time in three games, former SeaWolves player Leo Daigle scored the winning run. Daigle trotted home on Gerardo Alvarez's bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 11th for a 3-2 Baysox win. On Monday, Daigle hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to give Bowie a 6-5 victory.

A crowd of 4,107 watched Wednesday at Prince George's Stadium on Baseball in Education Day.

The Baysox (12-8) have won six of seven meetings this season with the SeaWolves (8-12).

Daigle led off the 11th with a single to center off of Eulogio De La Cruz (0-3). Mario Delgado singled to short right as Daigle ran to third, and Cory Keylor was intentionally walked to load the bases. Alvarez then took ball four to force in the winning run.

The SeaWolves scored their only runs in the top of the ninth to send the game to extra innings.

With one out, Kurt Airoso singled off of reliever Todd Williams, and Kody Kirkland followed with a double to center. Airoso scored on pinch-hitter Mike Rabelo's groundout, and Kelly Hunt singled to left with two outs to score the tying run. After Garth McKinney singled Hunt to third, Vince Blue, who had two hits, struck out.

In the 10th inning, the game was delayed for 30 minutes when the replacement umpire at home plate (no umpires' names are given) complained of dizziness and was attended to on the field. Minor league umpires are on strike.

Bowie scored two runs against starter Jeremy Johnson on an error by shortstop Tony Giarratano and an RBI bunt single by Brooks Badeaux.

Erie's Brent Clevlen had one of three hits off of starter Craig Anderson to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.

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Patience leads Sanchez to Double-A


After a breakout 2005 season at Class A Lakeland, catcher Danilo Sanchez has started slowly this year with the Erie SeaWolves. He is hitting .139 in 13 games. (JACK HANRAHAN/Erie Times-News)

Danilo Sanchez's pro career has been all about making small, gradual climbs up the Detroit Tigers' organizational ladder.

Signed by the Tigers as a non-drafted free agent in September 1997 when he was 16, it has taken the Dominican Republic native nine years - and a lot of patience - to reach Double-A ball.

"Nine years in one organization is pretty unusual, but I tell people I'm about perseverance,"Sanchez said.

A breakout offensive season in 2005 at Single-A Lakeland put Sanchez, 25, on the fast track to making his Double-A debut as the Erie SeaWolves everyday catcher this season.

"The Tigers feel with the year he had last year, he deserves a chance to move up and be the starting catcher here,"SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer said. "Mike Rabelo did OK for us last year, but right now the Tigers feel Sanchez is just a little bit ahead of him."

Sanchez never hit more than nine homers or drove in more than 51 runs in any of his first seven professional seasons. But at Lakeland last season, Sanchez hit 22 homers, drove in 68 runs and hit .284 in 103 games.

"He's always been a pretty good catcher and thrower, but last year was, by far, his coming-out year offensively,"Dyer said.

"That was concentration," Sanchez said. "Every day I went to the field mentally prepared to work hard."

Sanchez played with the Dominican Summer League Tigers from 1998-2000. He made the jump to the Gulf Coast Rookie League Tigers in 2001, and split his 2002 season between the Gulf Coast League and high-A Lakeland.

Sanchez split 2003 between short-season Single-A Oneonta and Lakeland, and spent 2004 at low-A West Michigan.

So far this season, the offense has been hard to come by. In 13 games, Sanchez is hitting .139 (5-for-36) with no homers and one RBI.

"He doesn't strike out quite as much as some of the other guys and he's more of a gap-to-gap hitter and hits the ball to all fields," Dyer said. "I think he's going to hold his own."

Dyer plans to give both of his catchers ample playing time. Rabelo, who backed up Max St. Pierre in 2005, has played in 10 games and is hitting .211 (8-for-38) with one homer and seven RBIs.

Rabelo was a non-roster invitee to the Tigers' camp and had a productive spring training.

"To be honest, I don't think anybody expected Mike to have the kind of spring he had, so he did open a lot of eyes and has gained a lot of ground," Dyer said.

Dyer said he has been satisfied with Sanchez's defensive play.

"We have no complaints so far," Dyer said. "He's caught quite a few games (in his career) so he's pretty experienced even though this is his first year at Double-A. He's got a pretty good idea of what he's doing behind the plate. We need to work on him getting a little quicker behind the plate as far as blocking balls. We think he's going to have a good year here."

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

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Next game

Binghamton Mets (10-10) at Erie SeaWolves (8-12)

Today, Saturday, 6:35 p.m.

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

# Pitching matchups:

Today: Erie RH Nate Bumstead (1-2, 3.86) vs. Binghamton LH Evan MacLane (2-0, 4.95)

Saturday: Erie RH Humberto Sanchez (1-1, 1.96) vs. Binghamton RH Michael Pelfrey (0-0, 0.00)


Pelfrey just got promoted to AA and was outstanding for St. Lucie of the FSL - This will be his AA debut. And Sanchez has had a great start to the season as well.

Sunday: Erie RH Virgil Vasquez (1-2, 3.42) vs. TBA

# Binghamton: The Mets have lost nine of their past 12 games, including four straight, and were shut out by Akron 4-0 and 8-0 in their past two games. ... Right-hander Michael Pelfrey, the New York Mets' No. 1 draft pick last year, was assigned to Binghamton from high-Single-A St. Lucie. He is scheduled to start Saturday. At St. Lucie, Pelfrey, 22, went 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA in four starts, striking out 26 and walking two in 22 innings. He was the ninth overall pick in the 2005 June draft. ... Binghamton's pitching staff has a league-high four shutouts.

# Erie: The SeaWolves won two of three games from the Mets last week in Binghamton, winning 9-6 and 15-4 and losing 8-4. Erie's bats came alive in the series for 32 runs and 36 hits. ... Erie completed a six-game road trip Wednesday with a 3-3 record. ... Right fielder Brent Clevlen has a 12-game hitting streak. ... Designated hitter Kurt Airoso and third baseman Kody Kirkland have six homers apiece and are tied with New Hampshire's Adam Lind for the Eastern Leaguelead. ... Airoso leads the EL with 18 RBIs and is hitting .301.

.. Right-hander Humberto Sanchez is third in the league with 28 strikeouts. ... Erie hitters are second in the league with 191 strikeouts, trailing Binghamton (196)(Read: Whiff-fest this weekend, especially the Sanchez/Pelfrey matchup on Saturday). ... The SeaWolves rank 11th out of 12 teams with a 3.99 team ERA. ... The SeaWolves are 3-4 at home and 5-8 on the road.

-- Ron Leonardi

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Thrown a Curve

Altoona pitchers keep Erie in spin

By Ron Leonardi


The Erie SeaWolves' slumping offense has produced just six runs in its past five games and is hitting less than .220 as a team.

On Sunday, they were no-hit for 7 1/3 innings against Binghamton. In Monday's 5-1 loss to Altoona before 3,631 fans on Buck Night at Jerry Uht Park, Erie was limited to three hits for the second straight day.

Something has to give, and it might be manager Duffy Dyer's patience with his young team.

Asked to evaluate the state of his club's offense minutes after Monday's loss, Dyer didn't hide his frustration,

"You mean lack of offense. There is no offense right now," he said. "We're hitting three hours a day, they're getting a hundred swings a day. If they don't make any changes, then nothing is going to change. Period. That's it. Lack of."

Erie (9-15) has lost five of its past seven games and is 1-3 this season against the Southern Division-leading Curve (16-8).

The SeaWolves' latest offensive antagonists were Curve left-hander Josh Shortslef and right-handed reliever Chris Hernandez, who combined for 11 strikeouts.

Shortslef improved to 4-0 with seven innings of one-run ball, striking out seven.

Hernandez came on to start the eighth and retired all six Erie hitters he faced to earn his second save.

The two Altoona pitchers combined to retire 21 of Erie's last 22 hitters. Erie's lone run came in the third on shortstop Tony Giarratano's RBI grounder. Erie went hitless after catcher Mike Rabelo's leadoff single in the fifth.

"We're definitely in some kind of funk, but we just have to find an approach and stick with it," Erie first baseman Kelly Hunt said. "All teams go through this kind of skid and we're just looking to break out of it."

Right now, that's easier said than done for a strikeout-prone Erie offense that's struggled all season to bunch hits together and produce clutch hits. Compounding those offensive shortcomings has been a season-long lack of production from the leadoff spot.

"They need to learn the strike zone, for one thing," Dyer said. "They can't swing at balls over their head and balls in the dirt. That would help. If we got a few more walks and worked the pitcher a little, that would help. It would also help if we shortened our swings a little bit and quit pulling off the ball. Those are things we've been working on and we'll keep working on."

Dyer said he won't alter his approach with his young lineup.

"We'll go out tomorrow and do the same things we did today -- get a lot of swings," Dyer said. "They have to make some changes. If they don't, it's going to be a long year."

Notes: Altoona center fielder Vic Butler was hit in the head by a fastball from Erie starter Preston Larrison in the second inning.

Butler left the game and was treated for a concussion at Saint Vincent Health Center. His CT scan was negative, SeaWolves physician Brad Fox said. Butler will be medically evaluated today.

Altoona reserve infielder Brant Ust, who played parts of three seasons with the SeaWolves from 2001-03, pinch-ran for Butler and stayed in the game, finishing 1-for-3 with an RBI single.

Ust, 27, began the season at Single-A Lynchburg and hit . 167 (3-for-18) with one RBI in seven games. He joined the Curve on April 21. ... Erie and Altoona will meet 19 times this season, with 12 games at Uht Park.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

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SeaWolves finally lose to Senators

From staff reports

HARRISBURG -- Josh Whitesell homered and drove in three runs and Gerald Plexico pitched three shutout innings in relief to lead the Harrisburg Senators to a 7-3 victory over the Erie SeaWolves on Sunday before 4,369 at Commerce Bank Park.

Erie (12-18) had a six-game winning streak against the Senators snapped.

The SeaWolves got two hits each from Tony Giarratano and Kody Kirkland. Kirkland homered for the second straight game and has eight this season. He also walked and scored twice.

Harrisburg (16-14) jumped on Erie for a pair of runs in the second inning as Whitesell and Josh Lane each delivered run-scoring singles.

Erie pulled to within 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning. The Senators responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth and three more in the fifth inning.

Erie starter Jeremy Johnson. Johnson (0-4) allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs in four innings.

For the third straight game, Erie got a solid outing from its bullpen.

Pete Sikaras worked three scoreless innings in relief of Johnson and Eulogio De La Cruz pitched a scoreless eighth inning.

Harrisburg also had to rely heavily on its bullpen.

Danny Rueckel made a spot start and allowed just three hits and one earned run over four innings.

Plexico did not allow a run and struck out four over three innings to get his first win of the season (1-0).

Roy Corcoran went one inning for his ninth save.

Mike Rabelo and Scott Tousa each had an RBI for the SeaWolves, who host Akron tonight.

Last changed: May 08. 2006 12:00AM


Another poor outing for Jeremy.

Any thoughts on him? I wonder how much longer they are going to "go" with him. He is 2 years removed from his injury. He apparently has hit his level - unless Caldwell is working on something with him. He is only 24.

Mark, any insight?

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