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2006 Erie Seawolves Diary

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SeaWolves Series Preview

Akron Aeros (19-12)

at Erie SeaWolves (12-18)

Today, 6:35 p.m.

Tuesday-Wednesday, 11:05 a.m.

Pitching matchups:

Today: Erie RH Nate Bumstead (1-3, 3.00) vs. Akron RH Adam Miller (4-1, 2.76)

Tuesday: Erie RH Humberto Sanchez (3-1, 1.69) vs. Akron RH Sean Smith (1-0, 4.50)

Wednesday: Erie RH Virgil Vasquez (2-3, 4.55) vs. Akron RH Bear Bay (2-3, 3.77) [love that name!!]

Akron notes: The Aeros, the defending league champion, have a veteran team whose roster includes numerous returnees from last season. ... The Aeros enter the series in second place in the Southern Division, a half-game behind Altoona. ... Akron lost the last two games of its weekend series against Bowie, and had a seven-game win streak snapped Saturday with a 6-5 loss to the Baysox. ... Baseball America rates tonight's Akron starter, right-hander Adam Miller, No. 1 on the Cleveland Indians' top 30 minor-league prospects list. Miller was a 2003 first-round supplemental pick received from the loss of Jim Thome to free agency. Two weeks into his 2005 spring training, Miller was sidelined with a strained ligament in his throwing elbow. At the end of June, he joined short-season Mahoning Valley and went 0-0 with a 5.05 ERA in three starts, with opponents hitting .450 against him in 11 innings. He moved up to Single-A Kinston, going 2-4 with a 4.82 ERA in 12 starts. In five starts this season, a healthy Miller has allowed 10 earned runs and 26 hits in 32 2/3 innings with 31 strikeouts. ... Akron has eight of the Indians' top-30 prospects on its roster, according to Baseball America. Joining Miller are outfielder Brad Snyder (3), left-handed reliever Rafael Perez (13), left-handed reliever Tony Sipp (14), right-handed starter Nick Pesco (16), right-handed reliever Edward Mujica (20), third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff (23) and first baseman Ryan Mulhern(26). ... Kouzmanoff is the league's top hitter with a .425 average (34-for-80) in 21 games.

Erie notes: Erie and Akron meet for the first time this season. ... The SeaWolves won two of three games at Harrisburg over the weekend. Erie has won two of three series from Harrisburg this season and holds a 6-4 series lead. ... Erie's inconsistent bullpen was outstanding in the three-game series against Harrisburg, pitching 11 2/3 scoreless innings. ... The SeaWolves hit five homers in the three-game series against the Senators. ... On Saturday, Eastern League teams had to trim their rosters to 23 from 24, and Erie did so by assigning left-hander Daniel Zell to Single-A Lakeland. It was the first roster move for the SeaWolves this season. ... Right-hander Humberto Sanchez has given Erie six quality outings in as many starts and won Erie's lone two games on their last homestand.

-- Ron Leonardi

-----------------------------------------------------------------

I did not see the Zell demotion coming! Heck demote one of their hitters!

Maybe they need LH help at Lakeland.

Too bad, he was my AAT last year

Looks like they got a tough series ahead - playing Cleveland's AA affiliate at the same (roughly) time as the big guys are.

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Stat Analysis Update:

Stats through 5/7:

Player 	         POS 	G 	AB 	R 	H 	2B 	3B 	HR 	RBI 	TB 	BB 	SO 	SB 	CS 	OBP 	SLG 	AVG 	OPS 	E 
Kurt Airoso OF 17 67 12 22 4 0 6 17 44 9 20 0 0 0.408 0.657 0.328 1.065 0
Scott Tousa 2B 8 18 1 5 1 0 0 1 6 1 5 0 0 0.364 0.333 0.278 0.697 0
Brent Clevlen RF 17 65 9 18 6 0 1 8 27 10 14 1 0 0.382 0.415 0.277 0.797 1
Chris Maples 3B 7 15 2 4 2 0 0 1 6 0 6 0 0 0.267 0.4 0.267 0.667 1
Tony Giarratano SS 17 73 10 19 8 1 0 5 29 3 17 3 1 0.289 0.397 0.26 0.687 1
Kody Kirkland 3B 17 67 10 17 2 1 5 10 36 2 24 1 2 0.296 0.537 0.254 0.833 5
Vincent Blue OF 17 55 5 13 2 0 0 2 15 10 11 2 3 0.354 0.273 0.236 0.627 0
Garth McKinney OF 15 56 7 13 2 0 3 5 24 3 27 1 0 0.271 0.429 0.232 0.7 2
Mike Rabelo C 7 25 2 5 0 0 1 5 8 2 2 0 0 0.286 0.32 0.2 0.606 0
Kelly Hunt 1B 15 59 4 11 1 0 3 8 21 1 14 0 0 0.21 0.356 0.186 0.566 1
Danilo Sanchez C 12 33 1 5 1 0 0 1 6 4 3 0 0 0.282 0.182 0.152 0.464 2
Juan Francia 2B 13 55 6 6 0 0 0 1 6 2 12 2 1 0.169 0.109 0.109 0.279 1

Individual Stats (Pitching) (click column headers to sort)
Player W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR HB BB SO WHIP HLD GF
Humb Sanchez 1 1 1.96 4 4 0 0 0 23 19 7 5 1 0 7 28 1.13 0 0
Nathan Bumstead 1 2 3.86 4 4 0 0 0 21 20 9 9 1 0 12 21 1.52 0 0
Virgil Vasquez 1 2 3.5 3 3 0 0 0 18 14 10 7 2 2 3 15 0.94 0 0
P Larrison 1 1 3.94 3 3 0 0 0 16 12 7 7 2 1 3 11 0.94 0 0
Brian Rogers 1 0 0.69 6 0 0 0 1 13 7 1 1 0 1 0 16 0.54 1 3
Jeremy Johnson 0 2 8.31 3 3 0 0 0 13 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
E De La Cruz 0 2 11.25 7 0 0 0 0 8 17 10 10 1 1 6 7 2.88 1 1
Danny Zell 0 0 4.7 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 7 4 4 0 0 1 6 1.14 0 6

Now for the interesting stuff:

Here is how the Wolves players have done since I previously posted the stats 2 weeks ago:

          	G 	AB 	R 	H 	2B 	3B 	HR 	RBI 	TB 	BB 	SO 	SB 	CS 	OBP 	SLG 	AVG 	OPS 	E 
Kurt Airoso 12 47 7 9 2 0 1 5 14 6 7 0 0 0.283 0.298 0.191 0.581 0
Brent Clevlen 12 51 5 12 2 0 1 6 17 4 18 1 0 0.291 0.333 0.235 0.624 0
Chris Maples 6 20 3 5 1 1 0 2 8 0 4 0 0 0.250 0.400 0.250 0.650 1
Vincent Blue 11 36 4 9 2 0 0 3 11 2 9 1 2 0.289 0.306 0.250 0.595 0
Tony Giarratano 12 50 5 9 1 2 0 4 14 5 8 4 0 0.255 0.280 0.180 0.535 2
Mike Rabelo 9 33 1 8 1 0 0 2 9 0 7 0 0 0.242 0.273 0.242 0.515 0
Kody Kirkland 12 50 6 8 4 1 2 7 20 1 20 1 3 0.176 0.400 0.160 0.576 3
Kelly Hunt 10 37 3 9 1 0 1 5 13 2 6 0 0 0.282 0.351 0.243 0.633 3
Scott Tousa 9 34 2 5 1 0 0 1 6 4 9 0 0 0.237 0.176 0.147 0.413 0
Garth McKinney 10 28 1 3 0 0 0 0 3 4 16 0 0 0.219 0.107 0.107 0.326 0
Dmitri Young 2 7 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 0.250 0.286 0.143 0.536 2
Danilo Sanchez 4 12 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 0 0 0.154 0.083 0.083 0.237 2
Juan Francia 5 15 1 2 1 0 0 2 3 1 2 1 0 0.188 0.200 0.133 0.388 0
TOTALS 420 41 81 17 4 5 37 121 31 113 8 5 0.248 0.288 0.193 0.536 13




Player W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR HB BB SO WHIP HLD GF H/9IP BB/9IP K/9IP
Humb Sanchez 2 0 1.26 2 2 0 0 0 14.1 9 2 2 1 0 6 18 1.05 0 0 5.65 3.77 11.30
P Larrison 1 1 4.50 3 3 0 0 0 18 23 9 9 2 2 4 6 1.50 0 0 11.50 2.00 3.00
Nathan Bumstead 0 1 1.50 2 2 0 0 0 12 10 6 2 0 1 5 10 1.25 0 0 7.50 3.75 7.50
Virgil Vasquez 1 1 5.93 3 3 0 0 0 13.2 18 10 9 1 2 11 10 2.12 0 0 11.85 7.24 6.59
Jeremy Johnson 0 1 3.38 2 2 0 0 0 13.1 15 7 5 1 1 2 7 1.28 0 0 10.13 1.35 4.73
Brian Rogers 0 0 1.86 6 0 0 0 0 9.2 8 2 2 0 0 1 10 0.93 2 1 7.45 0.93 9.31
Bobby M. Jones 1 0 0.00 4 0 0 0 0 7.2 3 0 0 0 0 3 8 0.78 2 0 3.52 3.52 9.39
E De La Cruz 0 1 2.70 5 0 0 0 1 6.2 4 2 2 0 1 2 7 0.90 0 3 5.40 2.70 9.45
Ian Ostlund 0 0 4.77 6 0 0 0 0 5.2 5 3 3 0 0 0 9 0.88 4 1 7.94 0.00 14.30
Pete Sikaras 0 0 0.00 4 0 0 0 0 4.1 5 0 0 0 0 2 3 1.62 0 1 10.39 4.15 6.23
Danny Zell 0 0 1.80 5 0 0 0 0 5 7 1 1 0 0 3 2 2.00 0 2 12.60 5.40 3.60
Chris Homer 0 2 18.00 5 0 0 0 3 4 9 8 8 1 0 2 6 2.75 0 4 20.25 4.50 13.50
TOTALS 5 7 3.36 47 12 0 0 4 114.329 116 50 43 6 7 41 96 1.37 8 12 9.13 3.23 7.56

Comments and Analysis:

Batters -

Overall the team hit .193 - not very surprising if you are even marginally following the team. I don't need to comment on the .536 OPS.

Individually, Vince Blue & Chris Maples had the "best" marks at .250 - that was Maples OBP as well as he did not walk at all in 2 weeks!

A couple of players I would like to highlight:

Kody Kirkland: .160 (8-50), 1 walk, 20 whiffs

He is not adjusting or improving - ytd is 3 bb, 44 k's, heck, he is 2 for 7 in swipes!

Brent Clevlen: hit .235 (12-51) with 18 strikeouts.

I know we have a lot of 1st year players at Erie, but I am starting to wonder if it a matter of hitting approach that is being taught or a matter of all these players hitting a BUMP. I'd love to know!

On to more positive news, Pitching:

Humberto Sanchez -

What can be said that hasn't? Good old H continues to perform.

2-0, 1.26, 18 whiffs in 14.1 ip (though 6 walks).

Nate Bumstead continues to put up nice numbers.

0-1, 1.50 - he gave up 6 runs, but 4 of them were unearned so make your own interpretation. I like the 10 whiffs in 12 innings for a guy who doesn't have that 90+ fastball going for him. Keep it up Nate!

Virgil Vasquez had a poor period.

Brian Rogers and few others in the bullpen continue to perform.

In summary, the pitching is been ok, but the hitting is killing me.

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Just looking back at the stats, and I wanted to add an additional kudo to:

Eulogio De La Cruz.

He had a much more typical stat line for the past 2 weeks:

6 2/3 ip, 4 h, 2 r/er, 2 bb, 7 k's.

Granted, he was not used in save situations (1 save, 3 games finished in 5 appearances) mainly, he did have a nice 2 weeks. Here's hoping he figured out what he needed to do and can sustain it.

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SeaWolves fall 5-1 in matinee game

Akron starter Sean Smith and reliever Tom Mastny combined on a five-hitter and 12 strikeouts to lead the Aeros to a 5-1 victory over the Erie SeaWolves before a school-day crowd of 4,535 fans at Jerry Uht Park.

Akron (21-12), which began the day in first place in the Southern Division, ended Erie right-hander Humberto Sanchez's three-game winning streak.

Sanchez dropped to 3-2, allowing five runs and four hits over 5 2/3 innings and giving up more than two earned runs in an outing for the first time this season.

Sanchez, the Eastern League's strikeout leader, struck out eight, walked two and hit two batters. Both walks and both hit batters ended up scoring.

The SeaWolves (12-20), losers of three straight, struck out 12 times and were limited to five singles.

Erie first baseman Scott Tousa, hitting leadoff, went 3-for-4 and drove in Erie's run with a two-out single in the fifth.

Smith (2-0) worked seven innings, scattering four hits with eight strikeouts and one walk. Mastny struck out four in two scoreless innings.

-- from Erie Times-News staff reports

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Zell demoted because the Tigers apparently think that guys like Sikaris and Ostlund shouldn't have been... Argh, perhaps it was the wrong _Zell demoted.

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Thank you. Good to see that the strugglers in Erie are starting to be sent down...

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Defensive lapses cost 'Wolves

By Ron Leonardi

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com

bilde?Site=GE&Date=20060511&Category=BASEBALL01&ArtNo=605110441&Ref=AR&MaxW=240

Erie Seawolf Jackson Melian takes off the helmut at the end of the inning where he got a hit and ran all the way to third base. He was not brought in by other members of his team. (Janet B. Campbell / Erie Times-News)

Outfielder Jackson Melian joined the Erie SeaWolves on Wednesday from Triple-A Toledo and gave the club some immediate offensive production with three RBIs.

It wasn't enough, however, to overcome one bad defensive inning and a few other mistakes that contributed to another SeaWolves loss.

The Akron Aeros completed a three-game series sweep of Erie with a 4-3 win before 4,512 fans on School Day at Jerry Uht Park.

Akron improved its first-place Southern Division record to 22-12 and sent the slumping SeaWolves (12-21) to their fourth straight loss.

Melian, 26, went 3-for-4 with a triple, RBI single and two-run homer.

Needing a double to complete the cycle in his last at-bat, in the ninth inning, Melian grounded into a game-ending fielder's choice with runners on the corners.

"It felt pretty good, but I'd feel a lot better if we got the win," Melian said. "I'm here to help the team and try and do my job the best I can."

Melian, who played seven games with the SeaWolves late in the 2005 season, started in left field and hit seventh in the lineup.

The 10th-year pro, in his second season with the Tigers' organization, replaces left fielder Garth McKinney, who was demoted to Single-A Lakeland on Wednesday.

"Jackson wasn't playing hardly at all at Toledo and when he was, he wasn't very productive," SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer said. "We need to see him play every day and see how he does for a while. It's good to have him in the lineup."

Melian spent most of spring training with the SeaWolves before he was assigned to Lakeland one day before Erie broke camp.

Opening the season at Lakeland, Melian hit .226 (7-for-31) with no homers and three RBIs in nine games before he was promoted to Toledo on April 16.

With Toledo, Melian was 0-for-13 with no homers, no RBIs, eight strikeouts and one walk in five games.

Melian's assignment to Erie also was necessitated by the Tigers' decision to outright outfielder Alexis Gomez to Toledo on Tuesday.

"They told me Tuesday I would be going to Erie and that was fine with me," Melian said. "I can get more playing time here. I wasn't disappointed to begin the season at Lakeland. I just want to play baseball, and when you love the game, it doesn't matter where you play. I just want to have the chance to play." [i love this. Great organizational soldier]

The SeaWolves' inability to score Melian after he led off the third inning with a triple factored into the loss.

So did some shaky SeaWolves defense in the fourth inning, which cost Erie two runs.

After Akron third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff led off with a single, Aeros center fielder Jon Van Every lifted a foul pop about 10 feet behind home plate and Erie catcher Mike Rabelo.

When Rabelo turned around, he couldn't find the ball in the sun and watched it drop behind him. Given a second chance, Van Every capitalized on the next pitch, lining a base hit to right field.

"I screwed up," Rabelo said. "That's a routine play, an easy play we work on and I just screwed it up -- bottom line. When things are bad, that's the way it goes. On the next pitch he gets a hit. That pretty much sums that up."

Kouzmanoff went to third on the hit and Van Every took second when Erie right fielder Brent Clevlen overthrew the cutoff man attempting to nab Kouzmanoff on a throw to third.

Both runners scored one-out later on a fielding error by Erie second baseman Scott Tousa. Ranging to his right, Tousa couldn't glove a sharply hit, inning-ending double-play grounder with the bases loaded.

"Our defense made too many mistakes in the one bad inning and then we get a man on third with nobody out and can't score him, so you can't win ballgames when you do that," Dyer said. "The breaks are going against us, but we deserve our fate. We made too many mistakes. We have nobody to blame but ourselves."

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

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'Wolves send of McKinney to Lakeland

By Ron Leonardi

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com

After Tuesday's 5-1 home loss to the Akron Aeros, SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer said he thought some players on his struggling team needed to develop a sense of urgency.

For some, he said, it might be too late.

Apparently, Garth McKinney, 24, fell into that category. The SeaWolves' left fielder, stuck in a season-long hitting slump, was reassigned to Single-A Lakeland on Wednesday.

"I'm sorry to see Garth go, but he needs to go down and get his act together,"SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer said. "He's a better player than he showed here, and maybe he wasn't ready for this (Double-A) yet, I don't know. He had a decent year in Lakeland last year and he's very comfortable there, so we'd like to see him play every day."

McKinney's roster spot was filled by outfielder Jackson Melian, who was assigned to Erie from Triple-A Toledo.

In 27 games with Erie, McKinney - a power-hitting prospect and Double-A rookie - was hitting .200 with three homers, five RBIs and a team-high 45 strikeouts in 90 at-bats.

"Garth is a great kid and a hard worker and I think he'll be back," Dyer said. "He needs to go and play and relax a little bit. Like I've said all year, it's a pretty big jump to Double-A for some of the guys."

At Lakeland last season, the right-handed-hitting McKinney batted .242 with 23 homers and 71 RBIs in 115 games. He was third in the Florida State League in homers but was second in the league with 151 strikeouts in 401 at-bats.

McKinney struck out 175 times in 412 at-bats in 2004 at low Single-A West Michigan of the Midwest League. He hit .228 that year with 19 homers and 41 RBIs in 117 games.

"We know what kind of hitter he is," Dyer said. "He's going to strike out a lot. We don't want him to become a Punch-and-Judy hitter, but we'd like to see him cut down on his strikeouts."

Dyer said McKinney's inability to make contact or showcase his power potential made his demotion a necessity.

"He's going to hit some homers and he's going to strike out a lot, and you can afford to have one or two guys in the lineup that way if you're producing with power," Dyer said. "But when you're not hitting home runs and you're striking out a lot, then that puts a real hindrance in your batting order."

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

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Notebook

# Erie manager Duffy Dyer has decided to change his starting rotation, inserting left-handed reliever Bobby Jones into the No. 5 spot and moving right-handed starter Jeremy Johnson to the bullpen.

Johnson (0-4, 7.12) has struggled in five of his six starts this season, allowing 24 earned runs and 47 hits in 30 1/3innings. Opponents are hitting .351 against him.

Jones, 34, is 1-0 with a 1.56 ERA in 12 relief appearances. He's allowed three earned runs and 13 hits in 17 1/3 innings with 20 strikeouts and eight walks.

A starter with Erie in 2005, Johnson, 23, was scheduled to open the season in the Erie bullpen.

But after the Detroit Tigers purchased the contract of SeaWolves right-handed starter Jordan Tata on April 2, Johnson took his spot in Erie's rotation.

Jones will make his first start of the season Saturday at Reading.

#SeaWolves starter Virgil Vasquez was forced to leave Wednesday's start against Akron in the seventh inning after experiencing cramps in his left arm and left leg.

Vasquez threw two strikes to Akron leadoff hitter in the inning, left fielder Nathan Panther, before he left the game. Right-hander Pete Sikaras relieved and pitched two innings.

Vasquez (2-4) took the loss, allowing 11 hits and two earned runs in six innings.

# The SeaWolves are off today before beginning a three-game series and six-game road trip Friday at Reading. Today is Erie's second official off day since the season began April 6.

-- Ron Leonardi

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Erie SeaWolves (12-21) at Reading Phillies (13-18)

Today-Saturday, 7:05 p.m.Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

# Pitching matchups:

Today: Erie RH Preston Larrison (2-2, 4.24) vs. Reading LH Daniel Haigwood (1-1, 3.13)

Saturday: Erie LH Bobby Jones (1-0, 1.56) vs. Reading LH Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 2.45)

Sunday: Erie RH Nate Bumstead (1-4, 3.69) vs. Reading LH Brian Mazone (1-3, 2.39)

# Erie notes: The SeaWolves were off Thursday and enter their first series of the season against Reading in last place in the Southern Division. ... Erie dropped to 5-12 at home with Wednesday's 4-3 loss to Akron. ... On Thursday, the SeaWolves ranked last in the 12-team Eastern League in hitting with a .215 team average, first in strikeouts (312), seventh in runs scored (121) and eighth in walks (88). ... Erie leads the league with 27 homers but has scored three or fewer runs in 19 of its 33 games. The SeaWolves have a 7-9 road record. ... Erie pitching ranks last with a 4.04 team ERA and has allowed the most hits (311) and second-most walks (111). ... SeaWolves designated hitter Kurt Airoso is second in the league with seven homers, one behind teammate Kody Kirkland, and second in RBIs (24), two behind Altoona's Simon Pond. All seven of Airoso's homers have come on the road. Airoso, in his fifth season with the SeaWolves and 11th in pro ball, is three homers shy of 100 in his Erie career. ... Right-hander Humberto Sanchez leads the Eastern League with 54 strikeouts, two ahead of Reading's Scott Mathieson. ... Right-hander Nate Bumstead has lost his last four decisions. ... Left-handed reliever Bobby Jones has been put into Erie's starting rotation, replacing No. 5 starter Jeremy Johnson, who will move to the bullpen. Jones is set to make his first start Saturday.

# Reading notes: Reading also had Thursday off and begins this weekend's series in fifth place in the Southern Division with a two-game lead over the last-place SeaWolves. ... Erie and Reading are each riding four-game losing streaks. ... Both teams are tied for the fewest home wins in the league, although Reading (5-7 at home) has played five fewer home games than Erie. ... The Phillies are eighth in the league in hitting (.233) and last in homers (12). ... Six Reading players are ranked by Baseball America among the Philadelphia Phillies top 30 minor-league prospects. Leading that list is lefty Gio Gonzalez at No. 2. Also on the list are pitchers Mathieson (No. 5) and Daniel Haigwood(No.6), outfielder Michael Bourn (No. 4), catcher Jason Jaramillo (No. 10) and second baseman Tim Moss (No. 11). ... Reading recently completed a stretch in which it played 12 of 15 games on the road. The Phils went 7-5 on the road trip. ... Right-hander Nick Mattioni, a Reading native, recorded a save in three straight appearances last week.

-- Ron Leonardi

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HOORAY FOR RABS...Homer wins for Erie!

May 12, 2006 FINAL !!!!!

In Progress 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E

Erie

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 0

Reading

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0

box | log

Pitching: C. Homer (ERI); Batting: J. Hammond (REA)

HR: ERI: M. Rabelo (3).

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HOORAY FOR RABS...Homer wins for Erie!

May 12, 2006 FINAL !!!!!

In Progress 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E

Erie

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 0

Reading

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0

box | log

Pitching: C. Homer (ERI); Batting: J. Hammond (REA)

HR: ERI: M. Rabelo (3).

Thanks Mike for salvaging another pathetic hitting night for Erie and a great outing by Preston Larrison.

Tonight's K Kount: 13

3 - Hunt

2 - Clevlen, Airoso, Kirkland, Melian

Hit total: 4

Sorry....this is a team which WILL turn around, not all of them, but there is talent there. I know there is a lot of strong pitching they are seeing so far this year, but this is getting depressing.

I have a feeling that Larish and Frazier may be arriving more sooner than later.

Ok...Go Wolves!

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Friday's game: Larrison, Rabelo pick up 'Wolves

From staff reports

READING -- Preston Larrison pitched a shutout through eight innings and Mike Rabelo homered in the top of the ninth inning to lead the Erie SeaWolves to a 1-0 victory against the Reading Phillies on Friday night.

Larrison was sharp on a night when the strikeout-prone SeaWolves managed just three hits but struck out 13 times before a sellout crowd of 9,202 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Larrison allowed five hits, struck out five and walked none, receiving all the offense support he needed from Rabelo, a catcher who hit his third homer of the season. Erie stopped its losing streak at four games.

Larrison (3-2) threw 98 pitches through eight innings - his longest outing of the season.

Larrison was in trouble just once, when Reading had runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Shortstop Tony Giarratano threw out Tim Gradoville at the plate on a fielder's choice for the second out of the inning, then third baseman Kody Kirkland forced John Castellano at second after making a diving stop of Jim Rushford's grounder.

Closer Chris Homer finished off the Phillies in the ninth to earn his seventh save, but it didn't come easy. After Homer got the first two men out, Rushford singled, then pinch runner J.J. Johnson advanced to second on a wild pitch. Joey Hammond then hit a smash to Kirkland at third, who knocked the ball down then nipped Hammond at first for the final out.

Erie loaded the bases with none out in the top of the fourth inning, but Reading starter David Haigwood got Rabelo, Jackson Melian and Kelly Hunt out on strikes to end the threat.

Left-hander Bobby Jones gets his first start of the season tonight for the SeaWolves (13-21). Lefty Gio Gonzalez starts for the Phillies (13-19).

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Saturday's Game:

Kirkland, Airoso hit homers in win

From staff reports

READING -- They're not yet Mantle and Maris, but the SeaWolves' Kody Kirkland and Kurt Airoso continued their early season home run chase Saturday.

The Eastern League's top two home run hitters added to their totals against the Reading Phillies. Kirkland hit his league-best ninth home run and Airoso his eighth in Erie's 6-5 victory before 9,014 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The game was delayed by rain for 62 minutes in the bottom of the eighth inning with the SeaWolves (14-21) up 6-4.

The Phillies (13-20) rallied in the bottom of the ninth, but Erie closer Chris Homer stranded the tying run at second for his eighth save.

Kirkland tied the score at 2-2 when he led off the top of the fifth with a solo homer off Gio Gonzalez (1-3). The Reading starter gave up the decisive blow an inning later.

Erie's Vince Blue walked to lead off the sixth inning and Juan Francia reached when Phillies first baseman Brandon Gemoll misplayed a sacrifice bunt. Tony Giarratano lined out to short, but Brent Clevlen followed with an RBI single to left.

Airoso then cleared the bases with a three-run shot off Gonzalez for a 6-2 lead. It was Airoso's 98th career home run for Erie.

Reading closed within two when Tim Moss hit a two-run homer off SeaWolves reliever Brian Rogers.

It was the second two-run homer for the Phillies, who saw Carlos Leon go deep in the bottom of the first off Erie left-hander Bobby Jones.

Jones did not get a decision in his first start of the season. Jeremy Johnson (1-4) relieved him with one out in the bottom of the fourth.

Eulogio De La Cruz pitched the bottom of the eighth for the SeaWolves when the game resumed, but Homer had to get out trouble for the save in the ninth. Moss led off with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Tim Gradoville reached on an infield single.

Gradoville was sacrificed to second, but Homer struck out Leon and got John Castellano to fly out to Blue in deep center.

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'Wolves suffer first shutout of season

From staff reports

READING -- For all their lack of offense, the Erie SeaWolves had not been shut out through the Eastern League season's first month.

Not anymore.

Reading starter Zack Segovia and two relievers blanked Erie on Sunday. Second-inning home runs by Joey Hammond and J.J. Johnson stood up for the Phillies, who won 2-0 before 5,533 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Reading averted a series sweep by the SeaWolves, who tried to win their third straight.

A league-worst .211 batting average finally caught up to Erie, which had six hits against Segovia (1-0) and two relievers. Segovia struck out seven in seven innings.

Reading's Nick Mattioni pitched the ninth for his fourth save.

The SeaWolves' Kody Kirkland and Kurt Airoso were hitless a day after each had home runs in Saturday's win. Kirkland (nine) and Airoso (eight) are 1-2 in the league for homers.

That's how the Phils got their runs off Erie starter Nate Bumstead (1-5).

Hammond led off the bottom of the second with a homer to left field and Johnson followed two batters later.

Erie's best scoring chance came in the sixth. Tony Giarratano led off with a double and Airoso walked with one out.

Segovia got out of the jam when Kirkland flew out to left and Mike Rabelo struck out. Rabelo and Giarratano had two hits each for Erie.

The SeaWolves entered the game first in the EL with 30 home runs, but second overall in strikeouts. They whiffed 10 times Sunday for a season total of 348.

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SeaWolves Series Preview

Erie SeaWolves (14-22)

at Akron Aeros (23-13 )

Today, 7:05 p.m.

Tuesday, 11:05 a.m.

Wednesday, 10:35 a.m.

Pitching matchups:

Today: Erie RH Humberto Sanchez (3-2, 2.51) vs. TBA

Tuesday: Erie RH Virgil Vasquez (2-4, 4.30) vs. TBA

Wednesday: Erie RH Preston Larrison (3-2, 3.43) vs. TBA

Erie notes: The SeaWolves won two of three games over the weekend at Reading. ... Erie is 9-10 on the road this season. ... Second baseman Juan Francia sustained a leg injury in the first when a Reading runner slid in hard at second base trying to break up a double play. Francia left the game at the end of the second inning. His status is day to day. ... Erie has swept just one series this year, winning a three-game home set from Harrisburg April 17-19. Left-hander Bobby Jones made his first start of the season in Saturday's 6-5 win at Reading. Placed into the rotation as the club's No. 5 starter, Jones got a no-decision. Right-hander Jeremy Johnson, whom Jones replaced in the starting rotation, relieved Jones and earned the win. ... DH Kurt Airoso on Saturday hit his eighth homer of the season, giving him 98 in his five-year SeaWolves career. ... Staff ace Humberto Sanchez lost his last outing, a 5-1 home decision to the Akron Aeros last week. Sanchez gave up five runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. It was the first time in seven starts this season that the 6-foot, 6-inch, 235-pound right-hander allowed more than two earned runs. Sanchez has been at or near the top of the league's strikeout lead all season.

Akron notes: The Aeros swept a three-game series from the SeaWolves at Jerry Uht Park last week, winning 5-4, 5-1 and 4-3. After defeating the SeaWolves in the series finale Wednesday, Akron had home games against Harrisburg rained out Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Aeros salvaged half of the series with a Sunday doubleheader against the Senators. ... Akron entered Sunday's twinbill as the league's top-hitting team with a .279 average. ... Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff leads the league with a .422 average.

-- Ron Leonardi

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This past week's stat wrap-up:

YTD:

Player 	    POS 	G 	AB 	R 	H 	2B 	3B 	HR 	RBI 	TB 	BB 	SO 	SB 	CS 	OBP 	SLG 	AVG 	OPS 	E 
Jackson Melian CF 4 16 1 5 0 1 1 3 10 0 5 0 0 0.313 0.625 0.313 0.938 0
Mike Rabelo C 21 76 6 20 2 0 3 11 31 4 14 0 0 0.317 0.408 0.263 0.725 1
Kurt Airoso OF 36 136 21 33 7 0 8 27 64 20 36 0 0 0.34 0.471 0.243 0.81 0
Tony Giarratano SS 36 152 15 36 10 4 0 9 54 8 29 8 1 0.28 0.355 0.237 0.635 3
Brent Clevlen RF 36 140 16 32 8 0 2 16 46 17 41 2 0 0.319 0.329 0.229 0.647 1
Vincent Blue OF 35 110 10 25 5 0 0 5 30 16 28 3 5 0.325 0.273 0.227 0.598 0
Chris Maples 3B 18 42 5 9 3 1 0 3 14 0 14 0 0 0.233 0.333 0.214 0.566 2
Kody Kirkland 3B 36 141 21 29 7 2 9 19 67 5 58 2 5 0.263 0.475 0.206 0.738 9
Garth McKinney OF 27 90 9 18 2 0 3 5 29 7 45 2 0 0.258 0.322 0.2 0.58 2
Scott Tousa 2B 22 72 3 14 2 0 0 4 16 5 20 0 0 0.263 0.222 0.194 0.485 1
Kelly Hunt 1B 29 110 7 21 2 0 4 13 35 4 28 0 0 0.222 0.318 0.191 0.54 4
Dmitri Young DH 2 7 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 0.25 0.286 0.143 0.536 2
Danilo Sanchez C 18 53 4 7 1 0 0 1 8 5 9 0 0 0.233 0.151 0.132 0.384 4
Juan Francia 2B 24 85 9 9 1 0 0 3 10 3 18 4 1 0.156 0.118 0.106 0.273 1

Individual Stats (Pitching) (click column headers to sort)
Player W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR HB BB SO WHIP HLD GF
Nathan Bumstead 1 5 3.33 8 8 0 0 0 46 42 22 17 3 2 25 40 1.46 0 0
Humb Sanchez 3 2 2.51 7 7 0 0 0 43 32 14 12 2 2 15 54 1.09 0 0
P Larrison 3 2 3.43 7 7 0 0 0 42 40 16 16 4 3 7 22 1.12 0 0
Virgil Vasquez 2 4 4.3 7 7 0 0 0 37.2 43 23 18 4 5 15 30 1.54 0 0
Jeremy Johnson 1 4 6.68 7 6 0 0 0 32.1 48 26 24 5 2 9 19 1.76 0 0
Brian Rogers 1 0 1.75 14 0 0 0 1 25.2 18 5 5 1 1 2 31 0.78 3 4
Bobby M. Jones 1 0 2.18 13 1 0 0 0 20.2 15 6 5 2 3 11 23 1.26 4 1
Pete Sikaras 1 0 4.5 14 0 0 0 0 20 19 10 10 3 2 8 11 1.35 0 3
Eul De La Cruz 0 3 5.79 15 0 0 0 1 18.2 23 12 12 1 2 9 17 1.71 2 6
Ian Ostlund 1 0 3.86 14 0 0 0 0 16.1 15 7 7 1 1 9 22 1.47 6 4
Chris Homer 0 2 8.36 15 0 0 0 8 14 19 13 13 1 0 3 13 1.57 0 13
Danny Zell 0 0 3.55 13 0 0 0 0 12.2 18 5 5 0 0 8 7 2.05 1 5
14 22 268

The past week's:

	      G 	AB 	R 	H 	2B 	3B 	HR 	RBI 	TB 	BB 	SO 	SB 	CS 	OBP 	SLG 	AVG 	OPS 	E 
Kurt Airoso 7 22 2 2 1 0 1 5 6 5 9 0 0 0.259 0.273 0.091 0.532 0
Brent Clevlen 7 24 2 2 0 0 0 2 2 3 9 0 0 0.185 0.083 0.083 0.269 0
Chris Maples 5 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0
Vincent Blue 7 19 1 3 1 0 0 0 4 4 8 0 0 0.304 0.211 0.158 0.515 0
Tony Giarratano 7 29 0 8 1 1 0 0 11 0 4 1 0 0.276 0.379 0.276 0.655 0
Mike Rabelo 5 18 3 7 1 0 2 4 14 2 5 0 0 0.450 0.778 0.389 1.228 1
Kody Kirkland 7 24 5 4 1 0 2 2 11 2 14 0 0 0.231 0.458 0.167 0.689 1
Kelly Hunt 4 14 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 8 0 0 0.133 0.071 0.071 0.205 0
Scott Tousa 5 20 0 4 0 0 0 2 4 0 6 0 0 0.200 0.200 0.200 0.400 1
Garth McKinney 2 6 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 1 0 0.333 0.333 0.333 0.667 0
Jackson Melian 4 16 1 5 0 1 1 3 10 0 5 0 0 0.313 0.625 0.313 0.938 0
Danilo Sanchez 2 8 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0.125 0.125 0.125 0.250 0
Juan Francia 6 15 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 1 0 0.067 0.067 0.067 0.133 0
TOTALS 222 18 40 5 2 6 18 67 17 80 3 0 0.238 0.302 0.180 0.540 3


Player W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR HB BB SO WHIP HLD GF H/9IP BB/9IP K/9IP
Humb Sanchez 0 1 7.50 1 1 0 0 0 6 4 5 5 0 2 2 8 1.00 0 0 6.00 3.00 12.00
P Larrison 1 0 0.00 1 1 0 0 0 8 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0.63 0 0 5.63 0.00 5.63
Nathan Bumstead 0 2 4.15 2 2 0 0 0 13 12 7 6 2 1 8 9 1.54 0 0 8.31 5.54 6.23
Virgil Vasquez 0 1 3.00 1 1 0 0 0 6 11 3 2 1 1 1 5 2.00 0 0 16.50 1.50 7.50
Jeremy Johnson 1 1 10.50 2 1 0 0 0 6 11 7 7 1 0 0 1 1.83 0 0 16.50 0.00 1.50
Brian Rogers 0 0 6.00 2 0 0 0 0 3 3 2 2 1 0 1 5 1.33 0 0 9.00 3.00 15.00
Bobby M. Jones 0 0 4.15 2 1 0 0 0 4.1 3 2 2 1 1 3 6 1.38 0 1 6.23 6.23 12.46
E De La Cruz 0 0 0.00 3 0 0 0 0 4 2 0 0 0 0 1 3 0.75 1 2 4.50 2.25 6.75
Ian Ostlund 0 0 0.00 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0.50 0 0 0.00 4.50 9.00
Pete Sikaras 0 0 1.50 3 0 0 0 0 6 4 1 1 0 1 3 3 1.17 0 1 6.00 4.50 4.50
Chris Homer 0 0 3.00 3 0 0 0 2 3 3 1 1 0 0 0 1 1.00 0 3 9.00 0.00 3.00
TOTALS 2 5 3.77 22 7 0 0 2 61.3 58 28 26 6 6 20 48 1.27 1 7 8.51 2.93 7.04

Not much good to say here, sorry...even Humberto had a bad week.

The 2 games they won over the weekend - the 1-0 victory, the Wolves only had 3 hits (& 13 strikeouts) and the other (6-2 win) they only got 5 hits (& 13 strikeouts too).

Brent Clevlen had a 2 for 24 week

Strikeouts are killiing them.

The stat of the week which jumps out like a sore thumb:

80 STRIKEOUTS IN 222 AT-BATS

Preston Larrison's start was one of the bright spots of the week.

Eulogio De La Cruz continues to be lights out after a miserable season start.

We are almost to June, this is not a temporary thing anymore. Not sure of any explanation other than the obvious ones - players have hit their wall/bump, EL pitching is up this year...

Not sure - I'd love to hear others thoughts on what is going on.

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SeaWolves, Aeros rained out in Akron

AKRON, Ohio -- The Erie SeaWolves' game against the Akron Aeros was postponed Monday because of rain. No makeup date has been set.

The teams will try to play again today at 11:05 a.m.

Akron (23-13) entered Monday in second place in the Eastern League Southern Division standings, one game behind Altoona. Erie (14-22) was in sixth place, 10 games behind the Curve.

Akron has been rained out four times in the past five days.

SeaWolves switch pitchers: The SeaWolves made two personnel moves Monday, assigning right-handed reliever Jeremy Johnson to Single-A Lakeland and receiving right-handed reliever John Ennis from Triple-A Toledo.

Ennis was 0-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 11 appearances with the Mud Hens, who activated pitcher Wilfredo Ledezma from the disabled list Monday. In 18 innings with Toledo, Ennis allowed three runs and 12 hits, struck out 11 and walked seven.

Johnson was 1-4 with a 6.68 ERA in seven appearances with Erie, including six starts. He began the season as Erie's No. 5 starter and struggled in five of his six starts, going 0-4 with a 7.12 ERA.

SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer moved Johnson to the bullpen late last week, and Johnson earned his lone win Saturday with two scoreless innings of relief in Erie's 6-5 victory at Reading.

Johnson, a starter with the SeaWolves in 2005, was scheduled to start the season in Erie's bullpen but was moved to the starting rotation when the Detroit Tigers purchased the contract of SeaWolves right-handed starter Jordan Tata on April 2.

Ennis, 26, was 3-5 with a 4.85 ERA in 50 appearances with Toledo last season. In 2004, he made 12 relief appearances for the Tigers, going 0-0 with an 8.44 ERA.

-- from staff reports

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Article Catch-up:

June 18:

'Wolves win mini-series with sweep over Aeros

From staff reports

AKRON, Ohio -- The Erie SeaWolves made the most of their brief appearance at Canal Park.

The 'Wolves and Akron Aeros were rained out Monday and Tuesday, which forced the teams to play two games Wednesday afternoon. A crowd of 7,968 saw Erie sweep its first doubleheader of the season, 5-0 in seven innings and 2-1 in nine innings.

Erie and Akron were scheduled to play a three-game series. The third game will be rescheduled during a July 24-26 series at Akron.

Humberto Sanchez and Chris Homer combined for a seven-inning shutout in the first game. Sanchez (4-2) went six innings and allowed Akron's only two hits.

Erie's Chris Maples hit a two-run home run off Akron starter Nick Pesco (2-2) in the top of the second inning. Mike Rabelo drove in the other three runs in the sixth when he cleared the bases with a double off Aeros reliever Kyle Collins.

Kody Kirkland, who scored on Rabelo's double, was the hero of Erie's second win. The SeaWolves third baseman broke a 1-1 tie when he drove in Brent Clevlen with a single in the top of the ninth inning off Akron's Bubbie Buzachero (1-2).

Kirkland had two hits, as did Kurt Airoso, who scored Erie's first run in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Danilo Sanchez.

Ian Ostlund (2-0) blew his first save of the season when Akron's Joe Inglett hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, but Ostlund pitched three innings for the victory. Erie's John Ennis retired the side in the ninth for his first save.

Ennis joined the 'Wolves roster after his demotion from Triple-A Toledo on Monday.

The sweep gave the SeaWolves an 11-10 road record.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

June 19:

'Wolves' Maples creams homer for win

By Ron Leonardi

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com

Hit a two-run, game-winning homer in the bottom of the ninth inning and what do you get?

How about a plastic plate full of shaving cream in your face.

That's how Erie SeaWolves utility infielder Chris Maples celebrated his first professional walk-off homer in Thursday's 4-3 win over Reading in the opener of a four-game series at Jerry Uht Park.

Maples drilled a towering homer off Reading right-hander Nick Mattioni just inside the left-field foul pole with one out to lift the SeaWolves (17-22) to their third straight win and fifth in six games.

Maples' winning hit followed shortstop Tony Giarratano's single to center and came after the Phillies (15-23) scored twice in the top of the ninth off Erie closer John Ennis to grab a 3-2 lead.

As Maples discussed his homer with media in the team's clubhouse, several of his teammates shouted encouragement as they walked into a small, makeshift workout room that's used for post-game interviews.

Then, 6-foot 6-inch, 230-pound right-hander Humberto Sanchez deftly unveiled a concealed and heaping plate of shaving cream.

He proceeded to bury it in Maples' face, making sure he rubbed it in good before he and his teammates exited the room with whoops and screams.

"I thought they were trying to make me laugh and then it was, 'Bam, take that,"' Maples said.

Maples needed a few minutes to remove with a towel the shaving cream that appeared to be lodged inside his mouth and ears and halfway up his nostrils.

Once his face reappeared, he jokingly said, "It would have been better if it was whipped cream."

"I prepared it and he (Sanchez) did it," Erie catcher Mike Rabelo said with an ear-to-ear smile.'

Maples, in his fifth season of professional ball, went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts, but saved his biggest swing when it mattered most.

Mattioni hung a slider inside on a 1-1 count and Maples, a native of Hillsborough, N.C., collected his second homer of the season.

"I wanted to see a good pitch and put a good swing on it," Maples said. "I've been swinging at some bad pitches lately and have been trying to work on that. I wasn't really sitting on the slider, and it wasn't a pitch he wanted to make, I'm sure."

As soon as Maples made contact, there was never a question of its distance; the home run hit off Tullio Arena.

"I didn't know if it was fair or foul," Maples said. "I just took off running and tried to keep my eye on it, and the ump called it fair, so that's what I'm going with."

As soon the ball was ruled fair, Reading manager P.J. Forbes raced out of the dugout and argued the call with the replacement umpiring crew.

"I thought it was foul," Forbes said. "He (third-base umpire) said he got the best look he could and he thought the ball was fair. Who's right? I don't know. He said he got down the line as far as he could and that's all you can ask him to do. I have my opinion and he knows what he thinks he saw, and that's how it is."

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

----------------------------------------------------------------------

SeaWolve briefs

# Former SeaWolves pitcher Jordan Tata picked up his first Triple-A win on Thursday in Toledo's 8-2 win at Norfolk.

Tata evened his Toledo record at 1-1 with five innings of work. He allowed one run on three hits, struck out seven and walked four.

The right-hander had a rough outing against Richmond on Saturday in his Triple-A debut.

Richmond tagged Tata for five runs and four hits in 22/3 innings in a 10-6 home win. Tata struck out three, walked four and gave up a homer.

Tata was optioned to the Mud Hens from the Detroit Tigers on May 11. Tata was scheduled to begin the season in Erie's starting rotation before the Tigers purchased his contract April 2, four days before the start of the Eastern League season.

With Detroit, Tata was 0-0 with 3.86 ERA in seven relief appearances totaling 14 innings. He gave up six earned runs and had six strikeouts and seven walks.

# Erie second baseman Juan Francia will remain sidelined a few more days with a bruised knee he suffered Sunday in a 2-0 loss at Reading, SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer said Thursday.

Francia was injured while turning a double play in the first inning when a Reading runner slid hard into second trying to break up the play. Francia did not play in Erie's doubleheader at Akron on Wednesday.

# Lakeland Tigers right-hander Kevin Ardoin pitched the Florida State League's first complete-game shutout on Tuesday in a 6-0 home win over Brevard County.

Ardoin (4-2, 2.33) never went to a three-ball count and threw 58 of his 88 pitches for strikes.

In eight starts this season, Ardoin has struck out 28, walked three and allowed 14 earned runs and 51 hits in 54 innings.

# Entering Thursday's game against the SeaWolves, Reading had lost its past eight one-run games. ... The Phils had scored two or fewer runs in a game 14 times this season. ... Reading's bullpen had blown 10 saves this season. ... Reading is in its 40th season of affiliation with the Philadelphia Phillies, the third-longest in the minor leagues.

# The SeaWolves are teaming up with the Regional Cancer Center to support the RCC's Breast Cancer Fund.

Pink SeaWolves caps are on sale at the SeaWolves souvenir stand, box office, main office and the Cancer Center for $15. Only 1,000 caps are available and the proceeds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Fund.

-- Ron Leonardi

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May 20:

SeaWolves notes

# Reading catcher Tim Gradoville is expected to miss eight weeks after undergoing surgery in Erie on Friday to repair a broken lower left jaw.

Gradoville was hit on his left cheek by a fastball from SeaWolves right-hander Virgil Vasquez in the fifth inning of Thursday's series opener at Jerry Uht Park.

Gradoville, 26, never lost consciousness but spit blood for a few minutes near the batter's box before he was escorted off the field by Reading's trainer. He did not suffer any teeth damage but will have his jaw wired shut for six weeks.

Gradoville, a right-handed hitter, said he was looking for a pitch away and didn't pick up the high, inside fastball.

"It just kind of crept up and in on me and I really couldn't do much about it," Gradoville said. "It hit me square on the chin. I didn't see anything. I felt it hit and went down. I was actually in shock for a little bit."

Gradoville spent Thursday night at Saint Vincent Health Center and was released Friday morning. He was placed on Reading's disabled list on Friday.

In 18 games, Gradoville was hitting .310 (18-for-58) with one homer and six RBIs.

"It's not fun to miss time, especially eight weeks, but hopefully I be back for the last two months of the season," Gradoville said.

Gradoville's spot on the roster was filled by catcher Jeff Winchester, who was promoted from Single-A Clearwater on Friday.

Winchester, a former first-round draft pick by Colorado in 1998, started Friday's game.

# The Pittsburgh Pirates promoted Altoona closer and former Allegheny College pitcher Josh Sharpless to Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday.

Sharpless, a member of the Pirates' 40-man roster, was 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA and eight saves in 14 relief appearances with Altoona. Sharpless has allowed just eight hits and two earned runs in 21 innings.

Sharpless, a 6-foot 5-inch, 235-pound right-hander, pitched for Allegheny from 2000-03. He was selected by Pittsburgh Pirates in 24th round of June 2003 draft and is in his fourth professional season. He is a native of Freedom.

# Although the SeaWolves play in a hitter-friendly park, they have hit 23 of their league-high 33 homers on the road. ... The SeaWolves are hitting .207 at home and .216 on the road. ... SeaWolves third baseman Kody Kirkland, a Double-A rookie, was leading the league in homers (10) and strikeouts (60) on Friday. ... Erie right-hander Humberto Sanchez (4-2, 2.20) and Reading right-hander Scott Mathieson (3-2, 3.96) share the league strikeout lead with 59 apiece.

# Reading outfielder Michael Bourn led Eastern League outfielders in assists (21) and fielding percentage (.997) last season. Bourn, ranked No. 4 among the Philadelphia Phillies top 30 minor league prospects by Baseball America, has two errors this season after committing just one in 2005.

# Reading right-hander Nick Mattioni (1-1, 3.31) is a Reading native and a graduate of Twin Valley High School in Berks County. He is the second Berks County native to play for Reading.

-- Ron Leonardi

------------------------------------------------------------------------

5/21:

'Wolves win 5th straight

By Ron Leonardi

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com

Pitching and defense in the past eight games has carried the Erie SeaWolves out of the Southern Division basement and back to respectability.

The SeaWolves stretched their winning streak to a season-high five games on Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of the slumping Reading Phillies, 2-1 and 3-0, before 3,094 fans at Jerry Uht Park.

SeaWolves right-hander Preston Larrison pitched a five-hitter in the opener and defeated Reading for the second time in eight days.

In the nightcap, Erie reliever Eulogio De La Cruz made his second spot start in less than a week and threw four scoreless innings. Three relievers combined to finish the shutout as Erie (19-22) improved to 5-1 against Reading this season.

Erie has won seven of its past eight games behind a pitching staff that's thrown three shutouts and allowed just 12 runs during that stretch. Erie pitching has allowed just seven runs in the past six games.

"We have five quality starters and our bullpen is pretty good,"Larrison said. "If we can score three or four runs every game, we'll be in every game."

The SeaWolves have matched strong pitching with three errorless games in the series, which concludes today at 1:05 p.m. at Uht Park.

Larrison, relying mostly on his curve and sinker, improved to 4-2 with his third straight win and his first complete game of the season. He struck out six and walked two.

"I live off my sinker and getting ground balls," Larrison said. "I got a lot of those and our defense played unbelievably behind me. We have a pretty damn good defense. It's something that this league should be aware of because we don't make many errors out there. We got two runs and that's all we needed."

Erie was held to just two hits in the opener -catcher Mike Rabelo's two-out, solo homer to right field in the second inning and infielder Chris Maples'leadoff double in the third. Maples moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored the winning run on Tony Giarratano's grounder to second.

Reading starter Zach Segovia also threw a complete game. The right-hander made his Double-A debut May 14 against the SeaWolves and held them scoreless over seven innings in a 2-0 Reading win.

Larrison threw 120 pitches in Saturday's opener and retired Reading center fielder Michael Bourn on a grounder to first with the bases loaded in the seventh to end the game.

"I think I threw 30 pitches that last inning and 29 sinkers," Larrison said. "I would have been kind of let down if I didn't finish, but I know they (SeaWolves coaching staff) have confidence in me. I wanted that complete game badly."

Reading scored its lone run on catcher Jeff Winchester's third-inning homer.

"He's had a great sinker the last few starts and he just sits there and pounds and keeps the ball down and gets a lot of ground balls," SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer said. "His velocity is getting up into the low to mid-90s with real good movement and his breaking ball is getting better."

In his last outing, Larrison threw eight shutout innings on May 12 in a 1-0 win at Reading.

"I have all the confidence in the world right now," Larrison said. "I'm a ground-ball pitcher and somedays those grounders are going to get through the holes, but now I have confidence in throwing my sinker and letting my defense play for me. I'm in a rhythm right now and it's a good feeling."

In the nightcap, Erie was held to five hits, but used five stolen bases, a couple Reading errors and some timely hits to complete the sweep. Outfielder Jackson Melian had an RBI single and outfielder Brent Clevlen an RBI grounder.

Erie has tried to run a lot on Reading in this series and manufacture runs.

"We've been trying to play small-ball a little bit lately and we might have to keep doing that all year the way we're swinging now," Dyer said. "We're trying to put a little pressure on the other team right now. I'm really happy the way the club is playing. We're playing good, fundamental baseball."

Reading (15-25) has lost 11 of its past 13 games and has lost its past 10 one-run games.

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

------------------------------------------------------------------------

SeaWolves Notebook

# SeaWolves left-hander Bobby Jones had his scheduled Saturday start in the second game of a doubleheader pushed back to today.

After opening the season in Erie's bullpen making 12 relief appearances, Jones, 34, was put into Erie's starting rotation last week, replacing then-No. 5 starter Jeremy Johnson, who has since been assigned to Single-A Lakeland.

Jones (1-0, 2.18) made his first start May 13 in a 6-5 Erie win at Reading and did not figure in the decision, throwing 31/3 innings. He allowed two runs and two hits, struck out three and walked three.

"He struggled early and got better as the game went along," SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer said. "The first couple of hitters scored off him and after that he pitched very well. It's going to take a while to stretch him out. He's probably going to be at the 60- to 70-pitch limit and hopefully we can get four to five innings out of him the next couple times out, then gradually stretch him out."

# Eastern Leauge All-Star balloting will begin Friday and run through June 25 in each of the league's 12 ballparks.

Each fan may vote for one position player and one pitcher.

At the end of the balloting period, votes will be tabulated and one position player and one pitcher from every team in the league will be selected for the All-Star game based on voting results.

The Eastern League All-Star game is Wednesday, July 12, at Altoona's Blair County Ballpark.

-- Ron Leonardi

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May 22:

'Wolves win again

By Ron Leonardi

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com

Before Thursday, SeaWolves utility player Chris Maples had never experienced the thrill of a walk-off homer in his five-year, minor-league career.

Now, he's becoming a pro at it.

Maples' two-run homer to left with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning Sunday lifted the surging SeaWolves to a 3-1 victory over the Reading Phillies before 1,340 fans at Jerry Uht Park and a sweep of their four-game weekend series.

In Thursday's series opener, Maples played heroics with a two-run, game-winning homer in the last of the ninth as Erie rallied for a 4-3 win.

After getting ahead in the count 3-0 on Reading reliever Brian Reed, the right-handed-hitting Maples took a fastball for a strike and was looking fastball all the way on the next pitch.

"He threw it in the same spot and it was where I was looking," Maples said. "I put a good swing on it."

Maples' blast caromed off Tullio Arena in left and extended Erie's season-high winning streak to six games.

The SeaWolves (20-22) have won eight of their past nine games and are 6-1 against the Phillies (15-26) during that stretch.

"We got some swagger," SeaWolves catcher Mike Rabelo said. "The music is being played a little louder in this clubhouse. We're starting to get a little steam."

So is Maples, who carried a .241 average into the game.

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The Erie SeaWolves’ Kody Kirkland tags out the Reading Phillies’ Jesus Merchan at third base Sunday at Jerry Uht Park. (JANET B. CAMPBELL/Erie Times-News)

His three homers this season have come in his last six games.

As a utility role player, Maples, 27, has proved his value to the SeaWolves through his versatility. The Hillsborough, N.C., native can play first base, second base, third base and left field. Last season, Maples, a closer in college during one season at North Carolina, even was pressed into an emergency relief role in a game.

But, if given the opportunity to play every day, SeaWolves manager Duffy Dyer believes Maples would turn some heads.

"What a valuable guy he is," Dyer said. "When he gets hot, he can carry a club. The ball jumps off his bat. He has really deceptive power. People don't realize how much power he has. I think if he played every day, he'd hit 25 to 30 home runs in this league. He would strike out a lot and I don't know what kind of average he would hit for because he is a streaky hitter. But the ball jumps off his bat and he does have good power."

Rabelo opened the 11th with a ground single to center and was replaced by pinch-runner Juan Francia. Jackson Melian attempted to advance Francia with sacrifice bunt, but Reed fielded the hard bunt near the mound and threw out Francia at second before Maples ended the game with his homer.

"Our hitting has been kind of keeping us down this season and now it's starting to come around," Maples said. "We're winning close games and we're starting to get some timely hitting, which is making our pitching look even better. We can play with anybody. Things are starting to turn around and confidence is starting to come up. Once you get confidence, it's kind of hard to knock it out."

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Erie Seawolf Bobby Jones pitches during the sixth inning of the game against Reading on Sunday, May 21. (JANET B. CAMPBELL/Erie Times-News)

Erie's starting pitching, consistent most of the season, has been outstanding over the last two weeks. SeaWolves pitching has allowed just 13 runs in the last nine games and recorded three shutouts.

It was more of the same on Sunday as SeaWolves starter Bobby Jones and relievers Pete Sikaras, Ian Ostlund and Chris Homer combined to limit the offensively anemic Phillies to one run on seven hits.

Jones, making his second start after being put into the rotation last week, pitched six scoreless innings. The veteran lefty, 34, gave up just three hits while striking out four and walking one.

Though he did not figure in the decision, Jones displayed efficiency with his pitch count in the early innings, enabling him to extend his outing to six innings and give the SeaWolves a quality start. He threw 80 pitches, about 20 more than his first start last week, which lasted 3 1/3 innings.

"His command was good, he was ahead of most hitters and he forced early contact," Rabelo said.

"That was huge because we were very thin in the bullpen today," Dyer said. "If he had been at a higher pitch count and only given us four or five innings, we'd have been in trouble because we were low on pitching today."

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

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Ok, I am through the articles from last week. Lot of rainouts!

But here are the stats. Before I present them, I have two things to say:

6-0!!

Erie Pitching Rocked this past week!

Here are the numbers:

First YTD:

Player 	        POS 	G 	AB 	R 	H 	2B 	3B 	HR 	RBI 	TB 	BB 	SO 	SB 	CS 	OBP 	SLG 	AVG 	OPS 	E 
Mike Rabelo C 25 90 8 24 3 0 5 16 42 5 16 0 0 0.32 0.467 0.267 0.786 1
Jackson Melian CF 10 35 2 9 1 1 1 4 15 2 10 1 1 0.297 0.429 0.257 0.726 0
Kurt Airoso OF 42 152 24 38 8 0 8 27 70 25 39 1 0 0.36 0.461 0.25 0.82 0
Chris Maples 3B 24 62 10 15 5 1 3 9 31 1 19 2 1 0.277 0.5 0.242 0.777 2
Tony Giarratano SS 42 173 17 40 11 4 0 10 59 11 33 11 2 0.281 0.341 0.231 0.622 4
Vincent Blue OF 41 124 10 28 5 0 0 5 33 19 30 3 8 0.329 0.266 0.226 0.595 0
Brent Clevlen RF 42 160 19 35 9 0 2 17 50 19 50 3 0 0.308 0.313 0.219 0.62 1
Kody Kirkland 3B 42 161 24 35 9 2 10 22 78 6 63 3 5 0.276 0.484 0.217 0.76 9
Garth McKinney OF 27 90 9 18 2 0 3 5 29 7 45 2 0 0.258 0.322 0.2 0.58 2
Kelly Hunt 1B 32 117 7 21 2 0 4 13 35 4 31 0 0 0.21 0.299 0.179 0.509 4
Scott Tousa 2B 27 84 3 14 2 0 0 4 16 7 21 1 0 0.245 0.19 0.167 0.435 1
Dmitri Young DH 2 7 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 0.25 0.286 0.143 0.536 2
Danilo Sanchez C 20 59 4 7 1 0 0 2 8 5 10 0 0 0.209 0.136 0.119 0.345 4
Juan Francia 2B 25 85 9 9 1 0 0 3 10 3 18 4 1 0.156 0.118 0.106 0.273 1

Individual Stats (Pitching) (click column headers to sort)
Player W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR HB BB SO WHIP HLD GF
Humb Sanchez 4 2 2.2 8 8 0 0 0 49 34 14 12 2 3 19 59 1.08 0 0
P Larrison 4 2 3.12 8 8 1 0 0 49 45 17 17 5 3 9 28 1.1 0 0
Nathan Bumstead 1 5 3.33 8 8 0 0 0 46 42 22 17 3 2 25 40 1.46 0 0
Virgil Vasquez 2 4 3.83 8 8 0 0 0 44.2 48 24 19 5 6 18 31 1.48 0 0
Jeremy Johnson 1 4 6.68 7 6 0 0 0 32.1 48 26 24 5 2 9 19 1.76 0 0
Brian Rogers 2 0 1.53 16 0 0 0 1 29.1 20 5 5 1 1 3 35 0.78 3 4
Bobby M. Jones 1 0 1.69 14 2 0 0 0 26.2 18 6 5 2 3 13 27 1.16 4 1
E De La Cruz 0 3 4.21 17 2 0 0 1 25.2 29 12 12 1 2 11 19 1.56 2 6
Pete Sikaras 1 0 3.97 16 0 0 0 0 22.2 22 10 10 3 2 10 13 1.41 0 3
Ian Ostlund 2 0 3.6 17 0 0 0 0 20 16 8 8 2 1 10 25 1.3 8 4
Chris Homer 1 2 6.5 17 0 0 0 8 18 22 14 13 1 0 4 15 1.44 0 15
Danny Zell 0 0 3.55 13 0 0 0 0 12.2 18 5 5 0 0 8 7 2.05 1 5
John Ennis 1 0 6 3 0 0 0 2 3 4 2 2 0 0 2 4 2 0 3

Now the Week of 5/21:

	        G 	AB 	R 	H 	2B 	3B 	HR 	RBI 	TB 	BB 	SO 	SB 	CS 	OBP 	SLG 	AVG 	OPS 	E 
Kurt Airoso 6 16 3 5 1 0 0 0 6 5 3 1 0 0.476 0.375 0.313 0.851 0
Brent Clevlen 6 20 3 3 1 0 0 1 4 2 9 1 0 0.227 0.200 0.150 0.427 0
Chris Maples 6 20 5 6 2 0 3 6 17 1 5 2 1 0.333 0.850 0.300 1.183 0
Vincent Blue 6 14 0 3 0 0 0 0 3 3 2 0 3 0.353 0.214 0.214 0.567 0
Tony Giarratano 6 21 2 4 1 0 0 1 5 3 4 3 1 0.292 0.238 0.190 0.530 1
Mike Rabelo 4 14 2 4 1 0 2 5 11 1 2 0 0 0.333 0.786 0.286 1.119 1
Kody Kirkland 6 20 3 6 2 0 1 3 11 1 5 1 0 0.333 0.550 0.300 0.883 1
Kelly Hunt 3 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0
Scott Tousa 5 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 0.143 0.000 0.000 0.143 1
Jackson Melian 6 19 1 4 1 0 0 1 5 2 5 1 1 0.286 0.263 0.211 0.549 0
Danilo Sanchez 2 6 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0
Juan Francia 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 #DIV/0! #DIV/0! #DIV/0! #DIV/0! 0
TOTALS 169 19 35 9 0 6 18 62 20 40 10 6 0.291 0.367 0.207 0.658 4


Player W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR HB BB SO WHIP HLD GF H/9IP BB/9IP K/9IP
Humb Sanchez 1 0 0.00 1 1 0 0 0 6 2 0 0 0 1 4 5 1.00 0 0 3.00 6.00 7.50
P Larrison 1 0 1.29 1 1 1 0 0 7 5 1 1 1 0 2 6 1.00 0 0 6.43 2.57 7.71
Nathan Bumstead 0 0 #DIV/0! 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 #DIV/0! 0 0 #DIV/0! #DIV/0! #DIV/0!
Virgil Vasquez 0 0 1.29 1 1 0 0 0 7 5 1 1 1 1 3 1 1.14 0 0 6.43 3.86 1.29
Brian Rogers 1 0 0.00 2 0 0 0 0 3.2 2 0 0 0 0 1 4 0.82 0 0 4.91 2.45 9.82
Bobby M. Jones 0 0 0.00 1 1 0 0 0 6 3 0 0 0 0 2 4 0.83 0 1 4.50 3.00 6.00
E De La Cruz 0 0 0.00 2 2 0 0 0 7 6 0 0 0 0 2 2 1.14 1 2 7.71 2.57 2.57
Ian Ostlund 1 0 2.45 3 0 0 0 0 3.2 1 1 1 1 0 1 3 0.55 2 0 2.45 2.45 7.36
Pete Sikaras 0 0 0.00 2 0 0 0 0 2.2 3 0 0 0 0 2 2 1.88 0 1 10.13 6.75 6.75
Chris Homer 1 0 0.00 2 0 0 0 0 4 3 1 0 0 0 1 2 1.00 0 5 6.75 2.25 4.50
John Ennis 1 0 6.00 3 0 0 0 2 3 4 2 2 0 0 2 4 2.00 0 3 12.00 6.00 12.00
TOTALS 6 0 0.90 18 6 1 0 2 48.6 34 6 5 3 2 20 33 1.11 3 12 6.30 3.70 6.11

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I'll say it again 6-0!!

A team ERA of 0.90 for the week.

Eulogio added 7 more scoreless innings to his streak.

John Ennis had a win and 2 saves in his appearances since coming down from Toledo.

Humberto got back on track.

Preston Larrison pitched a great complete game win.

Virgil had a nice outing.

And now onto the hitting. :cry:

The good stuff first:

Chris Maples OPS of 1.183 with 2 key homers among his 5 EBH's, even had 2 sb's.

Kody Kirkland had a nice week with a .883 OBS. Only 5 k's for the week.

Now the not so good:

Team average of .207

Brent Clevlen 3 for 20, .150 BA, 9 k's (4 on Sunday)

Tony Giarratano 4 for 21, .190 BA

Scott Tousa 0 for 12

-------------------------------------------------

Overall, a successful week, BUT there pitching is not going to be able to carry them every week.

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