Max DeMara is musing on all things Detroit Tigers.
It's a simple pleasure to sit back and watch a minor league baseball game. The stands are less packed, the giveaways are a bit more fun while the game remains as exciting as it's ever been.
It's true what they say. The Erie SeaWolves have plenty of talent capable of making an impact with the Detroit Tigers soon. That much was obvious in the midst of the SeaWolves' 2-0 win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels which featured a combined one-hitter by the team's pitching staff.
Christmas (in July) came early for those in the stands in Erie, and also for musings, which received plenty of content as a result.
The Moya Mash. One of Detroit's top positional prospects, Steven Moya, made a big impact on the game right away, nearly running down an improbable catch in right center (which ended up being the only Richmond hit of the contest) and singling and scoring in the first inning. Then, after a pair of strikeouts, Moya went yard down the right field line to extend the lead. All told, Moya contributed both runs and all of the offense. When he manages to clean up plate discipline, Moya's numbers will only increase and his whole value will prove itself even more.
Dixon And Devon To The Rescue. They have a long way to go before being confused with Alan Trammel and Lou Whitaker, but both Dixon Machado and Devon Travis played outstanding defense, turning a nifty double play and looking very comfortable in the field. With Eugenio Suarez included, the SeaWolves have been featuring some great defensive play from infielders recently. Both Machado and Travis also played a role at the plate, finding a way on base and pressuring the opposing pitching staff.
Up A Crick With A Paddle. Fans of the San Francisco Giants are going to love Richmond's Friday night starter Kyle Crick in a few years. Though he was the hard-luck loser, Crick impressed all night, fanning 11 SeaWolves, and only getting beaten by Moya's weak single down the right field line and a hard hit ball by Machado. It's easy to see why Crick has been a fast riser in the eyes of Baseball America, as his stuff was at times overpowering all around the plate.
An Effective Bullpen Cures What Ails Ya. Watching the SeaWolves, it was hard not to think of the Tigers. Starter Warwick Sapould gave Erie six strong innings scattering one hit and five walks, but with a tenuous lead, the bullpen had to finish things off. Ryan Robowski pitched two scoreless innings, and Jose Valdez collected his 15th save of the season despite bringing the tying run to the plate and allowing a screamer to the gap that was run down. Even in the minors, when the bullpen gets things done, it helps everyone else to look better.
Oh Yeah, About Those Tigers…Give Dave Dombrowski credit for addressing a major team need in this week's trade for Joakim Soria. With Soria in the fold, the Tigers have another option late, regardless of the cost. Otherwise, the latest road trip has gone well, with Max Scherzer impressing Thursday, Miguel Cabrera getting comfortable at the plate and Drew Smyly dominating despite a Friday night loss. Detroit hasn't lost any ground in the Central Division, and still looks poised to pull away in the second half. This week's trade deadline may be quieter as far as excitement goes, but expect Dombrowski to stay aggressive and perhaps add a left-handed reliever by week's end.
Programming Notes: Next Saturday, the annual "Fiesta Tigres!" event will take over Comerica Park. Former Tigers' catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez is expected back, and the first 15,000 fans 21 and older will receive a Rodriguez figurine courtesy of Miller Lite. If not coming for that particular promotion, do make sure to get a glimpse of All-Stars like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez up close, should they remain with the Colorado Rockies past the deadline. Don't forget, Cuban sensation Jose Abreu makes another visit to Comerica Park early next week as well, with the Chicago White Sox coming to town.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.
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Tags: Baseball, Dave Dombrowski, Detroit, Detroit Tigers, Devon Travis, Dixon Machado, Erie SeaWolves, Eugenio Suarez, MLB, Steven Moya