THE FLYING TIGERS (6-7, 6.0 GB) … Lakeland scored early and often in its last game on Thursday against Clearwater, jumping out to a 7-0 lead after three innings, and then coasting to a 7-1 victory. Wade Gaynor homered and doubled on his birthday while Avisail Garcia, Hernan Perez and James McCann all had two hits a piece for the Flying Tigers. Lakeland has split it last six games since starting the season 3-4.
THE CUBS (4-11, 9.0 GB) … After opening the season with just two wins in the first 13 games, Daytona has won two straight. The Cubs, who did not score more than seven runs in any of the first 13 games, won Friday’s game, 9-2, versus Tampa and Saturday’s game against the Yankees by a 13-2 score. Greg Rohan leads the FSL with four homers – one more than Lakeland has a team – and also leads the league with 14 runs batted in.
4/22 – LAK: Shawn Teufel (1-1, 4.82) … making his third start … allowed three earned runs on six hits in 4.0 inning start on April 10 against Brevard … gave up two earned runs on four hits in 5.1 innings in second outing versus Brevard on April 15 … lefties hit .412 and have scored five runs versus Teufel while righties are batting just .167 so far.
4/23 – LAK: Alex Burgos (1-2, 3.18) … making his fourth start … has lost his last two decisions … allowed two earned runs in each of his first three starts … stuck out season-high seven batters in 6.0 innings on April 11 vs. Brevard County … lefties are batting .160 vs. Burgos while righthanders are hitting .286 against him.
4/24 – Mark Eichhorn (0-1, 4.20 ) … making his fourth start … lost his last outing, allowing three runs on six hits in 4.0 innings after getting a no-decision in his first two starts … longest outing of 6.0 innings game in his first start on April 6 at Tampa in which he struck out a season-high four batters while allowing six hits and one unearned run.
LAST YEAR … Lakeland won 11 of the 17 meetings between the two clubs last season. The Flying Tigers were 6-2 in Lakeland but were 5-4 in Daytona.
RAINED OUT SERIES … Lakeland will be looking to play its first game since Thursday night. Friday’s game in Lakeland against Clearwater was called due to wet grounds, forcing a Saturday doubleheader which was called off in the afternoon with the threat of heavy storms in the evening. The games will not be made up as the two teams do not play again in the first half.
ON THE OFFENSIVE … This series sports five of the top six hitters in the Florida State League, including the top three in Lakeland’s Nick Castellanos (.388), Daytona’s Rubi Silva (.386) and the Flying Tigers’ Avisail Garcia (.354). The Cubs’ John Andreoli is fifth with a .333 mark while Lakeland’s Tyler Collins is sixth with a .333 mark.
IN LIKE FLYNN … Lakeland’s Brian Flynn is a perfect 3-0 on the season with a 0.92 ERA, which ranks fifth in the Florida State League. His three wins is tied for the league lead.
NICK IN TIME … Nick Castellanos began the season with a 10-game hit streak in which he was 16×39 (.410). After seeing his streak snapped on April 16, he has hits in each of his last two games with two doubles. Castellanos has been consistent at the plate, batting .389 vs. lefties and .387 vs. right handers.
HIT A WALL … Daniel Fields had hits in each of his first nine games in which he was 13×39 (.333), but has been held hitless in each of his last four games, going 0×17 in those contests. He had struck out nine times in the first nine games, but has K’ed eight times in the last four games.
SAILING AGAINST SOUTHPAWS … Avisail Garcia has a lofty .421 average (8×19) against left handers, but .310 versus right handers. Garcia is tied for first with an FSL-best five stolen bases.
QUICK RISE … Lakeland’s Drew Smyly tossed 7.0 no-hit innings in a start at Daytona on June 8 of last season as the Flying Tigers posted a 4-0 win on the road. Smyly, now with the big club, is scheduled to make his third start on Sunday. He is 0-0 with a 0.90 ERA with 8 strikeouts and 4 walks in 1.0 innings with one earned run on 11 hits in his two previous starts.
TWICE AS NICE AT HOME … Wade Gaynor is hitting just .150 on the road (3×20), but has a .300 mark at home (6×20).
McCANN CAN … James McCann had just four hits in his first seven games, but has equalled that mark with four hits in his last three games.
SWING AND A MISS … Flying Tiger batters have struck out 48 times over the last six games while walking just eight times.
OH WHAT A RELIEF IT IS … The Lakeland bullpen has allowed just three runs over the last 18.2 innings over six games for a 1.45 ERA. The relievers have also struck out 27 batters and walked eight while allowing 10 hits in those contests. Tyler Clark has allowed one hit in 5.0 innings over his three outings while Matt Crouse also has allowed just one hit over his three appearances and 7.2 innings pitched.
WHERE’S THE POWER? … Nick Castellanos, Daniel Fields, and Wade Gaynor are the only Flying Tigers to have homered in the first 13 games of 2012. A year ago, the squad had hit eight homers in the first 13 games.
DO’IN THE ROSTER SHUFFLE … Patrick Cooper started the season in Lakeland and picked up a save in his only appearance on April 6. On April 11, he was promoted to AA Erie with Luis Angel Sanz coming to Lakeland from West Michigan. The next night, Cooper tossed 1.1 innings for the SeaWolves, giving up one run on two hits. On April 16, Cooper rejoined Lakeland where he threw 3.0 shutout innings that evening against Brevard County. Sanz, meanwhile, was sent back to the Whitecaps. Three days later, on April 19, Cooper headed north once again to rejoin Erie. The next day, April 20, Sanz rejoined Lakeland.
MORE MOVES … Ryan Woolley was added to the Lakeland roster from West Michigan on April 19, taking Patrick Cooper’s spot. Woolley was 0-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four appearances, striking out eight and walking two in 7.1 innings for the Whitecaps. On April 20, Mark Sorensen earned a promotion to AA Erie with Luis Angel Sanz taking the roster spot.
CLOSING IN ON 1700 … Flying Tiger manager Dave Huppert is in his second season with Lakeland and his 24th season as a minor league manager. He brings a 1,678-1,542 record into the Daytona series.