Toledo MLN: Playing for Pride

Nevin winds down his first year in Toledo

As the Mud Hens prepare for their last weekend of the season, their last week was once again mired with them being consistently average. A three-game win streak to start the week was counteracted by a four game losing streak to end it. With the Mud Hens now locked into last place in the International League West standings at 65-74, the team can only play for pride these last five games .

Rotation shuffling

With major league rosters expanding Thursday, and several pitchers on the team potentially in-line for a call-up, manager Phil Nevin has needed to get creative with how he lined up his rotation the last week.

He will lose Jacob Turner, who will make a spot-start with the Tigers Thursday, but will regain the services of Adam Wilk, who had been on the disabled list for the last few weeks, and will likely start Thursday once Turner is officially added to the Tigers' roster.

"It really comes down to who we still have available," Nevin said. "That's something that we're just playing by ear."

Andrew Oliver is scheduled to go on Friday, with Thad Weber set to go Saturday. Nevin said that Fu-Te Ni will likely go on Sunday, while he isn't sure yet who will start in the team's season finale on Monday.

Top for a reason

After a rough Triple-A debut, Turner, rated the Tigers' top prospect by TigsTown.com, has been nothing short of great in his other two starts.

While his overall Triple-A numbers (1-0, 3.12 ERA) are still very good, he was much better his second and third time through the league.

In his last two starts – against Louisville and Buffalo – he combined to go 12 innings, allowing a total of two runs on nine hits and one walk. In those 12 innings, he struck out 14 batters.

"Just been trying to work on mixing my pitches and keeping guys off-balance," Turner said.

While his stay in Toledo was brief, he showed why he is so highly touted in the organization during his stay. After a strong season with Double-A Erie and a brief, one-game stint with the Tigers, Turner came down to Toledo and showed dominant stuff, striking out 20 batters in 17 1/3 innings, while walking only three.

Opponents hit .227 against him. However, one potentially alarming split is that left-handed hitters hit .344 against him in 32 at bats. However, he was flat-out dominant against righties, holding them to a miniscule .118 batting average.

Rough encore

After a fantastic first season of pro ball, that saw him post a 3.45 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A, Oliver's second season hasn't been quite what he hoped for.

After a strong start to the season, the lefty earned a mid-season call-up for the second time in as many seasons. While this cup of coffee lasted only two games, he still had as little success as he did with the Tigers in 2010, notching a 6.52 ERA and going winless in two starts.

When he was sent back down to Toledo, he did not look like the same pitcher.

He came back to Toledo and abruptly posted an 8.63 ERA in June, going 1-3 in five starts. While he had a brief rebound in July (3.77 ERA, .243 opponent batting average) he has struggled in August, posting a 4.98 ERA in the season's final month.

While his pre all-star game and post all-star game splits look very similar, (4.48 ERA pre, 5.13 ERA post), he had a 3.31 ERA in nine starts in April and May, before he was called up by the Tigers. He has posted a 5.54 ERA in 16 starts since his return to Toledo.

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