It's been the same story for Erie over and again since mid-August as they slowly skidded into oblivion. They actually had possession of the wildcard as recently as Friday, but after getting swept in Akron they finished the season in fourth place.
Erie needed a win on Saturday to stay alive after Reading took both games in their doubleheader against Connecticut, and it looked like they were going to accomplish the task. Granted, they would need to win out the rest of their schedule and hope that Reading lost their final two games, but at least they would have had a fighting chance.
On Saturday they were in control for 8 innings. L.J. Gagnier probably pitched his best game of the year, going into the eighth inning while giving up only one run in just his second start for Erie.
The SeaWolves were up 3-1 when he exited the game, and Robbie Weinhardt came in to relieve him. He got out of the inning unscathed, and then Brett Jensen came in the bottom of the ninth and gave up two runs to tie the game up.
In the top of the tenth Erie got a gift. Santo DeLeon scored on back-to-back wild pitches with Cale Iorg at the plate, but Jensen's meltdown continued, as he'd give up a walk-off homer to Drennen.
Just like that the season was over.
No matter the outcome, you have to give it up to this Erie team. Most clubs would have melted long ago given the circumstances they've been forced to endure since the beginning of the season.
In April they had Mike Hollimon and Casper Wells go down. In May, Brooks Brown was sent up to Toledo and Duane Below tore the Ulnar nerve in his elbow. In June, Scott Sizemore and Jay Sborz were sent to Toledo, Alfredo Figaro was called up to Detroit, Max Leon was lost for the summer and the Ryan Strieby injury saga began. In July, Mike Hollimon was officially lost for the season, Josh Rainwater and Zach Simons got promoted to Toledo, Luis Marte hit the disabled list and was never heard from for months, and Josh Kite retired. In August, Strieby hit the disabled list again, Cody Satterwhite and Max St-Pierre were lost for the year and Alex Avila was sent up to Detroit. In September, Thad Weber was injured and forced to miss his last two starts.
That's a ton of turnover, and I'm sure I missed a few guys.
By the end of the year it seemed like everything from Lakeland had ended up in Erie besides the coaching staff and the mascot.
But, enough of that for now, we'll take a more in depth look into the SeaWolves season in the year-end wrap up.
Inside Brennan Boesch's break-out year
There was a long standing argument between the young guys in the pressbox and the older guys in the press box than ran throughout the whole season.
The old guys were constantly praising Boesch and the breakout season that he was having, and the young guys were a little more skeptical.
They'd look at his flashy power numbers (a league leading 28 homers) and gush and proclaim him the next guy in line for Detroit. When Alex Avila got called up they were shocked that it wasn't Boesch.
The young guys would look at his secondary numbers and wonder what the hell everyone was smoking.
Yeah, Boesch hit 28 homers this season, which is better than everyone else in the Eastern League, but he only hit nine on the road. That's alarming. Erie is a bandbox, 312 down the leftfield line, would he ever be able to do that in bigger park, such as Comercia? The numbers say no.
Sure, Boesch ended up lifting his average to .275, but he also struck out 127 times in 131 games and only walked 33 times all year. His OBP was .318. He couldn't hit a slider all year.
The bottom line is this: Boesch had a solid minor league season, and maybe he is on the verge of realizing his potential, but he has a long, looooong way to go before we start talking about him being a prospect.