The bullpen continues to be an Erie SeaWolves’ bugaboo.
Erie’s relief pitchers blew a save opportunity for the third straight game Thursday morning. Unlike the previous two, though, the SeaWolves couldn’t recover from it.
The Reading Phillies rallied from a five-run deficit with a six-run seventh inning off Mark Sorensen and Michael Morrison. Their 8-6 victory resulted in a split of the teams’ four-game series at Jerry Uht Park.
The SeaWolves’ disappointing loss left them 22-23 going into a Memorial Day weekend series against Akron, the Eastern League’s Western Division leaders. Reading was 26-19 after their only northwestern Pennsylvania series appearance.
– Mike Copper
Leandro Castro opened the Phillies’ monster rally with a solo home run, and Sebastian Valle ended it with a two-run homer onto the roof of Erie Insurance Arena. In between, Reading also benefited when Erie left fielder Rawley Bishop misplayed a fly ball on the warning track.
That error negated Bishop’s two hits and two RBIs for the SeaWolves. Jordan Lennerton also drove in two runs with a single during Erie’s four-run fifth.
The SeaWolves competed Thursday with only 23 players on their roster.
The Detroit Tigers have yet to fill the open berth in Erie pitching staff after Sunday’s promotion of reliever Ryan Robowski to Triple-A Toledo. Outfielder Ben Guez joined Robowski in the Mud Hens’ dugout after his call-up late Wednesday.
Detroit summoned Wade Gaynor, 24, from Single-A Lakeland (Fla.) to take Guez’s spot in Erie. However, the infielder didn’t arrive in time for Thursday’s 11:05 a.m. first pitch.
When Gaynor does arrive, it will be the start of his second assignment with the 2012 SeaWolves. He went 3-for-10 with a home run and six RBIs over his first stint with them.
Thursday’s Erie-Reading game actually was the front half of a doubleheader at Uht Park. A District 10 non-region game between Girard and Central Tech was scheduled to follow at 4 p.m.
A reminder that starting Friday, Erie switches to a regular starting time of 7:05 p.m. for all but four Monday-through Saturday home games.
The only games currently scheduled to vary from that are Memorial Day against Akron (1:35); June 21 against Bowie (12:05); July 18 against Bowie (12:05) and Labor Day against Altoona (1:35).
Erie’s remaining Sunday home games will maintain first pitches at 1:35.
McDowell graduate Chad Oberacker was hitting .235 for the Single-A Stockton Ports going into Thursday night’s California League home game against Visalia.
Oberacker has hit two home runs and driven in nine for the Oakland Athletics’ affiliate since his May 2 promotion from Burlington (Iowa) of the Midwest League.
Stockton is struggling at 14-31, the league’s worst record.