The Great Lakes Loons begin first of six straight home games to close out first half of the 2014 MWL season tonight at Dow Diamond:
Tonight's contest against the first place West Michigan Whitecaps is a Dodgers Route of Champions night....
Great Lakes Loons,
By: Jason Marcoux
10th June, 2014
The Great Lakes Loons begin the first-of-six straight home games where they will wrap up the first half of the MWL season against two instate rivals. The first three-game series starts tonight; and continues Wednesday and Thursday against the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers affiliate). The Loons will then host the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays affiliate) this weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Dow Diamond. The 2014 MWL all star game will take place next Tuesday June, 17 in Comstock Park, Mi at Fifth Third Ball Park; which is home to the West Michigan Whitecaps.
The Loons (30-34) are currently in fifth place in the eastern division of the MWL, 8-games behind the first place Whitecaps (38-26). The Loons are mathematically eliminated from any chance at a first-half playoff berth, but will gladly make it as hard as possible for their instate rivals, West Michigan to clinch a first-half championship. West Michigan is barely clinging to first place by only a half game over Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate, the South Bend Silverhawks (37-26).
The MWL playoff format allows the top two teams from each division (eastern & western) to secure the first four playoff spots for post-season play at the end of the first half of the regular season. After the MWL all star break, the slate is cleared and all teams then compete for the final four playoff spots in the second half. The top two teams from each division at the end of the second half of the season will round out the final four teams for the playoffs. *If one (or both) teams are still in first and/or second place at the end of the second half of the season, the third and/or fourth place teams will then move up to get the final playoff spot(s).
With six straight home games to end the first half of the season -against two instate rivals- the Loons can build some momentum going into the second half of the season. Great Lakes will send right hander, Scott Barlow (1-2, 4.71 ERA) to the hill tonight to take on West Michigan RHP, Scott Green (1-2, 3.44 ERA) in the first of this three-game series. The Whitecaps feature a couple familiar names on their roster; catcher, Pat Leyland is the son of former Tigers skipper, Jim Leyland and outfielder, Ben Verlander is the younger brother of Tiger ace, Justin Verlander. The Whitecaps also have a Tyler Gibson on their roster; but, unfortunately Tyler is no relation to former Tiger great, Kirk Gibson. First pitch is set for 7:05 pm tonight at Dow Diamond.