Last year it was tough to be a Clearwater Threshers fan. At this point last year, they had only won 17 games of the first 70 games! One of the absolute worst teams in all of Minor League baseball. This year, they are 37 and 33 and most importantly, they made the last five wins really count.
It is important to note that the Florida State League divides its season into two halves and the winner of each half gets a playoff spot (per division). Going into the last five games of the first half, the Threshers were second in the northern division trailing the Daytona Tortugas by five games.
Clearwater took the first step by winning two games against St Lucie before the three final games against Daytona. Daytona, by contrast, lost their last five games before starting the series with Clearwater.
Monday night, newly promoted Ricardo Pinto made his Threshers debut.
Pinto was outstanding in his debut leading the team to a 4-3 win.
After that, the biggest factor was the weather. Tuesday night, the rain and lightning started in the second inning.
The remaining 7 innings were to start today at noon with the second game to be only 7 innings.
So just before noon today Ross and I entered Brighthouse as lightning crashed nearby. The rain was heavy and the lightning frequent and close.
The on deck circle was under water.
But 10 time best groundskeeper in FSL, Opie Cheek had the field in tip top shape after the hour and 40 minute delay.
The Threshers won the game 6-4 and it looked like we might be able to breathe.
I wasn’t able to stay for game two as Baseball Ross and I will be traveling to Hickory tomorrow to see the Lakewood BlueClaws take on the Crawdads, so I listened from homers I packed. (Ross stayed so check his BLOG for videos)
FSL All Star and Member of Team Canada, Colin Kleven took the mound for game two. Kleven shelled the Tortugas, striking out a total of eight, six of which he struck out in a row during his 5.2 innings. Kleven’s ERA is now down to 2.89. Kleven’s final line was 5.2 IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 8SO and 1 HR. Threshers were up 3-1.
Ulises Jaoquin gave up a home run to the first batter he faced making the score 3-2 Threshers. I held my breath. It was close. So many times last year, we would get our hopes up only to have them dashed. Would it happen again?
Jaoquin settled in and they won! 3-2! For the first time since 2007, the Threshers are going to the playoffs!
Photo courtesy of Frank Berlingis
I screamed so loud that I was afraid that my neighbors would call the police thinking I had been murdered. My dogs were frightened, but I was elated!
THE THRESHERS ARE GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS!