Jorge Alfaro plays in GCL game-pictures

Jorge Alfaro, the new catcher acquired in the Cole Hamels trade, played today in a Gulf Coast League game.

Alfaro played three innings–hit two strong line drives that might have gone out, if the wind didn’t blow it back in.

  

Alfaro hits hard line drive to the warning track
 

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New Aquisition John Richy Makes Clearwater Threshers Debut

John Richy, the newly acquired RHP from the Dodgers, made his debut with the Clearwater Threshers tonight.

Here are some pictures:  

    
 
  

Richy went 7 innings, 4 hits, no runs, 1 walk, 3 strike outs and a pick-off. A rather impressive debut for our new pitcher.

My only regret is that I won’t get to see more of him before the end of the season. Well, there’s only approximately 165 days until spring training….

Oh! What a night!

This was one of those amazing nights that I won’t soon forget. Not just for the game but a lot of things.

Baseball Ross and I went to the Threshers game tonight and it was Ladies’ Night where they give away a gift basket. On a whim, I signed in and we got something to drink and took our seats.  It was hot, really hot. We were not getting any air and the game was moving very slowly. 

By the top of the 4th, the Threshers were down 7-0 to St. Lucie and Ross and I were drenched with sweat. We thought we’d wait to see if I won the gift basket before we left.

I won!

I went to pick up the basket and suddenly the Threshers picked up 3 runs! I got back to where Ross was standing and we took some pictures:

   
  
And then my friend Phinley came over:

 

Then Ross suggested we take one with the field in the background…and with the distraction of taking pictures we failed to notice that the Threshers has loaded the bases so as Ross took the picture…they were scoring on Andrew Pullin’s GRAND SLAM! The game was tied at 7!

  

The basket was awesome!   There were two bottles of wine, two huge coffee mugs, a hat (sparkly too), a headband, tickets to a concert and two coozies!  

We took the basket to the car we realized we needed to walk our dogs…so we ran home and took care of the pups.

My mother was one of those “always send a thank-you card” kind of people. So I sent the Threshers a modern day version, a tweet of the picture of me with Phinley with my note of thanks—AND IT WON PHOTO OF THE NIGHT!

To claim the prize I needed to pick it up tonight before the game ended…they were tied 8-8 so I prayed for extra innings and dashed back to Clearwater…

I must be good luck, because just as I claimed my second prize of the night, Aaron Brown hit a walk off single to score Dylan Cozens in the bottom of the ninth! They literally won at the same time! 

I win the basket- they get a grand slam, I win photo of the night and they walk off winners too…coincidence?

The photo of the game prize was a pizza at the Galley, which is just a mile or so from my house and another hat:

 
My total “haul”

  

I gave the 2nd hat to Ross and we will get pizza for Fathers’ Day on Sunday-what a great night we had! I don’t think I’ve ever been so lucky! What an amazing time!

  

Threshers Struggle to Score Runs in 2-1 Defeat by the Brevard County Manatees

Colin Kleven
Colin Kleven

It was a rough night in Clearwater. It showed the biggest problem with the Threshers this year, they are missing consistent hitting.

photo of box courtesy of MiLB.com
photo of box courtesy of MiLB.com

Colin Kleven (RHP) started and went five innings gave up 6 hits, 2 runs 3 walks and had 3 strike outs. He had little help from the bats, there were only 6 hits the entire game. The lone Threshers run was scored in the bottom of the sixth, when Drew Stankiewicz (2B) scored and Andrew Knapp’s (DH) ground out to short.

Another glaring problem is the number of men left on base, at seven. They were also only 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

While they seem to always try, last night, the bats were largely silent leaving an up hill battle for the pitching staff.

The Threshers and Manatees will go at it again at 1 Wednesday.

 

Kleven Takes Down Dunedin, Threshers Trounce Jays 8-1

Colin Kleven put together his best performance of the season so far as he lead the Threshers to an 8-1 win over the rival Dunedin Blue Jays.

Colin Kleven
Colin Kleven

Willians Astudillo, who caught tonight, and first baseman Zachary Green each had two RBIs to aid in the run total. Also key to the win were three base hit for both second baseman Drew Staniewicz and center fielder Chase Harris.

The key to the game was the stellar performance of Kleven. Kleven was solid over his six innings and had a no hitter going for 4 2/3 of those six innings. He also held the Jays to a run on three hits over six innings while striking out six.

Coming in the seventh was LHP Harold Guerrero, who pitched two innings with two strike outs, two hits no runs. Will Morris, LHP,  came in to close in the ninth giving up one hit and had one strike out.

 

Three Weeks In, Phillies Minor League Teams Shaping Up

We are three weeks into the minor league season and the Phillies’ Pharm teams are shaping up. In some respects, it’s what one would expect, in others, a bit of a surprise.

The most pleasant surprise is the Reading Fightins. Reading is 10-7 and are in second place, only a game and a half behind the New Britain Rock Cats. The biggest disappointment has been the Lehigh Valley IronPigs who have the worst record in ALL of of the International League at 5-14. In-between, are the Clearwater Threshers who are a game and half out of first in the Florida State League Northern Division, trailing the Daytona Tortugas. Their 10-9 record is a great improvement over last year at this time where they were 3-16! The Lakewood BlueClaws are 8-10, two games under .500 in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League.

Reading Fightins

As expected they have been lead by outstanding starting pitching. Lead by newcomer Zach Eflin, who has yet to give up an earned run in his first three starts. He is 2-0, in his first three starts. Also, going 2-0 is prospect Jesse Biddle. Biddle, who is coming off of a very challenging 2014 season, has an impressive 2.76 ERA and averages a strike out an inning. Ben Lively is equally impressive with a 1.42 ERA and 1-0 in his first three starts. Aaron Nola, last years’ number one draft pick from LSU, has gone 1-2 with a 3.06 ERA.

Hitting-wise Reading is lead by 1B Brock Stassi, with a .357 batting average, 3 home runs and 19 RBIs. Phenom Roman Quinn, is off to a strong start, hitting .348, 4 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs. He is currently 3rd in steals with 8 steals and leads the league with runs scored with 18.

The one disappointing event was the injury to former Golden Glove winner, 2B Carlos Alonso, who was injured by a Harrisburg Senator’s “take out slide” and is currently sidelined with a knee injury. He is currently on the 7-day disabled list.

Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Packed with veteran free agents that were released by other organizations, Lehigh Valley is off to a difficult start. The highpoint of the offense is the play of Maikel Franco, who is hitting .338 and leads the International league in doubles with 10 so far this season, while playing outstanding defense at third base.Conversely, rehabbing MLBer, Domonic Brown continuing to struggle, hitting only .139 in nine games for the IronPigs.

On the mound, the highlight is Severino Gonzalez, with a .357 ERA which earned him his first MLB start with the Phillies. The biggest surprise on the mound, however, is Phillippe Aumont. Aumont, who was dropped from the 40-man roster this spring, is 1-0 with 1.06 ERA in 17 innings. Even more surprising, he was moved from the bullpen to starter and is proving to be much more successful as a starter.

Clearwater Threshers

The Threshers are the team that never seems to say die. Last year, was one of the most difficult years I have ever witnessed in professional sport. It seemed like they always found a way to LOSE. Even if they managed to push a game into extra innings, they always seemed to come up short. This year, is very different. Four of their ten wins have been in extra innings, including an impressive win at home in SEVENTEEN innings.

Threshers Celebrate Their 17 Inning Win
Threshers Celebrate Their 17 Inning Win

Offensively, Dylan Cozens (RF) has driven in 13 runs to lead the team in RBIs. The fans in Clearwater have taken to calling him “Clutch” Cozens because he has gone 4-6 with 3 RBIs in extra innings. Leading the team in doubles are Willians Astudillo (3-6 with a walk off in extra innings) and Andrew Pullin with 5 each.

Threshers’ pitching is another great surprise with strong starting and relief pitchers. The tops starters are Brandon Leibrant (1-1, 1.80 ERA in 4 starts) and David Whitehead (1-2, 3.04 ERA in 4 starts). The bullpen has been exceptionally strong, led by Ulises Joaquin 1-0 with three saves, Edubray Ramos 1-1 with 1 save and Mark Leiter, Jr. who is 1-0 with one save and struck out TWENTY in 15 innings out of the pen. The top left handed reliever is Cody Forsythe, 1-0 and has struck out 13 in nine innings of work.

Lakewood BlueClaws

While the BlueClaws have been hanging around .500, there have been early flashes of brilliance. After completing what looks to be a successful weight training program in the off season, Carlos Tocci is hitting .338 and leads the team with 11 RBIs. Malquin Canelo is second hitting .333. First basemen Rhys Hoskins has supplied the power with 3 home runs, hitting .290.

Regarding pitchers, they are led by Tyler Viza, 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his first three starts, all of last season, Viza went 3-17. Ricardo Pinto, 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA, leads the team in strike outs with 18 in 19 innings of pitching. The bullpen is good as well, Matt Hockenberry has picked up three saves and has yet to give up a run in nine innings of work. Left handed reliever Austin Davis has yet to give up a run in ten innings of relief as the “set-up” man.

 

 

 

Threshers Win First Game of 2015

Clearwater Threshers:

After only two games, I walked away from tonight’s Threshers game with a quote from one of my favorite movies, “Major League” stuck in my head. I quote Manager Lou Brown, “it’s starting to come together, Pepper, it’s starting to come together!”

Last night, we had a triple play, (Walding to Stankiewicz to Green) today a  sharp double play (Lohman to Stankiewicz to Green).

This team really has some spirit, when things have gotten tough, they seem to dig deep and push through, something last year’s team could not do. Last year the Threshers ended the season 40 games under .500.

Tonight, David Whitehead started on the mound. He would go on 6IP, 4H, 0R, 1W 8Ks. He looked really sharp as he collected the win.

David Whitehead
David Whitehead

Also of note, Domonic Brown made his second rehab appearance. First at bat, he flies out and he struck out during the second.

 

Dominic Brown strikes out.
Dominic Brown strikes out.

The first scoring play came when Mitch Walding was caught in a rundown. Drew Stankiewicz hit a screamer right at the pitcher, who lost his glove trying to field the ball. He threw the ball home, cutting off Walding. The catcher threw the ball to third and Walding started for home…the pitcher, now without his glove failed to cover home,  so Walding was able to score as the Jays tied unsuccessfully to get the out at second.

Lee "Rocket Arm" Ridenhour
Lee “Rocket Arm” Ridenhour

Lee “Rocket Arm”  came in in relief of Whitehead. Ridenhour went 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0W and 2Ks to hold the game. He hit 93 on the gun and struck out both on his curve.

Ulises Joaquin
Ulises Joaquin

Ulises Joaquin came in to close. He struggled a little, but buckeled down to secure the win.

With the win, the Threshers move to .500.