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.

 

 

 

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Opening Night in Clearwater-the Good, The Bad and the Ugly

It was another beautiful night in Clearwater. Perfect weather and everyone was excite to start the season on a good note after last year’s fiasco of a season.

While the final score was not what the crowd wanted, a 5-2 loss to the rival Dunedin Blue Jays, there was a lot of good to take away, a little bad, and some ugly.

The Good:

  • The highlight of the night and likely of the year, was a rare (first I’ve ever seen in person) TRIPLE PLAY! Mitch Walding to Drew Stankiewicz to Zack Green, a 5-4-3 triple play. To see this on the first night really gives me hope. For this to come together on the first night is even more amazing than if it was at the end of a season
  • Andrew Knapp went 3 for 4, including an RBI single.
  • Aaron Brown and Andrew Pullin both had hard-hit doubles.
  • No errors.
  • Mark Leiter, Jr., making his debut as a reliever with two strike outs, including rehabbing Toronto Blue Jay, Michael Saunders.
  • Edubray Ramos got Michael Saunders on a broken bat ground out to Mitch Walding, who threw out Saunders at first.

The Bad:

  • The game was lost on three home runs, with each pitcher, Matt Imhoff, Mark Leiter, Jr. and Edubray Ramos giving up one home run.
  • The Threshers were 1-8 with runners in scoring position. 

The Ugly:

  • Domonic Brown striking out during  both of his plate appearances.

  

Here is Matt Imhoff:

  

Mark Leiter, Jr.

  

I’d also like to give a shout out to Threshers’ General Manager John Timberlake for a moving rendition of “God Bless America” in dedication to Chuck Murphy, former Florida State League President who passed away a month ago. It was a truly heartfelt tribute.

Frustrated doesn’t begin to describe it.

I can’t even find the words to describe how I feel right now. I’ve always been known for my loquaciousness and for me to be speechless is beyond the pale.

There are so many problems, where can I start?

1. Injuries. The Phils weren’t hit by the injury bug, it’s more like a plague of injury locusts. Howard, Utley, Thome, Martinez, Galvis, Halliday, Stutes, Nix when will it end? At one point, we had NINE guys on the DL.

2. Age. I’m starting to think they might go faster on one of those Hove-arounds you see advertised on TV… You can go, go, go in your Hove-around! Ok, I’m kidding, but age does contribute to reason #1.

3. Lack of Consistency. Not just on the field, but also in the clubhouse. On the field, Uncle Chuckles keeps changing the line up. How can anyone get into a groove when they never get to bat in the same position? In the club house, with all the injuries there’s never the same guys in the line up so again, how can they get into a groove?

4. Contract Uncertainty. Hamels and Victorino’s contracts are up. With the problems we’ve been having with Blanton, Kendrick and the floating fragment in Worley’s elbow can we afford to let Hamels go? No. The problem is that to keep Hamels and stay under the luxury “tax” payroll limit, there has to be some concessions made…and it looks like Hamels importance will outweigh Victorino’s so unless Vic is willing to lessen his demands; we will have to let him go.

That being said, if Vic goes, there are plenty Pharm Hands willing and capable of stepping in: Derrick Mitchell, Domonic Brown, Steve Susdorf, Tyson Gillies, Jiwan James, they’re all just waiting. I know they are lacking in experience, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I’d rather lose some games as part of a learning curve rather than because Amarro went to a fire sale and picked up the first over 40 player he could find.

5. Attitude Adjustment Needed. Antonio Bastardo had to miss games because he threw a temper tantrum and punched an exercise machine which ironically punched him back. Now he’s got stitches, swelling and as Uncle Chuckles mentioned today, an infection to boot. Wonderful.

Shane Victorino also seems flat. I swear it seems like he’s given up. This goes right back to #4.

This bad attitude just seems to be spreading like a cancer.

I’m at such a loss. Sadly, there’s nothing we as fans can do. It’s so hard to sit here and watch our beloved Phightins suffer. Will it get better?

We’ve lost so much, players, games, spirit, I’m not sure that getting Howard, Utley or anyone else back will do enough to change our failing season.

I just don’t know and frankly I’m not sure that Manuel or Amarro do either.

They’re Movin’ On UP!

Dominic Brown
Dominic Brown

It was the Jefferson’s Theme song that said:

We’re movin’ on up,
To the big time…
We finally got a piece of the pie!
The same could be said for several of the IronPigs. Within a few hours of losing the Governor’s Cup, five of the IronPigs were given their tickets to the big time. Justin DeFratus, Brandon Moss, Joe Savery, Erik Kratz and Domonic Brown got the call.

Justin DeFratus
Justin DeFratus

Justin DeFratus started the season with Reading, but was called up to the IronPigs midseason. This is his first trip to the Bigs.

Erik Kratz
Erik Kratz

Catcher Erik Kratz has played in the majors before, briefly, with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kratz was an All-Star catcher this year in the International League.

Brandon Moss
Brandon Moss

This won’t be the first trip to the majors for Brandon Moss. He has had brief stints in the majors with several of his former teams. Moss lead all hitters in the International League with a .385 average and 4 home runs in the playoffs this year.

Joe Savery
Joe Savery

Pitcher Joe Savery is having an impressive year. He started the year in Clearwater as a position player, playing both first base and left field. Then he moved up to Reading as a designated hitter and relief pitcher. After his brief stop in Reading, he was called up to Lehigh Valley as a full time reliever. Not bad for a guy who was considering giving up the dream and going back to college this fall.

My favorite picture of Dominic Brown...Spring Training 2011. He had been taken out of the game and came and sat on the wall next to me and talked to fans as he signed autographs.
My favorite picture of Dominic Brown…Spring Training 2011. He had been taken out of the game and came and sat on the wall next to me and talked to fans as he signed autographs.

Domonic Brown is returning to the Phillies, he has bounced back and forth most of the season. The picture above is one I took in Spring Training. Domonic had finished playing for the day and instead of heading to the locker room, he sat down on the wall next to me. He sat there for quite a while talking with the fans and just enjoying watching the game with us.

Congratulations to all five newly promoted Pigs!

Wake Me Up When September Ends-Phillies Clinch NL East

Sept 18 201 Wake me up in October headline

There it is, the Phillies’ Magic Number is ZERO! They have clinched the NL East!

They clinched it the earliest in franchise history with 13 games left to play (six games sooner than the previous record.) This was win 98…if they win 2 more of the next 12 games, it will only be the third time in franchise history where they have won a hundred games or more in a season.

I saw this “front page” on Philly.com’s sports page and the only think I could hear in my head was Green Day’s “Wake Me Up, When September Ends”. It’s been running through my head all day.

How amazing was their win last night? Just think, for Joe Savery, Justin DeFratus, Brandon Moss, Erik Kratz and Dominic Brown, they hadn’t even been with the team for twenty four hours!

What struck me is that they are the team with the most losses in a franchises’ history, yet here they are back-to-back-to-back-to-back, or FIVE TIME NL EAST CHAMPIONS!

5 time NL East Champ Banner