It was opening night for Reading, Jersey Shore and Clearwater. In Triple-A, Lehigh Valley lost for the first time this season, falling to the Columbus Clippers (Guardians) 4-3. Here is a look at who did what around the Phillies minor league system on Friday.
OFFENSE: Dalton Guthrie continued his hot hitting early in the season with a 2-for-5 night. Guthrie, who is looking more and more comfortable in center field, nearly made a spectacular defensive play when he crashed into the center field fence on a ball hit by Mike Rivers in the 5th inning. On the season, Guthrie is batting .500 (7-for-14) out of the leadoff spot… Darick Hall and Austin Wynns both collected two hits in the loss… Nick Maton joined the IronPigs Friday and went 1-for-5 playing shortstop for the ‘Pigs. Lehigh Valley has yet to hit a home run this season.
PITCHING: There were a total of 331 pitches thrown in the game, with 181 of them from IronPigs pitchers. There were also a total of 14 3-2 counts in the game. Starter Colton Eastman was a victim of a climbing pitch count as he went 3 2/3 innings, giving up just one hit and striking out four, but walking three batters… Jonathan Hennigan and Nick Duron each gave up a run in one inning and Michael Kelly allowed two runs in his inning of work… Jake Newberry looked good out of the pen with 1 2/3 shutout innings, the only blemish being a hit batter… There were 14 walks and a total of 13 hits between the two teams in the game.
PIG NOTES: RHP Michael Kelly and Andrew Bellatti, LHP Jonathan Hennigan and INF Nick Maton were all assigned to Lehigh Valley… INF Ali Castillo was placed on the Developmental List.
ON THE AGENDA: The Pigs and Clippers play a doubleheader Saturday with LHP Ricardo Sanchez and RHP Hans Crouse going to LV and RHP Tobias Myers and LHP Tanner Tully pitching for Columbus. First game starts at 4:05.
OFFENSE: Not much to talk about here. The Fightins picked up just a lone hit, a double by Vito Friscia. Reading loaded the bases on walks in the second and Kevin Vicuna grounded out to bring in the first run of the game. Friscia led off the fourth with his double and later scored on a groundball. In all, Reading collected 10 walks in the game, three by Josh Ockimey.
PITCHING: James McArthur struggled through 3 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits and a walk… Lefty Erik Miller threw two shutout innings in relief, striking out five of the six batters that he retired. Miller missed time last season with a rotator cuff injury, but has good potential with his high velocity fastball, a changeup and an effective slider… McKinley Moore made his debut in the Phillies organization with a perfect eighth inning… The bullpen was victimized by two unearned runs over their 5 2/3 innings of work, but collectively allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out seven.
FIGHTIN’ NOTES: Pitcher Francisco Morales was inconsistent as a starter last season and the Phillies believe that his velocity and personality are more suited to pitching late in games. He will likely serve as the Reading closer this season and could be in for a fairly quick promotion to Triple-A if all goes well… RHP Billy Sullivan (shoulder inflammation) and OF Mark Kroon (shoulder contusion) both missed time with injuries last season, but proved in camp that the injuries are behind them and are looking for breakout seasons.
ON THE AGENDA: RHP Adam Leverett will start Saturday for Reading and the Fightins offense will look to rebound against LHP Ken Waldichuk.
OFFENSE: Overall, the Jersey Shore offense struck out 15 times and stranded 8 runners on base in the season opener. They finished the game going 7-for-18 (.389) with runners in scoring position… Speed is the name of the game, with Clearwater swiping nine bases without having any baserunners thrown out. Johan Rojas stole three bases and Ethan Wilson swiped two. Both were on base three times, with Rojas getting a hit, a walk and reaching on an error, while Wilson had two hits and a walk to both score and drive in three runs… Casey Martin also had two hits, drove in a run and scored three times.
PITCHING: Six Clearwater pitchers combined to allow 19 hits and gave up seven walks with 13 strikeouts… The best line of the day belonged to J.P. Woodward, who pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed one earned run on two hits and a walk… The worst line of the day goes to either Cristian Hernandez (2 1/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER), Carlos Reyes (1 1/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER) or Andrew Schultz (1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER).
CLAW NOTES: There were four errors committed in the game, but all of the 21 combined runs were earned… All nine stolen bases came off catcher Connor Pavolony… The BlueClaws had two outfield assists. Baron Radcliff threw out a runner at the plate and Rojas gunned down one at second.
ON THE AGENDA: Mick Abel, the Phillies first round pick – 15th overall – in 2020 gets his first start of the season for the ‘Claws on Saturday. Aberdeen has not announced a starting pitcher.
OFFENSE: RF Jadiel Sanchez hit a solo home run for Clearwater and finished the day 1-for-4. Sanchez’ home run came with Clearwater down 6-2 in the sixth inning. The Threshers looked to rally an inning later and cut the lead to 6-5 on RBI by Marcus Lee Sang and Yhoswar Garcia.. Kendall Simmons went 1-for-4 with a two-run double in the bottom of the third to cut Fort Myers lead to 3-2… Threshers hitters drew three walks with catcher Arturo De Freitas drawing two of them. Meanwhile, 13 Clearwater hitters went down on strikes, including three by Anthony Quirion.
PITCHING: Starter Rafael Marcano and reliever Matt Osterberg combined to give up six earned runs in the first five innings for Clearwater… Oswald Medina, Gabriel Yanez and Cam Wynne came on and restored order, shutting out the Mighty Mussels over the final four innings and recording six strikeouts while allowing just two hits without walking a batter.
THRESHER NOTES: Clearwater opens the season with six of the top 30 Phillies prospects (according to MLB.com) on their roster. They include RHP Andrew Painter (3), Yhoswar Garcia (16), INF Kendall Simmons (17), INF Hao Yu Lee (20), INF Jamari Baylor (26), and INF Alexies Azuaje (27).