Strikeout Pitching by Falter and Russ, Clutch Extra Base Hits by Martin and Brito Pace The Clearwater Threshers to a 3-1 Win

The Threshers banged out only four hits but three of them resulted in all the runs. That was all Bailey Falter and the bullpen needed to hold down the Bradenton Marauders in a 3-1 win last night at Spectrum Field.

Kyle Martin Homers

The offense was led by a home run by Kyle Martin in the third inning, watch HERE and a two-run triple by Daniel Brito in the fourth inning after a base hit by rehabbing catcher Wilson Ramos and a walk by DH, Henri Lartigue, watch HERE. 

Wilson Ramos

Bailey Falter

 

Falter was efficient in shutting down the Marauders after allowing a run in the second inning to improve his record to 7-4 on the season.  He struck out eight without issuing a walk, needing only 88 pitches over six innings. Bailey became stronger as the game went on, striking out four over the 5th and 6th innings. Watch HERE.

Addison Russ

The bullpen came on in the seventh with Trevor Bettencourt pitching two shutout innings. Closer Addy Russ struck out the side in the ninth for his 11th save in 11 opportunities with the Threshers, watch HERE. Including his 13 saves from earlier in the season with Lakewood, Russ is now 24 for 24 in save opportunities on the season.

Mickey Moniak is now hitting .382 over his last nine games with a single in the game.

The Threshers have now opened up a 2.5 game lead over the Dunedin Blue Jays with 19 games to go in the battle for first place and a playoff spot in the FSL’s Northern Division.

 

 

 

 

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Mets David Wright says he saw “some really dominant pitching” from Threshers’ Mauricio Llovera

Yesterday was one of the most interesting days in watching baseball at Spectrum Field.  Probably best not to make too much of it but Mauricio Llovera sure impressed. He struck out the rehabbing Mets third baseman, David Wright, twice. Wright finally got him in his third at bat but it was a hard line out to left.

David Wright struck out by Mauricio Llovera

Yes, this was Wright’s first attempt at a comeback since last August. Read the reviews of Wright from Sunday, HERE, HERE and HERE. 

Below is it what Wright said about the Phillies pitching prospect, Clearwater Threshers’ pitcher, Mauricio Llovera:

“It was good to get out there,” Wright told reporters after the game. “Hopefully the results will come, but for now, getting three at-bats, going out playing the field for five innings, seeing some pitches, seeing some really dominant pitching…it was good to be challenged like that early. I’m all smiles.” ESPN.com.

Llovera sure was impressive. Watch Wright’s three at bats against Llovera, HERE.

As we pointed out in our previous blog, Llovera has come on strong with his 95-97 mph fastball and freezing slider in his last three starts by striking out 24 in his last 18.2 innings, including David Wright twice.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Game Loaded With Different Story Lines as the Threshers Downed the St. Lucie Mets 4-1 to Remain in First Place in the FSL North

Sunday afternoon games have been exciting this season at Spectrum Field in Clearwater.  Today’s game was no exception.  We had all kind of story lines in the game. The best of course was a 4–1 Threshers win over the St. Lucie.  They remain in first place in the FSL North by a game and a half over Dunedin with 20 games to go.

Most Sunday games at Spectrum Field barely draw over a thousand fans but today’s game was buzzing with Mets fans all over the place.  The crowd was announced at over 2,100 because the New York Mets David Wright made his 2018 debut at third base rehabbing  for St. Lucie.  Last season, Tim Tebow brought in 24,000 in total to Clearwater for a mid-week, four-game series with the Mets.

Mauricio Llovera

Wright had more than he could handle as  Mauricio Llovera struck him out twice. In his third at bat, he did drive a hard hit ball to left but it was was caught by Luke Williams.  Watch Wright’s first strikeout, HERE.

Llovera showed he has major league stuff in striking out Wright particularly in his first at bat.  His fastball was sitting at 95-96 mph topping at 97 mph with a change-up and slider mixed in.  In his last three starts, he has gone 2-0, allowing only nine hits and five runs in 18.2 innings while walking only 2 and striking out 24.

Rehabbing for the Phillies was recently acquired DH, Wilson Ramos, who might be the Phillies every day catcher sooner than originally thought.  Ramos hit three straight doubles, one to  to each field, in his first three at bats.  Watch HERE.

Henri Lartigue

Threshers catcher Henri Lartigue is known as Mr. Sunday around Spectrum Field. According to Lindsey Settlemire of the Threshers staff, he is now hitting .455 in nine Sunday games this season after going 2 for 3 today. Read HERE.  Henri did not disappoint, as he singled to drive in Ramos from second for the first Threshers run to tie the score at 1-1 in the fifth inning. Watch HERE.

After getting a go ahead run in the sixth, the Threshers pushed two more runs across in the seventh on base hits by recently promoted Daniel Brito and Kyle Martin.  The left-handed hitting Brito pulled his base hit to right. It was the first time I saw him pull a ball since his call-up. Watch HERE.

The Threshers have shown, for the most part, a shutdown bullpen.   Today was no exception as Jonathan Hennigan and Jakob Hernandez pitched a shutout seventh and eight inning respectively.  Addison Russ made it 10 saves in 10 opportunities in the ninth for the 4-1 win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grenny Cumana’s Two Great Defensive Plays From Left Field Saves 4-3 Threshers Win

For a guy who did not play the outfield until this season, left fielder Grenny Cumana came up big defensively when it counted.  He saved two potential runs from scoring on two separate plays which turned out to be enough to provide the winning margin in the Threshers 4-3 win over St. Lucie Mets last night at Spectrum Field.

With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Cumana made the best clutch catch to end a game we have ever seen in the time we have been coming to Clearwater games. He made a running catch by laying out on the warning track in left center to haul in a line drive by the Mets Luis Caprio which would have likely tied the game with a baserunner taking off from first on the play.  Watch Cumana’s great game ending catch, HERE.

Grenny Cumana makes a stunning diving catch to end the game

Cumana saved his first run from scoring in the fourth inning by making a perfect throw from left field to cut down a Mets runner at second base trying to stretch a lead-off base hit into a double.  His one hop throw right on the bag was just in time to get the out. The next batter walked and the Mets Ali Sanchez then followed by hitting a two-run homer to left field off of Threshers starting pitcher David Parkinson to tie the game a 2-2.

Luke Williams

The Threshers had jumped out to an early two-run lead on a couple of RBI base hits by Luke Williams in the first and third innings. Watch HERE and HERE.  The Mets scored a run in the top of the sixth inning off of Alberto Tirado without the benefit of a hit to give them a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth, Williams picked up his third hit of the game. Watch HERE. Then, the Threshers Kyle Martin answered by hitting two-run homer to give the Threshers the final 4-3 score. Watch HERE.

jakob Hernandez

Shutdown relief pitching, by Jakob Hernandez in the 7th and 8th innings and in the ninth by Addison Russ for his ninth save in nine opportunities, helped preserve the win.

Addison Russ

It took a two great defensive plays by Cumana, two RBI singles by Williams, a two-run homer by Martin and the solid pitching to get the important win.  The win allowed the Threshers to take a one and half game lead over the Dunedin Blue Jays for first place in the second half of the FSL Northern Division.

David Parkinson

 

 

 

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Moniak and Cabral Finishing Strong For the Clearwater Threshers

With 23 games remaining in the season, Threshers Mickey Moniak and Edgar Cabral are finishing strong.  Last night in the 4-1 defeat to the St. Lucie Mets, they both had two hits each, including a homer by Cabral and a double by Moniak.  Watch Cabral’s homer HERE and Moniak’s double HERE.

Mickey Moniak

In particular, Moniak has come of age. We keep forgetting that he is playing at baseball age 20 at High A which is two years younger than the average for High A ball.

In over 100 fewer at bats with Clearwater than he had last season at Lakewood, Mickey already has more doubles, 24, a batting average 23 points higher and his slugging is 40 points higher.  The Threshers still have 23 more games to go.

Defensively, Moniak’s range factor is up significantly from last season in centerfield according to Baseball Reference. Plus, he has played errorless ball all season.

After a slow start in the Florida State League, he is hitting .342 in his last ten games after hitting only .213 to start the season in April.

Edgar Cabral

Last night Cabral’s homer was his fifth home run of the season, one more than all of last season.. His 35 RBIs are already 9 more than he drove-in all of last season.

After a great start where Edgar hit .375 in April, his average fell to .214 in May and .211 in June.  He has rebounded to .286 in July and is hitting for the same average so far in August. In his last three game he is 6 for 11.

Cabral’s caught stealing has seen a big drop-off this season. The threw out 46% last year with Lakewood but only 28% this season.  This compared to 54% (11 0f 13) last season in 21 games with Clearwater after he was called up from Lakewood where he threw out 46%.

Two Threshers players who are finishing strong are Mickey Moniak and Edgar Cabral.  They are two guys to watch as the Threshers try to hang on to their one-half game lead in the FSL’s Northern Division.

 

 

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Remember The Name Jacob Waguespack, In The Last Week He Has Struck Out 18 in Two Starts In The Blue Jays System

How about those Phillies teams.  Can you believe it!  The Phillies, the IronPigs, the Threshers, the Blue Claws and the GCL Phillies East teams are all in first place in their divisions as we start the day. The Phillies and the Threshers are on top by only  a half game. Even the IronPigs are selling five-game playoff packets.  Enjoy it while it lasts!

At the minor league level it is still about player development.  In reality little emphasis is placed on the playoffs but it is nice to talk about them.  Player movement continues at a rapid pace with the minor league season having only about 25 games left in the regular season.

Jacob Waguespack

 

One player who the Phillies traded away at the deadline may come back to haunt them. Last night Jacob Waguespack won his first game for Buffalo, the Toronto AAA team.  In two starts there, the tall right-hander has struck out 18 in 11.2 innings.  He never got much of a chance in the Phillies organization after bouncing around the system for a couple of years. Right now he looks like a September call-up for the Blue Jays.  The guy they got in return, Aaron Loup, so far can’t get anybody out as a LOOGY out of the Phillies bullpen.

Good new came last night from Reading’s closer Edgar Garcia.  He struck out the side in the ninth to finish off Akron in a 6-1 win.  Edgar has struggled most of the summer after a great spring out the Fightin Phils bullpen.  He found his fastball command last night by painting the outside corners of the plate in getting two, called strike threes.

Reading is all but out of playoff contention but they just received starter McKenzie Mills from Clearwater. In his last start Mills picked up his second win in 16 starts on the season for the Threshers with a seven inning, four-hit shutout.

Let’s finish up with a story on a former Phillies farmhand who they release several years ago.  Now in the Twins minor league system after a brief appearance for them in the MLB, Willians Astudillo pulled off the old “hidden ball trick”. In a game for the Rochester Red Wings against Toledo, the Tigers AAA team, he did it playing third base and in front of the Mud Hens manager coaching third base.  Watch HERE. 

Do me a favor! Remember the name Jacob Waguespack.  He caught our attention and apparently the scouts of the Blue Jays when he pitched brilliantly for the IronPigs in the 2017 International league Playoffs. Read HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It Was All About the Starting Pitchers In the Phillies System Last Night

Last night, it was about the starting pitching in the Phillies system.  Four winning starting pitchers in its system went 4-0 and allowed only 13 hits and 1 run in 25.1 innings.

The Phillies Nick Pivetta pitched a six-inning shutout against the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 5-2 win.  The Phillies regained its 1.5 game lead over second place Atlanta in the fight for the N.L. East.

Ranfi Casimiro (Photo courtesy of MiLB.com)

For AA Reading in Akron, Ohio, we watched on MiLB-TV our good friend Ranfi Casimiro pitch his best game of his eight-year career in the Phillies minor league system.  He had a perfect game for six innings, retiring in order the first 18 batters he faced.  He pitched 7.1 innings and allowed only a run and a hit in a 2-1 win. He threw 102 pitches with his fastball topping at 93 mph to go 5-2 with Reading. You can read more about the game and see video HERE.

Bailey Falter

At High A, Clearwater’s Bailey Falter came off the disabled list to go 6-4 by throwing a six-inning, no run, three hitter against the Yankees farm team in Tampa. The Threshers 4-3 win brought them to within a half game of the lead in the Florida State League’s Northern Division.

Not to be out done at Low A, first place Lakewood’s Spencer Howard went six shutout innings to get a 2-1 win in the Sally League against yet another Yankee farm team in Charleston S.C. Howard should be pitching at a higher level. In his last five starts he has pitched 27.1 inning, allowing only 4 runs and striking out 36 to go 3-0 for the BlueClaws.

Never forget starting pitching. It is the key to winning baseball!

 

 

 

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