Baseball Betsy and I journeyed a few miles up the road to Dunedin for the Clearwater Thresher’s 2012 Florida State League lid lifter. However we spent most of the night at the game following Milb on our cellphones. Our attention was turned to Tyler Cloyd who was making his AAA debut and bidding for a perfect game for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. After watching starter Roy Halladay and closer Jonathan Papelbon combine to pitch a two hit shut out for the Phillies in Pittsburgh in the afternoon we thought pitching like that could not be topped. But it was.
Can you believe that the Phillies and its AAA team gave up a combined three hits in 18 innings to pick up two opening day wins by 1-0 and 3-0 scores? What a way to start the season. Pitching and defense are the magical ingredients that win games. Add that to a unique opening day doubleheader sweep by the Reading Phillies and the 2012 baseball season got off to a great start for the top teams in the Phillies system. Read about how great defense and clutch hitting were the keys to the R-Phils victory. HERE
Tyler Cloyd had a break out AA season at Reading last year. He was the starting pitcher for the “Bark at the Park” game last season at Reading. Before his start in that game he gave our two Shih Tzus, Maggie and Veronica, scratches behind their ears as he told us about his dog. Tonight he did not need help from our dogs to motivate him as he dominated the Yankee AAA farmhands retiring all 18 of them that he faced in order in six inning of work in the Pigs 3-0 win. Three Iron Pigs relievers, Phillippe Aumont, Jake Diekman and Michael Schwimer came on to finish the game. The only hit was off Aumont in the seventh inning. Read about it HERE
Could Tyler Cloyd be this years Vance Worley? In 2010 Worley was so far down on the Phillies pitching priority list that he was not even invited to pitch in a major league spring training game. By the end of that season Vance was pitching for the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Last year he finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting. Like Worley in 2010 in this year’s spring training camp Cloyd was not asked to pitch in a major league game. It seemed just about every other pitcher in the Phillies system pitched in a major league spring training game this March except tonight’s Mr. Perfect, Tyler Cloyd. Go figure?
Not much to report on tonight’s Clearwater game with the Dunedin Blue Jays other than they charge six dollars to get in and we could sit anywhere. Rehabbing Jose Contreras got his pitch count in but could get only one batter out as he started the first inning for the Threshers. His split finger fooled none of the young Blue Jays and his fast ball sitting in the low 90’s was hit hard. After giving up three runs in first inning he was pulled and lefty Frank Gailey had to come in to strike out two batters to finally end the inning. On came lefty Adam Morgan who showed promise but his fast ball was hit hard even though he was throwing it at 92-94 mph on the scoreboard radar readings. His off speed stuff was more effective which he used to strike out six batters in his stint on the mound.
For the Threshers position players Pete Lavin squared up a double over the center fielders head and made a nice catch playing in center too. Big Jim Murphy drove in a couple of runs with an rbi single. Cameron Rupp showed off a powerful arm by throwing out a runner who had a huge running jump from first. However the hole that Contreras dug for the Threshers was too great to overcome in the 6-3 loss.
Tomorrow is another night. We will be at the Threshers home opener but several of today’s games will be hard to top. It was the Phillies and IronPigs pitching and defense which made the difference in the win column. It’s probably been a long time that on opening day a major league team and its top affiliate combined to pitch 18 innings as well as was pitched today in Pittsburgh and tonight in Allentown.