The baseball season is moving quickly. Memorial Day weekend is considered to be the one third mark in the season. . We spent a lot of time watching our favorite sport and our favorite organization this weekend. In a way we were lucky this weekend that in addition to the Phillies and the IronPigs we could watch the Reading Phillies playing in Harrisburg all on the net.
We saw some great efforts, David Buchanan’s nine inning, seven game complete shutout for Reading yesterday. Some good work, two home runs by Sebastian Valle Saturday and Sunday though some of his swinging strike outs show he still needs plate discipline. We just missed the last several innings of the very worst outing a pitcher could have though, Michael Schwimer giving up a two out,, walk off three run homer for a 9-8 IronPigs loss. We thought the game was over when the Pigs were holding on to an 8-3 lead going into the late innings. Well, as we say “get um tomorrow”. Here are some of the highlights from the holiday weekends as we saw them:
1) Veteran former major leaguer Dave Bush is pitching well for the IronPigs. After yesterday’s six inning outing in which he was in line for the win before the ninth inning implosion, he has now given up only one earned run in 22 innings over his last three starts. In between innings, the Gwinnett hitting coach said that Bush was throwing his two seamer to the lefties to get them out and they needed to get him to get his pitches up to hit him. Bush left in the seventh with an 8-2 lead giving up two runs, one earned.
2) I have been wondering in previous blogs what has happened to Reading’s catcher Sebastian Valle’s power. After having a big home run season in 201o at Lakewood when he hit 16 in the regular season and three in the playoffs, he hit only five with the Threshers all of last season. Over the weekend he hit two long homers to left to give him five on the season. He is now on track to hit 15 for the year. That’s more like it. Though a couple of his swinging strike threes still shows he tends to chase pitches well out of the strike zone with two strikes but who cares if he keeps hitting the long ball and driving in runs.
3) The most gruesome play was the collision chasing a fly ball between Reading’s center fielder Tyson Gillies and right fielder Jiwan James. Gillies jammed his hand and was taken to the hospital for X-Ray. He was diagnosed with a wrist contusion and missed the Saturday and Sunday’s games. James was not hurt and played the rest of the series taking Gillies spot in center. It was a tough time for Gillies to go down since he was in a hot streak going 13 for 25 with three triples to take the lead in the FSL in triples and a homer before he was injured.
4) The Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has said that pitching and defense win World Series. We saw some outstanding outfield catches in the Lehign Valley outfield from Domonic Brown in center at the time, Kyle Hudson last night in center and Derrick Mitchell in right Saturday night.
5) Trevor May has struggled mightily during this month. After going 5-0 in April, May has been a different story. He has gone 0-2 with a 6.57 ERA in this month. Saturday night he pitched effectively in a no decision but was up in the zone with his fastball giving up two homers. He now has given up four homers in his last two starts. On the telecast they said his fastball was between 90-93 mph but when it was up in the zone he was hit hard. His secondary pitches seem to be improving but he has not had a strike out pitch lately striking out only 8 in his last 13 innings after averaging more than a strike an inning earlier.
6) On Sunday David Buchanan was in control, pitching a nine inning, seven hit shut out, needing only 106 pitches to beat the Senators 8-0. Buchanan is so hot and cold. In his first four starts he gave up only four runs. In his next four starts he gave up 21 runs. Now in his last two starts he has given up only one earned run.
7) Another hot and cold player is Reading’s left fielder Leandro Castro. He also got off to a quick start then went into a long slump but now he is on fire again. He has gone 18 for 39 in his last 10 games. In Saturday and Sunday games he was just serving base hits into the outfield. He made hitting look effortlessly.
8) I guess we are just good luck to Cesar Hernandez. Last year with Clearwater we were there when Cesar lined a home run on to the berm in right at Bright House. He hit only four homers the entire season. On Sunday he dropped the barrel of the bat on the ball and hit his first homer of the season to right while we watched the webcast of the game.
9) Troy Hanzawa is a good defensive shortstop but not in the class of Freddy Galvis, then who is. We saw him make some nice defensive plays over the weekend. What really caught our eyes was his hitting. He seems to be going with the pitch and getting a lot of base hits to all fields. In the four game Harrisburg series he went 6 for 13 to raise his average to .321 for the season. This, after hitting only .213 between Clearwater and Reading last season is quite a breakout season at the bat for Troy.
10) Congratulations to journeyman catcher John Suomi. At the last moment the Phillies decided to have Erik Kratz fly to New York in case Carlos Ruiz needed to go on to the disabled list with his hamstring strain. Suiomi was written into the line up and went four for five, needing only a double for the cycle. The Gwinnett announcers said his home run was one of the few hit out to left by a left handed batter in the three year history of the new Stadium down in Georgia.
There you have it, a quick summary of what Baseball Betsy and I saw over the Memorial day weekend down on the Farm. Now let the middle third of the season begin. Lets hope more players have break out seasons like Troy Hanzawa has had in the first third of the season. And to paraphrase what they said in movie “Hunger Games”, may the odds be ever in their favor.