Finally the month of August 2012 came to an end. As the saying goes some things happen only “Once in a Blue Moon” as in only very rare circumstances. Like Phillies farmhand Darin Ruf hitting 20 home runs in August to tie a professional baseball record for home runs hit in a month. Then Friday night in Dunedin Florida under a “Blue Moon” Clearwater Threshers reliever Kenny Giles ended a must win game with the Dunedin Blue Jays with a 101 mph fast ball to strike out the final batter and pick up the save in an 8-5 Threshers win. The hard throwing Giles struck out the side in the Thresher’s relentless pursuit of a Florida State League post season spot with only two games left in the season.
Darin Ruf went only one for three Friday night in Portland Maine but he did drive in a run by getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the R-Phillies 13-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox Eastern League farm team. Still three games remain for the Reading Phillies and Ruf is still one percentage point from tying for the batting lead and winning the Triple Crown. He is far ahead with 38 home runs, the most in minor league baseball and has a seven RBI lead in the other two Triple Crown categories.
Clearwater Thresher closer Kenny Giles is in his second year in the Phillies organization after being taken in the 7th round of the 2011 draft. After coming up from Lakewood for the last month of the season, the 21 year old reliever has struck out 22 in 13.2 inning of work for the Threshers. Friday night he seems possessed under the Blue Moon. The Dunedin scoreboard lists the pitchers speed after each each pitch. His first pitch in the bottom of the ninth registered 00. It turned out the Scoreboard only has two digits for the pitcher’s speed. Soon 99 mph, 00 mph and 01 mph were flashed on the board after each pitch. His only off speed pitch was 87 mph. He did give up an o-2 hit to the first batter he faced but then struck out the next three batters swinging with over powering heat. His final pitch to end the game came on an 101 mph fast ball for a swinging strike three.
In the last week of the season the best players are rising to the occasion as Reading and Clearwater streak to the playoffs. Tyson Gillies (.337), Cody Asche (.369) along with of course Darin Ruf (.371) are streaking in Reading with high batting averages. In Clearwater big Jim Murphy and catcher Cameron Rupp are streaking there. In Friday’s game Jim Murphy hit three more doubles to go along with a double he hit in Thursday night’s win to raise his league leading total to 42 for the season. Rupp went 4 for 4 Friday night with 4 RBIs to go along with Kenny Giles amazing ninth inning performance on the mound.
As the 2012 minor league baseball regular season comes to an end, the last week of the season has provided some amazing feats by Phillies prospects. If Reading and Clearwater can clinch playoff spots we will see some more amazing baseball for a week or two after Labor Day. But is it going to be difficult to equal what Darin Ruf did in August at the plate and as the late baseball announcer Jack Buck once said when Kirk Gibson his home run back in the day “I don’t believe what I just saw” when Baseball Betsy and I watched August baseball come to an end under a “blue moon” in Dunedin Florida. Can’t ever remember watching a Phillies reliever at any level ending a game like Kenny Giles did for Clearwater with a swinging strike three on a 101 mph fast ball as listed on the scoreboard. Who needs Aroldis Chapman when you have Kenny Giles waiting in the wings.