The R-Phillies gave it all they had in the elimination game today in Trenton. With runners on first and second in the ninth and trailing 5-4 Darin Ruf grounded into a season ending double play to give the Thunder a 5-4 win and a three games to one game victory in the five game ELDS. Adam Morgan was charged with the loss. He gave up five runs and five hits including two home runs in six innings of work. Morgan was up in the zone too much of the game and the Thunder made him pay for it in defeat.
More importantly we learned that three R-Phillies are legitimate major league prospects maybe by next year. Ethan Martin, Kyle Simon and Cody Asche were outstanding in the four game series. Martin’s career high 11 strike out performance, though in defeat Friday night, showed he will be watched closely in spring training for a starting spot at AAA. Right now he ranks as the number one Phillies starter not on the 40 man roster. Simon is a ground ball side arm reliever who pitched in two games of 4.2 innings of shutout playoff baseball. In addition to his four strike-outs, eight of his nine in play outs were ground outs. Though Asche made a key error in Friday nights game he ended the playoff series going 6 for 14 hitting hitting .429 with two doubles, two walks and two RBIs. Asche leads all players in the playoffs in batting average and hit .349 with the Threshers and .300 with Reading during the regular season this year.
It might turn out that the Phillies will be the big winners in the Victorino and Thome trades if Martin and Simon become contributors next season at Citzen Bank Park. We do know that all three of them will likely get a good look in spring training and likely start the season at AAA. This Fall, Simon and Asche will be part of the six play contingent playing for Peoria in the Arizona Fall League. Reading’s catcher Tommy Joseph acquired in the Hunter Pence deal with the Giants will join them when the AFL season starts in the first week of October. Other Phillie players on the Peoria roster include pitchers Tyler Knigge and Colby Shreve and outfielder Zach Collier. The team will be managed by Reading’s manager Dusty Wathan.
Another Reading player Darin Ruf was just added to the Phillies major league roster for the rest of the season. Ruf did little in the playoffs going 3 for 14 with a homer. Ruf has hit 39 home runs this season including the one today. He tied a professional baseball record by hitting 20 homers in August. His problem is most of his home runs, as was the one today, have come with no runners on base. Twenty-six of his 39 home runs this season came with the bases empty. In any event let’s hope he makes an impact in his major debut. The Phillies need a right-handed hitting power bat. Where he plays will be interesting to watch. He played today in left field though he is a natural first baseman. Reports have it that after the major league season ends he is scheduled to report to winter ball to continue his work in left field.