Can’t remember the last time during the second month of the season the Phillies organization could put a team on the field at any level where the batters in the one through six holes in the lineup ended the game all hitting over .300. But today was the day.
This morning in Florida State League action Baseball Betsy and I listened to the game over the internet pitting the Palm Beach Cardinals against the Phillies farm team, the Clearwater Threshers. We followed the action described by the Threshers play by play announcer Ben Gellman and were not disappointed in what we heard.
Threshers Manager Chris Truby and hitting coach John Mizerock seem never to have the same lineup batting order from game to game. I have always attributed the many different lineups they produce to development purposes. The need to get everyone into the lineup at some point during the week’s games is important even it the bench players can’t play or are just organizational fillers.
It’s also possible it is the first time in professional baseball history a starting lineup had no one hitting .200 to .299 in the lineup at the end of the game. While the top six were all hitting over .300, the seven through nine hole hitters in the lineup were all hitting under .200 when the game ended.
What ever Truby and Mizerock did in making out the lineup card this morning, it worked in a 7-3 win over the Cardinals in Palm Beach to bring the Threshers to .500 after the first 30 games of the season. The top six in the lineup all had hits and went 10 for 24 at the plate for a .417 average and drove in a combined six runs. Now that is hitting when it counts.
Perhaps just as important to the win was another quality start by left-handed starter Nick Hernandez as he pitched six innings, giving up only two runs while striking out a season high nine. In five of Nick’s six starts this season he has given up three or less runs to go 3-1 on the year.
The power packed first six hitters in the Threshers lineup today finished the game with lead off hitter Carlos Alonzo, who scored three runs, hitting .317; the two hole hitter Aaron Altherr, who homered in the game, hitting .333; in the three hole with three hits was Kelly Dugan at .317; the clean up hitter Mike Franco, who had two rbi sacrifice flies, at .310; protecting the four hole hitter was Cameron Perkins with a .355 average including a triple today and former Yankee farmhand Jose Mojica in the sixth hole hitting .369 after toying with .400 most of the season.
On the other hand, the last three in the lineup ended the game hitting under .200 with Harold Martinez at .195; Logan Moore at .158 and Kyrell Hudson finishing the game, despite two hits, with a .162 batting average.
Not one of the Threshers in the lineup ended the game with a batting average for the season in the two hundreds. It is something you might not ever see again with the first six all hitting over .300 and the bottom three all hitting under .200. In minor league baseball you can be sure you will not see this same starting lineup in tomorrow’s game. Book it!
In any event this Threshers team plays an exciting brand of baseball. Unlike its parent major league team, they have shown a nice balance of hitting and pitching in most games so far this season.