Baseball Betsy and I were a little late to the game on Monday night because of other commitments. No, it was not finishing up watching the Phillies opening day slugfest in Texas. It was taking care of our puppy at the Vet. We have to get her ready for the Threshers “Bark in the Park” on Sunday afternoon. But we did make it to see most of the intersquad exhibition game with the Clearwater Threshers taking on the Lakewood BlueClaws at Brighthouse Field. We were there for the fourth through eighth innings. We arrived late with the BlueClaws up 1-0 and we left early with the Threshers winning 5-1 going into the top of the ninth.
We got there as rehabbing Phillie Mike Adams was leaving after pitching in an early inning. Wouldn’t it be nice to see him return to form as the Phillies eight inning set up guy? We expect Cole Hamels to work in tomorrow nights intersquad game. But you never know until you get there.
In Monday night’s game we got a feel for both teams that we have been watching the last several weeks of the minor league camp. For the high A Florida State League Threshers, if the team is to score runs and win any games they need production from three players: third baseman Harold Martinez, first baseman Art Charles and designated hitter Willie Carmona. And they got in this game. Martinez put the Threshers ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth with a two run homer which landed on the berm in right.
Later in the game after a nice sacrifice bunt by right fielder Nick Ferdinand, Carmona singled up the middle to drive in Anthony Phillips who had singled and Charles who walked to cement the 5-1 lead. Jeb Stefan, Lio Martinez and Lee Ridenhour kept the BlueClaws off the board while we were there.
The only Lakewood hit we saw in the five innings we were at the game was a single by Larry Green. Still you could see how Lakewood will generate runs in the South Atlantic League this season. In addition to Greene, Dylan Cozens and Zach Green will factor into most BlueClaws big innings.. Cozens did square up one ball off of the lefty Martinez but drove it foul hard off the seats down the right field line. The best swing of the night was put on a ball by third baseman Zach Green as he drove a long line drive which backed up Ferdinand to the wall in right for a long out. Shane Martin, Ranfi Casimiro and Jesen Therrien worked on the hill for Lakewood.
All in all it was a nice evening of baseball. It was especially good to see Charlie Manuel back in the stands behind home plate watching the young prospects. Now a special hitting advisor for the Phillies young prospects, I always was a big fan of the former Phillies manager. Though tonight we saw both the long ball and situational bunting figure in runs being scored, I still am a great fan of the three run homer or a “bloop and blast”. It is the long ball that puts fans in the stands and the strategy that helped Manuel win those five divisional titles, two National League pennants and a World Series. It was good to see him back at Brighthouse Field Monday night.
Charlie Manuel discusses hitting at Monday’s game with several of the Phillies minor league brass.
If the Threshers are to be in most games this year they will need the bat of Willie Carmona to drive in runs as he did Monday night.
Harold Martinez does the home run trot after his two run homer. He and Art Charles will need to provide the long balls for this season’s Threshers.