Baseball Betsy and I went to a few Phillies major league spring training games especially early to see the young players. Especially we wanted to watch young pitchers Mario Holland and David Buchanan whom we have been following in previous seasons in the minor leagues and they did not disappoint us in those spring games. One is now on the Phillies roster and the other one soon might be. We did not think at the time we would be watching two players who are or will be major league players in action.
So you never know who or what you might see at a baseball game. That’s why they play the games. You can alway see someone or something you may not have or rarely seen before. That’s the way we felt last night at the Blue Jays vs. Threshers game in Dunedin. We got to say “hello” to Charlie Manuel in person who has been following the Threshers since opening night. We watched one of his former Phillies pitchers J.A.Happ start for the Blue Jays on a rehab assignment. Then we settled into watching some good and unique baseball action.
The good part was watching Threshers center fielder Pete Lavin put on a show in centerfield and with the bat. The little left-handed outfielder had a triple and two hard hits singles and made ran down several long fly balls in center. But he saved his best action for his two throws from center cutting down a running at the plate and later nailing another runner at third.
One unique part was to see center fielders with strong accurate arms throw running out at the plate. Earlier on Saturday afternoon I was able to watch on MLB-TV Toronto Blue Jays center fielder lefty Colby Rasmus throw a strike from straight away center to get a Yankee runner at the plate and then a few hours later walk up to Dunedin stadium to watch Threshers center fielder Pete Lavin throw BBs to get two assists from center as well. It was good baseball.
We watched the Threshers pitching staff give up eight runs on 17 hits in the FSL game. The troublesome but unique part was that the three Threshers pitchers did not strike out any Blue Jay batters in the entire game. They just did not have swing and miss stuff last night. The fastballs of starter Jon Ponsinski, Lee Ridenhour and Kevin Walter sat in the 88-90 mph range on the scoreboard speed readings but they just could not get many pitches by the Blue Jays hitters all night. I like to see minor league pitchers average nearly a strike out an inning unless they are extreme ground ball pitchers and pitch to contact. It will be interesting to see how these three develop as the season goes on.
It’s going to be a long year for the Threshers if last night’s game was any indication. Of course rehabbing major league league players such as Cole Hamels who starts today for them might help from time to time. Otherwise, it will be important to watch the development of individual players like Pete Lavin who is back for his second year with the Threshers. Still the current Threshers are made up of many players who played with the Lakewood BlueClaws last season where they finished 24 games under .500 and had the second worst record in the South Atlantic League.
Yesterday was just another day in baseball where we got to see a major league World Series winning manager, center fielders throwing runners out at the plate and one team playing an entire game without striking out. Who knows what we will see today? That’s why they play the games.