No, it’s not 2009 all over again. But tomorrow at noon at the Carpenter Complex it will be the Phillies hosting the Yankees with first place on line in the Northwest division of the Gulf Coast League.
Today at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa, the GCL Phillies came from behind for a 14-7 win over the GCL Yankees No.1 team to climb to within a half game of them and first place in the division. Down 5-1 after five innings, the Phillies exploded for 13 runs in the final four innings.
This sets up tomorrow’s big game as manager Roly de Armas and his team are fighting to play in a knockout playoff game for the right to play in the best of three finals. The Phillies last won the GCL title in 2010 with Maikel Franco at third base in the championship game at Bright House. Baseball Betsy and I were there.
Outfielders Jose Pujols and Gustavo Martinez along with first baseman Luis Encarnacion each had three base hits today. It was backup catcher Gregori Rivero who came up with a big three-run bases loaded pinch-hit double to break the game open in a seven run, seventh inning.
The win was the GCL Phillies ninth win in a row as the team has taken off since most of the Phillies rehabbers from higher up in the organization have left and a set lineup pattern has emerged.
The starting pitching has been paced by the emergence of two, 19 year-old youngsters, Franklyn Kilome and lefty Denton Keys along with 18 year-old Lewis Alezones.
The relief pitchers have been strongly aided by college draftees lefty Austin Davis and right-handers Jared Fisher and Jacques De Gruy.
The back end of the bullpen has been bolstered by two, 23 year-old power arms. Kyle Bogese was signed from a free agent tryout camp after he hit 96 mph on the Phillies speed gun. He pitched for Trinity College. Big Nick Rodesky was signed off of the Trinidad Triggers roster in the independent Pecos League out in the New Mexico area.
The Phillies offense has been paced by right fielder Jose Pujols who is one of the league leaders in RBIs and home runs. Shortstop Grenny Cumana is back from an injury to generate offense along with infielder/DH Tim Zier. At times rotating first basemen/DH’s Luis Encarnacion and Trey Williams have hit the ball hard too.
Tomorrow is a big game for these guys. We hope to be there at high noon to watch them from one of the Carpenter Complex fields.
The GCL Phillies team is the one small, bright spot in the otherwise dismal Phillies farm system’s won-loss record this season. Whichever team wins will be in first place in the division and in a strong position to win a playoff spot with only 15 games left in the season.