Oh sure, the Phillies need to hit more, field better but to me it’s still all about starting pitching. Hard to believe that the talk is about wanting to move Hamels because No. 1 top of the rotation starters are hard to find and almost impossible to replace.
Last night and early this morning I watched how games are to be one. The Phillies defeated the Giants by getting a quality start from their ace Hamels. Set up man Ken Giles pitched two shutout innings until the Phillies, with bats paced by Cody Asche and pitching from closer Jonathan Papelbon, could win the game in ten innings, 5-3.
Before that game, I watched one of the best paced, well pitched games of the year when recently converted starter Jordan Guth pitched seven innings of four hit, one run, five strikeout baseball to pick up the 5-2 win over the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Guth, still pitching out of the reliever’s set position, was in full command even though he occasionally lost his control but never his composure.
The seven innings might have been Guth’s longest as a starter in his three year career in the Phillies system where he has pitched mostly in relief. Since leaving the bullpen in his six starts he has a 2-0 record and a 1.93 ERA in 32.1 innings. He has had spells of wildness but quickly regains his composure as his earned run average shows. He has walked 18 and struck out 25 as a starter.
The Threshers have four starters who show major league potential. They man not have received the publicity of the “baby aces” of bygone years but they may turn out to be more successful at the major league level. Remember the names Colin Kleven, Miguel Nunez, Mark Leiter and Guth.
On Thursday night in Dunedin we watched Mark Leiter strike out 10 in 6.2 innings giving up only a three runs including a two run home run in the 3-1 Threshers loss. In two of his last start four starts he struck out 18 with no walks including a rare nine inning complete five hit shutout.
Kleven in his last ten starts has gone 4-2 with a 3.72 ERA and is getting stronger with every outing.
Nunez prior to his last start had pitched four games over 24 innings and gave up only one earned run to go 3-0 in those starts.
In a long tough season where the Threshers won last night for only the 40th time in 122 games we must credit pitching coach Bob Milacki for salvaging the season with the development of the starting pitching in the second half..
Next season the Reading Fightins should have some quality starting pitching to look forward to. As we know if these starters for the Threshers can get in some quality starts next year at AA, Citizens Bank Park is only an hour and half away down the road.