What can you say but it was exciting baseball. It still took almost three hours to play even with a big clock in centerfield but anytime a Division two college team beats a bunch of pros makes for an exciting game. The Phillies were made up of mostly AA and AAA guys, showed little offense and several of their pitchers were unimpressive. See Here
One Phillies pitcher trying to make this team did impress, Elvis Araujo. He is a 23-year old free agent signing from the offseason. He might turn out to be someone special as a lefty out of the pen.
Araujo struck out three and gave up a hit in facing four batters in the fifth. He threw 93-95 mph but used his slider which was at 83- 86 mph to strike out three batters in the inning. See Here, Here, Here. This was the first game in the ten-year history of Bright House that the scoreboard had pitch speed posted on the scoreboard. It was fun to watch.
Araujo had excellent control of his fastball to get ahead in the count and then put the University of Tampa Spartans hitters away on his off-speed pitch. He pitched much like Ken Giles did last season. He would get ahead in the count with his fastball and then use his slider to get the strikeout.
I was not impressed with starter Paul Clemens. Yes, his fastball was 94-96 but his curve ball was loopy and appeared to hang. Rule Five pick, lefty Andy Oliver, then came on to pitch. His fastball was only 92 mph. Of the battle of the lefties out of the pen, Araujo had the the better stuff and higher velocity. After Araujo left after one inning in the fifth, Phillippe Aumont came on for an inning with a fastball sitting at 93 mph and gave up a run on three hits. He did not have much especially with his breaking ball.
In the big seventh inning for the Spartans, Nefi Ogando came on for the Phillies and looked good getting two strikeout but had control problems. His pitches were up in the zone. With the bases loaded he walked Phillies General Manager’s nephew, Andrew Amaro to tie the score at 2-2. Ogando’s fastball was sitting at 95 mph but he did not have an effective secondary pitch and clearly needs more work work on his slider, probably as Reading’s closer this season.
Then, Hector Neris was called in from the pen by pitching coach Bob McClure. His fastball was at only 90-91 mph and he got an off speed pitch up and in to the Spartans’ Giovanny Alfonzo and he hit the pitch into the Tiki Bar in left for a grand slam which finally resulted in the 6-2 University of Tampa win. See Here.
At the bat the Phillies did not show much but centerfielder Odubel Herrera did get his first base hit in a Phillies uniform. He lined a single to left center. See Here. It probably will just the first of many he will hit with the Phillies in his major league career.
So what did we learn from the game? We learned that Elvis Araujo is one to watch as a potential left-handed reliever out of the Phillies pen this season and it was really neat to watch a game with the pitch speed posted on the scoreboard for the first time ever at Brighthouse Field. Also, Araujo showed much better stuff than did Rule Five pick Andy Oliver. Each of them fighting are fighting for a LHP out of the pen spot. The other Rule Five pick, Odubel Herrera, looks like even more of a lock to make the team than he did when the game started. It remains unlikely the Phillies would carry two Rule Five picks on the 25-man roster all season so Oliver will have to dramatically up his game.