It was one of those games we were glad we came. Threshers right hander Colin Kleven pitched a game to remember. His final pitch of his outing was only No. 83 in the bottom of the seventh with the tying run on second base with the Threshers holding a 2-1 lead. He unleashed a 93 mph fastball down at the knees that caught the corner of the plate for a called strike three against Tampa Yankees Wes Wilson.
A perfect pitch in what should have been the penultimate moment in the game. Though the Yankees would walk off the game in the bottom of the ninth on a two-run homer off of Threshers closer Edubray Ramos who hung a slider to Ericson Leonora.
Normally a power pitcher with a lot of strikeouts, Kleven pitched a textbook “pitch to contact” ground ball game. He gave up only one run on five hit but none after the fourth inning. He had 10 ground outs to only four fly outs as he kept the Yankees hitters rolling over on his pitches in play resulting in soft contact into the ground. It was one of the best pitched games by a starting pitcher we have seen all season. Watch Kleven keep his pitches at the knees and get soft contact ground balls. See Here and Here.
Kleven showed he has major league stuff but he really has no place to go in the Phillies system. The Front Office has no room for him in the Reading AA rotation and they would never move him to AAA without first going to Reading.
As we have blogged previously the Phillies Front Office is convinced that the starting pitchers they currently have at Reading are the future of it’s major league pitching staff. But the 6′ 5″, 24- year old Kleven may have another way to move up in his career as a six- year free agent after this season. And that is be selected to Team Canada’s team in the upcoming Pan-Am baseball games in Toronto in July and pitch well. The team is expected to be announced next week.
In my opinion Colin Kleven is the best starting pitcher the Canadians could have. Team Canada’s manager and Phillies minor league catching coach Ernie Whitt was on hand at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa last night and was impressed by how Kleven threw.
Not too many pitchers at any level could have done what Kleven did last night. That is holding a 2-1 one lead with the potential tying run on second base who reached on a hit by pitch he then came back to paint a 93 mph heater on the lower outside corner of the plate for a called strike three for the third out to strand the runner. That pitch was in the bottom of the seventh on his 83rd and final pitch of the night. That pitch represented the stuff of what Colin Kleven in the High A Florida State League and successful major league starters are made of.