It was a “big game”. The last game of the first half of the Florida State League. Two teams, the Daytona Tortugas and Clearwater Threshers, tied for first place playing each other. The winner qualifies for the post season playoffs. The loser has to go back and needs to win the second half or gets some breaks to make the playoffs.
For the Threshers, it was Colin Kleven on the mound and was he ever ready for the “big game”. In the first three innings the tall Canadian right hander struck out seven. His fastball was sitting at 95-96 mph and topped out at 97 mph. He was at his best.
Kleven tired in the sixth inning after giving up his only run on a homer to left. He was taken out by manager Greg Legg with the Threshers holding a 3-1 lead in the seven inning scheduled second game of a doubleheader. Though giving up another solo home run, Ulises Joaquin came on and pitched 1.1 innings to pick up his seventh save of the season and secured the win for first place in the first half of the northern division of the Florida State League for the Threshers.
Kleven won his fifth game in eight decisions and lower his ERA to 2.89 to end the first half strong. The first week of July he will head to North Carolina to join Team Canada for a three-game exhibition series to prepare for the Pan-Am games to be played in the Toronto, Ontario area starting July 11th.
Seven countries will compete in a round-robin baseball tournament of the Games where Kleven will represent his county as one of the best starting pitchers who will appear. Only players not on major league teams’ 40-man rosters are eligible.
The 24-year old from Kamloops, British Columbia is opening eyes of other major league teams. He pitched in the FSL All-Star game on Saturday night. Kleven will be a free agent after this season and any pitcher who can throw in the mid to high 90’s in a game with qualifying for the post season on the line will be a valued pitcher by any of the other 29 major league teams even if the Phillies are yet to give him a chance at AA or AAA.
Below are the video of the third strikes of seven strikeouts of Colin Kleven in Wednesday’s Florida State League playoff clinching game against the Daytona at Bright House Field.
By picking up the win, giving up only one run in 5.2 innings and striking out eight on Wednesday, Colin Kleven showed he is a “big game” pitcher. One has to believe, as much as in demand quality starting pitching is, some major league team will notice this and give Kleven a chance on the mound at the highest level of baseball someday, somewhere soon.