“Hard to believe, Harry” was a patented phrase that Richie Ashburn used to describe the unexplainable nature of Phillies baseball back in the day while sitting in the booth with Harry Kalas.
The last two days of Phillies baseball have been “hard to believe” moments. While the major league team has been outscored by the Washington Nationals 17-2 in two games at Citizens Bank Park, its Florida State League team, the Clearwater Threshers, have outscored its opposition, the Miami Marlins’ Jupiter Hammerheads, 15-0.
Wisely, Baseball Betsy and I have had our ears glued to the internet play-by-play following every pitch of the two starting pitchers for the Threshers in those games, Ranfi Casimiro and Elniery Garcia. They were outstanding, pitching a combined 11.2 innings of shutout ball backed by a shut down bullpen and timely hitting.
The offense scored 11 runs in the first game on Friday night and 4 runs on Saturday evening paced by a grand slam in Friday’s game by third baseman Mitch Walding. Mitch now leads the league in homers with five. He jumped over teammate Kyle Martin who now is tied for second in homers with four and RBI’s with 11 in the FSL after getting in the first Threshers’ run yesterday the hard way on a HBP with the bases loaded.
Casimiro and Garcia have been something special after their first two starts in the FSL. They are both 2-0. Casimiro leads the Florida State League in strikeouts and Garcia in ERA. Elniery is the only starter in the league with a 2-0 record and has not have given up a run in either of his starts.
The turning point in the game yesterday evening came in the bottom of the third inning after the Threshers took a 1-0 lead in the top half of the inning. Garcia walked the lead-off hitter and them promptly picked him off of first. The next batter tripled but Garcia worked out of the jam and maintained the 1-0 lead for the important “shutdown” inning.
The fact that the Threshers would go on an add three more tack-on runs took away a save opportunity for quickly developing closer Miguel Nunez. He came on in the ninth to get two strikeouts. Nunez is 2 for 2 in save opportunities and has struck out 10 in 6 innings after the first ten days of the FSL.
No, it’s not “hard to believe”, but we like watching and listening to Clearwater Threshers baseball rather than that major league team playing up north.