While walking into the Threshers-Blue Jays game at Bright House last night, Baseball Betsy ran into a Dunedin Blue Jays Front Office guy in the parking lot. He is charge of bringing the “bubbly” on the road intended to celebrate the Blue Jays clinching of the Northern Division championship in the Florida State League when it happens if ever.
You see the Blue Jays magic number to clinch is “one” over the Thresher with a four-game series left to play with the second place Threshers to end the season.
But the Threshers’ 21-year-old lefty, Elniery “big game” Garcia must have said “not in my house” last night in a 4-2 win. He struck out 11, a career high, in seven innings to pickup his 12th win in 16 decisions this season.
Unlike the major league Phillies who blew a 4-0 lead last night, Garcia left after seven innings with a 4-1 lead which held up for the 4-2 win thanks to great relief help by Yacksel Rios’ first save of the season.
Garcia almost is single handedly responsible for keeping the Threshers in the race. In his last two starts he has gone 2-0 in 14 innings giving up only two runs, five hits and four walks while racking up 18 strikeouts. Watch his strikeouts from last night HERE.
Friday night was playoff clinching time two other Phillies farm teams. Lehigh Valley clinched a spot in the International League playoffs and Lakewood won the second half of the Sally league’s Northern Division. Reading is already in the Eastern League post season but still need to beat Trenton over the weekend for first place in the Eastern Division.
What was the key to all the games last night? It was great starting pitching. Including Williamsport which is the only Phillies farm team eliminated from the post season at this point, the five starting pitchers in the Phillies system threw 31 innings, giving up 14 hits, two runs and 10 walks while striking out 43 including a six inning no-no by Lehigh Valley’s Ben Lively.
Still it was “big game” Garcia who was the key to the Clearwater Threshers living to fight one more day in the battle for the final playoff spot in the FSL. We will know tonight if they can again protect their “House” again from a clinch by the Dunedin Blue Jays. If they do it, they play is a doubleheader at the Blue Jays’ house tomorrow starting at three o’clock for all the marbles.