The month of May has not been particularly kind to the Clearwater Threshers after going 16-8 in the Florida State League in April. They have gone 4-6 in the first ten games of the month, stymied by unexpected poor starting pitching, untimely errors, and a limited offense. Their offensive struggles were hindered by two caught stealing attempts and a pickoff of a runner at first base in their last game.
We went to the Threshers last two games Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. We watched starter Franklyn Kilome have his worst outing of his career on Tuesday. He lasted 42 pitches before exiting with two outs and four runs scored in the first inning in the 6-2 loss to the Charlotte Stone Crabs. In a Wednesday 10:30 a.m. start, the Threshers starter Cole Irwin did last five innings but allowed nine hits. Only one of the four runs he gave up was earned in the 6-3 defeat.
The Threshers still cling to a one game lead in the Northern Division despite their all round poor play. So far in May they have been outscored 40-46 in the first ten games.
But I did see light at the end of the tunnel. Digging deep, I found hope for little used Grenny Cumana, slumping Cornelius Randolph and Jose Pujols and middle reliever Edgar Garcia in Wednesday’s game.
Cumana was the only Threshers batter in the entire lineup able to square up the Stone Crabs knuckle baller, Taylor Hawkins, in his three innings of middle relief. Grenny laced a RBI single off a knuckleball down the right field line in the fourth inning. Watch HERE. Granny has seen his playing time dwindle lately and it was good to see him go 2 for 3 including a loud out on a deep drive caught on the track in center field in the game.
Cornelius Randolph has had a struggle after he hit three homers early in April to start the season. He is trying to shake off a rough start in May where he has hit just .152 for the month but did manage to homer several games back. He opened the game with a line drive, RBI, double in the first inning. Watch HERE.
No one has had more of a struggle to even make contact than Jose Pujols. After going with out a home run in April, the 2016 low A home run leader while playing for Lakewood has homered twice in May. Though his average is still under the Mendoza line, he looks slightly better at the plate. Watch his hard base hit in Wednesday’s game HERE.
No pitcher in the FSL has made a May turn around more dramatic than middle reliever Edgar Garcia. So far this month he has pitched in three games. In six innings of work in those games relying on a devastating breaking ball and a 92 mph heater, he has allowed no runs, one hit and struck out ten, In April, Edgar made six appearances over 8.2 innings allowing 12 hits and seven runs, five earned. Watch two Garcia strikeouts from Wednesday’s game HERE.
Though the Threshers are two games under .500 in May, they are still one game up in the division in the battle for first and have several players who are starting to heat it up in the early part of the month.