Who said the Phillies do not have left handed starting pitchers in the minor league system? Maybe it has been since September of 2016 since a lefty started for them at the MLB level but last night’s minor league Phillies games showed that several of them are on the way to the show.
Cole Irwin won for Lehigh Valley throwing seven innings of shutout, two-hit ball. He struck out eight but it did take him 115 pitchers to go to a record of 3-1 at AAA. Topping that was Clearwaters’ Bailey Falter who pitched the game of his career striking out 11 in 6.2 innings. He needed only 84 pitches to go 4-0 at Advanced A.
For us Threshers fans, it was a Saturday evening to remember at Spectrum Field as the Clearwater Threshers downed the then league leading Daytona Tortugas 7-1.
While Falter led the way on the mound, first baseman Austin Listi delivered a RBI single in a six-run, second inning which allowed him to tie for the highest batting average at the end of the night in the Florida State League at .379.
Falter pitched the best game of his four-year minor league career. In fact, he was so dominating that he struck out 9 of the first 13 batters he faced including striking out the side in the second inning.
The 21-year-old lefty displayed pinpoint control, did not issue a walk and threw only 84 pitches, 62 for strikes. Several of his pitches that were called balls were just off the corner of the plate.
He faced only three batters over his minimum in allowing two batters to reach on hits. The other runner reached on an outfield error on a fly ball to left fielder Adam Haseley which resulted in an unearned run in the seventh inning.
Falter relied primarily on a 90-91 fastball mixed in with a mid-70’s curve ball to keep the Tortugas off balance in one of the best pitched games we have ever seen in our seven years of watching Threshers baseball.
Bailey is tied for the third lowest WHIP in Advanced A at 0.93 and has the fourth lowest ERA in the Florida State League at 1.83. He is the only pitcher in the FSL with his 4-0 record who has four more wins than losses.
Watch Falter’s 11 strikeouts HERE.
The Threshers put the game away early with the six runs on six singles and a Daytona error in the second inning. One of those singles was off the bat of Austin Listi. With that hit, he ended the evening hitting .379 which ties him for the FSL batting lead going into Monday’s games when the FSL resumes play. Watch Listi’s RBI single HERE.
Listi, who was used primarily as a DH in the early going, played at first in the game while regular first baseman Darick Hall was given the night off.
Thanks to the outstanding starting pitching of Falter on Saturday night and Sixto Sanchez on Friday night plus the timely hitting of Listi, the Threshers managed to down Daytona in two of the three games in the series. At 15-21 Clearwater Threshers no longer have the worst record in the FSL and look ready to make a run to get to .500 for the first half of the season.