Baseball can be a difficult sport to follow. Many times moves by the team’s manager and its front office do not make sense. But we just carry on wondering if they know what they are doing. I refer to them as the “experts” because I am usually flummoxed by their many moves.
It’s alway good to see the individual players overcome the “experts” and go on to have a good season. Yesterday was one of those days.
Reading utility outfielder Cord Sandberg, who is almost a forgotten player in the Phillies system, hit a two run homer in the second inning of extra innings. With the new “runner at second base” rule to start each extra inning, Sandberg home run resulted in a 9-7 lead over Portland. Then the weather forced the bottom half of the game to be postponed and played today today before the regularly scheduled game.
Sandberg has not been playing much, He plays two games in row and then get a game, two or three off. In yesterday’s game he took over for the light hitting Zach Coppola in centerfield in the second game of the doubleheader. It would be nice to see Sandberg in the lineup everyday since he is only 23 years old and still has a future. Another light hitter, former first round draft pick, Cornelius Williams must play in left and he has spend this season trying to hit over .200. Converted third baseman Jan Hernandez must play right field. He has a strong arm and is starting to hit the long ball. So Sandberg is the odd man out.
Another favorite of mine is Edgar Garcia who is turning heads as the new closer for Reading. Yesterday he pitched 1.1 innings of shutout relief. Going into the game he was 3 for 3 in save situations in his new role as a closer. He got the job done by striking out the one batter he faced in regulation to get the third out by throwing three straight sliders. Then in the first inning of overtime, he induced a double play to get out of a bases load jam to set the stage for Sandberg’ blast.
The Clearwater Threshers are a very unpredictable team. They win some games but lose a lot more! Yesterday, they lost the first game of a twin bill 2-1 to the Palm Beach Cardinals. It looked like they were going to lose two, trailing 10-3 going into their last three innings of the second game but they did come back. The Cards were forced to load the bases and pitch to Darick Hall. Hall was a lock to win the game and he did with a walk off sacrifice fly, 11-10. If I had to pick one player for a walk off win, it would be Darick Hall.
Finally, my favorite ex-Threshers player is Wilson Garcia. He was dumped by the “experts” in the Phillies minor league department and picked up by the Frederick Keys. All Willie did last night for the Keys was drive in five runs. In his last 10 games in the Carolina League he is hitting .421 going 16 for 38. The usually free swinging, Garcia has also walked 4 times in his last 10 games which has helped him to a .999 OPS with Frederick. Good to see him getting some solid coaching in the Baltimore organization. He had no walks in 28 at bats to start the season with the Threshers.
That’s my take on an interesting day in minor league baseball.