It does not take long to pinpoint why the Clearwater Threshers are on the verge of clinching first place in the second half of the Florida State League’s Northern Division. Two players standout, pitcher Mauricio Llovera and centerfielder Mickey Moniak. They have led the Threshers to 18 games over .500 with a 40-22 record in the second half. The best record in the second half in the FSL.
Llovera is 5-0 in his last seven starts. Yesterday, he pitched a seven inning complete game striking out eleven in the 3-2 walk-0ff win to even his record at 7-7. In July and August, Moniak has hit .280 in his last 50 games scoring 23 runs with 24 RBIs. Yesterday, he drove-in two runs with two doubles in the 3-2 win over the Charlotte Stone Crabs in the first game of a doubleheader.
With the exception of the two home runs in the first inning, Llovera shutdown the Stone Crabs striking out at least one batter in each of the seven innings including striking out the side-in-turn in the fourth inning. All of his strike “threes” in the inning were on 88 mph off speed pitches. Watch his final strikeout in the fourth where he uses all of his major league quality pitches, including an 80 mph breaking pitch, 88 mph off-speed pitch and a 97 mph fastball, HERE.
After Llovera allowed the second Stone Crab home run in the first inning, he fired two of his fastest pitches all day at 98 mph and 97 mph inside and outside to the next batter to end the inning on a pop-up. Watch HERE.
Mauricio gave up only two more hits and his one walk over the final six shutout innings. So much for third time through the lineup. He threw 94 pitches, 63 for strikes, but the way he was pitching it looked like he could throw all day long at any level!
Moniak was clutch in the closely played game against the two division leaders. Mickey’s first double drove in the first Threshers run in the third inning to get them back into the game. Watch HERE. His second double tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh. Watch HERE. He would set up a Kyle Martin base hit to walk off the Stone Crabs. Watch HERE.
The win in the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader was big because it would give the Threshers at the end of the day a four game lead over the Lakeland Flying Tigers for first place in the North. The next seven games are all on the road for the Threshers to end the season.