The top two farm teams in the Phillies system are off to strong starts. Last night they both won closely contested games to go 4-1 on the season. Lehigh Valley won at home 5-4 over Scranton Wilkes-Barre thanks to a grand slam by Dylan Cozens and shutdown relief pitching. Reading won 2-0 on a combined one-hitter in 35 degree weather in Manchester, New Hampshire. The two A ball level team continue to muddle along. Clearwater lost 8-3 to the Lakeland Flying Tigers to go 1-4 but Lakewood did manage to win over Hagerstown to go 2 and 3 on the season.
We focused in on MiLB-TV to watch our favorite minor league starting pitcher Mauricio Llovera make his debut for the Reading. He pitched a four inning, one-hitter, striking out four. He had control problems, walking four including two to start the game. He was pitching behind most of his outing. The Fightins received two inning of no-hit relief pitching from Luke Leftwich and Aaron Brown. Kyle Dohy came on in the ninth inning for the save. Already in two relief appearances, Dohy has pitched four innings, striking out eight and allowing only one hit. Last night he did walk two but struck out the side in ninth. If he can throw strikes, look for him to move up quickly.
In Allentown starter Drew Anderson was roughed-up for eight hits and four runs in only four innings. Like Reading, Lehigh Valley had strong relief pitching as three pitchers combined for five innings of no run, one hit work in the 5-4 win.
The Clearwater Threshers look to have a long season as they went down to Lakeland 8-3. Starter Andrew Brown was touched-up for five runs and nine hits in a three inning outing. Team pitching for the Threshers now sits with a 6.00 ERA, the worst in the Florida State League. The lone bright spots are outfielder Matt Vierling, with his two hits last night is now batting .438 and catcher/DH Edgar Cabral hit his second homer in four games last night. Both Vierling and Cabral did not play in Sunday’s 2-1 loss.
Lakewood managed to get its second win in five games this season. Alec Bohm hit three singles. Catcher Adrahan Gutierrez looks like the real deal with two hits and two RBIs. In his two starts, Gutierrez has gone 4 for 8 with three RBIs. We watched starter Kevin Gowdy on MiLB-TV. He lasted three innings and 61 pitches giving up three hits, three runs and two runs. His fastball did touch 90 mph but sat for the most part in the high 80’s. A pitcher we watched in spring training, lefty Ethan Evanko struck out the side in his one inning of work to get the win.
After only five games, the Phillies farm system is already taking shape with AAA and AA teams looking strong while the two A ball team fighting for every win.