The Phillies team President appeared to throw in the towel to get into the playoff last week and his General Manager then goes out and gets for cash a pitcher who was scheduled to be released by another team. This was all done when the Phillies were still holding a “wild card” invitation to the post season at the time.
Not to be outdone, the Phillies Minor league department continues to refuse to promote Spencer Howard out of high A ball to a higher level even after a five inning, no-hitter last Sunday. Then, all Spencer does last night is go out and throws a six-inning, no run, two-hitter. The moves the Phillies Front Office make are head scratchers, indeed.
Since coming back from a reported shoulder strain after his April 23rd start, Howard keeps putting up strong numbers. In his last three starts in 15 innings, he has allowed only three hits while giving up one run. He has walked only one and struck out 18.
After his last Sunday’s five inning no-hitter, Howard told MiLB that he is trying to cut down on his strikeouts and induce contact in the first three pitches to each batter. He is doing just that! He averaged only 11 pitches per inning Saturday night against the Mets farmhands in St Lucie. This is the first time in my long history of following Phillies baseball that strikeouts are being discouraged.
Howard said “I would definitely say efficiency was not my calling card before this season. My goal for the year was to attack hitters,” he said. “Not to necessarily strike out hitters, but working with [Threshers pitching coach] Brad Bergesen, we wanted to force contact within three pitches or less. Read HERE.
Last Sunday, Howard threw just over 13 pitches per inning — 68 total, including 49 for strikes. Last night it was down to 11 pitches per inning but he struck out only four. Pitch to contact might work in the Florida State League but will it work some day in Citizens Bank Park?
Alec Bohm is showing that hitting the ball out of the park works in Reading. On Saturday night he went deep twice. Watch HERE. It should also work in Citizen Bank Park. Bohm has now hit four homers in his last 31 at bats–all of them hit in the friendly confines of Reading’s First Energy Stadium.
Since the Phillies do not appear to be trying too hard to get into the post season, wouldn’t it be interesting to see if Howard and Bohm get at least September call-ups to the Show when rosters expand? That would give us something to look forward to!