For the first time in a long time, the IronPigs aren’t in first. They went 3-4 this week, and the Pawtucket Red Sox, who have been within reach all year, have finally taken over. They’re still up in the wild card race, so they should still be able to make the playoffs for the first time. They don’t have any more head to head matchups with the Red Sox, so they’ll have to get back on top without playing them. On Friday, the Phillies signed Jack Cust to a minor league deal. Ideally, he can provide some pop off the major league bench from the left side, but in the meantime, he can help out an IronPigs lineup that’s average at best in slugging categories.
Reading Phillies (59-59, T-2nd in EL East)
Reading had a pretty bad 1-5 week, but they’re still tied for a playoff position in the Eastern League. Two teams in the Western division have better records that won’t make the playoffs, but unfortunately for them two teams from each division have to make the playoffs. Pitching in general was a problem for Reading, particularly falling behind early in games. When they were swept by Bowie (Baltimore), Reading starters gave up a total of 11 runs in the first two innings. Reading starters had no quality starts this week as the pitching staff continues to struggle. The offense wasn’t too sharp either, scoring only 23 runs. That includes a nine run outburst to start the week, so their production declined throughout the week.
Clearwater Threshers (T-2nd in FSL North)
For a brief period this week, the Threshers had fought all the way back from last to take over first place in the FSL North. While a doubleheader sweep put them ahead of the Tampa Yankees, a two game losing streak to finish the week allowed the Dunedin Blue Jays to sneak into first. The Threshers still have seven games remaining against their Pinellas County rivals, and those could go a long way to determining the division winner. Despite the loss of Jarred Cosart, the rotation has continued to pitch well. Aside from Brody Colvin, the rest of the Clearwater rotation posted a 2.76 ERA in 29.1 innings this week. Although he only allowed two runs, Julio Rodriguez lost his start on Friday as it becomes less and less likely that he can win 20 games this year.
Lakewood BlueClaws (24-23, 4th in SAL North)
A 2-4 week suddenly has Lakewood sitting at 4.5 games behind first place Kannapolis (White Sox), and losing the first three games of a four game series against a team below them in the standings could be the turning point. They scored 10 runs on Monday against West Virginia (Pittsburgh), but the BlueClaws only managed 13 runs in their other five games. Bill Rice and Carlos Alonso, two players that don’t have the upside of some of their younger teammates, set the table at the top of the lineup by getting on base, but no one drove them in. Jesse Biddle returned to the rotation after missing a start, but if Garett Claypool and Lisalberto Bonilla continue to struggle, the rotation won’t be good enough to get back in the hunt.
Williamsport Crosscutters (31-23, 3rd in NYPL Pinckney)
This week, five Crosscutters were named to the NYPL All-Star Game that will be played in Lowell next week. Outfielders Aaron Altherr, Kelly Dugan and Kyrell Hudson will represent the offense, and reliever Gabriel Arias and starter Mike Nesseth represent the pitching. It’s a nice boost for the trio of outfielders; Altherr had an awful season at Lakewood, and Dugan and Hudson have really struggled getting their careers going. The Crosscutters went 4-2, but they remain a half game behind the wild card leader and 1.5 behind the division leader. Perhaps the best news from this week is Perci Garner being able to pitch twice without further injury. He hasn’t been back in the rotation yet, but he’s building his stamina back up and could hopefully get his career back on track soon.
GCL Phillies (21-24, 3rd in GCL North)
The Gulf Coast League was hit hard by storms this week, especially the Tampa Bay area. The GCL Phillies had two games postponed and only ended up playing four games this week. They didn’t play particularly well and only went 1-3, being outscored by 16 runs. The rotation once again provided no quality starts, and because of the rainouts, a few starters had their routines disrupted and had to pitch out of the bullpen to get innings. Their team ERA is now second to last in the league, and the team WHIP is dead last with few signs of improvement. 7th round pitcher from Yavapai JC Kenny Giles signed last week and was assigned to this roster. He’ll probably make a couple appearances out of the bullpen and report up to Williamsport.
Erik Kratz, Lehigh Valley– 8/22, 7 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K- Minor league veteran is positioning himself for a potential September call-up as a third catcher.
Brent Clevlen, Reading– 9/23, 3 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 5 K, 1/1 SB- Recent minor league free agent signing hasn’t played in AA since 2006.
Darin Ruf, Clearwater- 8/26, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K- Ruf seems to be on the hot list every week in his torrid second half in the Florida State League.
Aaron Altherr, Williamsport- 10/25, 6 R, 1 2B, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K, 6/6 SB- Altherr has 32 steals while only getting caught three times this season.
Brian Pointer, GCL- 5/11, 3 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 2/2 SB- It’s only the GCL, but this has been an impressive showing for the athletic outfielder.
Scott Mathieson, Lehigh Valley- 1-0, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K- This line is not a repeat from 2006. His ERA as a starter this year is 2.56.
Trevor May, Clearwater- 1-0, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K- May has a chance to be one of three minor league pitchers to strike out 200 batters this season.
Eric Pettis, Clearwater- 1-0, 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K- 2010 college draftee has advanced through the system quickly with a career ERA under 2.00.
Jesse Biddle, Lakewood- 0-1, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB 6 K- Biddle returned from his hip injury and showed no ill effects despite 10 days off between starts.
Ryan Duke, Lakewood- 0-0, 1 SV, 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K- 2011 college draftee has moved through the system faster than anyone else in his class as relievers usually do.
Tuffy Gosewisch, Reading-3/22, 0 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K- Gosewisch’s second half OPS is nearly 200 points lower than his first half OPS.
Matt Rizzotti, Reading- 1/17, 3 R, 0 XBH, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 4 K, 1/1 SB- Rizzotti has a remarkable .400 OBP in his last 10 games despite batting only .172.
Travis Mattair, Clearwater- 3/21, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 8 K- It previously appeared that Mattair turned a corner, but he needs to get out of this slump.
Ryan Feierabend, Lehigh Valley- 0-2, 10.2 IP, 13 H, 9 ER, 6 BB, 7 K- Feierabend has a winning record this year despite an ERA that’s quickly approaching 6.00.
Juan Perez, Lehigh Valley- 0-0, 1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K- Eratic lefty hasn’t been sharp since returning from the majors, not surprising for a player that’s hardly pitched lately.
Austin Hyatt, Reading- 0-1, .2 IP, 1 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K- Hyatt couldn’t get out of the first inning of a start for the first time in his pro career this week.
J.C. Ramirez, Reading- 0-1, 5.1 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K- Ramirez has lost four straight starts and six out of the last seven in an awful second half.
Jordan Whatcott, Clearwater- 1-0, 1 SV, 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K- Whatcott allowed runs in consecutive appearances ending a pretty lengthy scoreless streak.
Lisalberto Bonilla, Lakewood- 0-1, 3.1 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 K- Three of the seven home runs Bonilla has allowed this season came in his most recent start.
Chase Johnson, Lakewood– 0-0, 3 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K- Batters are hitting .352 off Johnson in his last 10 appearances that have also seen his strikeout race go down.
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