I know this is a bit long, but it encompasses two weeks worth of action due to my critically ill daughter, oops, I meant computer. No really, I did. I hope everyone enjoys the goodness that Reading has to offer and comments it up. Have fun!
Over the past two weeks, the Phillies have had some phenomenal individual efforts by the likes of Stutes, Worley, Bastardo, and Taylor. Even with these efforts, however, the Phils found themselves only going 7-5 over that two week span. Despite the mediocre record, I think the teams play thus far is above what most of us expected. Surprisingly, the Phils sit at 13-8 and are tied for 3rd in the Eastern League. Not surprisingly, the pitching has really carried the team while the offense has mostly been a one man show featuring Michael Taylor.
|EAS Northern Division||W||L||PCT||GB||STREAK||L10|
|EAS Southern Division||W||L||PCT||GB||STREAK||L10|
04/20/09 – Reading Phillies () at Altoona Curve ()
Postponed due to rain.
04/21/09 – Reading Phillies (3) at Altoona Curve (1)
The Phils got the week started on a positive note, as Tyson Brummett and Antonio Bastardo combined to confuse the Curve hitters for 9 terrific innings. Brummett started the game and lasted 7.2 innings allowing only 1 earned run on 5 hits and 0 walks. Brummett also managed to strikeout 5 in what was Brummett’s best performance in a strong start to the season. Brummett has now given up 17 hits/walks in 17.2 innings pitched. This is a good start for Brummett who needs to put together a strong ’09 season. Bastardo came on in relief of Brummett with two outs in the eighth inning, after Brummett had collected 2 quick outs. An inspired Bastardo finished the game with 1.1 innings of 2 hit ball. Fortunately for the Phils, they got tremendous pitching as their offense was kept mostly dormant for the game. All 3 of Reading’s runs were produced by the 3-4-5 hitters as Taylor, Stavisky, and Mahar combined to go 4-9 with 2 walks. Taylor scored 2 runs on 1 hit and 1 walk. Harman went hitless in the 2-hole.
04/22/09 – Reading Phillies (4) at Altoona Curve (5)
Sadly, the best way to describe this game would be frustrating. Savery started the game and turned in a mediocre performance. He lasted 6 innings giving up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 1 home run which all culminated in 4 earned runs. He also racked up 6 k’s. Savery was relieved by Bisenius, who promptly allowed another earned run one 1 hit and 2 walks in his 1.2 innings of work. Escalona recorded the final out in the eighth inning for the Phils. Not to be outdone, the offense turned in their own mediocre performance. Combined, the offense had 7 hits, 2 of which were doubles. With the aid of 2 Altoona errors, the Phils managed to score 4 runs. Taylor went hitless on the night. Sadly, the Phil’s best hitter was in fact their pitcher. Savery went 2-3 with 2 runs scored. All in all, it was a rather mundane game with few matters of interest. Moving on…
04/23/09 – Reading Phillies (7) vs. Bowie Baysox (6)
This was a much more interesting game, at least when compared to yesterday’s loss. Vance Worley got the start and struggled through his 6.2 innings of work. Worley clearly did not have his best stuff on the night. He missed very few bats and seemed to be fighting his command all night long. However, with that said, it was impressive to see Worley fight through a ballgame in which he was not at his best. His final line was a respectable 6.2 innings pitched with 4 hits, 2 walks, 4 runs, 3 earned, 2 k’s, and 1 long ball. It may have been a bit of good luck, but I like how he turned in a decent performance with less than stellar pitches. Anyway, Overholt got blasted before German and Shortslef saved the day, combining to pitch 3.2 innings of scoreless ball. Both German and Shortslef allowed 1 hit as they held down the Baysox until the 11th inning heroics of Michael D. Taylor. Yes, Taylor broke out in a big way today, as he carried the Phils offense going 4-6 with 2 home runs, 3 RBI, and 3 runs scored including a walk off home run in the 11th inning. Catcher Kevin Nelson also chipped in with a solo homer. Sadly, the top of our lineup (Berry and Harman), went a combined 1-10. But, this is not a game to end on a sad note, so lets imagine Taylor hitting walk off home runs in CBP. I am happy already.
04/24/09 – Reading Phillies (2) vs. Bowie Baysox (1)
Back to normal for the Phils, as the pitching was front and center with the offense nothing but a distant afterthought. Michael Stutes turned in a terrific performance, pitching 6 innings of 2 hit ball. He also had an impressive 8 k’s to only 2 walks. There is not much to say about a performance like this, as the numbers speak for themselves. Very, very good start to both the game and season for Stutes. German pitched another .2 innings of scoreless hitless ball before Escalona came on to collect a nerve wracking save. Escalona allowed 2 hits, 1 walk, and 1 earned before finishing the game for the Phils with a 2-1 victory. The offense collected some hits, but very few runs. The Phils combined for 10 hits but only went 2-12 with RISP. The offense was lead by Tuffy Gosewisch (2-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) and Ozzie Chavez (4-4). Berry and Harman combined to go 1-8 with 5 k’s. It is very hard to generate offense with those types of performances at the top. Unfortunately, it seems to be a trend that will continue.
04/25/09 – Reading Phillies (5) vs. Bowie Baysox (3)
The return of Antonio Bastardo. No, it is not a poorly made movie starring Antonio Banderas as some skirt-chasing home wrecker, although it could be. Instead, we have our own Antonio returning to the Reading rotation for the first time this season. Why have the Phils decided to switch Bastardo back into the rotation? I have no idea. They moved Bastardo to the ‘pen less than one month ago and he was adjusting to the change very well if his performances were any indication. But, just like that he was switched back into the rotation. Perhaps Taschner, Happ, Eyre, and Romero have satisfied the front office to the point where Bastardo has no chance of making a quick jump to the bigs as a LOOGY. Anyway, Bastardo pitched brilliantly in his first start of the season, getting pulled after 5 innings of no-hit ball because of his pitch count. Concepcion, who was removed from the rotation, along with Shortslef and Escalona all allowed 1 run each in their respective relief stints. The offense was consistent, as Kevin Mahar and Carlos Leon were the only starters who did not collect at least one hit. The star of the day was Mike Spidale, who went 4-4 with 3 RBI. Spidale fell a home run short of the cycle.
04/26/09 – Reading Phillies (0) vs. Bowie Baysox (8)
The Phils went for the 4 game sweep of the Baysox and got rejected. Brummett got the nod and was pounded for 12 hits in 5.1 innings of work. He only managed to allow 3 earned runs, but it was still an awful performance. For the offense, it did not get any better. 5 singles were hit by 5 different players to add up to a grand total of 0 runs. I know I may be harping a bit at this point, but Berry and Harman went a combined 1-7 with 3 k’s. Horrible. Dreadful. Depressing. Nuff said…
04/28/09 – Reading Phillies (3) vs. Altoona Curve (1)
Earlier in the week, Savery pitched a mediocre game, had some bad luck, and took the loss. This evening, Savery pitched a mediocre game, had some good luck, and won. Yay! Savery lasted 6 innings while allowing an alarming 10 base runners on 6 hits. Fortunately, all of those base runners only amounted to 1 earned run. Savery also had a less than impressive 1 strikeout. Relieving Savery was German for the 7th and 8th innings and Zagirthski for the 9th inning save. Each gave up two hits (German also allowed 2 BB) but neither allowed a run. I guess the story of this game was the Curve going 0-10 with RISP. The Phils took advantage of the good luck by virtue of the offense scraping out 3 runs on 6 hits. It was an evenly distributed offensive output as Harman collected a RBI double and Taylor went 1-3 with a walk. Not a whole lot of excitement with this Reading offense.
04/29/09 – Reading Phillies (2) vs. Altoona Curve (0)
In yesterday’s game, the Phils limited the Curve thanks to some good fortune. In today’s game, the Phillies pitchers simply dominated their opponent with no luck needed. Worley got the start and pitched an incredible 7 innings. Worley allowed 1 hit through 6 innings, before allowing back-to-back singles to lead off the 7th. Worley buckled down, however, and recorded 2 k’s in the final 3 outs of the inning. Worley also walked 1 and struck out 7. Terrific outing. Once again, the Phillies offense were the beneficiaries of some strong pitching, as they only managed 2 runs but it was enough for the win. Berry and Harman combined for their typical 1 hit to waste a great game by Taylor. Taylor went 3-4 with a double and a run scored to pace the Phils’ offense.
04/30/09 – Reading Phillies (7) vs. Altoona Curve (12)
For the second straight series, the Phils enter the final game looking for a sweep, only to fall flat on their faces. It figures that the one time the offense was cooking, the pitching would self destruct. Stutes was the starter and got absolutely hammered with what was easily the worst pitching performance of his pro career. Stutes only lasted 2 innings while surrendering 4 earned on 8 hits. Of the relief pitchers, Concepcion and Overholt were similarly awful, allowing 4 and 3 earned runs respectively in their outings. Shortslef, Sikaras, and Bisenius did have scoreless appearances. Despite the pitching, the offense managed to tie their season high for runs scored with 7. The top of the lineup (even Berry and Harman) did all of the damage with 5 of the top 6 hitters each collecting at least 2 hits. Taylor was the true star, ending the game 3-5 with 2 runs, 2 doubles, 1 home run, and 5 RBI. It certainly seems like Taylor has gotten his AA legs underneath of him. He is the lone Phillies position prospect batting the way a lot of us expected. Hopefully it continues.
05/01/09 – Reading Phillies (2) at Harrisburg Senators (4)
Antonio Bastardo got his second start on the season, and came back down to earth in a big way. Bastardo lasted 4 innings while giving up 3 earned by way of 8 base runners, 6 on hits, 1 of which was a home run. Bastardo also struck out 4. Zagirthski made his second appearance, pitching another scoreless inning. Following Zagirthski was the overnight sensation Matt German who sadly allowed his first earned run on the season. German pitched 1.2 innings while allowing 2 hits and 2 walks. The offense was not terrible as they collected 11 hits, they were just a terrible 3-10 with RISP. Taylor broke his 7 game hit streak with an 0-4 performance.
05/02/09 – Reading Phillies (0) at Harrisburg Senators (3)
This was a rather long, slow, boring game. Brummett got the start and didn’t exactly dazzle anyone. He ended up lasting 5.2 innings and gave up 7 hits, 3 walks, and 2 earned runs. He allowed a lot of base runners, but battled through many sloppy innings to only allow 2 earned (3 runs total). Anderson and Shortslef both had scoreless appearances in relief of Brummett. The offense had a grand total of 4 hits, one each by Berry, Taylor, Gosewisch, and Chavez. Umm, yeah, that is all.
05/03/09 – Reading Phillies (8) at Harrisburg Senators (4)
The Phils closed out both the Harrisburg series and the week on a positive note, as the offense took charge and carried the team to an 8-4 victory. Savery was once again a disappointment as he allowed 7 hits and 2 walks in his 5 innings of work. He gave up 4 earned while also striking out 4. That was Savery’s third outing in this two week span, and each and every one of them have been a bit disappointing. The bullpen did the job, as Overholt, German, and Escalona combined for 4 scoreless innings. The real story of the day was the offense. The Phils pounded out 13 hits in route to a season high 8 runs. Every starting position player collected at least one hit, with the top five in the lineup all having 2 hits apiece. Home runs were hit by Harman and Mahar. Amazingly, the first four batters also all smacked 1 triple. A real nice offensive effort to break out and steal one game against the Senators.
Harman has had a pretty terrible season thus far. There is really no way around that. Since April 20th, Harman is batting .227 (10-44) with 5 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 5 BB, and 13 SO. On the season, Harman has a stat line 0f .229/.297/.410. Hmm, that looks incredibly similar to his 2008 season of .210/.280/.366. His peripherals are also a near match between ’08 and ’09. For example, ’08 BB% – 8.7 vs. ’09 BB% – 8.1 and ’08 K% – 27.9 vs. ’09 K% – 29.1. Perhaps, a trend is starting to emerge which points anywhere but up.
So, in my opinion, Berry is much like Harman in the fact that I do not really think either of them are prospects at this point. However, others still do and so I will highlight them here in the “prospect watch” section. Also, how depressing would it be to have 1 hitting prospect on a AA roster? Anyway, Berry’s stats over the past two weeks are not good, as one would expect, but glimmers of hope can be taken from a few choice statistics. For the past two weeks Berry is batting .250 (10-40) with 8 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 8 SO, 4 SB, and 2 CS. On the season Berry is now at .239/.351/.254. I do not want to be too negative, so lets start with the positives. Berry is adjusting to a new league and his average has climbed slightly over the past two weeks. Also, Berry has continued to draw plenty of walks, as he now has 11 on the season compared to just 13 SO. And the negatives. His average may have climbed, but it only climbed to .239. That is like bragging about being the smartest man in a room of Met’s fans. Sure, you may be the smartest, but is it really an accomplishment? Also, Berry, as has been customary throughout his career, is hitting with absolutely zero power. His only extra-base hit on the season (82 PA) is a double. Berry’s OBP and SLG have both dropped with every full minor league season: ’07 A – .393 OBP/.380 SLG, ’08 A+ – .362 OBP/.341 SLG, ’09 AA – .341 OBP/.254 SLG. This is not a good sign for Berry’s prospect status. Even Berry’s biggest strength, his speed and base running abilities have not shown through thus far at Reading, as he has been caught stealing twice in six attempts. I could further harp on the negatives, but I think you get the picture. Lets move on to a prospect who appears to have a slightly rosier future.
Over the past two weeks, the Eastern League has met the Michael Taylor of 2008. Taylor has absolutely been on a tear after a somewhat slow start. And by slow start I mean 9 games in which Taylor was facing AA competition for the first time in his career. Anyway, Taylor hit .360 (18-50) with 12 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 6 SO, 2 SB, and 1 CS. On the year, Taylor is now at .321/.365/.538. Taylor is not drawing many walks with a 7.5 BB% in ’09. However, he has also controlled the k’s with a 15.0 K%. Taylor is the first Phillies position prospect to breakout and smack the ball around a little. Let’s hope he continues to mash all year in Reading.
Bastardo had one relief appearance and two starts over the past two weeks. I am not really sure why the Phillies have decided to yank Bastardo back and forth between the bullpen and starting rotation. The original move to the bullpen made some sense, as Bastardo’s strengths and two pitch repertoire could be maximized by short relief appearances. Also, it was possible that he could have been rushed to the majors in a LOOGY type of situation if Happ, Taschner, or Eyre disappeared from the bullpen for various reasons. But, Bastardo is back and so that is where we stand. His relief career ended with a 1.23 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 1.70 FIP, 9.82 K/9, and 1.23 BB/9. His career as a starter resumed with a dominating 5 inning outing. Bastardo was taken out of the game with a perfect game intact as he hit his pitch count limit. Bastardo’s next start wasn’t nearly as good. In fact, Bastardo got smacked around for 3 earned runs scored by 8 base runners in 4 innings pitched. All in all, Bastardo looked extremely good as a relief pitcher, so we will have to monitor how he adjusts back to life as a starter.
Brummett had three starts on the week, and like the three bears, the first was good, the second was bad, and the third was right in the middle. Combined, Brummett allowed 24 hits, 3 walks, and 6 earned in 18.2 innings. On the season, Brummett now has a 3.14 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 3.22 FIP, 4.9 BB%, and 13.0 K%. When compared to his ’08 Reading stats of 7.28 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 5.49 FIP, 12.0 BB%, and 12.3 K% a noticeable improvement is obvious. Brummett has walked fewer batters in ’09 leading to most of the reduction in his WHIP. It isn’t a great start for Brummett, but certainly counts as improvement.
Escalona, to his credit, has pitched better than I expected. Serving as Reading’s closer, Escalona has racked up 7 saves on the season. In the last two weeks, he has made 6 appearances and has allowed 6 H, 2 BB, and 2 ER while striking out 4 in 6.2 innings of work. Escalona is sporting a fairly shiny 2.92 ERA on the year. His peripherals are not as good. A 1.41 WHIP and a 4.71 FIP for 2009 may be an indicator that trouble lies ahead. Also, he does not have a great K% at only 15.6%. He is on the 40 man roster, left handed, and 24 years old. It is time for him to giddy-up or giddy-out.
Garcia is still in visa purgatory.
As I have said before, Savery made three bad to mediocre performances on the week. His totals for those 3 outings are 17 IP, 18 H, 9 ER, 8 BB, and 11 SO. His season ERA of 4.33 is not great, but could be worst. That is all I am gonna say about Joe for the time being, as I am planning a more extensive write-up on him in next week’s Reading Weekly Report. Stay tuned.
We saw the best of Michael Stutes this week and the worst of Michael Stutes this week. The yin and the yang, or something like that. Stutes’ first start was a dominating 6 innings of scoreless ball. His second outing was a disastrous 2 innings of 4 earned runs. On the season, Stutes has had 3 good outings and now the one bad one. Overall he has a 3.32 ERA and a 2.96 FIP. So, Stutes has still been exceptional on the whole. We will just have to wait and see where his season goes as we do not really have any other professional season for comparisons. His next start is May 5th.
Worley has been the most consistent of the Phillies’ starters, as he has yet to have a truly poor outing. Worley had two outings and combined to pitch 13.2 innings of 7 hit 3 walk ball. He gave up a total of 3 runs and also struck out 9. On the season, Worley has a 2.22 ERA. He has an exceptional WHIP of 0.93, which has been helped by an unsustainable .219 BABIP. So, his FIP of 3.27 does not echo is pristine ERA, but it is still very good. Similar to Stutes, Worley does not really have any comparison seasons, so we just have to see where this goes. He dominated lesser competition last year and has thus far performed well at a level more in line with his age and experience.
Or should I say Zagirthski? Anyway, Zagurski made his first two appearances for Reading since tommy john surgery and his comeback has thus far been a success. In 2 IP Zagurski has allowed 2 hits. Yup, that is it. No walks, runs, or k’s. Simple. Sweet. Short. Perhaps Zagurski and Escalona are the reason that Bastardo fines himself back in the rotation. Both are lefty relievers who in reality have no shot of ever starting in the bigs. Maybe this “surplus” pushed Bastardo back into the rotation with the hope of him developing that third pitch. Anyway, even though Zagurski has big league experience do not expect to see him in Philadelphia any time soon. The Philadelphia Phillies bullpen is pretty well stocked, plus there are several relievers with big league experience performing very well in AAA. Perhaps a quick promotion to AAA will be in order.
Michael Taylor – R – T-7th – 14
Michael Taylor – H – T-8th – 25
Michael Taylor – HR – T-8th – 3
Michael Taylor – RBI – T-12th – 14
Michael Taylor – TB – T-4th – 42
Michael Taylor – SLG – 5th – .538
Michael Taylor – AVG – T-10th – .321
Michael Taylor – OPS – 11th – .903
Brad Harman – SO – T-4th – 26
Vance Worley – ERA – 10th – 2.22
Vance Worley – WHIP – T-5th – 0.95
Sergio Escalona – SV – 3rd – 7
04/21/09 – Reading Phillies placed OF Gus Milner on the 7-Day disabled list retroactive to April 20, 2009. Left oblique strain.
04/25/09 – LHP Michael Zagurski assigned to Reading Phillies from Clearwater Threshers.
04/28/09 – Carlos Ruiz assigned to Reading Phillies from Philadelphia Phillies.
04/30/09 – C Carlos Ruiz assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs from Reading Phillies.
05/01/09 – RHP Jason Anderson assigned to Reading Phillies from Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
05/03/09 – Reading Phillies activated OF Gus Milner from the 7-Day disabled list.
05/03/09 – Reading Phillies placed RHP Joe Bisenius on the 7-Day disabled list. Turf toe in right foot.