It was a mediocre 2-3 week for the Fightins over these past five contests, with a rainout thrown in against New Britain on Thursday. Let’s get to the big stories of the week, including one man on the comeback trail, and another getting his first taste of the Bigs.
Aaron Altherr learned Monday that he had received a call-up to the Majors. It’s unknown how long Altherr will be here, as Tony Gwynn, Jr. was placed on the bereavement list to be with his family after the passing of his father. For now, Altherr gets an opportunity to put on a Major League uniform. He comes to the Phillies after a very hot month of June, as he was hitting .392/.446/.588 in 51-at bats in the month for the Fightins.
Altherr is likely only here for up to seven days, as Gwynn Jr. has that long before needing to return. One other thing was at play here: Altherr was really the only outfielder on the 40-man who was healthy. They really had no choice. Altherr will probably go back to Reading, but we’ll certainly be keeping our eye on him in hopes that he continues to swing a hot bat.
Adam Loewen grabbed the ball Tuesday, and went six innings, allowing three runs, four walks, and striking out three. Obviously, there’s a long way to go for Loewen to get back to the Majors, but if there is some sort of deadline fire sale for the Phils at the Major League level, who knows? Loewen could get the call to come back to the Majors. The walks have been a problem for him in his four starts in the Minors, but at the very least, he’s giving some innings at this point. I don’t think anyone really expects Loewen to finally put it together, but if the Phils are out of it at the end of the year, it could make for a great redemption story.
We won’t go too into detail on Jesse Biddle’s Wednesday start, but it was another disappointing one. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings, gave up five runs (two earned), while walking six and striking out three. Back-to-back poor starts for Biddle leave many questions. Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus has a scouting report up from this game. Check it out here.
At this point, there’s not a ton else to talk about here. In the bullpen, Nefi Ogando has struggled as of late. Colton Murray has been hot, however, so there’s some good news there. Jiwan James did start a couple of games this past week, so it will be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets in the coming weeks.
The bad news here is obvious… this team has been very lucky in terms of wins and losses here. Sure, not everything in the Minors is about the wins and losses, but you do start to feel bad for guys when they have nothing to play for. (See Clearwater’s season, obviously.)
At 33-33, the Fightins are in the middle of things in their division, and have some competitive ball ahead. If you look at the Pythagorean numbers, they should be 26-40 according to the run differential, which is currently at -69. Yep, this team has been lucky in terms of the one-run games, and that’s given them a few wins.
The offense is certainly going to struggle to score without Perkins, and now without Altherr for the next few games. Biddle’s struggles are concerning, and the fun season that Ogando was developing has hit a speed bump.
These guys will just have to put their heads down and go to work each day and see what happens. When you don’t have a boatload of talent, that’s just about all you can do.
Questions for the week:
- Will Adam Loewen put together a decent start without the walk issue?
- On a scale of 1-10, how concerned are you with Jesse Biddle?
- Will Jiwan James add anything to the offense?
- Where’d you go, Joe DiMaggio? (By Joe DiMaggio, I mean Kelly Dugan.)
17 vs. Akron, 7:05 PM
18 vs. Akron, 7:05 PM
19 vs. Akron, 7:05 PM
20 @ New Britain, 6:35 PM
21 @ New Britain, 6:35 PM
22 @ New Britain, 1:35 PM