MiLB Spring Training 2015; March 28th vs. Blue Jays

I arrived at the Complex to find the Blue Jays warming up on the mounds between Schmidt and Ashburn Fields, mounds that are usually reserved for the Phillies’ pitchers.  The heavy rain last night must have made Ashburn unplayable.  I’ve noticed in the past that right field doesn’t drain particularly well after heavy rain.  So, the Group 1 game was moved to Roberts Field.  This had several ramifications –

  1. the Paul Owen’s Facility would block the view between fields,
  2. the pitchers would warm up on the privacy of the Seven Mounds,
  3. and neither line up would be posted where it could be seen prior to the game.

I picked the field where Greg Legg was managing and hoped for the best.  I was fortunate to get Tom Windle.  (Unfortunately, I found out later that Jesse Biddle started on the other field.  In his first two innings, he allowed single base runners in each inning but no runs and struck out two batters each inning. )

Greg Legg’s Group 2 fielded the following line up –

  • Tocci CF,
  • Lohman SS,
  • Brown DH,
  • Henson LF,
  • Knapp C,
  • Cozens RF,
  • Pierre 3B,
  • Charles 1B,
  • Lino DH,
  • Valentin 2B,
  • Nola – Designated Bunter,
  • Martinez – Bench,
  • Pointer – Bench

Windle pitched very well but received poor defensive support.  He threw 62 pitches and the defense easily cost him an additional 12 pitches in his 4 innings.  He threw  50 for strikes.  He induced 9 swinging strikes and got 15 called strikes.  The Jays managed 12 foul balls and put 14 balls in play.  However, only 2 balls were really struck well – a deep fly ball to left to end the first inning and a line drive, two-out double in the fourth inning.

1st inning

  • Broken bat, ground out, 6-3
  • Infield 1B, Pierre approached the ball in a round about way and whiffed on the scoop
  • K, looking
  • E4, fielding (through the 5-hole)
  • Pop 1B down the RF line, fielder air-mailed the throw to third, allowing the second runner to score
  • Deep fly ball, F7

2nd inning

  • K
  • E-6, fielding (bobble on switch from glove to hand)
  • K
  • Wild pitch
  • K

3rd inning

  • Infield 1B off Windle’s leg
  • F8
  • F8
  • K

4th inning

  • Ground 1B to left
  • Stolen base
  • Ground out, 6-3 (runner to third)
  • SF7
  • Line drive 2B to left center field
  • F9

Windle pitched very efficiently.  His line –

  • 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 WP

Stephen Shackleford pitched the next 2 innings.  He walked the bases loaded in the fifth inning before giving up a pop double down the left field line.  He struck out his final 2 batters in a 1-2-3 sixth inning.  His line –

  • 2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

Austin Wright pitched a scoreless seventh inning.  An inning opening double and single put runners on the corners.  Wright rebounded with back-to-back strike outs before he picked the runner off first.  Wright’s line –

  • 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Kevin Walter got two quick outs to start the eighth inning, on a ground out and a strike out.  A double and infield single put runners on the corners.  Gabriel Lino gunned the runner out on a failed steal attempt of second base.  Walter’s line –

  • 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Cody Forsythe pitched the ninth inning.  He got a weak ground ball out to first then walked the next batter.  He induced a 4-6-3 double play on the next pitch.  His line –

  • 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

On offense, the Phillies scored 3 runs on 10 hits and had base runners in all but one inning.

Tocci opened with a line drive single to center.  Aaron Nola successfully bunted him over to second, but he advanced no further.

Knapp opened the second with a walk and Nola successfully moved him over to second.  With 2 out, Knapp scored on Pierre’s line drive double to right center field.  The Jays rolled the inning.

Charles opened the third with a single.  Nola failed to advance him with a fouled third strike bunt.  Charles stole second but was inexplicably doubled off the bag on a one out fly ball to center.  Nola was done for the day.

The Phillies scored 2 runs in the fifth inning on successive one-out extra base hits by Knapp (2B), Cozens (2B), Pierre (3B).

The Phillies put runners on base in the seventh thru ninth innings but never really threatened again.  The game ended on a pitch in the dirt when Lino was caught in no man’s land and tagged out in a rundown.

The box score for the offense –

  • Tocci:            1-3
  • Lohman:      2-2; BB, SB
  • Brown:          0-3
  • Henson:        0-3
  • Knapp:          1-2; 2 R, BB, 2B
  • Cozens:         1-3; R, RBI, 2B
  • Pierre:            2-2; 2 RBI, 2B, 3B
  •    Martinez:   1-1
  • Charles:        1-3; SB
  • Lino:              1-3; CS
  • Valentin:      0-3
  •    Pointer:     0-2
  • Nola:             0-1; 2 Sac

I was at the Phillies’ game on Friday.  I had good seats behind the Phillies’ dugout.  I had a good view of Nola during his 3 innings.  He pitched very well for a first start against major leaguers.

A-Rod got a ground ball single up the middle and Drew doubled on a 2-strike pitch that Nola didn’t get down enough.  He escaped the inning when Francouer threw Rodriguez out on a foolish attempt to tag up on a fly to right.  It would have been interesting if he had decided to slide.  It might still have been close with an average runner on third.

Nola allowed another runner to reach third with less than 2 outs in his second inning.  He bore down and struck out Headley on a 94 mph fastball and then Beltran to end the inning.

Nola recorded 2 more strike outs in his third inning, one on an 84 mph change up and then Chris Nelson to end his day.  He never looked rattled and pitched out of trouble twice.  I had his line as – 3.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

If you haven’t heard, Zach Eflin is scheduled to pitch in Bradenton for the Phillies on Monday.

14 thoughts on “MiLB Spring Training 2015; March 28th vs. Blue Jays

  1. Thanks for the heads up on Eflin as I have been watching the games on the net here and there. Enjoyed watching Nola yesterday, thought he did well.

    Where did we get Stephen Shackleford from, I can’t recall him.

    1. Stephen Shackleford was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 35th round of the draft out of Savannah College of Arts and Design. Apparently he was released after the 2011 season because he surfaced in independent ball very briefly before being signed by the Seattle Mariners in 2012. After being released following the 2014 season, the Phillies signed him as a free agent on December 16, 2014.

    1. Very good footage.
      Biddle looks very determined with good location.
      Not able to determine velocity but he seems ready to be a force again on the mound and his pursuit to Philly.

      1. I was at ST and, even very early on, Biddle’s velocity was excellent. He sat 92-94 (mostly 93 and 94) and touched 95. If he can sit in the mid-90s, break off that superb curve and just show decent command, he has BIG potential. Sometimes when young pitchers struggle early on it becomes a blessing in disguise because: (a) they learn how to deal with adversity; and (b) they don’t get overused early in their career. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if, by June, Biddle was squarely back within our top 5 prospects – he might even pass Franco again because I have not liked what I’ve seen from Franco at the plate.

        1. I wonder how much he’s continued to throw his slider vs. the curveball. When I saw him on tv earlier in ST he was struggling with the curve. It just kinda floated out of the strikezone high and away to righthanded batters. The slider looked really promising though; enough that it made me wonder if it will ultimately be his go to breaking pitch, since few pitchers throw both.

  2. Jim….have you seen much of Willians Astudillo lately? If so, how has he looked? Will he be catching primarily this year with the Threshers, or a versatile type between catching/DH/1st/3rd?

    1. It looks like he’ll be a full time catcher DH this year at Clearwater with Knapp and mayorga. His throwing doesn’t impress but I’m sure he and knapp are both working on that. They can both hit however.

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