The Phillies minor league teams played the Yankees again today. The A teams were at Carpenter Complex. There was an interesting mix of prospects among the line ups posted on Roberts and Ashburn Fields. The Clearwater coaches were on Ashburn, the Lakewood coaches on Roberts. Matt Imhof was warming up for Ashburn, and that fact made up my mind.
The Lakewood coaches were fielding the following players – Sandberg RF, Canelo, SS, Tocci CF, Hoskins DH, Hiciano LF, Tomscha 1B, Campbell 3B, Grullon C, Zier 2B, Harris DH, Zgardowski SP, Tromp/Mayorga/Fisher – Bench, Rios/Ramos/and maybe Therrien – relief.
The Clearwater line up was re-ordered when Domonic Brown came out to DH. He would bat third in each of the first four innings.
Let me report on Brown before continuing. He struck out swinging at an off speed pitch in the first inning. In the second inning, he reached on a fielding error by the first baseman. He dropped the ball, picked it up, bobbled it, picked it up again, and dropped it again. Brown barely beat the pitcher to the bag. Walding followed with a line drive single to right. Brown was hard pressed to make it to second. He really seemed to labor when he tried to run. At this point, he was lifted for a pinch runner. He flied out to center in each of his next two at bats. He made especially good contact on his last at bat. After four at bats, he was done for the day.
The “Clearwater” line up was –
- Drew Stankiewicz, SS
- Jesmuel Valentin, 2B
- Aaron Brown, CF
- Andrew Knapp, C
- Dylan Cozens, DH
- Zach Green, 1B
- Mitch Walding, 3B
- Andrew Pullin, LF
- Herlis Rodriguez, RF
- Matt Imhof, SP
- Lohman/Mora/Bass/Astudillo, Bench
- Baker/Walter/Rayburn, Relief
Imhof did a very good Ricky Vaughn imitation on his first warm-up pitch, hitting high on the backstop. Turned out to be a harbinger of things to come during his 5 inning outing.
First inning – the first batter doubled over Pullin’s head in left field. The next batter walked on 4 pitches. Imhof recorded his first strike out and a fly out to right. Green dropped a pick off attempt that rolled far enough away to allow the runner to take third. The next pitch was a fly out to Aaron brown in deep center field. Imhof threw 9 balls among his 19 first inning pitches. When he missed, he missed high. Some batters helped him by fouling off some of his high pitches. His fast ball was 86-88 mph.
Second inning – Imhof got a broken bat, soft liner to Walding, then fell behind the next batter 2-0. The next pitch cleared the left center fence. He followed with a pop out to Valentin and his second strike out. He had a better ball/strike ratio throwing only 6 balls among his 17 pitches.
Third inning – Three ground ball outs on 10 pitches, 5 balls. Started each batter off with a ball out of the strike zone.
Fourth inning – started off with a ground out to short, then a ground single chopped up the middle. A 5-pitch walk followed. A wild pitch moved the runners up a base before a single to right scored both runners. Imhof struck out the next batter, his third strike out of the day; but also threw another wild pitch. A ground ball to Walding ended the inning. Imhof threw 10 balls among his 21 pitches this inning. He pitched from behind to the first four batters. After the RBI single, he began throwing first-pitch strikes, and also started to get the ball down better than he had earlier in the game.
Fifth inning – three ground outs on 7 pitches, 2 balls.
I had Imhof at 74 pitches – 42 strikes, 32 balls; 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 WP.
Aaron Baker pitched the next 2 innings.
Sixth inning – the first batter homered on his first pitch. He recovered with a line drive to Stankiewicz and his first strike out. Baker would have been out of the ining on his next pitch but Valentin missed a hard one-hopper. Baker had to throw an additional 10 pitches. He gave up a double down the left field line that put runners on second and third. He finally got out of the inning on a deflected 1-6-3 ground out. The extra pitches doubled his count for the inning to 20 pitches, only 5 balls. His fast ball was 87-88 and touched 90 mph.
Seventh inning – a dominating 10-pitch, 9-strike 1-2-3 inning that included his second strike out and two ground outs.
I had Baker at 30 pitches – 24 strikes, 6 balls; 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K.
Kevin Walter came out for the final 2 innings and would pick up the come-from-behind win with 2 scoreless innings.
Eighth inning – another dominating inning – 10 pitches, 8 strikes that included a strike out and a ground out. He did allow a ground single to right, but Rodriguez nailed the batter on his turn at first, 9-3. Walter’s fastball was in the low 90’s and topped out at 93 mph.
Ninth inning – the inning started with a line single to left. The next batter hit into a 3-6-1 double play, almost. Walter dropped the throw. Three pitches later, he had a pop out to Valentin and a broken bat ground ball to Walding. Eleven pitches, 10 strikes. Walter finished the inning with the teams tied and the Phillies coming to bat in the bottom of the ninth.
I had Walter at 21 pitches – 18 strikes, 3 balls; 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1K.
Defensive plays that stood out were –
- Brown’s running catch of a deep fly ball in the first inning,
- Rodriguez’ assist throwing out a base runner at first in the eighth inning,
- and, the 3-6-1 DP that almost was. I overheard the coaches lamenting that this would have made two such plays on successive days.
Offensively, the Phillies collected 13 hits and 6 runs. They put runners on base in every inning.
Stankiewicz and Valentin opened the first inning with singles, Valentin’s coming on a hit-and-run to put runners on the corners. He then stole second. After two strike outs, Knapplined an RBI single to score one run. Valentin was gunned out at the plate to end the inning.
In the second, Domonic Brown reached base on an error after two strike outs. Walding singled. Pullin loaded the bases when he reached on a wild pitch on strike three. The fourth strike out of the inning ended the threat.
Stankiewicz reached on a single in the third and was ruled out on a steal attempt.
Aaron Brown was stranded after a single in the fourth.
Pullin was hit by a pitch in the fifth and stranded.
Knapp produced the Phillies second run on an RBI double in the sixth inning.
Pullin reached on an error in the seventh, the third time he had reached base without getting a hit. He was stranded.
The Phillies tied the game in the eighth. Stankiewicz started things off with his third single. He scored on Aaron Brown’s double down the left field line. He advanced to third and scored on a wild pitch.
Zach Green began the ninth with a double into the gap in left center. Walding sacrificed the winning run to third. Pullin drove in the winning run with a double over the drawn-in outfield. One batter later, Stankiewicz added a tack on run with his fourth single. (Yeah, I said tack on run in the bottom of the ninth. Gotta love spring baseball.)
Today’s box score –
- Stankiewicz: 4-5; 2 R, RBI, CS
- Valentin: 2-5; SB, K
- A. Brown: 2-4; 2 R, RBI, 2B,
- Knapp: 2-4; R, 2 RBI, 2B
- Cozens: 0-3; BB, K, CS
- Green: 1-4; R, 2B, K
- Walding: 1-3; SAC, 2 K
- Pullin: 1-3; R, RBI, 2B, HBP, K
- Rodriguez: 0-4; 2 K
- D. Brown: 0-4; K
- Imhof: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 WP
- Baker: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- Walter: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
It’s still too early and I expect some more movement between rosters, but I could really enjoy watching this group in Clearwater this season. If the pitching staff includes the guys charting the game and standing behind the cage with me, well that would be cool too.
Tomorrow, I attend the Phillies-Braves game at Bright House. It’s a camp day for the minor leaguers anyway. Back to the Complex on Thursday. The minor league teams play their last games on Friday and break camp on Saturday.
Extended Spring Training (XST) begins officially on April 9th with a series of camp days before games begin on Monday April 13th. XST games are scheduled through June 10th. Wednesdays are camp days, Sundays are off days. XST is comprised of the players who will make up the Williamsport and Gulf Coast League rosters. Some may be temporarily assigned to Clearwater if and when a body is needed.