The VSL Phillies finished their season Monday, going 36-32 on the year, to finish two games up on the third place Mariners and into the playoffs against a 45-23 Detroit squad. The two leaders begin their three-game championship series today.
Phillies ace Ranger Suarez pitched Saturday, which I believed would have lined him up to pitch a decisive game three Thursday, but he’s been taking five or six days rest all year, so maybe not. The schedule for the five team VSL is such that teams have an off day at least every five days, so to get a five man rotation going, you’re going to see that extra rest for everyone.
In reality, it may not be a necessity for Suarez to throw Wednesday, if it gets that far, even though the team will have been without an off-day since Friday. Short rest for the first time all year in the last game of the year is probably not wise, and the club used Carlos Salazar as a starter Monday, I believe in an attempt to clear three of their regular starters in order, Victor Delgado, Luis Carrasco and Carlos Indriago to work the series. Delgado will likely start today on six days rest, and Indraigo would be out of turn but on five days rest tomorrow, so if they wanted to squeeze him up, they could, as Carrasco had the weakest season of the three. That might leave room to use Suarez on four days rest for the rubber match, if they really wanted to. Still not sure that’s wise. Maybe using him out of the pen today or tomorrow would be smarter.
In terms of stalwarts at the plate and in the field, the Phils have five guys who played pretty much every day, 19 yr-old 1B Joseph Miranda, 16 yr-old CF Jesus Alastre, 19 yr-old SS Jose Antequera, 16 yr-old LF Luis Mendoza and 21-yr-old 2B/3B Alexander Perdomo. The younger two you might consider prospects, while the rest are a bit old for the league (or way old, in Perdomo’s case). Miranda is the slugger, having led the team with 5HR (tied for 3rd in the league). Alastre got on base at a .409 clip, (league leader) and had 13 steals (tied for eighth), and Mendoza had a very nice year for a guy who won’t turn 17 until Thursday. Perhaps he can celebrate a championship and a birthday on the same day.
Keep an eye out in the box score recap tomorrow for an update on game one, and we’ll go from there.
**UPDATE** – Victor Delgado and closer Alejandro Garcia shut out Detroit. Phillies lead series 1-0. Delgado allowed three hits over eight innings. Mendoza and Alastre each pushed runs across, and 17 yr-old 2B Daniel Romero had two hits and scored twice. Game two tomorrow could be the clincher.