Phillies Minor League Report: Jesse Biddle struggles; Maikel Franco impressive in Double-A debut
Lehigh Valley IronPigs – Triple A
The IronPigs clinched their fifth consecutive series victory Thursday with a 3-0 shutout of the Toledo Mud Hens at Fifth Third Stadium in Toledo, Ohio.
The victory for the IronPigs was also their ninth in their last 12 contests and completed a three-game sweep of the Mud Hens.
The star of Thursday’s game was left-handed starting pitcher Raul Valdes, who pitched seven shutout innings. During those seven innings, Valdes gave up only three hits, one walk and recorded eight strikeouts to pick up his second (2-2) win with the IronPigs.
After Valdes left, Justin Friend pitched one scoreless inning, which set up J.C. Ramirez to pick up his second save with Lehigh Valley.
With the pitching staff having a dominant outing, the IronPigs didn’t need much offense, but got some in the first and fifth innings.
In the first inning center fielder Jermaine Mitchell used a lead off single and steal to reach second base. Left fielder Darin Ruf brought Mitchell home with a two-out single to center field to give the IronPigs a 1-0 lead.
The IronPigs tacked on two more runs in the fifth after RBI hits from catcher Steve Lerud and second baseman Cesar Hernandez.
Right fielder Steve Susdorf had a solid day from the plate as he finished 2-for-4. Ruf went 2-for-3 on the night and drove in his 36th RBI of the season.
The IronPigs continue their eight-game road trip in Columbus, Ohio when they play the Columbus Clippers at Huntington Park at 7:15 p.m. Friday. Left-hander Tom (2-2, 5.11 ERA) Cochran is scheduled to get the start for Lehigh Valley.
Reading Fightin Phils – Double A
Phillies prospect Jesse Biddle struggled during a 5-2 loss for the Fightin Phils to the Portland Sea Dogs at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading.
Biddle gave up five earned runs, two homers and walked six batters in six innings of work.
Biddle first ran into trouble during the second inning when he gave up two runs to the Sea Dogs. The Fightin Phils answered when catcher Sebastian Valle hit a one-out single to left field that scored left fielderTyler Henson and first baseman Jim Murphy and tie the game 2-2.
Biddle gave up only one hit during the third inning, but it was a solo home run from Portland left fielder Tony Thomas to make the score 3-2.
That score held until the top of the sixth when Biddle gave up his second homer of the game, this one a two-run shot from Portland’s Christian Vasquez to tack on the final runs.
After Biddle left the game, Mike Nesseth and Kyle Simon held the Sea Dogs to only two hits, but it was too little, too late for the Fightin Phils. Biddle dropped to 3-7 on the season.
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley made his second rehab start with Reading Thursday and hit went hitless once again. Utley finished the night 0-for-5 from the plate.
Third baseman Maikel Franco had an impressive showing in his Double-A debut going 2-for-4.
The Fightin Phils are back on the field at 7:05 p.m. Friday when they host the Richmond Flying Squirrels for the start of a three-game series. Reading’s starter has yet to be determined.
Clearwater Threshers – Class A-Advanced
Seventh-inning home runs from center fielder Aaron Altherr and designated hitter Chris Serritella lifted the Threshers to a 6-4 win over the Lakeland Flying Tigers Thursday at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla.
The Threshers jumped on top of the Flying Tigers with runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings to give them a 3-0 lead. But a four-run sixth inning gave the Flying Tigers a 4-3 advantage heading into the seventh.
Clearwater’s rally began when Altherr tied the game with a solo home run. After right fielder Kelly Dugan took a walk, Serritella drove a ball out of the park for a two-run homer to give Clearwater the lead for good.
Clearwater starter Perci Garner was rolling strong through five shutout innings, but after he gave up four earned runs, he was promptly pulled in favor of Colby Shreve. Shreve threw two innings, giving up only four hits and recording two strikeouts to give him his first win with the Threshers.
Colton Murray shut the door on the Flying Tigers in the eighth and ninth innings to pick up his seventh save of the season.
Altherr got things started for the Threshers in the bottom of the first when he hit a one-out single to bring home left fielder Pete Lavin.
In the bottom of the fourth, it was first basemn Brock Stassi’s turn to drive in a run as he did so with a single to center field that scored Serritella, who singled earlier in the inning.
Lavin gave the Threshers a three-run advantage with a double to right field that brought home catcher Logan Moore.
Altherr and Serritella each finished with two hits and two RBI on the night. Lavin (2-for-3) and Stassi (2-for-4) were the other two Threshers with multiple hits.
The Threshers will play the second of their three-game set against the Flying Tigers at 7:11 p.m. Friday. Lefty Ethan Stewart (0-1, 7.28 ERA) will get the ball for the Threshers.
Lakewood BlueClaws – Class A
For only the second time this season, the BlueClaws were able to defeat the West Virginia Power. The BlueClaws’ second victory over the Power came by a score of 9-4 Thursday at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, W. Va.
The BlueClaws and the Power were neck and neck after four innings with the game tied, 4-4.
But the top of the fifth was when the BlueClaws began to pull away from the Power as they scored five unanswered runs to end the game.
The BlueClaws took the lead for good during the fifth on a fly out from left fielder Larry Green Jr. that brought home first baseman Art Charles.
Lakewood extended its advantage to 6-4 in the sixth when a groundout from third baseman Mitch Walding allowed second baseman Alejandro Villalobos to score.
Shortstop Roman Quinn duplicated what Walding did as he also drove in a run due to an RBI groundout.
In the top of the ninth, the BlueClaws put the finishing touches on a much-needed victory with RBI hits from designated hitter Willie Carmona and catcher Chace Numata.
Carmona (2-for-3), Charles (2-for-4), Quinn (2-for-4) and right fielder Brian Pointer (2-for-5) all recorded multiple hits.
Carmona (26 RBI) and Pointer (31 RBI) were the only ones of that group to drive in runs. Numata was responsible for two runs batted in despite going 0-for-4 on the night.
Lakewood starting pitcher Kevin Walter had a rough go of things in his brief stint on the mound Thursday. Walter gave up four earned runs, seven hits and walked three batters in only 3 2/3 innings.
After Walter was taken out, the BlueClaws bullpen held the Power to only three hits, which were all given up by Luis Paulino. Jeb Stefan (2-4) earned the victory in relief of Walter after he pitched 2 1/3 innings.
The BlueClaws will take on the Power again at 7:05 p.m. Friday for the second game of the four-game series. Right-hander Jonathan Musser (1-2, 4.70 ERA) will take the hill for Lakewood.