LAKEWOOD, NJ- After dropping somewhat of an agonizing contest in the front end of the double header Wednesday night, the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws rode strong pitching and some luck into a split of the two seven-inning games.
In the opener, the Marlins affiliate, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, touched up Lakewood starter Ervin Manzanillo for 7 earned runs over 2-plus innings pitched, and the defending South Atlantic League champions cold not bounce back. Greensboro downed the BlueClaws 9-2 in the night’s first game.
First baseman Jim Murphy homered to lead off the bottom of the second inning, in the night cap, to put Lakewood up 1-0.
The BlueClaws offense struggled to get much more done throughout the remainder of the game, but managed to add 3 more runs in the bottom of the 6th inning, when catcher Torre Langley plated Aaron Altherr with a sacrifice fly, and a double steal led to two runs. With runners on 1st and 3rd, Anthony Hewitt safely swiped 2nd base, which allowed Geancarlo Mendez to break for home and score. A throwing error by shortstop Daniel Black on the play and the hustle of Hewitt, who also scored, gave Lakewood a 4-0 lead.
The BlueClaws notched just 3 hits in the victory. Manager Chris Truby, speaking after the game, addressed the limited offense and the luck that played a factor in Lakewood’s victory.
“They handed us, basically, two runs on that (play in the 6th). We’ll take it any way we can. We’re obviously struggling to score runs, so whenever we get a chance to take advantage of some mistakes, we’ll take it,” Truby said.
Eric Pettis, entered the game to close things out and the extra runs proved valuable as the Grasshoppers forced two runners across home plate in the 7th. Pettis, however, shut the door and sealed the win to send the BlueClaws to a 3-3 record on the season.
Right-hander Garrett Claypool, who was drafted in the 11th round out of UCLA by the Phillies in 2010, made the spot start for the club and tossed 4 sharp innings, striking out 7 Greensboro batters and walking just 1 in the process.
According to Truby, Claypool received less than a day’s notice that he would be making the start. Claypool played it cool however, sticking to the frame of mind of “I just want to pitch.”
“Pitching is pitching,” Claypool stated. “So, whether you’re starting or relieving you’ve just gotta go out there and throw strikes. Luckily, I was getting ahead of guys and I had all my pitches working, so everything worked out.”
Juan Sosa, a 21-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic, threw 2 scoreless innings to earn the win for the BlueClaws.
Murphy’s homerun was his second of the season, and the team’s second also. Murphy was selected in the 17th round by the Phillies in the 2007 draft out of Washington State University.
Lakewood and Greensboro go back at it on Thursday at 6:35 PM in the series finale. Lakewood will then hit the road for the first time this season for a 9-game stretch.
In other news…a contact within the Phillies organization has told PhoulBallz and PhilliesNation that highly regarded prospect Brody Colvin will miss just one turn in the Clearwater Threshers’ rotation. Colvin was placed on the 7-day disabled list on Monday with a mild back strain. Tyler Cloyd is a likely option to fill the void temporarily.
Triple A Lehigh Valley was rained out in Rochester on Wednesday. The teams will play a double header on Thursday, beginning at 12:05 PM.
The Reading Phillies won their match up with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Wednesday by a score of 4-1. Austin Hyatt earned the win, to take his record to 2-0 on the season. Second baseman Harold Garcia went 3-for-4 for the R-Phils. Phillippe Aumont threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his first save of the season.
The Threshers won their match up with the Daytona Cubs, 2-1, on Wednesday. Jonathan Pettibone went 6 innings, allowing just 1 earned run. Justin Friend earned his 3rd save of the season with a scoreless 9th inning. Joe Savery slapped another couple of hits in this contest to drop his batting average to .640…yes, .640!
Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league contributor. You can read more from Jay by checking out his site, PhoulBallz.com.