Minor Issues: BlueClaws Beat Teams with Dumb Names

LEHIGH VALLEY IRONPIGS (44-65)

If you’re turning to the minors to seek mercy from the onslaught of poor luck and worse timing on the major league level, just stop where you are and right the hell around.  Vance Worley stormed onto the Triple-A scene, specs and all, but even his not-traded-to-Houston arm could get bats connecting with balls against the Buffalo Bison.

The Pigs are in free fall, losing seven games in a row, and while that may invoke some pretty hilarious imagery, it also means they are 1-9 in extra inning games this year.  That’s really bad.

The most recent loss, a 2-1 extra innings disassembling, came despite the almighty return of OF Rich Thompson, who got Domonic Brown-ed down to Double-A Reading until the kid was transplanted up to Philadelphia.

TOP PERFORMER: Vance Worley again.  He took a three-hit shutout with him into the seventh, and until now, had pitched 10 straight innings without allowing a run to be scored on himself.  TRADE HIM TRADE HIM TRADE FOR AN ACE HURRY.

READING PHILLIES (53-53)

But it doesn’t stop there!  The R-Phils just took part in a promotional event for the Richmond Flying Squirrels called “Awful Night,” which was apparently so mind-numbingly terrible it shorted out the stadium lights and the game was suspended.

It’s got to be pretty tiring to be a minor league manager.  Your harvesting these young players to compete or dominate at the major league level, so when they’re ripe, they’re probably going to be moving along, leaving you and your increasingly bleak division race in the dust.  At .500, without most of the starters they began the year with, and Vance Worley getting crazy in Lehigh Valley, Steve Roadcap isn’t left with a lot of options.

Yesterday against the Akron Aeroes, however, the Phils stole five bases, three alone coming courtesy of OF Michael Spidale‘s legs.  This little statistic isn’t even that impressive when you consider all the ins and outs of the eight run second the Phillies slapped together to punish Aeroes starter Anthony Reyes until he had to go leave and think about what he’d done.

1B Matt Rizzotti, who in the next few days will be a name you will hear but not a face you will see, committed to a pair of doubles, as did C Tuffy Gosewisch, but the real nightmare was OF Timo Perez, who’s 4-for-6 day with 2 RBI is enough to net him the Top Performer.

TOP PERFORMER:  Seriously?  I just told you.

LAKEWOOD BLUECLAWS (65-40)

It was a few days ago, but the BlueClaws certainly swept the Delmorva Shorebirds in a double header thanks in part to Sebastian Valle‘s home run in the top of the 10th inning of the first game.  This was merely the latest in a BlueClawing of the Single-A South Atlantic League so voracious and unrelenting that it won them the 2009 league championship, the first half championship of 2010, and has placed them fives games ahead of any team that dares challenge them.  Julio Rodriguez proved the first game wasn’t a fluke by pitching the ‘Claws to a 5-0 win in the second match.

So just shut up.

Remember how I was slobbering all over Jonathan Pettibone last week?  Well, he came back for more (more awesome pitching, not… slobbering) and dammed the West Virginia Power (“Power?” Srsly?) to four hits over seven innings.

Now they’re about to start a three game series against a team called “The Drive.”  Ha, ha, ha.  Come on, “guy who names minor league baseball teams.”

TOP PERFORMER: Its a week of repeats.  I’m giving it to Pettibone again.  If you disagree that much, you probably live in New Jersey, and I don’t care.

CLEARWATER THRESHERS (51-56)

With the Threshers being a below .500 Single-A baseball team, the Threshers biggest story is that they lost Anthony Gose in the Roy Oswalt trade.  We Major League level followers don’t get to see much of these guys, so when they are traded, it feels like at times we’re handing over a bunch of invisible men for a guy like Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt.  Here, in Clearwater, is where they feel deals like this the most.

Until a few years from now, when our bone dry farm system is finally echoing loud enough to effect the ML Phils.  Gose was one of the team’s bigger defensive assets, and apparently had a smoking hot June, hitting .308 with 36 steals and only one triple shy of the franchise record (12).

We’ll miss you, Gose, eventually, and we’ll always think about the “Goose” puns that would have undoubtedly rocked the 400 levels upon your major league debut.

Farewell.

WILLIAMSPORT CROSSCUTTERS (26-17)

So you’ll probably recall me gushing over Eric Pettis last week, awarding him high honors and basically just filling up this space with chants of mindless praise.  Which, if you read this blog, is about 50% of what it is anyway, except for the times when it is chants of mindless hostility.

But the official site of the New York-Penn League is giving an equal volcano of joyous compliments.  He’s being carefully shifted out to the bullpen, after starting for Williamsport for the first half and going 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA in five games.  The Phillies, no doubt, have spotted the illustrious arm and are looking to slightly close the window of opportunity for injuries to sneak in–and given the graveyard currently making up their infield, their paranoia is agreeable.

Meanwhile, in an actual game that was played, C Jeff Lanning made the Mahoning Valley Scrappers his bitch with three hits and a game-tying dinger for the Cutters.  Led by Lanning and 3B Carlos Alonso RBI double, the Cutters crawled back after being kicked for three runs early in the game.

TOP PERFORMER: Jeff Lanning, because of his day today coupled with the fact that there are three damn catchers on that team skulking for playing time and stuff like this is his ticket to some more.

Tags: Anthony Gose Clearwater Threshers Jonathan Pettibone Lakewood BlueClaws Lehigh Valley IronPigs Phillies Reading Phillies Vance Worley

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