It’s no surprise that the Peoria Javelinas and their high-scorin’, gunslingin’ antics got them into the Arizona Fall League Championship game. Sure, it may not mean a whole lot, but they are the only Phillies affiliate to win a championship, and I’ll be damned if you’re negative attitude is going to ruin this for me.
**huffs rag soaked in turpentine**
It’s been a turbulent offseason for these kids. First, they had to go to Arizona. Then, they had to team up with a crew of ragtag prospects from the Padres, Reds, Mariners, and Twins. Would they put their differences aside, come together and eventually win it all? I just told you, yes. But now these young Phils of the future return home, uncertain of what even an ostrich is doing here and why it wants so badly to fight them.
But an AFL trophy is just what they need to overcome such trauma. First, the numbers.
- Tommy Joseph: 49 AB, 10 H, 1 2B, 5 RBI, 6 BB, 8 SO, .204/.224/.515
- Cody Asche: 89 AB, 25 H, 11 2B, 1 HR, 12 RBI, .281/.438/.782
- Zach Collier: 62 AB, 23 H, 4 2B, 3 3B, 10 RBI, 12 BB, .371/.461/.532
- Tyler Knigge: 12.0 IP, 7.50 ERA, 13 H, 10 ER, 5 BB, 10 K
- Jay Johnson: 8.0 IP, 10.13 ERA, 13 H, 9ER, 9 BB, 14 K
- Kyle Simon: 12.0 IP, 9.00 ERA, 21 H, 12 ER, 3 BB, 8 K
Collier is clearly the MVP of the group, going on an offensive tear and also walking a lot–they all wound up walking a lot. Whether that’s a sign fo completely gasses young AFL pitchers or an increased awareness at the plate, we’ll never know. I mean we, here at this site will never know. Beat writers and the like; they probably know already.
The championship game was not a glorious arena for our heroes’ triumph, however. Joseph didn’t get go play, and only Jay Johnson saw action out of the pen, allowing a hit but then punching out the only batter he needed to get. Asche got the start at third, as he did most of the season, and Collier played left and then center field in the eighth. Collier grounded out three teams, but did have a successful sac bunt, while Asche went 0-for-2 with two of those walks I was just mentioning.
The real heroes, however, came from other squads. The Mariners’ young catcher Mike Zunino went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI, knocking in the Reds’ Billy Hamilton at one point in the first inning after he led off the game with a triple. The Padres’ outfielder Rymer Liriano was 3-for-3, and Nate Roberts went 3-for-4 with an astounding mustache.
The Salt River Rafters did their best to overcome various small deficits, and all the scoring was done in the first three innings, leading to an intense start that ended in six long, monotonous innings. But the 4-3 victory for Peoria came to a mighty close when the Padres’ Kevin Quackenbush set the last SR batter down on strikes. Then everything came to a mighty pause when the first ever AFL protest was staged on a call in the seventh regarding whether or not Nationals prospect Brian Goodwin left third base too early on a sac fly (he did). Then everything came to a mighty close, again, and the Javelinas flooded the field, celebrating wildly, like a herd of actual javelinas after a delicious kill.
So now, it’s back to boring old regular fall, when there is no baseball played, hockey is on strike, the Eagles are cannibalizing each other, and Andrew Bynum’s knee tries to escape from his body. It’s a cold world once you leave Arizona. But that’s not fair. They say it’s a real dry heat.