Just when it looks like the Red Barons are going to get hot, it all falls apart. One of the major problems at Scranton, is a theme throughout the Phillies minor league system; no power. When Kevin Sefcik shares the team lead in homeruns, there's a definite power outage. Travis Chapman also has four homeruns and is hitting .288, but his fielding has been slightly suspect. He has made seven errors for the Red Barons. The Phillies are a little miffed at the lack of power from Chase Utley. They never figured on huge homerun totals, but Utley has just two homeruns in 155 at bats.
Uriel Casillas is enjoying his promotion to AAA. Splitting his time between second and short, with one game at third base, Casillas is hitting .375 in ten games, with a .459 on base percentage.
On the mound, Amaury Telemaco has shown definite progress. The veteran is 2-5, 4.09 in nine starts with Scranton and carried a no-hitter through six innings recently. Another veteran on the comeback trail is Wayne Gomes. Gomesie is 3-2, 1.88 with four saves, to lead the Red Barons in saves.
Ken Pumphrey has really had to struggle this season. His 2-3, 6.59 record through nine starts has the Phillies thinking that Pumphrey's days may be numbered. Jeremy Wedel has been a little disappointing too, going 0-0, 4.76 in nine relief appearances, but has been hampered by some nagging injuries.
Reading Phillies (25-22)
The Reading organization isn't used to losing. With that in mind, they have had a recent resurgence to pull themselves back into contention in the Southern Division.
With Casillas and Dan Giese getting promoted to AAA and Mike Wilson traded to the Giants organization, some new faces arrived in Baseball Town. Brad Guy is 0-2, 7.27 in two starts for Reading and Ian Harvey has struggled too since his arrival, going 1-0, 6.75 in three relief appearances. Reliever Ryan Hutchison arrived from Clearwater and picked up his first AA save just hours after his arrival, pitching two shutout innings.
Taylor Buchholz (4-3, 3.42) and Martire Franco (2-0, 2.00) have pitched well. Franco is back from an injury and has been more than solid in two of his first three starts for Reading.
Juan Richardson leads the team with 10 homeruns, but he has also commited 13 errors in 45 games at third base. Aaron McNeal and Jeff Inglin both have six homeruns and Inglin is hitting .294 on the season. Edgar Cruz (.192) and Nate Espy (.156) both continue to struggle for the R-Phils.
Clearwater Phillies (28-24)
Ryan Howard continues to be the story for Clearwater. Howard has 10 homeruns and is playing excellent defensive first base for Clearwater. Unfortunately, Howard is pretty much the only offensive story at Clearwater, although Jim Deschaine is hitting is hitting .327 in 14 games.
With Hutchison's promotion to AA, Bobby Korecky is the full-time closer for Clearwater. Korecky has saved eight games and has a 2.63 ERA in 18 games this season. Gavin Floyd (4-3, 3.39) is pitching well and has struck out 55 in 61 innings of work. What Clearwater lacks in offense, they make up for in pitching with all five starters having an ERA under 3.75. In fact, Eude Brito (0-1, 4.15) is the only member of the Clearwater staff over the 3.75 mark. Layne Dawson has opened eyes, going 5-2 with a 2.96 ERA. Left-hander Matt Squires has also done well, with 15 strikeouts in 19 innings over 13 appearances, while posting a 2.79 ERA.
Lakewood BlueClaws (18-31)
It's not all doom and gloom in Lakewood. At least the arrival of Cole Hamels has sparked some excitement. The 2002 first round draft pick is 1-0 in three starts and has not allowed a run in 15 innings of work, during which he has struck out 25 hitters. While the Phillies insist they're going to be patient with Hamels, if he continues like this, there will be temptation to move him along to Clearwater before too long.
Now that Vinny DeChristafaro has exited back to extended spring training, starting pitching isn't a problem for the 'claws. The rotation consists of Hamels, Nick Bourgeois (1-2, 3.74), Francisco Butto (4-2, 1.96), Lee Gwaltney (3-3, 2.89) and Zach Segovia (1-5, 4.10).
Beau Richardson has been the main guy out of the 'pen for Lakewood. Richardson has notched three saves and is 4-2 with a 2.10 ERA in 16 games. Victor Menocal has been a workhorse for Lakewood, pitching 11 games in relief and two as a starter. In his 13 games, Menocal has pitched 44 innings and is 2-4, 4.30 with one save.