Saturday night is a night the Reading Fightin Phils would like to forget. Starter Jesse Biddle (2-2, 2.56) didn't make it out of the first inning and New Hampshire (Blue Jays) went on to beat Reading 15-5. Things got so bad that catcher John Suomi pitched the final inning, allowing two earned runs on a walk and two hits. The series wraps up today with Seth Rosin (1-2, 3.00) getting the call for Reading and Ryan Tepera (3-1, 3.42) starting for the Fisher Cats.
The Fightins are now 12-15 on the season after dropping their last five games. Reading has especially had problems at home this season, going 4-7 in "Baseballtown". The highpoint of the season was after Reading swept Harrisburg to move to 11-8 on the season, but losing seven-of-eight since then has dropped them to their lowpoint.
Waitin' on a Friend... Justin Friend struggled in his first outing with Reading Saturday night, going 1/3 of an inning and allowing four earned runs on three hits and four walks. Friend found himself back at Reading - where he posted phenomenal numbers (2-0, 0.23, 24 SV) in 2012 - after struggling in eight relief appearances at Lehigh Valley this season. Overall this season, Friend has compiled 16 walks and struck out ten hitters in 14 1/3 innings of work.
|Eastern League, Eastern Division standings (as of May 5)|
|Portland (Red Sox)||18||9||-|
|New Britain (Twins)||14||15||5.0|
|New Hampshire (Blue Jays)||14||16||5.5|
|Reading Fightin Phils||12||15||6.0|
If only... Tyler Knigge was one of four pitchers - if you consider Suomi a pitcher - who got shelled Saturday night. Knigge's numbers are deceiving, because the vast majority of his 6.00 ERA comes from two relief appearances where he allowed four earned runs, once in one inning of work and the other time in 1 2/3 innings of work. Both of those outings have come on the road, where his season ERA is 11.57 compared to just 1.13 at home this season. If you could hack into the league computers (no, we're not suggesting you try) and erase those two outings, Knigge's record would stand at 1-1 with a 1.46 ERA on the season.
This ain't so tough... Right-hander Mike Nesseth, 25, made his Double-A debut Friday night with Reading. He came on with the bases loaded and one out and worked out of the jam without allowing a run. Nesseth got Sean Ochinko to pop into an unusual double-play when teammate Kevin Nolan wandered too far off the second base bag on a pop-out to second baseman Albert Cartwright. Nesseth then added a scoreless inning of his own to get his Double-A career off to a good start.
Hey, look who's back... Just as Justin Friend's struggles at Lehigh Valley put him back at Reading, outfielder Tyson Gillies found himself in the same situation. The Phillies reportedly tinkered with Gillies swing (remember when they tried that with Domonic Brown?) and he hasn't exactly picked up on the changes, although Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage said Gillies was performing well in practice, but was just unable to make the changes stick in game situations. In 18 games with the IronPigs, Gillies was hitting just .148 and truly looked lost at the plate.
Reading's Best... Some Reading Figthin Phils players dot the organizational leader boards. Reading players lead the organization in saves (Kyle Simon, 5) and Strikeouts (Jesse Biddle, 40). They also lead in team ERA with a mark of 4.48 on the season. Other players on the list include, Jesse Biddle (2.56 ERA, second), Seth Rosin (3.00 ERA, third), Tyler Henson (.333 AVG, fifth) and Albert Cartwright (.317 AVG, sixth). The Fightins rank third as a team in hitting with a .244 average.