Minor League Report - April 21, 2004

Another rough night for the Phillies farm system. In five games, the Phils prospects dropped four of them with only Scranton getting a win in the first game of their double-header. It's becoming increasingly clear that pitching is the name of the game throughout the Phillies minor league system.

AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons: The Red Barons split their double-header with Buffalo Tuesday night. In the nightcap, Shane Bowers went six innings and allowed four earned runs. He pitched better than those numbers might indicate though, since he allowed just four hits and one walk. Still, Bowers overall performance hasn't been what the Phillies were hoping for and he's 0-2, 6.75 this season for Scranton. One of the reasons Bowers lasted six innings is because the Red Barons bullpen is a little tired of late.

In the opener, Josh Hancock pitched a beauty. The prospect went 5.1 innings, allowing four hits and one earned run to lower his ERA to the 2.93 mark. Geoff Geary notched his third save of the season in the opener.

Offensively, Scranton didn't manage to do too much, getting eight hits combined in the two games. They made the most of them though, getting six runs.

AA Reading Phillies: If you want a glimpse of the kind of pitching that the Phillies have in mind for their major league club in the not too distant future, look at the Reading Phillies. The R-Phils have a 2.44 staff ERA. Gavin Floyd has pitched 10.2 innings without allowing a run and Eude Brito has gone 7.1 innings without allowing a run and Matt Squires extended his streak to six scoreless innings Tuesday night.

The bullpen has a 1.64 ERA this season with four saves. Simply put, the bullpen is basically lights out. The starters ERA is 2.86 thus far. If you subtract Mike Spiegel (0-2, 6.43) and Rob Tejeda (1-1, 5.79), who have struggled in the rotation, the combination of Keith Bucktrot, Gavin Floyd and Frank Perez have a 1.32 ERA.

Watch out for Reading when the offense picks up. Reading hitters are hitting at just a .221 clip and have managed only 32 runs in 11 games.

A Clearwater Threshers: With Clearwater's 1-0 loss to Sarasota Tuesday night, the Threshers are now 3-10. The Threshers offense wasted a good outing by Nick Bourgeois, who went six innings, allowing just four hits to lower his ERA to 1.29 on the season.

In their 13 games, the Threshers have committed 21 errors. They also have just one homerun on the season. You know those numbers have to be adding some more grey to Mike Schmidt's hair. Of course, maybe it's making Schmidty feel young again since his first season as a manager is much like his first couple seasons as a major leaguer since he was on some pretty bad teams back then.

While there isn't any power, the Threshers are hitting a little better than Reading, with a .235 team batting average. Again, it's the pitching that's worth talking about. The staff ERA is 3.68. The starters ERA (3.53) is slightly better than the relievers ERA of 3.84 in the early going.

A Lakewood BlueClaws: Lakewood pounded out 10 hits, but came out on the short end of a 5-4 game against the Rome Braves Tuesday night. Probably the best news of the night is that second baseman Tim Moss had two hits. Moss, the Phillies third round pick in last year's draft, has looked downright overmatched at the plate this season. His 2-4 night brought his average up to .118. The Phillies would love to see Moss pick up the pace.

Everybody in the lineup had at least one hit Tuesday night, with Moss leading the way with two.

You want to talk about bad luck? How about Chris Woodrow. An error by Javon Moran allowed an unearned run to score, making Woodrow the loser when he actually pitched two good innings and allowed just the one unearned run. Woodrow has thrown 8.2 innings in four relief appearances, allowing seven hits and no walks with a 0.00 ERA. His record is 1-1 on the season. Woodrow joins Dan Hodges (5 IP), Kyle Parcus (5.1 IP) and Paco Reyes (5 IP) as part of the bullpen group that has yet to allow an earned run this season. The bullpen has a 2.85 ERA. Take out Justin Libey (12.60 ERA) and Victor Menocal (6.00 ERA) and the ERA drops to an amazing 0.60 for the rest of the relief corps.

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