Minor Matters: Slow Start On The Farm

With just one winning team in the minors, things haven't been going well for the Phillies' farm system. In Lakewood, the 0-9 BlueClaws are pulling out all the stops to try to get their first win of the season. Meanwhile, the Clearwater Threshers have already won more games than they did all of last April.

Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons
3-6, 3.0 GB - last in the IL North Division

Carlos Ruiz (3-8-.333) has hit safely in all but two games this season and currently has a three-game hitting streak and leads the Red Barons in both homeruns and RBI... Bobby Scales (2-5-.407) continues to be impressive. The Padres castoff is hitting .407 and has played flawless defense, playing five games at third base and two more in the outfield... Eude Brito (0-1, 4.50) bounced back from a horrible first outing this season to pitch well in Scranton's home opener Friday night. The Red Barons made four errors that led to three unearned runs, but Brito kept his composure and finished the night without giving up an earned run through five innings of work... Clay Condrey (0-0, 3.68) was on fire Friday night. The right-hander is adjusting to life in the bullpen, but threw two perfect innings, needing just 20 pitches and recording two strikeouts. Of his 20 pitches, 17 were strikes... Yoel Hernandez (1-0, 0.00, 2SV) has thrown five scoreless innings, giving up four hits and not issuing a walk, while striking out five. You have to figure that if the Phillies bullpen problems don't straighten themselves out, the boys at Scranton could get some attention... Plus, the Red Barons bullpen just added Dan Giese (1-0, 0.00 at Reading), who hadn't allowed a run in 6 2/3 innings of work at AA. Giese takes the place of Ben Shaffar, who went on the DL with a right elbow strain.

Reading Phillies
2-7, 5.0 GB - Last in the EL Southern Division

You can't say enough about Giovany Gonzalez' (0-0, 0.00) outing on Thursday night. The left-hander worked himself into a bases loaded jam in the seventh inning of a scoreless ballgame and rebounded to strike out the next two hitters to end the threat. Gonzalez threw seven shutout innings to take his streak of scoreless innings to 12. He also has 13 strikeouts in those 12 innings, while allowing just seven hits. Opponents are hitting just .167 against him... The Reading bullpen will work a little short for a couple days with the promotion of Giese to AAA... Tim Moss finally has a hit at AA; The slumping second base prospect dropped a single into shallow right field in his first at bat Friday night. The hit broke an 0-for-25 start for Moss at the AAA level and he finished the night hitting .034 (1-for-29)... Center fielder Michael Bourn has been lights out defensively and made another fantastic play Friday night. Offensively, he's struggling, hitting just .184 (7-for-38). Bourn is off to an 0-for-7 start at home... The R-Phils are hitting just .192 this season.

Clearwater Threshers 6-3, 0.0 GB - Tied for first in the FSL West Division

The Threshers are the only Phillies team in the organization with a winning record... Avelino Asprilla is a little known infield prospect, but he's hitting .467 (7-for-15). The 25 year old played in the Pirates organization for the past seven seasons before coming to the Phillies as a a minor league free agent. For some reason, Asprilla has never played above High-A ball, but has a .282 career minor league average... To show just how quickly numbers can change this time of year, consider Mike Costanzo (1-7-.214). He came into Monday's game hitting .333 and has watched his average fall over .100 points. The future Phillies third baseman has gone 3-for-24 (.125) this week. A 1-for-9 in Clearwater's 20 inning marathon didn't help, although he did drive in the go-ahead run in the top of the 20th inning... With Cole Hamels (1-0, 0.00) and Zack Segovia (1-1, 2.57) both pitching so well at the top of the rotation, it's easy to miss other strong performances. The Clearwater staff has a 2.40 ERA on the season. Derek Griffith (1-0, 0.75) has been pretty much lights out as part of the rotation. Julio De La Cruz (0-0, 0.00) threw five impressive shutout innings in his first start of the season as well. In the bullpen, Joe Bisenius hasn't allowed a run in five innings of work. Adam Shafer (0-0, 5.40, 5 SV) hasn't exactly been lights out, but has five saves in five opportunities.

Lakewood BlueClaws
0-9, 7.0 GB - Last in the SAL Northern Division

Lakewood has lost the first nine games of the season and they don't want the see the number go to double digits before their first win. The BlueClaws front office has guaranteed a victory on Saturday and when the BlueClaws win, everybody at FirstEnergy Park will receive free tickets to another game this season. Hey, whatever works... It's tough to win when your team is hitting .187 and has a 4.13 staff ERA. 17 errors in nine games doesn't help either... Still, there are some bright spots; Welinson Baez (1-5-.360) is off to a great start at the plate. Defensively, he's made three miscues... Carlos Carrasco seems destined for one of those tough luck seasons. He's pitched well in two starts, but lost both, posting a 1.50 ERA in the two starts. In 12 innings, he's whiffed 14 hitters... Maximo De La Cruz (0-0, 1.80) pitched well in his first start and Andrew Barb (0-1, 1.80) has been the most effective reliever in Lakewood... Justin Blaine (0-0, 6.00) has a strained oblique muscle. Cory Dueitt has been called in from extended camp to take his spot in the bullpen.

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