R-Phils Update: Starting Strong

Four-fifths of the Reading Phillies rotation is off to a strong start. It's hard to imagine where the R-Phils - who have started the season 6-10 - would be if the starters weren't throwing as well as they are.

EL Southern W L PCT GB
Altoona 13 5 .722 -
Harrisburg 12 7 .632 1.5
Bowie 11 7 .611 2.0
Akron 10 9 .526 3.5
Erie 7 11 .389 6.0
Reading 6 10 .375 6.0
As Cole Hamels prepared to move out of Clearwater, there were a lot of folks in the Reading area hoping that he would wind up with the AA R-Phils. Instead, he heads further north to pitch at AAA with Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

Hamels could have fit nicely into the Reading rotation, likely taking the place of Tim McClaskey (1-1, 7.16), who has struggled through his first three starts. Opponents are hitting .338 off McClaskey, who simply hasn't been able to get himself going this season and has been pounded in each of his three starts.

If McClaskey is doing any looking over his shoulder, the face he sees is likely that of Zack Segovia (3-1, 2.93), who is likely the next Clearwater pitcher to be promoted.

Outside of McClaskey, the Reading starters have been simply fantastic. The rest of the rotation has a season mark of 2-5, but a strong 3.04 season ERA. Giovany Gonzalez had his first bad outing of the season in his last start, giving up four earned runs in six innings. Prior to that, he had thrown 12 shutout innings, allowing just 7 hits. Even with his last outing, Gonzalez has kept opponents to a .200 batting average and he has 22 strikeouts in 18 innings of work.

Brian Mazone (0-2, 2.37) has been a pleasant surprise at AA. Mazone made two starts at AAA Fresno last season and can't be considered a longshot to return to AAA this season if he continues to pitch as well as he has. The former independent league pitcher latched on with San Francisco last season and found his way to the Phillies organization as a minor league free agent.

Tim, Peter, meet Mr.Mendoza
Tim Moss and Peter Bergeron were supposed to be two solid parts of the Reading offense. That hasn't happened just yet. The two have combined to hit just .135 (13-for-96) and have just five stolen bases between them. You would have figured they would each have about that many if things were going as they should.

Moss has had slow starts before and the Phillies are likely to be pretty patient with him. Still, you have to consider how long he can stay at AA and not have his struggles affect him mentally. You have to remember though that this is a guy who was pretty much written off by a lot of experts early in his pro career, so adversity is nothing new to Moss.

The Reading Phillies have hit just four homeruns and Angel Chavez - who is now playing at Scranton - still leads the team with two. Kudos to the Phillies though for not re-signing steroid prone Randy Ruiz when he was cut loose by the Royals last week. By the way, it looks like the Yankees may sign Ruiz and assign him to Trenton, so he could be back in Reading when those two teams square off starting May 9th.

The Phillies did re-sign John Castellano, who is currently hitting .563 for Lakewood. Word is that Castellano will be promoted to Reading in the near future to help their sagging offense.

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