Phillies Slide; IronPigs and BlueClaws Surge

The Phillies just wrapped up a 1-8 homestand by being swept by both Toronto and Baltimore. At the same time that was going on, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Lakewood BlueClaws were celebrating their good fortunes.

For the Phillies, home hasn't been so sweet this season. After an impressive 7-3 swing through the west coast and New York City, the Phillies came home and managed just one win on a nine-game homestand against Boston, Toronto and Baltimore. Thankfully, the rest of the National League East hasn't jumped on the opportunity to catch the Phillies and they still maintain a two-game lead over New York, three over Florida and 4 1/2 over Atlanta.

During the same time that their swoon was going on, the Phillies top farm club, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, were imitating the big league club and their good fortunes on the road this season.

Lehigh Valley went on an eight-game road trip and has played the best ball in the history of the young franchise. The IronPigs rattled off a six-game winning streak against Durham and Norfolk after winning the last game of their homestand to give themselves a franchise-long seven game winning streak. The streak has the 'Pigs at 32-37, back within striking distance of the .500 mark, although they remain 10 1/2 games behind Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

Andy Tracy helped to lead the surge and picked up International League Player of the Week honors by hitting .381 with three home runs and ten RBI on the week. He also compiled a .533 on-base percentage.

Lehigh Valley is now 12-8 in the month of June, thanks in part to a 3.21 staff ERA for the month. The bullpen has allowed just seven earned runs in their last 34 innings of work, with Cedric Bowers leading the way.

And at the shore, the Lakewood BlueClaws clinched the first-half division title with their 8-3 win over Hagerstown last Thursday night. The win put the 'Claws in the South Atlantic League post-season for the second time in franchise history and gives them home field advantage in the SAL playoffs.

Steven Susdorf, who was one of the hitting stars for Lakewood, was promoted to Clearwater as were Lakewood pitchers Santos Hernandez and Jon Velasquez.

Six members of the BlueClaws - pitchers Tyler Cloyd, Justin De Fratus, B.J. Rosenberg, outfielder Anthony Gose, second baseman Harold Garcia and catcher Travis D'Arnaud - were named to the SAL All-Star Team that will be managed by Lakewood manager Dusty Wathan, who was honored at being chosen to manage the club.

"Just for me personally, it's a great honor to be chosen by the other managers. When you're voted on something by your peers, it makes it more special," said Wathan.

At Double-A, Reading is ten games over .500, but still stand seven games out of first. Clearwater is hovering right around the .500 mark on the season and Williamsport has started their New York - Penn League schedule with two wins in their first three games. Next up will be the Gulf Coast League Phillies, who open their season Tuesday afternoon against the GCL Blue Jays.

Meanwhile, the Phillies look to get themselves turned around as they embark on a nine-game road trip that will take them to Tampa Bay, Toronto and Atlanta.

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