Today starts the first of three playoff series for the Phillies’ affiliates. The Threshers open up a three game series with the Daytona Tortugas, if they win they will play a five game series with the winner of the South Division best of three series.
Game 1 (@Daytona): Ricardo Pinto vs Amir Garrett
Game 2 (@Clearwater): John Richy vs Nick Travieso
Game 3 (@Clearwater): David Whitehead vs TBD
C: Willians Astudillo/Chace Numata
1B: Rhys Hoskins
2B: Jesmuel Valentin
SS: Malquin Canelo
3B: Mitch Walding/Derek Campbell
LF: Andrew Pullin
CF: Carlos Tocci
RF: Aaron Brown
The Threshers’ strength is their hitting. The offense is paced by first baseman Rhys Hoskins who lead the Phillies organization in nearly all offensive categories. Jesmuel Valentin will lead off and has been on fire since coming back from his suspension. Carlos Tocci has been up and down in Clearwater and left fielder Andrew Pullin’s numbers haven’t been great, but Pullin lead the FSL in HRs. Elsewhere in the lineup Willians Astudillo lead the league in hitting, both Aaron Brown and Malquin Canelo have come on strong and provide both power and speed. The real strength of the Threshers though is their defense where they have average to plus defenders at every position but catcher. In particular the outfield defense is a key, as both Tocci and Brown can make up for a lot of mistakes by pitchers.
The Threshers haven’t announced who would start game 1 of next series so it is hard to know who is available in the bullpen. For this series though, the Threshers will have their ace, Ricardo Pinto, on the mound. Pinto is coming off his worst start since his promotion, but he has been very good this year and the Phillies have complete faith in him in a playoff situation. John Richy had one good start and one bad start, but his stuff plays in this league. David Whitehead is a bit weak here as he lives in the zone without big stuff, and the bullpen will be on call early and often.
Speaking of the bullpen, this is the key for the Threshers in the playoffs. For multiple innings the Threshers could turn to either Victor Arano or Yacksel Rios who both can go as many as 4-5 innings or as short as a 1 inning burst. Both have had their stuff play up in the bullpen. For short bursts the Threshers can roll out Jesen Therrien, Miguel Nunez, Alberto Tirado, and Alexis Rivero, all who have been lights out for stretches. For the end, the closer has been Ulises Joaquin who has been shaky but good. The lockdown guy here is Alexis Rivero who has a 1.37 ERA over his last 10 games (19.2 IP) with 9 hits, 5 walks, and 21 strikeouts.
Summing Up the Series:
The series is all about getting to the bullpen with a lead, so it won’t be surprising if the starters are on a short leash. Daytona starting pitching is very good, so the Threshers will need to get some timely hitting from a lineup that has the second most runs scored this year. The Threshers have been very good in the clutch all year in addition to just being the best team in the league.
Image by Baseball Betsy