Game 10: Senators 9, Fightin Phils 3 (Video Highlights)
LET’S TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT: After four batters, the Reading Fightin Phils managed to load the bases against Harrisburg starter AJ Cole. After so many bad first innings in the Senators’ first nine games, it sure seemed like deja vu all over again that was going to result in a deficit of a couple of runs. Instead, Cole only surrended one run on a sacrifice fly and stopped the early momentum in its tracks. “I thought the key to today was being able to limit the damage in the first. He hit two batters, and the way it’s been going here, that would turn into 3-4 runs,” manager Brian Daubach said, “But he was able to pitch out of that, which was really a key to the game.”
RESURGENCE: Destin Hood looks like a completely different guy at the plate and on the basepaths than he was the last two seasons here. After a 4-for-5 day, Hood raised his average to .419 on the young season. The outfielder also chipped in with one RBI, two runs scored, and three stolen bases.
BIDDLE’S BIG ADVENTURE: Top pitching prospect Jesse Biddle had a wild and wacky third inning. Leading off, speedster Michael Taylor singled up the middle. He advanced to second when Biddle committed his first error of the inning with a Johnny Damon-esque pickoff attempt. The southpaw induced a flyout from Cutter Dykstra and struck out Matt Skole, although Taylor stole third base during the at-bat. Jason Martinson tapped one back to the mound with what should have been the last out of the inning, but another Biddle throwing error plated Taylor. On the very next pitch, Martinson broke for second on Biddle’s first move and the pitcher couldn’t stop himself and ended up balking as he spiked the ball. Hood followed with an RBI single to put the Senators up 2-1. But the inning wasn’t over yet as as Hood too broke on first move and Biddle sailed one over the first baseman’s head. If the ball hadn’t gotten lodged under the tarp Hood would have advanced to third. Instead he was left stranded at second, but Biddle wasn’t the same. Seriously, if he isn’t toeing the rubber I think Biddle has some serious Mackey Sasser yips throwing the ball.
PAIN IN THE HANDS: Fightin Phils’ Kelly Dugan was in some serious pain after he was hit in his hand by an AJ Cole fastball and had to subsequently leave the game. An inning later, Harrisburg outfielder Drew Vettleson took a Biddle pitch off his hand and was removed shortly thereafter. “Right now our trainer [Eric Montague] thinks it’s just a bruise, but he’ll get an X-ray tomorrow to know for sure,” Daubach said, “We’re hoping it’s just 2-3 days.”
A PROFESSIONAL FIRST: In 106 games during his professional career pitcher Matt Grace had never faced the opposing pitcher from the viewpoint of the batter’s box. Simply put, he had never batted one single time in a game…until Sunday afternoon when he drew a four-pitch walk.
GETTING THE CALL: In Atlanta’s 10-2 win against the Nationals, outfielder Steven Souza made his major league debut when he subbed into the game to play left field. Earlier in the day, Zach Walters was promoted from Syracuse to take the roster spot of Ryan Zimmerman who broke his thumb the night before.
INSURANCE: In turn, Sean Nicol was transferred to Syracuse for today’s game to bolster the squad after the recent spate of injuries depleted the roster. Nicol is expected to return to Harrisburg for tomorrow’s game against Altoona.