July 5, 2009 10:28 PM

Bunts and Balks (7/5)

MLB: JUN 16 Blue Jays at Phillies

Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez were voted as All-Star starters, and Ryan Howard was selected as a reserve. Utley, Ibanez, and Howard were all very deserving, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Howard in the Home Run Derby. Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson, and Brad Lidge would have been worthy based on their successes in 2008, but not so much for their numbers in 2009. It is probably for the best that they will get the extra days off, particularly the pitchers.

Shane Victorino was chosen to be part of the Final Vote, for the last NL roster spot. Statistically, Victorino might be the fourth best, out of the five candidates. Considering the market sizes of the five players' home cities, Victorino and LA's Matt Kemp could be the top two in the voting. If some NL outfielders (Ibanez? Carlos Beltran?) cannot play, a spot might open for Victorino, regardless of the results of the voting. (I'll abstain, rather than voting against Victorino, but my vote would go to SF's Pablo Sandoval, over ARI's Mark Reynolds.)

Raul Ibanez is scheduled to rehab in Reading (AA), starting on Monday. Hopefully, he'll actually play in games this time. If he can get a few games in, he could get some MLB action prior to the All-Star game.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA) held on in the ninth, for a 2-0 victory over the Syracuse SkyChiefs. Kyle Kendrick pitched brilliantly, with eight scoreless (six hits, one walk/three strikeouts) innings. He was removed after throwing ninety-three pitches.
Cedrick Bowers, with ten and two-thirds consecutive scoreless relief innings entering the game, made things very interesting in the ninth. He permitted a double and a pair of walks, to load the bases with two outs. Fortunately, Syracuse ran out of viable batters, and had to bat .125-hitting catcher Jhonatan Solano (with pitcher Logan Kensing on deck), with the game on the line. Solano drove the ball 380 ft. ... where it was tracked down by FeHogs CF Jason Ellison. A bit too close for comfort...
In related news, the name "SkyChiefs" always reminds me of this song, for some reason.

The Reading Phillies (AA) were tied with the Connecticut Defenders, 3-3 after six innings, but went on to lose, 12-5. Clearwater Threshers (A) ace Yohan Flande continued to struggle with the R-Phils. Flande surrendered ten hits and six runs (five earned), in six innings. Connecticut stole six bases against Flande, including two steals of home (as parts of double steals). Flande might need to work on holding runners a bit. Jeremy Slayden had a homer, and Neil Sellers went three-for-three, in the losing effort.

The Clearwater Threshers (A) took a 8-0 lead after three innings, and held on to beat the Lakeland Flying Tigers , 10-6. Starter Michael Galen Cisco held Lakeland to a solo homer, pitching five strong innings (five hits, one walk/four strikeouts) for his fifth win (in six decisions). Steve Susdorf went three-for-five, with his first homer. Susdorf is now batting .434, OBPing .483, and slugging .547, for an OPS of 1.030. Yikes.
The motto of the Lakeland Flying Tigers is "Every Game is a Mission." Lakeland has succeeded in only three of their ten second-half missions.

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