Friday, August 13, 2010

BlueClaws Fall in Close Contest

Another solid outing by starting pitcher Brody Colvin was not enough to lock down a victory as the BlueClaws began a homestand against the Orioles' Class A affiliate Delmarva in Lakewood on Thursday night. In his last start before his 20th birthday, Colvin cruised through the Shorebirds' lineup allowing just 2 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 6, in 5 innings in front of 6,149 fans at FirstEnergy Park.

Colvin would allow an unearned run in the first inning, after right fielder Brian Conley doubled and first baseman Mike Flacco grounded a ball that Lakewood third baseman Stephen Batts couldn't handle. The ball was kicked away and Conley scored. Colvin's shine didn't dim after the defensive blunder, however, as he shut down 11 of the next 12 batters, allowing just 1 walk during that stretch.

The BlueClaws had a tough time clapping back in the early going. To start the game, 7 of the first 10 Lakewood batters reached base, including two singles from lead-off man Jiwan James, but the team failed to score, thanks to a poor call by the field umpire on a pick off play, a caught stealing, a fielders choice and a double play.

Lakewood tied the game at 1 in the 5th inning, when recent addition Keoni Ruth, who was signed away from Maui of the independent Golden Baseball League, led off with a double and was driven in when left fielder Leandro Castro laced a single off of Delmarva starter Brent Allar.

Colvin was finished after 5 innings, as his organization imposed per-outing 5 innings limit was reached. Colvin has allowed 0 earned runs in 10 innings over his last two starts, after suffering a loss to West Virginia on July 31st.

"Brody threw very well tonight," manager Mark Parent said after Thursday's match up. "We didn't play very good defense, but he looked really good. His last 2 times out, he has looked really good. The time before that, his mechanics fell apart and he corrected some things and that's what you want to see from a young guy...the ability to correct himself out there on the mound."

Colvin has allowed 0 earned runs in 6 of his last 7 starts.

Regarding the possibility of Colvin's innings limit being lifted as the playoffs approach and games become more important, Parent said, "That's something we've talked about. Chuck Lamar (Phillies asst. general manager in charge of player development) and the other guys are discussing, the closer we get to it, what we're going to do with it."

The 2010 BlueClaws pitching staff's biggest surprise Luke Wertz took the mound in relief of Colvin to hurl 2 shutout innings, while surrendering no hits, walking just 1 and striking out 3 Shorebirds batters. In 18 home games this season, the 24-year-old Wertz has posted a stunningly low 0.25 ERA and held opposing batters to a .133 batting average.

The Shorebirds scored the eventual winning run in the 8th inning, when shortstop Garabez Rosa led off with a double off of reliever Ebelin Lugo. New Jersey native TJ Baxter, Delmarva's left fielder, capped off an 0-for-4 night (bringing his FirstEnergy Park line to 1-for-22 on the season thus far) with a failed sacrifice bunt attempt, as Lugo fielded the ball and threw Rosa out at 2nd base. With one out, Baxter didn't allow his offensive Garden State ineptitude to get the best of him. The 24th round 2008 draft selection jacked his team leading 29th bag to get himself into scoring position. Delmarva third baseman Ty Kelly then followed with a double that drove home the Toms River High School East graduate.

Aaron Swenson earned the win and left-hander Will Startup threw 2 shutout innings to earn his first save with the Shorebirds.

The BlueClaws were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position on Thursday.

Phillies 2008 first round draft pick Anthony Hewitt went 0-for-4 in the contest for the BlueClaws, bringing his season average down to .199.

Delmarva (51-65) and first half Northern Division winning Lakewood (69-46) continue their 5-game series on Friday at 7:05pm when righty 'Bird Kenny Moreland faces the 'Claws' Trevor May.


Right-hander Joe Esposito, who was recently signed away from the independent Long Island Ducks and served as a reliever for Lakewood was promoted to Clearwater to take Austin Hyatt's spot in the Thresher's starting rotation. Hyatt, an integral pitcher during the BlueClaws' 2009 championship run, was promoted to Double A Reading this week.

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