Jesse pitched on Tuesday night in front of a very sparse crowd in Reading. It was his old nemesis, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Here’s the line: 7 innings, 93 pitches, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 6 hits, 4 runs, 1 home run. The Fightin Phils would win 6-5 with a walk-off single by Anthony Hewitt in the bottom of the 9th.
A couple blog posts out there say Jesse had a “rough start” and/or was “shaky.” Apparently they weren’t at the game. Yes, he gave up two singles in the 3rd with one out and then left a change-up hanging, belt-high for a three-run homer. He would also allow a single to lead off the 6th, then a one-out triple. Tough innings happen.
Other than the 3rd inning, though, he pitched a good game. Even in the 3rd he was throwing strikes and keeping hitters off-balance. He did indeed give up three runs, but he also struck out the side in the middle of the mess he was dealing with.
More than anything, it seemed like Biddle wasn’t trying to overpower hitters — something he is known for — so much as just keep them guessing. It was a good outing. There were only a few three ball counts in the whole game and he only walked one guy. He threw a lot of sliders and change-ups in the middle innings and ended the game with some biting curves.
Last year, more than likely, he would have gotten the loss. When he left the game the Fightins were down 3-4. But his teammates would tie the game in the bottom of the 8th. And even though reliever Ryan O’Sullivan gave up a go-ahead run in the top of the 9th to the Fisher Cats, he held things nice and close, giving his hitters a shot in the 9th. That’s all that the Fightins needed to pull off a comeback win with one out in the bottom of the last frame. Anthony Hewitt’s deep single to center field was sweet enough, but it came on a full count with Hewitt battling hard and showing that he has the stuff that everyone has been looking for these past few years. Look out for Anthony in 2014.
On another note, we were at the game as much to see if Tommy Joseph planned on hitting this year (he was hitless up to game time). A home run by the catcher in his first at-bat of the night sure was sweet. Edgar Duran, who has been Jesse’s short stop for four years, may be batting in the 9-hole, but he was hitting .462 on the season by the end of the night, going 2-3 with a walk. Cameron Perkins and Brock Stassi had awesome nights, too, and are hitters to watch. And, truly folks, watching Kelly Dugan at the plate is something very special. He’s a hitter’s hitter and works pitchers out every time he comes up. He had some great plays in the outfield too.
All told, this Fightin Phils team looks pretty feisty and fun. A highly recommended team to come out and watch. You may be seeing a number of future stars. As we’ve pointed out elsewhere, this Reading team has a bevy of solid young pitchers (both starters and relievers) and some hitters who well may break out in a big way this year if they stay healthy.
They’re on the road through the weekend in Harrisburg (easy to get to if you’re in the Philly area) and then head to Richmond, VA to battle the Flying Squirrels early next week. Jesse pitches on Sunday afternoon in Harrisburg, and should go again the following Saturday evening in Reading against the Senators.
Go Fightins! See you out there soon, we hope.