We note this all the time, but minor league baseball is about working on your game and developing into a well-rounded player. For starting pitchers, that means seeing what you can do with more than just a straight fastball and breaking ball.
After the first few games of the 2015 season, Jesse Biddle gradually went to work on seeing what he could do with two-seam fastballs (sinkers) and the slider that he’s been throwing with more and more command over the past year or two. At this point in the season, through hard work and ups and downs, he’s having a solid amount of success on the mound and developing a great deal of confidence in those two pitches. This week in Trenton, both were on display big time as Jesse entered the 8th inning having thrown just 78 pitches through seven. Everything had been down in the zone all night long, meaning ground balls and little flare pop-ups for the most part. He wasn’t worried about strikeouts. The goal was to challenge hitters and let them get themselves out. Nothing like success when you’ve been working hard to add something to your arsenal.
Things did get a bit dicey in that last inning. He ended his night on the mound with a total of 94 pitches, but even in that last inning he was hitting the zone, almost inducing two double-plays that would have gotten him back in the dugout quickly for a shot at a complete game. Instead, he left the 8th with one out to go after giving up a couple hits. He was noticeably spent after a superb pitching performance.
It’s a team game, though, right? Colton Murray came in with the bases loaded to clean things up for the Kid from Mt. Airy, getting Aaron Judge to fly out to Kelly Dugan in right field. No harm, no foul. In the end, the Fightins got the win 8-2, which is all Jesse really cares about.
Over the past five games, he is 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA. For the season, his overall record is 6-1.
Jesse is scheduled to pitch this Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. in Reading and then again on Friday evening at 7:05 p.m. If you haven’t seen the Reading Fightin Phils yet this season, you owe it to yourself to come on out for a game. Guys like Aaron Altherr, Brock Stassi, and J.P. Crawford are raking almost every night. A number of bullpen pitchers including Colton Murray, Nefi Ogando, and Tyler Knigge have a real shot at the bigs if they just keep pitching their games and wait their turn. And you really don’t need to just come on a Jesse Biddle night. Every time the Fightins take the field their starting pitcher is a major leaguer in the making. Take your pick: Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, Tom Windle, or Jesse Biddle — they’re all busting their butts and have the talent to make it to The Show. It’s just a matter of time and hard (hard) work.
See you out there.