Last week, the Philadelphia Phillies organization traded away left-handed reliever Sergio Escalona to the Houston Astros. And, while it may not mean much right now (Escalona struggled in 2010), the Venezuelan reliever will be missed my many in Baseballtown in another way.
The 2010 R-Phils were an interesting team. The team struggled to play over .500 baseball for most of the year, but the team did have one thing — great chemistry. There is no better way to describe the team chemistry in Reading, than to look at what the team would do after each victory.
One of my favorite things to do as part of my day-to-day duties, is interview players after each game for our website. My videos, which can be seen online here, became a place for R-Phils players to celebrate, and one player in particular to pie his fellow teammates. That one guy was Sergio!
Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 2004, Escalona made his way through the Phillies organization. The young lefty made his Major League debut with the Phillies in 2009, and posted a 1-0 mark with a 4.61 ERA in 14 games. While 2009 was probably his most positive of his career, the 2010 season was certainly not.
After moving through three levels in 2009, Escalona spent the entire 2010 campaign in Baseballtown — posting a 4-8 record with 10 saves in 16 chances, and a 3.81 ERA over 50 games. While he did get off to a great start (April and May were solid months), the 26-year-old struggled through June and July. His worst month was June, where he went 0-1 with just one save and a 7.71 ERA over nine appearances.
But, while all of the inconsistencies in 2010, Escalona remained as the team’s “cheerleader”. When the club won, Sergio was there with a pie. When there was a big moment in a game, and a teammate was being interviewed after the game, Sergio was there — with a pie!
It became expected after each win. It became the norm. It became the highlight of my interviews. It will be missed.
Now, Escalona, who was on the Phillies 40-man roster a week ago, finds himself in Houston, with some familiar faces. And it’s Ed Wade, the former Phillies GM now turned Astros GM, who likes the potential of Escalona.
“Sergio adds depth to the competition for left-handers in our bullpen,” said Wade. “Our scouts have liked his stuff and believe he’s got a chance to be
very effective in left-on-left situations.”
There is a lot of potential in that arm, and if Escalona is able to turn it around, he may become a great lefty specialist at the Major League level. All Major League teams look above and beyond for that tough lefty out of the bullpen. Some stay around the game forever — just look at Arthur Rhodes, who I believe is 65 years old and still going strong!
So while the Phillies added a solid young 2B in the trade (they acquired Alex Cartwright from Houston) now, the search for the next “pie guy” in Reading begins. Who will have a pie ready to go when I interview the player of the game? Who will be there to liven things up in 2011? We’ll see in April — stay tuned!
In case you missed this — check out a compilation of pies from 2010 — “Pies Like Us”.
That’s All Folks!
Last night’s pie fest was not the first here in Baseballtown this season, but, it was certainly the longest.
In what was a thrilling 9-8 walk-off victory for the R-Phils last night, the pie returned, and returned, and returned, and well, returned for the first time in awhile.
Freddy Galvis ripped a game-winning triple in the ninth after a mammoth game-tying two-run blast from Matt Rizzotti, and then was mauled by his teammates who celebrated the spectacular win. Galvis was the Railroad House Player of the Game, and it was my chance to talk to him about that great at-bat, or so I thought.
Sergio Escalona, who has been the pie guy this season, was back at it again on Friday — this time with a pie in each hand and he got Galvis good. While the 20-year-old shortstop was trying to dry off, he was hit again, and again, and again — five pies!
It was an unbelievable night in Baseballtown. The fans were in to it from the first pitch on — and when the game was over, the fans were treated to a game they will never forget.
April was an up and down month for the R-Phils (8-13).
First, they won five of seven games at home, beating the Portland Sea Dogs three of four, and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats two of three. They then took to the road, and well, the road was not kind. They dropped five of six on the road, before coming home to drop four of six at home. They closed out April losing to the Fisher Cats in New Hampshire on April 30.
Let’s take a look back at the Month that was, as we take a look at the hitting and pitching leaders…
Hits – Freddy Galvis led the team with 18.
2B – Tagg Bozied and Domonic Brown were tied with 6
3B – Tyson Gillies and Domonic Brown were tied with 1
HR – Tagg Bozied, Tyson Gillies, and Brandon Pinckney were tied with 2
RBI – Mike Spidale led the club with 14
R – Freddy Galvis led with 11
SB – Kevin Mahar led the team with 2
OBP – Domonic Brown led the way with a .373
AB – Freddy Galvis led with 80
Wins – Mike Stutes – 2
Losses – Mike Cisco and Drew Naylor tied with 3
ERA – Based on innings, Yohan Flande’s 1.52 ERA
SO – Drew Naylor & Vance Worley tied with 16
IP – Yohan Flande – 23.2
SV – Sergio Escalona – 3
G – Sergio Escalona, Michael Schwimer, and Mike Stutes tied with 8
Happy Sunday everyone! Let’s take a look back at some former R-Phils from earlier today — ENJOY!
Kyle Kendrick (2007) – Kendrick, who spent the majority of 2009 in Lehigh Valley (AAA), has been lights out this spring for the Phils — and today was no different. Starting for the Phils against the Orioles today, Kendrick, 25, tossed four shutout innings, allowing just two hits, and no walks, en-route to another step forward in the fifth rotation battle. A native of Houston, Texas, Kendrick has now tossed nine shutout innings this spring, allowing just four hits, and no walks — pretty impressive for someone who has battled control problems over the past two seasons.
Brett Myers (’01, ’07, & Rehab in ’09) – Myers, who signed with the Houston Astros this offseason, started for the ‘Stros today against the Braves, and tossed four solid inning en-route to his second win of the spring. The 29-year-old Myers allowed just two runs on six hits, three walks, while fanning six, to improve to 2-0 with a 6.00 ERA. Thr former Phil will start for the ‘Stros this season, and will fall into a solid rotation, alongside Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez.
Randy Ruiz (’05 & ’07) – Ruiz, 32, went 1-3 with a HR (2) and 2 RBIs as the starting DH for the Jays earlier today. Ruiz enjoyed a solid season for the Jays in ’09, hitting an impressive .313 with 10 homers and 17 RBIs in just 33 games played. Fans of the Reading Phillies will never forget the season he put up in 2005, when he hit a Reading record .349.
Others of Note –
Michael Bourn (2005-2006) – Bourn went 1-3 with 2 RBIs for the ‘Stros. He won his first Gold Glove last year
Drew Carpenter (2008) – Carpenter, who is battling for the 5th spot in the Phillies rotation, tossed three solid innings today for Philadelphia, but was saddled with the loss. A tough luck loser today, Carpenter allowed just one run on three hits, while fanning five batters in the Phillies 4-3 loss to the Orioles.
Sergio Escalona (2008-2009) – Escalona, battling for a spot in the Phillies bullpen, struggled against the Orioles, allowing three runs on four hits, earning his second blown save of the spring season.