Out of the four Philadelphia Phillies minor league clubs that made the postseason, the least talked about might be the Class 'A Lakewood Blueclaws. Well, they are the only Phils affiliate that remains at this point. They started the year 4-16, finished the first half 29-40, 13.5 games behind the division leader. The second half was a different story as the Blueclaws posted a 45-25 record, best in the South Atlantic League, to clinch a berth in the playoffs. Lakewood swept Hagerstown in two games, advancing to the SAL Finals, which began last night in Rome, Georgia against the Rome Braves. The Blueclaws didn't skip a beat from their sweep, shutting out the R-Braves 5-0 in the opener to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
The big standout from Monday night was No. 9 ranked Phillies prospect Franklyn Kilome. The 21-year-old right-hander had mixed results in his first season with Lakewood, going 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 23 starts. In game one of the finals, he showed why he's ranked so high on the prospect rankings, spinning seven one-hit innings, striking out nine and walking two. This was his first start since September 4, when he struck out 10 over six shutout innings against Greensboro.
"I felt really good. It might have been my best game," the native of the Dominican Republic told MiLB.com. "It was important to win Game 1, so I definitely wanted to be well. My curveball was good. Very good."
Including last night's outing, Kilome is 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA over his last 10 starts, allowing just 12 earned runs in 54.2 innings and striking out 73 while walking just 13. He was followed on the mound by Grant Dyer, the Phillies eighth round pick from this year's draft, and he struck out three and didn't allow a hit in the eighth or ninth inning.
Lakewood took a 1-0 lead in the third as Damek Tomscha plated Jose Pujols with an RBI-double. In the seventh, Carlos Duran singled with one out and Emmanuel Marrero reached second on an error in the next at-bat. Mark Laird followed with an RBI-single, scoring Duran to make it a 2-0 game. Another Rome error allowed both Marrero and Laird to score with two outs, extending the Lakewood lead to four. Wilson Garcia made it a 5-0 lead with a solo home run in the eighth.
Pujols finished the night 2-for-5 with a run scored while eight of the nine Lakewood batters each tallied a hit. Damek Tomscha and Grenny Cumana had doubles with Wilson Garcia hitting the game's lone home run.
On the Braves side, defensive mishaps were the main issue. They committed three errors, resulting in four unearned runs tacked on to starter Mike Soroka's line. He struck out six over seven innings, allowing the four unearned and didn't walk a batter.
The South Atlantic League Finals continue on Tuesday night in Rome at 7:05 p.m. Seranthony Dominguez (5-2, 2.42 ERA) will get the start for Lakewood against Braves No. 10 prospect Touki Toussaint (4-8, 3.88 ERA).