For most of the season, the Reading Fightin' Phils have been one of the best teams record-wise in all of professional baseball. With the Trenton Thunder just 2.5 games behind, the Fightin' Phils did not run away with the division. But last night, despite losing to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Fightin' Phils clinched a playoff berth in the Eastern League.
The Fightin' Phils uploaded a picture of the celebration:
Missing the celebration was catcher Jorge Alfaro, who spent last night in Flushing, New York with the Philadelphia Phillies. Filling a roster spot and serving as an emergency back-up to Cameron Rupp, Alfaro should rejoin the Reading Fightin' Phils Saturday. A.J. Ellis, acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Carlos Ruiz trade, will report and take his spot on the Phillies roster.
Rhys Hoskins broke a homerless drought to hit his 36th home run of the season. Hoskins last homered all the way back on August 9. Hoskins is one home run behind Dylan Cozens, who has not homered since August 17. The Double-A Reading record is 38 home runs, set by Darin Ruf in 2012. Ruf beat a record of 37 previously held by Ryan Howard. Howard may have hit more, but he was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The Fightin' Phils have 10 games left on their schedule. Three of them are against the Thunder, who are likely playoff-bound, whether they take the division crown from the Fightin' Phils or not. The Fightin Phils close out their regular season at home on September 1 against the Portland Sea Dogs, and wrap up the regular season with four games in Trenton Labor Day Weekend.