Jesse Biddle bouncing back in Reading
Five starts in the books and Jesse Biddle's 2014 numbers are respectable: A 2.86 ERA, 1.059 WHIP, 38 SO, and seven walks in 38.1 innings for the second place Fightin' Phils (who are chasing the currently untouchable Portland Sea Dogs, winners of six in a row).
In three of his five starts, Biddle has gone seven strong innings, giving up four runs to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in his second start, one run to the Harrisburg Senators last week, and last night, shouldering the largest load of a shut-out of the Richmond Flying Squirrels. The shut-out was completed by Ken Giles, whose ability to throw triple digit fastballs has naturally made him the savior of the bullpen.
Even more pleasant to look at is Biddle's walk total this season - he only issued three free passes in those aforementioned seven-inning starts, and seven total on the year. Of the 23 hits he's given up, only four have been for extra bases, and only three hitters have been lucky enough to tag him with a round-tripper.
There are those two as yet unmentioned starts, however. In his season debut, Biddle was rocked by the Sea Dogs, lasting only 3.1 innings and allowing nine hits and four runs. On April 13, he allowed four hits and three runs (though none of the runs were earned) over four innings against Senators.
But at the moment, he seems back on track - Biddle's last two starts are his best of the season, allowing four hits, one earned run, two walks, and 21 strikeouts through 14 innings.
The small sample size in play here isn't much to go on, but it is something to go on, and at the very least we can see indicators that Biddle's ceiling as a 3-4 starter in a rotation seems intact, proving that the news from the Phillies' farm system isn't necessarily all bad.