Phillies AFL Update: Mathieson Struggling

The Surprise Scorpions got off to a fast start in the AFL, but have cooled considerably. Now, with just six games left, they're clinging to a 1/2 game lead in the American Division. The five Phillies prospects look to help down the stretch.

Scott Mathieson (0-1) continues to struggle, but also continues to add to his strikeout totals. On Wednesday, Mathieson lasted just 3 2/3 innings and allowed four earned runs in the Scorpions 706 loss to Phoenix. Mathieson gave up six hits and two walks in the outing and also uncorked a wild pitch. On the plus side, he struck out six more hitters, raising his fall number to 33 strikeouts in 22 innings.

Mathieson's stay in Arizona will be extended thanks to his inclusion on the Canadian roster for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament that starts November 15th. The Phillies Brian Sanches will also take part in the tournament as a member of Team USA. Center field prospect Shane Victorino will join Sanches on the USA squad.

Speaking of Sanches, he took the loss in Mathieson's start on Wednesday. Sanches came into Wednesday's game with the score tied 5-5 and allowed two eighth inning runs as Phoenix took a 7-5 lead. The Scorpions got a run back, but couldn't knot the game and Sanches (0-3) was the losing pitcher. Even with the shaky outing, Sanches still has a respectable 3.77 ERA.

Michael Bourn has been swinging pretty well lately. Bourn has hit safely in the last three games that he's played, hitting .385 (5-for-13) over the stretch. The mini-streak has pushed his season average to .306 and he's driven in 14 runs in just 18 games. Bourn has three triples this fall, which ties him with four other players for the league lead. Of those players, Bourn has the fewest at bats (62) in the AFL.

After a strong season split between AA Reading and AAA Scranton, Travis Minix has continued to increase the size of his image on the prospect radar with a nice showing in the AFL. Minix has pitched in 10 games for Surprise and is 1-0, 3.29 for the Scorpions. Minix struck out 68 in 76 1/3 innings of work this past season, but hasn't been striking out hitters at the same rate in the AFL. In his 13 2/3 innings of work in the AFL, Minix has struck out just six. Of course, he's walked just three and opponents are hitting .260 against him this fall.

Then, there's Ryan Cameron. The right-hander has struggled with his control this fall, walking 10 in 12 1/3 innings of work. He's struck out 13, but obviously, that ratio will get a guy into trouble. Opponents are hitting .271 against Cameron.

Of the six games remaining for Surprise, two are against the Peoria Saguaros (7-19). They also play one game each against Grand Canyon (10-15) and the Peoria Javelinas (16-10). The tough part comes with one game against Phoenix, who at 19-7 are the class of the AFL and Surprise also has one game left with Mesa (12-13). The Mesa Solar Sox trail the Scorpions by just one game in the AFL American Division.

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