Pitcher -- RHP Ben Lively, Reading ... The 23-year-old Lively continued to stand out in Reading's rotation after two more superb starts last week. On April 27, Lively scattered six hits over seven shutout innings, striking out seven en route to his first win of the season. He followed up that performance with a six-inning, nine-strikeout start against Portland on May 3, giving him a 2.08 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 13 innings over those two starts. Lively now has quality starts in each of his first four starts this season, and has added two strikeouts to his game total each outing since he struck out three in his season debut. He holds a 2.16 ERA for the season and opponents are hitting just .231 against him. His two solid outings netted him Eastern League Pitcher of the Week honors, making him the second Reading starter this season to win the award. Lively was acquired by the Phillies this past offseason in the trade that sent Marlon Byrd to the Cincinnati Reds.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs -- International League North Division … 6-19, 6th place … It has not been the easiest week for Lehigh Valley, which lost all but one game between April 27 and May 3. Yet, despite the record, they have still been receiving quality contributions in a number of areas. Maikel Franco continues to rank among the league leaders in several offensive categories, and is one of five IronPigs' players hitting over .300. On the hill, Chad Billingsley turned in one of his best performances of the year to help the IronPigs to their one win this week -- a 4-2 victory over Durham.
Top hitting performers -- OF Brian Bogusevic hit safely in all seven games he played in, posting a slash line of .346/.433/1.049 over that stretch with a pair of doubles, a triple, a home run, three RBIs and four walks … 1B Chris McGuinnes started his week with a 3-for-3 night against Durham, and has been hot ever since. McGuinnes hit .412 with three runs scored, two RBIs and two walks in five games, raising his average nearly 60 points … 3B Maikel Franco is tied for the league lead in doubles (10) and extra-base hits (12), and is second in hits (31).
Top pitching performers -- RHP Chad Billingsley snapped a three-game losing streak for the IronPigs on April 30 with a solid 5 2/3-inning performance against the Durham Bulls, in which he allowed just two unearned runs on five hits, walked one and struck out a season-high six batters. It was his first professional win since April 10, 2013 against the San Diego Padres … LHP Cesar Jimenez appeared in three games -- all out of the bullpen -- and struck out five over 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
Reading Fightin Phils -- Eastern League Eastern Division … 13-9, third place … Reading applied some pressure in the East Division standings, taking four of six games to keep them within 2 1/2 games of the torrid New Britain Rock Cats. The Fightins' key has been their starting pitching, which combined for 25 innings pitched, a 2.52 ERA, three walks and 24 hits (1.08 WHIP) and 24 strikeouts in games that Reading won this week. Overall, Reading's starters combined for a 2.57 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, keeping them in every game.
Top hitting performers -- INF Gustavo Pierre hit .500 on the week with 10 total bases, a .533 OBP and a hearty 1.248 OPS … OF Roman Quinn recorded a pair of steals and a pair of runs, keeping him first or tied for first in the league in both categories (10 steals, 19 runs).
Top pitching performers -- RHP Ben Lively made the most of his two starts, picking up the win in each while combining to toss 13 innings with just three earned runs allowed (2.08 ERA), 13 hits, two walks and 16 strikeouts. Lively's performances earned him Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week honors and Eastern League Pitcher of the Week honors, making him the second Fightins' starter to win the league-wide award already this season … RHP Aaron Nola tossed seven innings in his only start last week, allowing just five hits and two runs (one earned) to help Reading to a 3-2 win over Richmond on April 28. Nola has now pitched a career-high seven innings in consecutive starts, and in those two starts has a 0.79 WHIP (11 hits, no walks) to go along with 11 strikeouts … RHP Nefi Ogando threw five scoreless innings over three games, recording six strikeouts while holding opponents to a .188 average. He was 1-for-1 in saves, converting his lone opportunity on April 29 against Richmond … LHP Elvis Araujo struck out four during a two-inning relief appearance on April 29 in what was his last outing before being called up to Philadelphia over the weekend.
Clearwater Threshers -- Florida State League North Division … 12-12, 3rd place … The Threshers split their week with three wins and three losses, but it was the scores that stood out for the powerful Clearwater team. The Threshers scored eight runs in their first three games of the week, and added another one in an 8-2 victory over Dunedin on May 2. They are now second in the league in batting with a .260 average and are just one game out of the No. 2 spot in the division.
Top hitting performers -- OF Dylan Cozens recorded three multi-hit games, including a four-hit effort on May 2, which tied a career high. Cozens hit .370 in six games, driving in a team-high seven runs with the help of two three-RBI games and a home run … C Willians Astudillo had yet another productive week, batting .346 with a .370 OBP, two doubles and five RBIs in six games. He had multiple hits in three straight games from April 30 to May 2 and has now hit safely in 19 of his last 21 contests … C Andrew Knapp produced quite a few runs last week, scoring nine and driving in another four in six games played. In fact, Knapp either scored or drove in 40 percent of all of the team's runs during the week. His productive week was made possible by a .370 average, .625 slugging percentage and a 1.108 OPS, which helped him to Florida State League Player of the Week honors … OF Andrew Pullin was 8-for-25 (.320) with three doubles, a home run and five RBIs.
Top pitching performers -- LHP Brandon Leibrandt struck out a season-high nine batters in his start on May 2, holding Dunedin to just an earned run on two hits over six innings. Leibrandt now has back-to back six-inning, two-hit starts … RHP Colin Kleven's start last week was very similar to Leibrandt's. The righty tossed six strong innings, allowing just one run on three hits while also setting a season high in strikeouts with six … RHP Yacksel Rios dominated in his first outing since returning from the disabled list, yielding just a hit and a walk to Dunedin on May 3 over 3 1/3 scoreless innings. His five strikeouts in that game were the most he has had since July 25 of last year.
Lakewood BlueClaws -- South Atlantic League North Division … 13-11, fourth place … All cylinders were clicking for the BlueClaws this past week, as the team rebounded from a couple of losses to Hagerstown to win five out of six contests and move within 3 1/2 games of first place. Lakewood was sturdy in all facets of the game, averaging four runs per game while holding opponents to an average of just 2.5.
Top hitting performers -- 1B Rhys Hoskins had quite a week, batting .480 with a 1.296 OPS, a home run and a team-high seven RBIs in six games. He has multiple hits in five straight and multiple RBIs in three of four as he sits second in the league in OPS and total bases. Hoskins was the recipient of the Phillies Minor League Player of the Week award for his achievements … CF Carlos Tocci has been hot all season, but took his performance to another level last week. Tocci hit in all six games, recording multi-hit games in five of them (three three-hit games and two two-hit games). He recorded 14 hits in 25 at-bats -- good for a .560 batting average -- scored eight runs and reached base better than 60 percent of the time. Tocci is now the league leader in batting with an astounding .400 average, and also leads the league in hits (36) and OBP (.476). He also stole four bases, and is now 9-for-9 in stolen-base attempts … C Deivi Grullon went 7-for-20 (.350) with two doubles, two walks and four RBIs.
Top pitching performers -- RHP Chris Oliver went seven shutout innings on May 2 against Savannah, scattering seven hits and walking none while recording a season-high six strikeouts … RHP Ricardo Pinto held Augusta to just one run on three hits over seven innings of work on April 28, lowering his ERA for the year to 2.42 … LHP Josh Taylor picked up his first win of the season with a dominant nine-strikeout, one-run performance over seven innings against Augusta … RHP Ranfi Casimiro logged five scoreless and allowed just two hits on May 1, giving him a 0.75 ERA over his last two starts … RHP Matt Hockenberry nailed down three saves in three chances last week, making him six-for-six in saves with a 0.75 ERA and just 10 baserunners in 12 innings this season.