Lakewood sends SAL Pitcher of the Year Matt Maloney to the mound tonight, as the Phillies Class-A BlueClaws look to win their first South Atlantic League Championship.
Maloney (16-8, 2.03 ERA during regular season) struck out a season-high 11 over seven innings Friday when the BlueClaws beat the Lexington Legends 8-2 to sweep the SAL Northern Division finals and advance to the championship.
Lakewood leads the best of five series 2-1. They had a chance at the sweep last night, but fell to the GreenJackets 11-1.
The Class-A Blueclaws finished with a league-best 84-55 record, paced by outstanding pitching, including a league-best 3.10 team ERA. Starters Maloney, Josh Outman and Carlos Carrasco were first, second and third, respectively, in the South Atlantic League in strikeouts while placing in the top six in wins and ERA. Carrasco won the 2006 Paul Owens Award for best minor league pitcher in the Phillies farm system. Outfielder Michael Bourn, currently with the Phils, won it for the position players.