Jesse Biddle's first start in Reading a success

Jesse Biddle allowed one run on four hits in six-plus innings for double-A Reading on Tuesday night.The Phillies prospect did not get a decision as the Fightin Phils beat Harrisburg in10 innings.
Jesse Biddle allowed one run on four hits in six-plus innings for double-A Reading on Tuesday night.The Phillies prospect did not get a decision as the Fightin Phils beat Harrisburg in10 innings. (AP file)
Posted: April 18, 2013

READING - Jesse Biddle's first home start in such close proximity to his home was an interesting one.

Despite a wild conclusion, it was an impressive start for the Philadelphia native whose Mount Airy home is about 60 miles from FirstEnergy Stadium.

Biddle, the Phillies' 2010 first-round pick out of Germantown Friends School, pitched six sensational innings for the double-A Reading Fightin Phils Tuesday night. He allowed just one run on four hits while using his arsenal - fastball, curveball, and change-up - to strike out eight batters.

The 21-year-old lefthander walked just two batters through the first six innings and had thrown only 83 pitches, so Reading manager Dusty Wathan sent Biddle back out for the top of the seventh against Washington's double-A Harrisburg affiliate.

Eight pitches and two walks later, Wathan called in reliever J.C. Ramirez.

"Obviously that seventh inning is not the way I wanted it to go down," Biddle said. "That's not the way I wanted to walk off the field. Whatever it was, I don't want it to happen again. I was definitely really jacked up to pitch in front of my family and my friends, but I can't say there are any excuses. I threw eight straight balls, and that can't happen."

Ramirez escaped the first-and-second jam and pitched two perfect innings, but Biddle settled for a no-decision. Reading won, 4-3, in 10 innings.

Biddle (1-1) lowered his ERA to 3.00 and picked up his first hit as a pro, a single to right field in the fifth. That was the moment it became clear that at least a few people - he left 17 passes at the gate - in the crowd of 1,130 were here to see Biddle.

"I'm lucky he threw me a fastball down the middle," Biddle said.

Perhaps the best indication that Biddle is on course for the bigs is his body, which has undergone a radical change.

"There was a point where I weighed about 250 pounds in my first season," he said. "Right now I'm about 215. . . . I changed my diet. My body type wasn't 250. The biggest thing is I realized this is my life, this is my profession, and this is my chance."


>Inquirer.com

Molly Tow writes about the Jesse Biddle she knew in high school. inquirer.com/sports


Contact Bob Brookover at bbrookover@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @brookob.

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