Hey NoiseNation! Happy Flag Day! Go put your flag out right now, if you haven’t done so already. I’ll wait.
Ok, now that we’ve taken care of that, lets talk IronPigs. We’ll put aside the fact that the ‘Pigs are now 34-32, two games above .500 on the season. Put aside that the ‘Pigs are on an 8-2 run over their last 10 games. Put aside rehab starts and media hub-bub. Never mind that the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Rail-Yankee-Frogs are 29-35 and in second-last place, only two games above Syracuse. None of that matters. All that matters is the trophy. And the ‘Pigs took the first step toward securing the coveted IronRail.
As we learned yesterday, we’ve got something else to play for now. We’ve got to take 9 of the 16 games vs. the Trolley Yankees to win the hardware. If the series is tied 8-8, the trophy goes to the winner of the final meeting: Saturday 8/31 at Coca Cola Park. Yesterday we took the first step towards our ultimate goal. The ‘Pigs need a trophy–and I’m not conceding the Governor’s Cup–but I think we’ve got a good shot at this one, this year. I’m not underestimating the competition, though. Rail Frogs manager Dave Miley is one of the best in the IL. Every year I think he’s got a weaker team, and every year he’s winning the division.
About Last Night: 4-2 win
The IronPigs had runners on base all evening thanks to the generosity of the Porcupine pitchers. In many cases, we were unable to push the runners across. Darrin Ruf, breaking a homer-less drought, and Cody Overbeck, now tied for second all-time for IronPigs homers, hit oppo shots to right field to put the team in position for the win. New catcher Cameron Rupp provided a couple hits and a couple RBI to secure the win. It was good to see Cesar Hernandez back in town and playing ball. It wasn’t a big deal to me that he got to spend some time with the big club, but it was about time to come back.
Oh, you want to hear more about Carlos Zambrano? Meh. Well, it was more of the same thing that we saw the other night in Reading. He’s not throwing terribly hard, but he can mix 4-5 pitches and throw them all for strikes. Sometimes. He went deeper in counts last night and go himself into some trouble with walks. Ultimately, he did enough to win the AAA game, but there won’t be many Walter Ibarras to strike out in the big leagues. I’m still not sure he offers any advantage over John Lannan (starting for the Phils on Monday in Philadelphia), Jon Pettibone (due to pitch tomorrow for the Phils in Colorado), or Tyler Cloyd (fresh off 5IP, 6H, 1ER Wed vs. Min; now with the ‘Pigs and a possible starter for us Monday in Toledo). We’ll see if the Phillies keep him around for another AAA start or if they release him. I’m OK with either. I doubt that they’ll keep him until his July 1 opt out; he’s been saying he’s ready for a couple weeks which tells me he doesn’t think he can do any better.
JC Ramirez, Justin Friend, and Cesar Jimenez were able to mop things up in a sometimes driving rain. Friend, in particular, who escaped a bases-loaded 1-out jam much to the consternation of Yankee fans-turned-porcupine-supporters in the club level. We haven’t had one of these “game played in the rain” things for a while. It was kinda fun.
DiPro and I got a chance to talk some ‘Pigs on the radio with host John Skudris afterwards. I don’t know how often he’ll open the phone lines, but check out the post-game show when you can, and maybe call in. He’s a good guy, and he knows his stuff.
What’s On Tap:
Fireworks after the game, Boy Scouts are sleeping over, Cuban Panini at the Pig Stop (I miss wings, but I’ll live), and young Ethan Martin on the mound to face veteran RHP Chris Bootcheck. 30% chance of a passing thundershower at game time. Possibility of a quick, no frills, impromptu tailgate pre-game–monitor Twitter for updates.
It’s alright for fighting. Whatever. Phanatic will be in town. Somebody remind him to watch out for foul balls. I imagine there will be music and fun at the Tiki after the game, as that’s been well-received to this point. I might even stop by. ”The Situation” at the pig stop. No not the goofball from….whatever he was from. Grilled Chicken, Marinara, Mozzarella Sandwich. Raul Valdes on the mound versus LHP David Huff (3-1, 3.73). Oh, and Carlos Ruiz will be in town for a rehab–wouldn’t be surprised to see him as the DH, or perhaps just play a few innings. The weather should be nice, and there’s a chance this game will feature the debut of the NoiseNation TV Wide World of Pigs. Details to come.
It’s Father’s Day, and the first 2,000 men 18+ will get ‘Pigs bucket caps. They look pretty cool. I imagine Chooch will stick around for this game, and will play longer/more than Saturday, then head to Reading when the ‘Pigs leave for Ohio. You can throw the ball with your Dad on the field after the game. Or, your kids. Or, other people’s kids. No pegging. Tom Cochran (really) will be on the mound to face Frog Yanker Ivan Nova (2-0, 2.45). Sausage sandwiches at the PigStop. Chance of afternoon thundershowers.
That’s how it all stacks up. I’d love to see us get a few more wins out of this before we head to Ohio to face league-worst Toledo. That’s always a dangerous proposition; you’ve got to get your wins when you can, and even the weakest team can get hot. We’ll monitor the pitching carousel and see who gets on the bus: Cloyd? Zambrano? Pettibone? The Utley return is on the horizon as well, but I’m not sure how much rehab he’s going to need. I’m not holding my breath for a visit; the ‘Pigs don’t return until Tues 6/25. We may see the return of Super Mart at that point.
See you at the park,