“And bad mistakes,
I’ve made a few…”
Saturday night the SteelHawks, IronPigs and Phillies all won close games within minutes of each other. It felt great. Then, I had the audacity to start a column off with “We Are The Champions” lyrics. In early May. It was wrong, and the baseball gods made me pay for it yesterday.
It wasn’t enough for the IronPigs and the Phillies-of-both-Philadelphia-and-Reading to lose. No, it had to be worse. It had to be emotional.
The evening took me–along with Junior and Cheryl as DiPro was a late scratch–to Reading for Cinco de Mayo Beer Yard Night. It was a nice evening, and didn’t get really chilly until later. The plastic beer half-yard wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but in retrospect it made sense. The distribution of 1,000 giant glass vials would never end well. The drink specials were good, though: They had $3 drafts all evening: 16 oz in a cup, or 24 oz in your yard. Cheryl doesn’t partake, Junior’s too young, and I was driving–so our contingent didn’t take full advantage of the specials. Others didn’t either, as the park was fairly empty for a reasonably nice evening and a traditional “let’s go out” kinda day. (Perhaps a taco special next year? Just a thought.)
Former IronPig Mike Nesseth got the start for the Fightins, and didn’t fair well. He yielded two runs in the first and another three in the second. He gave way to Tyler Knigge who pitched three scoreless while scattering two hits and a walk. I wonder if Knigge is being stretched out to see if he can move up as a middle reliever? Kind of on the Justin Friend plan? We’ll see. Old friend Hector Neris pitched two clean innings with four walks and no hits. He was doing a good job keeping the ball low in the zone, but Portland (AA Boston) has a team of patient hitters. Hard-throwing Nefi Ogando gave up a few more runs as we were leaving.
Of note for Boston was INF prospect Mookie Betts. That little guy can play some ball. He’s listed as 5’9″ but is probably closer to 5’8″–he’s listed at 156lbs. But he was strong enough to smoke one into left field to lead off the game. He can field and run like the wind, too. I expect (read: FEAR) he’ll be with Pawtucket later this season. The other INF prospect, Deven Marrero, had a nice game as well.
On the Reading side, Cesar continues to hit like we know he can. That’s not why he’s in Reading, you know. He did look competent on the evening at 3B. He started a 5-4-3 double play and made another play on a ball he had to charge to his left. He didn’t have to make any really long throws, though. A bunt attempt that ended up foul would have been a hit as he really didn’t have a play on it had it stayed fair. It’s difficult to say whether he was out of position, slow, or just the victim of an excellent attempt. Moo point, though, with the foul as the batter didn’t attempt it again.
Cam Perkins continues to hit, and looked as good as he did at the 222 game on April 1. As long as he can be consistent, and healthy, I’d expect him in Allentown around July 1. Aaron Altherr is a big, strong kid who has taken over the cleanup spot with the injury to fellow outfield prospect Kelly Dugan. Altherr is off to a late start due to a wrist injury. Despite his 0-for-5 night, he looked good at the plate, including a couple long drives that were caught in deep center field. It’s difficult to say what the Phillies will do with Altherr and Dugan, given the time they have missed with injuries. While each or both could earn the promotion with Perkins, I expect they’ll probably stay in Reading given the time they’ve missed. It’s a fun trio to watch. Repeaters Hewitt and Collier, perhaps not as much. Junior was impressed by Collier’s hustle and fielding, but neither have made it above the Mendoza yet, in their second years at the level. I suppose a sink-or-swim promotion isn’t out of the question, but I’m not hopeful at this juncture. Then again, nobody ever asked me to be a player personnel guy… (TM, Matt Provence).
So we had a good time watching the players, and checking Twitter to see if the big club could manage to score some runs with old friend Freddy Galvis batting second. I was hoping they would, if only to prove the naysayers wrong. Alas, it wasn’t to be, as they went down with a whimper as well.
But at least I had my IronPigs. Barry Enright, pride of the 209, was staked to a 7-run lead before he even took the mound. As I checked in the middle of the fifth inning, he had a two-hitter going and an 8-0 lead. It was a nice consolation given the pending losses of the other teams.
Then, the baseball god got their revenge:
- Two solo homers for Charlotte, and it’s 8-2 heading to the sixth
- Another homer in the bottom of the seventh, and it’s 8-3 with two outs.
- Enter Jeremy Horst with two out and one on: Single. Hit by pitch. Single. Error by home run hitter Tyler Henson.
- Now it’s 8-5. Surely that’s a safe lead for Phillipe Aumont and Luis Garcia, right?
- Yada, yada, yada
- [choking sound]
- IronPigs lose 9-8.
No more Queen lyrics for me, at least until they’re handing out hardware.
First, shout-out to Chuck Hixson who got Cheryl a photo pass. His work can be found here and on Twitter at @PHLBaseballNsdr .
Second, shout-out to Reading Fightins team photographer Tug Haines. Had a chance to say “hey” before the game. Some of his other work can be found here . You can follow him on Twitter at @mistertug . I became familiar with his work by listening to the Phoulballz Podcast (with Jay Floyd) here . Good stuff, especially if you want to try to keep up with the rosters and happenings at Lakewood and Clearwater.
Photos. Cheryl’s of course:
Today’s another day. There’s another game. All is well. People like me.
….feeling better, if only by a little.