Every time I checked my phone yesterday, something good happened. It was about as good a day as one could have without attending a game in person. Here’s why:
Following a dreadful performance Thursday night in Rochester, it was announced yesterday morning that he’d make his next start on Tuesday night with the Phillies. Normally, I wouldn’t exactly consider this “good” news–losing a player whom we only got to see pitch a couple times, who also has been a part of our recent winning ways. However, we always like to see our guys “graduate.” Plus, I already have tickets to see the Phillies Tuesday night, following the AM IronPigs game. We knew he’d be going up soon, regardless, so I’ll take the MLB debut rather than the ‘Pigs start. Happy day for me. This season I will have seen him twice in Reading, twice in Allentown, and now once in Philly. I expect he’ll be part of the MLB rotation in Phily for the next 10 years.
I’ve always been a Jesse Biddle fan. I know he’s struggled at times, and trying to pitch through illness and injury hasn’t helped. I was excited to see him promoted the other day, and pitch his first AAA game at Coca Cola Park. I knew all along there was the risk that he wouldn’t look great in that start–one way or another. But I remain steadfast that he’ll be an MLB pitcher and that getting to work at AAA and with pitching coach Ray Burris would be helpful. Sure enough, he went out and tossed a gem last night in Rochester. The first-place Redwings who had lit up Aaron Nola the night before could manage only three hits and no runs over seven innings of Biddle goodness. They struck out 7 times and walked only once. I’m sure there will be some rocky starts here and there, but I remain a Biddle fan. It was good to see him have some success in his second AAA start.
We fans are all the same, right? We see an ex-IronPigs player come free and we immediately want that guy signed. We wanted Michael Taylor back, and Kevin Frandsen, and Erik Kratz…
And whoa! It happened! Welcome back Erik Kratz! Every. Body. Kratz-your-hands! We’re gettin’ the band back together!
So, yeah, it was exciting to hear. But what are the Phillies up to with this move? I suspect they’ve had enough trade offers that they feel like they might be able to move Carlos Ruiz at the trade deadline. I’m only guessing, but I think they probably want to keep Lino and LoMo in Allentown, and while Ruppy can handle the everyday catching duties if needed. It’s good to have an experienced back-up to help out–or even co-catch if needed.
Kratz will report to Allentown for the home-stand, starting Monday. I suspect they’ll either release or “Velandia” Forsythe, but we’ll see–I don’t think they need four catchers. But, this is all conjecture on my part–I haven’t heard anything from sources. It’s also possible that the moves could trickle down to Reading in some way.
Other News and Notes:
Jerome Williams and Aaron Harang: Both veteran pitchers are working their way back from injury. Williams had a nice outing in Reading last night, after shaky ones in Lakewood and Reading, prior. He could be ready for the Philies, or could get the start for us at Coca Cola Park on Wednesday–BUT, that’s Biddle’s turn. We’ll see. Harang threw a bull-pen yesterday, reportedly, and may possibly be ready for a rehab assignment soon. I’m not sure if they would put him right up with the IronPigs or have him throw at a lower level first.
Chase Utley: He’s been working out in the field as well as with the bat, and could also be ready for a rehab assignment. Veteran hitters like Utley never like to do that, but the fact is, he was hitting .179 prior to going on the DL, and Phillies’ management has already said that he’s not going to automatically get his 2B job back with Cesar Hernandez playing so well. Also, Utley said that he discovered a flaw in his swing which was caused by compensating for his injury. This all adds up to some need for a rehab stint: If Utley comes to the IronPigs and rakes for a few days, he could certainly go back up the Phillies and challenge for his position back–I’d think that would be preferable to getting re-activated and riding the bench. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Allentown perhaps as soon as Monday, or more likely after the Tuesday day game, on Wednesday.
Saturday: Billingsley (home vs. Miami)
Sunday: Hamels (last home start? vs. Miami)
Monday: TBD (Buchanan?) (home vs. Tampa)
Tuesday: Nola (home vs. Tampa)
Wednesday: Morgan (1PM home vs. Tampa)
Monday: Vasquez (home vs. Toledo)
Tuesday: Berken (11:35AM home vs. Toledo)
Wednesday: Biddle (home vs. Toledo)
Saturday: Kleven (home vs. New Britain)
Sunday: Lively (5:05pM home vs. New Britain)
Monday: Mark Leiter, Jr (at Bowie)
Tuesday: TBD (Roibal?) (at Bowie)
Wednesday: TBD (Milner?) (at Bowie)
See you at the park(s),
@Kram209–full series preview to come later this weekend.