“Maybe tomorrow we’ll all wear 42 , that way they won’t tell us apart.”
-Pee Wee Reese, from the Movie “42”
(For more information about what these columns are all about, read yesterday’s introduction.)
The team took a thrashing last night at the hands of the Pawtucket Red Sox by a 13-1 score, in front of a rather large opening night crowd of 8,852.
It was opening night for everyone, as I predicted in yesterday’s column, everyone needs ballpark food on opening night, and things were confounded by the first night with the new computer system. Concession lines were long, and there was frustration all around. The fact is, there was just no way to have every employee intimately familiar with the new system and new offerings on day 1–and then confound that with the crowds and the demand and things got a little dicey–upstairs and down.
drops to 2-4 on the young season, now in last place in the North Division having lost two in a row–and both of their 9-inning contests.
We left before Brock Stassi got to pitch–but I did remember that he had done it before both in college as well as Reading. I’m kicking myself for not asking him about it during the pre-season interview.
It certainly wasn’t the type of game we expected–even after the first inning when Thompson looked in perfect control. He works fast, too. He’ll work through this in his side sessions and we should get to see him again in the last game of this home stand on Tuesday.
Another top prospect struggling is young Nick Williams. He’s had some questionable plays in the outfield in these early games, and is hitting a buck-fifty at the plate. He was 0-for-4 with two K’s last night. For now, expect to see him continue in the top three of the order as he continues to adjust to the level. I think he’ll be fine, but I’m going to start paying more close attention to his at-bats.
Neither Colton Murray nor Luis Garcia looked terribly sharp on the mound. Both will get back after it and improve, but for now each is low on my “reliever confidence index.”
Andrew Bailey pitched 1.1 scoreless and looked good doing it, notching four K’s. He should really be in line to notch some higher leverage opportunities with the IronPigs in the coming games. One can’t help but wonder if he could have helped prevent that “Mujica Mess” from two days ago.
Elvis Araujo was called to the Phillies yesterday to replace rule-5 PED suspension Daniel Stumpf. The big lefty will be missed both in the bullpen as well as in the clubhouse basketball tournaments. The obligatory “Elvis has left the building” roster post will be forthcoming, as soon as the replacement is official. It’s said to be veteran Gregory Infante, whom I believe was in a bit of limbo/EST or on a DL somewhere. More to come–keeping in mind that tomorrow will be a “bullpen game” with Reinier Roibal starting, as we burned two starters in the doubleheader on Tuesday.
Pawtucket’s William Cuevas will be on the mound to face our own Adam Morgan.
Cuevas is a 25-year old Venezuelan righty who went five innings in his first outing this season, giving up 6 runs–5 earned. He split last season between Portland and Pawtucket in the Red Sox system.
Morgan pitched well in a 7-inning doubleheader loss to begin the season “at” Syracuse. He has a 1.80 ERA currently.
I’m not sure what lineup changes to expect, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tommy Joseph in the lineup: He went 1/1 last night pinch hitting and is at .364 on the season. I know he got off the schnied last night with his first hit (finally), but I’m OK if veteran Will Venable and his .063 average takes a seat for this game. I know he has over 900 MLB games under his belt and didn’t just suddenly forget how to play baseball (did he?), but a day off might do both he and his team some good at this juncture.
At The Park
It’s “Jackie Robinson Day” on a Friday night!
The IronPigs will be sporting the above commemorative hats, which will be auctioned. Here’s the official press release regarding the Jackie Robinson Day festivities:
(Allentown, Pa.) – The IronPigs will honor the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson when they host the Pawtucket Red Sox at Coca-Cola Park on Friday, April 15 at 7:05 p.m. with a number of unique promotions, including the public display of a life-sized, solid-wood, hand-carved statue of Robinson. Fans will be able to pose with the statue for photos as well as speak with the sculptor Brian Birrer about the one-of-a-kind piece.
In addition to the public display of the sculpture, IronPigs players will show their appreciation for Jackie Robinson’s remarkable career by donning commemorative IronPigs caps featuring a “42” patch – Robinson’s uniform number throughout his remarkable Major League career. These special game-worn caps will be auctioned off via a Tricky Tray raffle on the main concourse during Friday’s game (bidding ends at the conclusion of the 6th inning) and lucky winners can pick up their signed cap beginning on Saturday, April 16 at the Majestic Clubhouse Store during normal business hours (Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.). All proceeds from this hat raffle benefit IronPigs Charities – a non-profit organization striving to create additional recreational and educational opportunities for Lehigh Valley youth.
Jackie Robinson Day – celebrated on April 15 to commemorate the day that Robinson made his Major League debut in 1947 — has annually been celebrated across professional baseball since 2004. The event recognizes Robinson’s memorable career, which includes becoming the first African American Major League Baseball player. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962 following an exceptional decade-long career in which he was named Rookie of the Year in 1947, National League All-Star MVP in 1949 and a six-time All-Star. He also captured the 1955 World Series as a member of the famed 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers. To honor his remarkable accomplishments, professional baseball universally retired his uniform number 42 in 1997.
In addition to the aforementioned promotions, the IronPigs will honor Robinson’s legacy and accomplishments in special tributes throughout the game. Friday’s game also features the first Friday Night Fireworks show of the season presented by AT&T.
Feeling OK despite the loss. Sometimes things don’t go your way, and we’ll put that one aside and all the trappings of opening day, and get back to the business of baseball tonight. I hope.
No word on weather they’ll wear the regular home whites with the ’42’ caps tonight, or our usual Friday blacks. I vote for white, and match the cap. I’ll be sporting a ’42’ cap of my own tonight, but will probably do with a black jersey despite the mis-match.
I enjoyed this Tom Housenick piece on Taylor Featherston, from this morning’s “Call.” I didn’t interview Taylor before the season, but the lack of regular playing time was the one question I had written down next to his name. Good stuff, and the dude is hitting .417 on the young season.
Looking forward to a better night, see you at the park,