“One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something.”
A de facto bull pen game for both teams came out of a longer-than-expected rain delay on our first education day, yesterday. Trapping all those kiddos in the concourse is…less than desirable. The ‘Pigs were able to push across two runs early while the PawSox starter realized he should have been scratched as Eflin was. Roibal and Sev Gonzalez held their own through seven scoreless–Roibal hitless through three–but the bull-pen couldn’t hold the 2-0 lead. LaFromboise gave up the lead, and Russell allowed all inherited to score as well, on the Marrero grand slam HR.
The team remains in second place, tied with Scranton–today’s opponent–two games behind Syracuse, who finally lost yesterday.
Last 10: 5-5
Last 5: 2-3
IronRail: 1-2 (8 wins needed)
Reliever Confidence Ratings
Right now, gun to my head (“That’s a horrible reason to have a gun to your head” -Jon Schaeffer) who would I feel most confident bringing in to save an important IronPigs game–like, say, an IronRail Series game:
- Edward Mujica: ERA and recent blown save versus the Paw Sox notwithstanding, he’s got a feel for the MiLB ball now and “The Chief” has been solid for us. And there’s certainly no moment that’s going to be too big for the former MLB closer.
- Gregory Infante: A 1.93 ERA over 6 appearances, and two wins, has him nipping at the Chief’s heels.
- Severino Gonzalez: Seriously, he’s been nothing but good for both the IronPigs and Reading this season. As long as you don’t need him to go through the lineup a second time, I feel fine bringing him in. He hasn’t allowed a run in his 3 ‘Pigs appearances.
- Reinier Roibal: He’s been mostly asked to do long-man stuff, and although the stats don’t seem to bear it out, he’s given the team a chance to win every single time he’s been on the mound. That’s all you can ask in that situation, really.
- Luis Garcia: It’s electric stuff sometimes, but my confidence is low at the current juncture. Anything can happen when he’s on the mound–but some of it is not good.
- Bobby LaFromboise: The lefty can be effective versus left-hand batters, and has MLB experience, but I’m not a fan right now. That side-sling delivery can get a little wonky if it’s not consistent, then it’s hard to find the strike zone and sometimes hard for the catchers to deal with as well. This is not always what you want from a guy who needs to come in to shut things down and get us a win. It cost us yesterday.
- James Russell: The other half of the “mullet brothers” has picked up with the IronPigs where he left off with the Phillies: Allowing runs on runs. I’m not saying he’s the worst, or even performing the worst, right now for the ‘Pigs, but my confidence in him is the lowest. Perhaps the veteran lefty can earn it back.
Others receiving votes (but not ranked for obvious reasons): Colton Murray (medium), Hoby Milner (high), Andrew Bailey (high), Brock Stassi (medium).
The RailRiders make their first appearance of the season at Coca Cola Park, with a narrow 2-1 lead in the IronRail series. They’re tied with us for second place in the division.
Following his scratch yesterday, I’ve heard that RHP Zach Eflin will slot back into the rotation on Saturday in Moosic.
RHP Mark Appel (3-0, 1.64) takes the mound for the ‘Pigs, to face LHP Richard Bleier (0-0, 3.38).
Bleier has one start and two appearances for the RailRiders. He gave up 3 runs on 4 hits in Rochester last time out. He is more effective facing LHB rather than RHB, so expect to see Brundage stack the lineup with righty batters again.
Promotion: It’s Thursday, and it’s “Cinco de Mayo” so that means Happy Hour! From doors through 7PM, enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 domestic drafts along with live music in the plaza.
First Pitch: 7:05; Doors (plaza): 5:00; Club: 5:30 (?)
The weather should hold off for us, albeit a bit chilly as per usual recently.
Gear Watch: Sources tell me they are monitoring sales of the new jerseys, both online and in the store, in order to make decisions about what to feature in the future. My advice to them would be to have some patience, and try to carry everything for now. With the third jersey designs in four years, there is some saturation and market fatigue among those who spend the most on jerseys (read: me). They should get the authentics in and be ready to sell them for when I’m ready to finally start buying again. You never know when I’m going to have a weak moment.
Tonight’s hat: TBD–might go “gobbler” tonight.
Brundage changed pitchers twice in one inning the other night. One guy I know thought Huppert went the entire season in 2010 without changing pitchers in the middle of an inning even once. In a close game, it was good to see that our manager and coaching staff is paying attention to what’s going on and trying to get the close wins.
That said, I hope the Phillies as an organization take a more Ron Hextall-esque approach to this development thing. I see plenty of call around the InterWebs for call-ups from AAA. We’ve got some guys playing some good ball, but it’s only one month into the season and the “small sample” caveat still applies–both good and bad. The Phillies are fine, if they want to improve their bull pen more then there will be opportunities and a move might need to be made with a guy like Oberholtzer–but let’s not pound in the square peg of an Anthony Vasquez or a Hoby Milner just yet. Let’s let Nick Williams continue to develop his game before jettisoning Peter Bourjos. Patience. The Phillies aren’t supposed to be winning. Enjoy the ride and let the cream rise to the top, in due time. And this goes for guys at Reading as well: The IronPigs can wait for JP Crawford and Roman Quinn and Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins and Ben Lively et al. No need to force things.
Link of the Day:
Somewhat along those lines, but not in a negative way, check out this Corinne Landry piece over at Crashburn Alley about the April the Phillies just had.
See you at the park,
Cover photo of Severino Gonzalez, by Cheryl Pursell