IRONPIGS TODAY: “Broom Burns” 5/30/2016

“Losing streaks are funny. If you lose at the beginning, you got off to a bad start. If you lose in the middle of the season, you’re in a slump. If you lose at the end, you’re choking.”
-Gene Mauch


Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

On a day when all the stats seemed to point to an IronPigs victory, the Bats came out and completed the sweep in their 2016 visit to Coca Cola Park.

Starting pitcher Zach Eflin seemed to get a bit too much of the plate, but still ended the first with a 5-2 lead thanks to a Darin Ruf hit and a Cameron Perkins grand slam home run.  But the Bats came back with 2 in the fourth and 2 more in the sixth before padding their lead late.  Cody Asche added a home run in the eighth.

It was a sloppy, weird game.  Featherston had an error.  Eflin had a wild pitch.  Hollands and Gonzalez each had a HBP.  Knapp had a passed ball, and probably should have blocked the wild pitch.  The Bats scored five times on sac flys.  Five times.

So in comes Norfolk for three; perhaps a good time for the Pigs to get right.

International League North
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY) 29 21 .580 14-11 15-10 18-17 7-3 W2
Syracuse Chiefs (WSH) 27 21 .563 1.0 95 19-10 8-11 18-16 7-3 W3
Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 28 22 .560 1.0 94 15-12 13-10 17-16 6-4 W1
Buffalo Bisons (TOR) 26 24 .520 3.0 92 10-11 16-13 16-18 7-3 L1
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI) 25 24 .510 3.5 92 11-12 14-12 18-17 4-6 L3
Pawtucket Red Sox (BOS) 24 26 .480 5.0 90 12-15 12-11 19-22 4-6 L1
International League South
Charlotte Knights (CWS) 25 26 .490 12-11 13-15 17-13 4-6 L1
Gwinnett Braves (ATL) 24 27 .471 1.0 93 11-13 13-14 18-11 4-6 L3
Durham Bulls (TB) 20 31 .392 5.0 89 9-15 11-16 13-13 3-7 L2
Norfolk Tides (BAL) 17 33 .340 7.5 87 9-18 8-15 8-19 3-7 L3

The veterans Asche and Ruf could be heating up; they went a combined 3-for-7 yesterday with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI.

The youngster Crawford has been cold; he started the series with a .300 average which is now down to .188.  I know it isn’t all the umpires, but JP’s command of the strike zone is so good, the following pattern kept occurring during the past series:

First pitch:  strike–taking all the way.  Good to get a look at one.

Second pitch:  strike.  Out of the zone, called strike anyway.

Now, with two strikes–and I know he’s a good hitter with two strikes–he has to be defensive given the horrible call that just went against him.  It then results in a weak grounder or a pop up.  I don’t think he needs a day off; I think he needs to stay out there and grind.  He’ll be OK.  New opponent in town; should be a new umpire crew as well.

Featherston has been cold lately as well.

I might expect to see a little different lineup today–get Featherston back up top, maybe one guy gets a day off, something like that.

Today’s Game

It’s Memorial Day.  Please go put your flag out as we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  Do it now, I’ll wait….

It’s a matinee on Memorial Day:  First Pitch 1:35PM; Gates 12:15PM; Club 12:00PM

RHP David Buchanan (2-3, 4.44) will be on the mound for the IronPigs against Tides LHP Andy Oliver (0-0, 1.14)

The Norfolk Tides are the AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.  They have the worst record in all of AAA baseball.

If memory serves, today’s pitcher Andy Oliver is one guy who opted out of his contract with the Phillies to avoid playing for us.  He’s being stretched into a starting role with the Tides, somewhat in the James Russell mold.  On the prospect front 1B Trey Mancini is the Orioles #5 prospect, OF/1B Christian Walker is the #9 prospect, and RHP Joe Gunkel (who went to West Chester) is #17 (and probably won’t start this series).

There’s an “all you can eat” pic-nic at the park today, see the IronPigs website for details–$20 gets you a ticket and 2 1/2 hours of food.

There is a Monday autograph table today, as well:  Mark Appel and Will Venable are expected from 12:30PM to 12:50PM–but players are always subject to change.  Today, in particular I might guess:  Day game, Mark is injured, and I’ve heard that Will is…less than fan friendly.  But you never know–somebody let me know who was there; I’ll be upstairs.

Cap:  Probably one of my USA caps.  I’ve got a stars and stripes Pigs jersey too, but it’s the Zambrano and….doesn’t fit well.  😉

Kram’s Korner

It was a very frustrating loss yesterday–it’s easy to blame the umpires, but we just didn’t play terribly well.  The move to bat Hollands with Sweeney on third and two outs was a puzzling one.  It’s one of those times where it becomes glaringly clear that it’s not about winning and losing all the time.  Or, ever, it feels like, sometimes.  See the links for more info.

Links of the Day

First, our friend Chuck has some thoughts on Mario Hollands and why he picked up the bat yesterday with the game in the balance.

Second, our friend Chris from Durham, on Memorial Day.


See you at the park,


Categories: Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Lehigh Valley IronPigs

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