“Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting timing.”
– Warren Spahn
The IronPigs drove a steak through the heart The IronPigs butchered the Bulls and served them on rolls
On a night full of distraction, Jake Thompson set it all aside, went out on the mound and did work. Seven innings, six hits–only one for extra bases–five strikeouts and one walk. 102 pitches with 68 for strikes led to 10 ground-outs to only 2 fly-outs. And, with Ramos and Mujica around, if you can go seven with the lead, then you are virtually assured of the win.
But it wasn’t easy. The IronPigs broke out the black pants again to match the “Steaks” jerseys. And if the “Salute to Philadelphia Night” wasn’t distraction enough, the Phillies chose just after batting practice as the best time to announce that Thompson’s roommate Zach Eflin would be called up for the first time, to make his debut Tuesday night in Toronto. Oh, and the other guy on the mound? Tampa number-1 prospect Blake Snell. Plenty going through Jake’s mind as he took the mound, no doubt.
But Thompson pitched a shutout; Ramos kept it intact, and the
Steaks Pigs went home 3-0 winners. Darin Ruf was 3-3 on the night–a homer short of the cycle, with his average now over .300. Jake didn’t do anything fancy–just mixed his pitches and attacked the strike zone. He got ahead of batters and got weak contact. He also got a couple nice defensive plays from shortstop JP Crawford.
A word about Blake Snell: You’re going to see that cat in the big leagues, probably pretty soon. His fastball early on was electric at 94-96 T97; it had lateral movement which was visible from our club level seats. Junior termed it, “disgusting.” The sharp slider seemed to come from the exact release point of the 2-seam electric fastball. It’s an excellent pitch but I thought perhaps he didn’t have the best feel for it on the night as it was sometimes super and sometimes not even close. If he was “working on” something, it was the curve. It came in a notch slower than the slider and with much more break. It occasionally flashed as an excellent pitch, but again I didn’t think he had full command of it last night, leaving it in bad spots a couple times. Junior also supposed that perhaps Blake was trying to be too perfect on the night–knowing his team isn’t hitting real well. As the innings wore on, the fastball seemed to lose it’s life a bit. Still, he struck out 13 (!) and allowed three earned over 5 2/3 innings. He’s an excellent pitcher and it was obvious why he’s a top prospect. It’s just that Jake Thompson was better on this night.
After last night’s games, every team in the IL North is over .500–and within 3.5 games of each other. The IronPigs sit right in the middle of that mess at 33-28, 1.5 back of current leader Rochester. The hottest team right now is P’tucket (W3, 8-2) while the coldest is Syracuse (W1, 3-7).
The IronPigs didn’t homer last night, but still lead the International League in long balls with 57. Charlotte with the home shoe-box has 55. The ‘Pigs only hit 69 home runs all of last season.
The IronPigs continue to be a better road team than home team, but will look to put that to rest in this 10-game home stand.
As I had predicted, yesterday came with a flurry of roster moves. The official press notification came in rather late; here’s the summary if you missed it.
3B Emmanuel Burriss left yesterday’s game after landing awkwardly legging out an infield single. He was replaced in the game by Carlos Alonso.
As mentioned above, Zach Eflin was named the starter for the Phillies on Tuesday. The IronPigs will go with David Buchanan that day, it appears, and because of the off-day on Monday, won’t require a new starter until Saturday, when they host Buffalo for a day/night double-header of two full 9-inning games. Not ideal. But we’ll worry about that when we get there, I guess. For now, here’s how the rotation looks:
Saturday: ??? / ???
First Pitch: 6:35PM, Gates 5:15PM, Club 5:00PM
While last night was a complete sell-out, plenty of really good seats remain for today’s game. Heavy thunderstorms may move through the area this afternoon, but everything should be clear by game-time or shortly thereafter.
RHP Ben Lively (2-0, 2.37) takes the mound for the IronPigs. The Bulls will send top-20 prospect RHP Jaime Schultz (5-2, 2.57).
Promotion: It’s Ferrous’ birthday party. Many other mascots will be at the game to help him celebrate! It’s a good night to bring the kiddos if they like mascots. Also, post-game fireworks!
Cap: Continuing my 2016 ‘hat tour’ featuring a different cap for each home game, I’m going full 2015 Saturday ensemble tonight–red bacon jersey and gray (giveaway) bacon cap.
I couldn’t be happier for Jake Thompson today–It was a great win last night and he’s stringing good starts together now, home and away. Hopefully the bats can get going and we can get on some kind of roll again. Lively has been really solid–for us and for Reading–all year. Scouts both professional and amateur don’t like his stuff, but he just keeps getting guys out, and has done so very consistently. I look forward to seeing him pitch again tonight.
On last thing about Cheese Steak night: They should have had them more available to eat last night. The lines for them on the main concourse were ridiculous, and there were none to be found on the club level, at all. The press box had shrimp for dinner.
Still hungry? Pick up your tickets for wing and beer night on Monday 6/27–you can get it with a ticket, or just upgrade if you already have a game ticket that night.
Link of the Day
Greg Joyce on the Zach Eflin call.
See you at the park,