“August used to be a sad month for me. As the days went on, the thought of school starting weighed heavily upon my young frame. That, coupled with the oppressive heat and humidity…only seemed to heighten the misery.”
On the day when August arrived, amid a fury of MLB trades and transactions, the IronPigs took advantage of a few minutes of dry weather and a depleted RailRiders team, to grab a decisive 7-1 victory and a share of first place.
Russell started so that Morgan wouldn’t have to warm up, only to see his start get crushed by the incoming storms. With weather clearing, Adam got warm and the decimated little Yankee lineup didn’t have a chance. D-Ruf and Nicky homered.
Record: 67-42, 1st place (tied), 25 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history.
IronRail: 5-5 (18)
With the Phillies standing pat at the non-waiver trade deadline, there were no moves made or forced on the IronPigs side of things. With Darnell Sweeney nursing a sore ankle and the roster now one short at 24, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Carlos Alonso back in town. He hasn’t been used much in Reading lately, either, not having started a game since 7/22.
First Pitch 7:05PM; Gates 5:45PM; Club 5:30PM
RHP Ben Lively (5-4, 3.87) takes the ball for the IronPigs.
After several really good starts when he began his AAA assignment back in early June, Ben had a few clunkers. His last three starts have been solid but underwhelming. I know they probably have him working on certain things and trying to have him execute a certain game plan, but he’ll need to just get guys out tonight, against what will likely be a very different RailRiders lineup. We could see all three of OF Clint Frazier, OF Aaron Judge and C Gary Sanchez back in the lineup–as well as a fuller bench for a team who played with only a catcher as their only bench player yesterday.
LHP Jordan Montgomery (9-4, 2.55 in AA Trenton) makes his AAA debut for the RailRiders. The South Carolina product, drafted by the Yankees in 2014, will have his hands full as well, with an IronPigs lineup which has gone 28-12 this season versus opposing LHP-starters.
Keys to the game:
- Will the AAA-Yankees feature a bolstered lineup tonight?
- If so, will those players be rusty? Or carry the day with their bats?
- How will young Montgomery do versus a lineup which destroys LHP?
- Which Ben Lively pitches? The one who started AAA on fire, or the one who has struggled a bit as of late?
- Will Lively get good defense behind him? That’s been one of the issues in his recent starts as he’s tried to pitch to contact but has been the victim of some bad luck and some bad plays.
- Will Brundage get another bench player? Or is Sweeney’s ankle OK if he’s needed?
- How distracting will it be to have 1500 kids running around in capes looking for Pokemon?
- Pirate and Princess Night
- Cape giveaway (1500 kids 17 and under) (side note: Junior, who is 17, is going to look great in one of those capes. Maybe let’s change the kid/adult age line to 14 as in Reading.)
75 and sunny. Either that or Landes has access to the weather app on my phone…
I was saying before yesterday’s game, and I’ll repeat it here, it is really nice to be playing meaningful baseball in August. Other seasons, this is about the time when I start to check out–looking more at the coming hockey season than anything happening on the field at Coca Cola Park. Oh, and we’ve had teams who checked out as well–particularly that 2010 squad. Anyway, it is kind of nice to come out every night and have the games matter.
To that end, I think it will be telling what happens here through the end of this week vis-a-vis roster moves. I think it will tell us what the Phillies think of Lehigh Valley and AAA under this regime. GM Matt Klentak has said all the right things about calling up players “when they’re ready” as well as “there’s not that much difference between August and September.”
Well, to us there is. As much as some of these guys are champing at the bit to get their first taste of the big leagues and the big checks, we’ve got a pennant race and a playoff spot right here. There’s nothing wrong with finishing what you started, you know? How important is that to Klentak et al? We’ll see, I guess.
Link of the Day:
Our friend Chuck Hixson, on what happens now that Hellickson hasn’t been traded.
See you at the park,
Cover Photo by Cheryl Pursell