IRONPIGS TODAY: “And Then It Was Three” 8/31/2016

“Nobody likes to hear it, because it’s dull, but the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.”

-Earl Weaver

Big Phil Klein--once again impressive in his start. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Big Phil Klein–once again impressive in his start. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

With a 2-0 victory over the Paw Sox at Coca Cola Park last night, the IronPigs reduced their ‘magic number’ to 3.  That’s the combination of ‘Pigs wins and Rochester losses needed to clinch the Wild Card and an entry into the Governor’s Cup tournament for only the second time in franchise history.  The 81st win in the 2016 season is also a franchise record.

In the game last night, OF Darin Ruf extended his hitting streak to 16 games–the longest for the team this season and the longest single-season streak in franchise history.

RHP Phil Klein had another superb outing for the Bacon USA squad.  He’s been the ace and the rock of the rotation since Jake Thompson (newly crowned IL Pitcher of the Year) went up to the Phillies.  And we saw the importance of pitching as RHP Colton Murray got into a bit of a jam in the 8th inning and had to be bailed out by closer RHP Luis Garcia.  I spoke with a few media members last night who were all under pretty much the same assumption as I:  If the Phillies really want two extra arms when the rosters expand, in order to save innings for the starters, the best guys would be Luis and LHP Elvis Araujo.  The likely replacements from Reading would then be LHP Hoby Milner and RHP Gregory Infante–who have both been with us as various times this season.  Reading would get a couple from Clearwater–perhaps LHP Tom Windle or RHP Yacksel Rios or RHP Matt Hockenberry, all of whom have been with Reading already this season.  This isn’t optimal for any of the teams, headed to the post-season, to have the bullpens shuffled.  However, it is probably necessary for the long-term health of the pitchers at the top level, so I can see that it is justified and not just Philadelphia screwing up our playoff hopes.  Still, in a game like last night’s, you could see how important it was to have a hammer to bring in, like Luis.

I’d like to see the team–one way or another–grab the magic three in the next three nights.  That will make for a more relaxing weekend and for plans–both baseball and otherwise–to be made for the playoffs.

Player Report

  • Darin Ruf had two hits on the night to extend his hitting streak
  • Cody Asche also had two hits, including a double
  • OF Nick Williams is looking better at the plate of late; he had a double last night and some good at-bats to go with it.  He is also four doubles shy of the team record (Cervenak).
  • Feather didn’t look great last night, with a couple K’s and some bumbles at second.  Perhaps hitting last doesn’t suit him–but I don’t mind Cam Perkins leading off, either.
  • Cam was caught stealing on what looked like a bad call.  It was an excellent opportunity to run and he took off on the first pitch to SS JP Crawford, hitting second in the order as per usual.

Reading Report

Reading won last night to remain 1.5 games up in the division.  Trenton also won, keeping pace.  Both teams have already clinched playoffs and will face each other in the first round, but the schedule is up in the air based on who wins the division.  From an IronPigs standpoint, it’s better if the Reading team wins the division so that the home games don’t overlap with the IronPigs (likely) wild card games.  Like the ‘Pigs, the Fightins close out the regular season versus their nearest competitor, with the ultimate result likely determined head-to-head.

TODAY’S GAME

7:05PM First Pitch;     5:45PM Gates;     5:30PM Club

Many seats remain for tonight’s game.

Veteran RHP David Buchanan (8-9, 4.23) makes his penultimate regular season start for the IronPigs facing Boston prospect LHP Henry Owens (9-6, 3.52).

After a string of superb outings in July, Buchanan has struggled a bit again of late.  He lost to P’tucket back on 8/15 at Coca Cola Park giving up 8 hits and 5 runs over 6.1 innings of work.  For a while it seemed like the big inning was getting him.  Lately, he’s just giving up a ton of contact–and versus a good hitting team like P’tucket that can burn you.  Against Scranton in the playoffs it could, as well.  Look to see if he can get things back on track tonight.

Owens was the opposing starting pitcher that 8/15 game in Allentown.  He gave up 1 run over 7 innings to get the win.  Last time out in Syracuse he gave up no runs.  I know Boston is in the thick of things, but it seems like Owens should get another shot in Bean-town this Fall.

The match-up tonight would seem to favor the Paw Sox–but you never know, which is why they play the games.

Promotions:

  • Prostate Cancer Awareness Night
  • Silver Pigs Night
  • Ladies Night
  • Foam Finger Giveaway (Adults)
  • Game-worn Autographed cap raffle  [I have reason to believe the winning, autographed caps, were not the ones worn during the game.  I’ll tell you about it some time.]

Weather:

Chance of thunder showers later this evening.  Check weather before you leave and prepare accordingly.

 

Kram’s Korner

Amid all the hellos and good-byes yesterday, we also got one of my favorite promos:  The wall calendar for the following year/season.  Our good friends at Nacci Printing always do such a good job with the production, and in the past our friends at Digital Photographic Imaging (Frank and JJ) provided many of the player photos.  This season, given not just the quality, but the quantity of Pork Illustrated cover photos they used from Cheryl Pursell, I was hoping she’d get a shot or two in the calendar.

We heard whispers over the past week or two, that some of her photos were used.  Little did we realize, ALL the photos (save the covers) in the calendar were Cheryl Pursell originals!  And of course it looks fabulous!  I’ll include some additional photos from last night’s game here, to mark to occasion and share a couple more stories.  If you didn’t get a calendar and you’re going to be a season ticket holder next season, I have had some luck begging for one (very nicely, and that was prior to staff turnover, so your mileage may vary…) when I go into the office to pay my bill for the next season.

Ruf seeing the ball well and getting the tough hits. Will face lefty--albeit a tough one--tonight. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Ruf seeing the ball well and getting the tough hits. Will face lefty–albeit a tough one–tonight.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Stassi has been solid this year. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Stassi has been solid this year.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

I don't know what the future hold for our friend Asche. But I'm having fun watching him this August and September. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

I don’t know what the future hold for our friend Asche. But I’m having fun watching him this August and September.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Williams with the double. I liked his approach last night--was willing to foul balls off and try to find one to hit--wasn't flailing at garbage low and outside. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Williams with the double. I liked his approach last night–was willing to foul balls off and try to find one to hit–wasn’t flailing at garbage low and outside.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Cedric "Mays" Hunter with the clutch catch. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Cedric “Mays” Hunter with the clutch catch.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Garcia has been clutch. It'll hurt to lose him, if that's the way it goes. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Garcia has been clutch. It’ll hurt to lose him, if that’s the way it goes.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Knappy called a good game for both Klein and Garcia last night, and blocked balls better as well. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Knappy called a good game for both Klein and Garcia last night, and blocked balls better as well.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

I'm usually engaged in my own end-of-game celly but these guys have been doing these. I've got to stick around and watch. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

I’m usually engaged in my own end-of-game celly but these guys have been doing these. I’ve got to stick around and watch.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Celly 2 Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Celly 2
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Celly 3 Cheryl Pursell

Celly 3
Cheryl Pursell

I hope they don't put the kibosh on the water fights during the pork race. The race has now become more compelling than ever, with bacon retaliating and now with Diggity and the sneak attack. Following the game on twitter there was trash talk with players. This is fun and keeping the clubhouse loose. I hope it continues and I'll be sure to be in my seat tonight to watch it! Photo: Cheryl Pursell (Video is available elsewhere online)

I hope they don’t put the kibosh on the water fights during the pork race. The race has now become more compelling than ever, with bacon retaliating and now with Diggity and the sneak attack. Following the game on twitter there was trash talk with players. This is fun and keeping the clubhouse loose. I hope it continues and I’ll be sure to be in my seat tonight to watch it!
Photo: Cheryl Pursell
(Video is available elsewhere online)

Looking Ahead

Even if the ‘Pigs lose tonight, there’s an opportunity to inch closer with a Rochester loss.  Then, a win tomorrow in Rochester would clinch.  I was going to write up the 5-game Rochester series as “The Playoffs Start Now” but in reality, with the magic number down to three, it’s more like, “Just Don’t Screw This Up.”   Go Pigs!

 

See you at the park,

@Kram209

 

Featured image by–you guessed it–Cheryl Pursell



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

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