Is it the Philly sports rallying cry? Or, has it become cliche by now?
Alternate title: “IronPigs: The Kids Are Alright”
Baseball is a game of failure.
And, baseball is a game of adjustments.
Having trouble getting to the fastball? Cheat a little to swing faster. Out in front of the change? Sit back a bit and look for the next one. Umpire is calling low strikes, well, you’d better take a hack at some of those, then.
As folks begin to grow impatient with the current IronPigs roster, packed with upper prospects in the Phillies system, I urge a modicum of patience. Players are still adjusting.
They’re adjusting to the level: Several are new to AAA and are seeing pitches and game speed they haven’t seen before–in stadiums that are unfamiliar. Some are adjusting better, and faster, than others. Some are having some success by just taking things as they come–but will have to adjust later when the adversity presents.
They’re adjusting to the environment: No matter what they say, playing for six weeks in the warmth of Clearwater, Florida and then moving to April in Allentown is an adjustment–as is playing under the lights almost every night. Yes, other teams have to adjust as well, but they’re not all undefeated either.
Finally, they’re adjusting to really horrible umpiring. I know, you can’t blame everything on the umps. However, as players press to do better–quickly–they adjust to floating strike zones in a way that expands the strike zone more than it ever should. This is leading to near league-high strike-out levels right now. Players are trying to stay with the program–to trust the batting process as it were–in order to see more pitches and perhaps walk more often. However, pitcher’s counts on poorly called strikes can put a batter in a difficult spot and create some weak swings late in at-bats.
It’ll come around. It already is for Nick Williams. Expect JP Crawford next. Frustration by normally mild-mannered Rhys Hoskins will subside and he’ll continue to hit as well. Umpires will improve as the season rolls on–we’ve noted particularly bad calls in Reading this young season, too.
At first, it seemed to me that maybe JP Crawford wasn’t seeing the ball well this season. Then I realized that maybe it’s the umpires who aren’t seeing it well.
Stay the course.
Trust the process.
See you at the park,