IronPigs: July Opens With New Challenges

Anderson Photo: Cheryl Pursell


Late at night, on June 30, the IronPigs had a 6.5 game lead in the IL-North.

Since the calendar turned to July, they’ve lost two games in a row and the strength of the team, the starting rotation, is about to take some hits.

  1. Enyel De Los Santos and Cole Irvin:  The co-aces of the staff were both chosen for the AAA All-Star Game.  Contrary to my take on the matter, it did sound like both are/were expecting to pitch.  However, now it seems that one will likely get added to the 40-man roster and make his MLB debut on Monday for Philadelphia.  They are scheduled to pitch Thursday and Friday this week, so watch for a scratch coming up.  Watch to see if one or both end up pitching in that exhibition contest–or the “Futures Game” one associated with the MLB event.  In any case, all of these plans to pitch elsewhere will not be helping the IronPigs win games.
  2. Drew Anderson:  He’s on the 40-man, and pitched last night, still putting him in line for that opportunity.  However, his game didn’t go so well, and Manager Gabe Kapler was in the house to see it unfold with his own eyes.

    Kapler at CCP last night. Photo: Cheryl Pursell


  3. Ranger Suarez:  The lefty made his AAA debut on the road in Rochester last weekend, but injured his groin in the process.  It will likely be a few weeks before he can return
  4. Tom Eshelman:  Last year’s ace has had difficulty commanding his fastball this season.  We’ve been assured that he is not injured, and he and the coaches are working to get things back in order for him.  However, when a control pitcher loses control?  Yeah, it hasn’t been good.
  5. Ben Lively:  Ben went on the disabled list with an injured throwing shoulder.  No time table has been mentioned for his return.  Shoulders are ominous and we wish Ben well–but we can’t count on him to help the IronPigs in the near future.
  6. Jacob Waguespack:  He made three starts earlier in the season for the IronPigs, and has bounced in and out of the pen and back and forth to Reading since.  In his last three starts for Reading, he’s allowed 0, 5, and 1 earned run.  That happened over 4.0, 1.2, 5.2 innings, respectively.  He’ll be taking Suarez’ spot in the rotation, starting tomorrow in Syracuse.  I’m hoping for the best.
  7. Brandon Leibrandt:  He’s been really clutch for the IronPigs this season.  However, he’s not been mentioned as a candidate to take one of the rotation spots at this juncture.  It’s not clear–yet–why.

Sources of Help

Hello, Reading!  I saw Jo Jo Romero‘s start there on Sunday and was impressed.  I hadn’t seen him since April, and he’s simplified his offerings and was attacking hitters.  He’s lined up to pitch on Friday when the IronPigs return home from two games in Syracuse.  Other than Romero, though, I’m not sure anyone else in Reading is really ready for AAA hitters.

Jerad Eickhoff will be working his way back again.  Evidently, the numbness in his fingers is not Thoracic Outlet Syndrome at all, but a possible problem in his wrist.  It sounds like he’s going to pitch through it, and has been throwing.  He could get a rehab assignment any time now and could conceivably make a couple of starts for the IronPigs.   Should he need longer, I’m not certain if he has options remaining.

Bullpen Games:  Mark Leiter, Jr and Jake Thompson have been shuttling back and forth to Philly, but could be deployed in a spot start or two around here.  Both have had flashes of success at both levels.

Time:  While the All Star break may throw a monkey wrench in for players participating, it also gives the team a chance to rest, and the rotation a chance to re-set.  It comes at a good time.

And then, there’s always the Sugar Land Skeeters.  I hear they have a good staff this season.

In any case, mark down those standings for June 30, as that might be our best of the season.  Sure, they could work their way out of this and go on to have a decent July as a team.  But, they’ll need the veteran lineup to hit to their potential, and some breaks to boot.  They’ll also need to get through the MLB non-waiver trade deadline at the end of the month without any further casualties if they plan to continue their strong 2018 campaign into the dog days in August.


See you at the park,




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

2 replies

  1. My son lives in Houston. I am wearing a Sugarland Skeeters t-shirt today. We haven’t seen a game there (Houston….summer…. no!) but they have a nice stadium and a great Christmas Light display.

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