KramsKorner: New Look Pigs Return For The Holiday Weekends

“Baseball is a lot like life. It’s a day-to-day existence, full of ups and downs. You make the most of your opportunities in baseball as you do in life.”

-Ernie Harwell

Listi (left) with OF Jan Hernandez Photo: Cheryl Pursell

The Boys are back in town following an eight-day tour of Ohio and two days in northern New York.  Here’s what you need to know to get ready for the next stretch of games as we march towards the July 4 holiday:

Moving Day

It seems like there’s always a day.  Every season.  It feels like it might always be a Friday–or maybe a Thursday.  Anyway, there’s a day when the Phillies make a flurry of minor league moves which deeply impact the IronPigs.  And, I’m not usually ready for it.  Guys get released, guys move up, and sometimes new guys come in from elsewhere.  It’s a day that makes you go, “Whoa!”

This season, that day was last Thursday.  Old friends INF Damek Tomscha and INF Gift Ngoepe were released prior to the IronPigs game in Columbus.  INF Phil Gosselin had already returned from the Phillies via DFA/waivers and OF Nick Williams was assigned.  As I arrived at the game in Reading it was obvious that INF/OF Austin Listi wasn’t in the lineup.  The chain reaction of moves was then quite evident, as we figured out that first rounder 3B Alec Bohm would soon be in Reading.

Here’s a list of the roster moves since the Pigs left for Ohio a week ago, Monday:

Nick Matera was assigned to Williamsport (A) from Lehigh Valley on 6/18
Jose Antequera was placed on the Injured List with a right calf strain on 6/18
Phil Gosselin was assigned to Lehigh Valley from Philadelphia on 6/18
Seth McGarry was promoted to Lehigh Valley from Reading on 6/18
Gift Ngoepe was released by Philadelphia on 6/20
Damek Tomscha was released by Philadelphia on 6/20
Nick Williams was assigned to Lehigh Valley from Philadelphia on 6/20
Tyler Gilbert was reinstated off the Injured List on 6/20
Austin Listi promoted to Lehigh Valley from Reading on 6/21
Seth McGarry assigned to Reading from Lehigh Valley on 6/21
Tom Windle was reinstated from the Injured List on 6/22
Josh Martin was reinstated from the Injured List on 6/22
Alexis Rivero was placed on the Injured List with a right forearm strain on 6/22
Jose Taveras promoted to Lehigh Valley from Reading on 6/24
Cole Irvin assigned to Lehigh Valley from Philadelphia on 6/24
Drew Anderson was placed on the Injured List with a right elbow inflammation on 6/24
Fernando Salas was promoted to Philadelphia from Lehigh Valley on 6/24
Edubray Ramos was assigned to Lehigh Valley from Philadlephia on 6/25
Josh Martin was placed on the Injured List with a right calf strain on 6/25

Printable Roster:  Active Roster at 25

2019 LHV Roster 6-25-19

Gosselin. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Recent Struggles–And Rebirth

The additions of Gosselin, Williams and Listi to the lineup has added some scoring pop.  Add in a now-healthy Jan Hernandez, and the lineup has a much different look from the one we last saw on Father’s Day.  I imagine INF/C Matt McBride might be available to come off the Injured List to augment the hitters, if needed.

Since Williams and Listi joined the lineup with Gosselin, the team has scored 28 runs in the last four games.  The team has a deeper lineup, too, which will challenge the opposing pitchers a bit more.  Here’s how they have been lining up lately (although you know they mix it up from game to game):

Jan Hernandez RF

Austin Listi 1B

Phil Gosselin 3B

Deivy Grullon C

Nick Williams CF

Lane Adams LF

Ali Castillo 2B

Malquin Canelo SS

Pitcher

 

Still, the team lost six in a row from June 13-19, and is 8-15 during the month of June, following a lackluster 11-16 May, to totally cancel out the nice start they had with the 16-8 April.  It will be a challenge, but if we can keep most of this lineup together, and the Phillies leave our rotation alone while perhaps returning Ranger Suarez or promoting Adonis Medina, then we could still get on a roll.  The trade deadline may create some chaos, but I tend to think it will be a net-positive unless they jettison a bunch of AAA pitchers.

International League North
CLUB W L PCT GB ELIM# HOME AWAY DIV L10 STRK
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY) 44 31 .587 25-12 19-19 30-21 6-4 L2
Buffalo Bisons (TOR) 39 36 .520 5.0 61 20-18 19-18 23-28 9-1 W7
Syracuse Mets (NYM) 37 40 .481 8.0 57 21-18 16-22 24-29 5-5 W1
Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 36 39 .480 8.0 58 20-17 16-22 26-25 5-5 W2
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI) 35 39 .473 8.5 58 18-19 17-20 29-22 3-7 L1
Pawtucket Red Sox (BOS) 31 44 .413 13.0 53 14-23 17-21 22-29 3-7 L2

 

Nick Williams may not be quick to report, but he does look like he’s playing hard and having fun when he’s here. Glad to have him! Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Rotation Roulette

The Phillies injury woes among pitchers have decimated the IronPigs rotation, as well as bullpen.  Every 40-man pitcher with his arm still attached has been to Philadelphia–and back–at some point.  The problem is, with the rotation the strength of the team, guys who’ve been called up, used or not used, and then sent back, are not always immediately available to take turns in the rotation.  Recent starts by Tyler Viza, Alexis Rivero, and Jose Taveras have been typical of AAA, and not the “six aces” we thought we had when the season began.

Right now, LHP Cole Irvin has returned from Philadelphia, and was part of a winning effort Monday night in Syracuse.  RHP Ramon Rosso pitched yesterday afternoon in Syracuse, with a solid albeit abbreviated effort.  RHP Drew Anderson was removed from a game over the road trip, and subsequently placed on the Injured List with a bad elbow.  That’s not good.  LHP Ranger Suarez remains parked in the bullpen in Philadelphia, last having pitched on Sunday versus Miami.  He could be a candidate to return when Tommy Hunter is ready to be activated; he pitched two innings in rehab yesterday for Reading, in Trenton.  Jerad Eickhoff earned a spot in the Phillies rotation, but arm problems and ineffectiveness have landed him on the MLB Injured List.  JoJo Romero is back at AA.  He’s had a couple good starts, but has also been very uneven.  He’s not ready to try AAA again yet.  Enyel De Los Santos finally got a real opportunity on Sunday in Philadelphia, but was unfortunately not able to nail down the job there, and will likely remain with us for now.

Upcoming probables:

Wednesday:  Viza

Thursday:  TBA (Taveras pitched in relief on Monday; Suarez would be on short rest; Rivero not eligible to come off the IL until Saturday)

Friday:  De Los Santos

Saturday:  Irvin

Sunday: Rosso

JD Hammer got to the Phillies quickly–he’s one of several promising young relievers who have come from Reading to Lehigh Valley this season. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Young Bucks in the Pen

Through all the roster churning–and the complete decimation of the Phillies bullpen–several relievers have pushed their way up from Reading.  The early results were not good.  Kyle Dohy couldn’t find the strike zone.  Luke Leftwich couldn’t miss a bat.  Josh Tols has to get comfortable spinning the new baseball.  But they’re all improving.  Here’s a quick look at some guys who didn’t start with the IronPigs, but could be a big part of the rest of the season–particularly if our rotation isn’t as solid as expected:  (This was originally a stand-alone post, but I’ve inserted it here because it didn’t get “published” in time)

RHP JD Hammer (above)

Hammer pitched but one game here–got the win with two clean innings and three strikeouts.  He was immediately needed in Philadelphia and has remained there.  In 11 games in the big leagues, he’s allowed eight hits, four runs and two home runs.  He had two clean innings with a single walk as the only blemish, Monday night versus the Mets.  Still, as relievers get healthy, Hammer could return to the IronPigs via option in order to get more regular work.

Leftwich Photo: Cheryl Pursell

RHP Luke Leftwich

From May 9 until June 5, Leftwich’ first 8 games with the IronPigs:

12.0 Innings, 22 Hits, 21 Earned Runs, 10 BB, 13 K

From June 8 until Now:

11.0 Innings, 7 Hits, 1 Earned Run, 1 BB, 18 K

Yeah, I think he’s getting a feel for it.  Some of the bugaboo has been the desire to have Leftwich pitch multiple innings.  At first, it wasn’t working out so well–he’d start out OK, but then it would fall apart.  Now, he’s able to complete the task.

 

Dohy photo Cheryl Pursell

LHP Kyle Dohy

Finding the strike zone was the problem early on.  Even now, he makes me nervous.  But, he can sling it, and the numbers show he’s getting it, too:

First 15 outings at AAA, from April 25 to June 5:

18 innings, 21 Hits, 19 Earned Runs, 22 BB, 25 K

Last 7 outings, since June 8:

8 innings, 4 Hits, 2 Earned Runs, 4 BB, 12 K

I think they’re thinking of more of a 1-inning pitcher with Dohy.  But, he doesn’t appear to be a “lefty specialist;” he actually has some reverse splits since coming to AAA.  They had him close out the game Monday night in Syracuse–and I admit I was a bit nervous, but he got the job done.  He should be fun to watch going forward.

 

Tols photo: Cheryl Pursell

LHP Josh Tols

“Tolsy” the diminutive Aussie, is an interesting character.  The “ephus” curve spins like nobody’s business.  With arms shortage on the recent road trip, he was put in some tough spots and gave up some walks.  I didn’t see the games, so he could have been just wild those days, but I tend to think he could have come in contact with an umpire who didn’t know how to call the strike zone with a pitch moving so much.  The batters, to their credit, just not swinging at those pitches they know they can’t hit.  Still, we do have evidence he’s getting a feel for the new baseball (AAA using MLB “juiced” baseballs this season):

From May 30 (second game) until June 18 (two games ago):

7 Outings, 10 Innings, 2 Hits, 1 Earned Run, 3 BB, 12 K

Now, in his last two outings, 1.2 innings, he has nine walks, which isn’t good.  That will be something to watch going forward.

 

Haseley in Scranton. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

A Note On Haseley

We really didn’t see Adam Haseley in Allentown, did we?  He played in six road games and then got called up as the Phillies needed center fielders badly.  He did well in the bigs in short work, but hurt his hip/hamstring.  He should be back shortly, as he’s started a rehab with Reading during their series in Trenton early this week.  (This is one of the reasons I like going to the Reading games–sometimes we miss out on stuff here at the Top Level of the Minors.)

Will he have his rehab moved to AAA?  Will he get activated and then optioned to AAA?  Will another player get optioned or DFA’d from the Phillies?  Something to watch.

(I know Sean Rodriguez isn’t a fan-favorite.  But, he’s a veteran who can play multiple positions.  He’s pinch hit before.  I don’t think he’s going anywhere unless other upgrades are made at the trade deadline–and even then, Kingery can’t really return to the “super sub” spot because he’s hitting so well.  Some were thinking it would be a DFA for Maikel Franco, who had been hitting so poorly for a while.  However, he’s begun to mash again, as well.  At this point, if they want to keep Haseley in the Bigs and perhaps platoon him with Quinn in center field, then it would likely be INF Brad Miller to go. Given his history, it’s doubtful he has options left.  He’d be a nice addition for the IronPigs, but I’m not holding my breath.)

Upcoming “At The Park”

Now that school is out, there are a couple of kiddo giveaways upcoming:  There’s a backpack tonight, as well as Sunday.  There’s a soccer ball on Thursday.  Friday is fireworks and a “Jurassic Pork” cap giveaway for Adults.  Saturday is Ninja Turtle Fireworks.

Looking ahead to the July 4 series, P’tucket will be in town:  July 4 is “3-D” fireworks; July 5 and 6 are also fireworks, with the latter being a Toy Story theme.  Sunday July 7 is the “Salute to Philadelphia” with the Phanatic along for the ride.

We’ve got two with Rochester, followed by three with Scranton, in this series.  After three in Buffalo to start the week, we’re back for the holiday to face Pawtucket for four.  Nine of the next 12 games are at home.

See you there,

@Kram207



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

2 replies

  1. Great recap Kram. Thanks. I’m finding it hard to keep up with the team this season. I don’t know if it’s all the roster turnover, the inconsistent results, the lineup changing every day, or I’m just being lazy. Probably all of those.

    I can’t really argue with the results Gary Jones has gotten so far, but I do wonder if making the lineup the same everyday and not having these relievers pitching 2 innings would help. He seems to have a short leash for the starters and a really long one for the bullpen guys. I don’t get why Lane Adams was batting 8th last night. Stuff like that just makes no sense to me.

    • Hey thanks for reading–and thanks for the kind words.

      I think a couple things: I think with the Phillies shift into “win now” mode, they’re using the AAA squad a little differently–and with fewer “prospects” coming up to this level–it’s made things a bit more uneven this season. It reminds me of 2009 a bit–and we’ll just wait and see what the trade deadline does to us.

      Next, keep in mind that Gary’s mandate is to prepare and maintain players for the big league club. That’s really his first and last job. I always have to laugh on media day when beat writers come in from Philly who supposedly know so much, but they ask Gary questions about playoffs and winning and all that stuff–like he has any control over his roster which changes year to year, or other mandates.

      As far as the pitchers, I think one of the mandates is to not over-use or wear out any arms. They need to be healthy and effective if they have any chance to help the Phillies. Conversely, with the relievers, I think they want guys who are prepared to go multiple innings and be effective, so Gary leaves them in there to get that experience.

      Many of these guys, if they’re going to make the big leagues are going to have to be prepared to play or back-up multiple positions, and bat in different spots in the order. It’s all by design, and all part of the preparation. In-game, I think Jonesy wants to win as much as anyone, and he’ll do things to try to help us in that regard, but not beyond his mandate.

      I plan to write about playoffs and standings again soon. Believe me, I want to win more than anyone else, probably. But I’ve been around AAA baseball long enough now to know how the system works.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: