IronPigs are back in town to face Buffalo. Here’s what you need to know to get ready for the games. This post will be updated periodically as new information becomes available, up until game time on Wednesday.
Where are we?
The IronPigs return from two weeks on the road settled into third place in the International League East. Buffalo, Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays comes to town as a fourth place team in those same standings. Both Buffalo and the IronPigs have had time on top of this standings grid during the past week. For Lehigh Valley, 8-2 in the last 10 combined with the run differential can signify the team is one of the hottest in the International League East right now. But can it continue?
How did we get here?
When we last saw the ‘Pigs, they were closing out a 4-2 series win at home versus Rochester. Their two-week expedition started in Moosic versus the hated RailRiders. After a rain postponement, the ‘Pigs dropped the first two games of the series, but followed that up with a doubleheader sweep on a Friday night and a weekend sweep to take the series 4-2.
From there, the Bacon USA contingent made their way up I-81 to face the Smets, Triple-A affiliate of the New York Metropolitans. After splitting the first two games of the now-standard six-game set, the Oink Outfit reeled off three in a row before dumping the getaway game and taking yet another series, 4-2.
Who’s on the team?
With the MLB move from April 28-man rosters to the more standard 26, we saw the return of starting hurlers Bailey Falter and Cristopher Sanchez. Shortstop Bryson Stott was down for a good chunk of the roadie, but has found his way back to the City of Brotherly Love in place of the injured Didi Gregorious. With Stott and fellow 40-man prospect Nick Maton on the roster, veteran utility man Ronald Torreyes requested and received his release. Just prior to leaving town, LHP Zach Warren–one of my favorites from Reading–was added to the IronPigs contingent, while speedster CF Roman Quinn was called to Philadelphia. Warren was subsequently added to the Injured List, along with RHP Jake Newberry. INF tured CF Dalton Guthrie was activated from the Injured List during the series in Syracuse. Injuries and COVID and a doubleheader sent Cris Sanchez and Double-A top reliever prospect RHP Francisco Morales to Philadelphia. Sanchez pitched to start the second game of the doubleheader on Sunday, but has since been returned to the IronPigs. RHP Connor Brogdon also remains with the Phillies as a COVID replacement, and should be on the west-coast trip to Seattle and Los Angeles.
Currently on the Injured List for the IronPigs:
RHP Cam Bedrosian 7-Day
RHP Hans Crouse 7-Day
LHP Scott Moss 7-Day
RHP Jake Newberry 7-Day
RHP Tyler Phillips 60-Day
LHP Zach Warren 7-Day
*Keep in mind, roster and transaction information has already been revealed to be sometimes inaccurate and often tardy, so take it with a grain of salt. However, since the MLB took over the minors, even the local media department doesn’t get roster announcements early like they used to.
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not
1B Darick Hall is coming off two straight weeks as ‘player of the week’ due to his slugging.
CF Dalton Guthrie has continued his hitting ways since coming off the I.L. He’s hitting .333/.368/.407.
C Austin Wynns and C Donny Sands are both hitting over .333 and OPSing over .900. Sands left Saturday’s game early, so that could be something to watch.
OF John Andreoli and INF Nick Maton are both hitting below the Mendoza, but each have shown signs of heating up and have some clutch hits lately.
LHP and starter Bailey Falter still has a 0.00 ERA following two starts at Triple-A. However, he could be called up again due to the current pitching needs of the big club.
RHP Dillon Maples still has a 0.00 ERA as a reliever.
RHP Mark Appel has a 1.88 ERA and a team-leading 4 Wins as a middle reliever.
Starter James Marvel and reliever Aaron Barrett each have an ERA approaching 20.0.
LHP reliever Jakob Hernandez hasn’t always been sharp.
LHP reliever Braeden Ogle had a tough outing in Syracuse on Sunday.
The Task At Hand: A Look At Buffalo
The Bisons just finished a home series with visiting Durham, Triple-A Rays, which they lost 2-4 .
Transactions show RHP Casey Lawrence and RHP Julian Merryweather recently joined via option from Toronto.
A look at the roster shows they have the very top prospect, Catcher Gabriel Moreno (#23) on the roster. INF Jordan Groshans (#49) and INF Otto Lopez (#4) are also on the team and in the top-5 among future Jays. RHP Bowden Francis is the #15 prospect and wears #59. UTIL Samad Taylor is the #16 prospect and wears #88. RHP Adrian Hernandez is 5’8″, the #18 prospect, and wears #77. RHP Hyun Jin Ryu was added on a rehab assignment on 5/5 (#99). Also with the team is coach Devon Markes Whyte, commonly known as Devon White, whom I remember from his days as a player with the Angels. He’ll be in #22 if you see him about.
Recent roster moves by each team, along with doubleheaders in the last two series for Buffalo, have the pitching rotations in total flux. Once some clarity can be had, this section will get an update.
What’s going on at the park?
Tuesday: “Tail Waggin’ Tuesday” Dog Night; Nurses Appreciation Night
Wednesday: Karen Night
Thursday: Pre-Game Happy Hour 5-7PM, Dollar (1.06) Dogs and Discount Drafts; Coquis Night; Plaza 5PM, Stadium 5:30PM.
Friday: St. Luke’s Night! 150th Anniversary, Helicopter Mascot Drop, EMS Night, Martial Arts Night, Jersey Auction, Fireworks
Saturday: Warthogs Night; Dance Group Night
Sunday: Creepers and Pickaxes Game on the Big Board; Miracle League Game on the field before the game; Dance Groups; post-game kids run bases. All Gates 12:00PM!
Story Lines / What To Watch
The Winning: Can the IronPigs keep up their winning ways here at home? Can this team of veterans take a fourth straight series? Against a quality opponenet?
Darick Hall: Can he stay hot? Can he identify and punish off-speed junk pitches? Can he hit against a tough lefty?
The Rotation: As expected, the starting rotation has been somewhat of an adventure. But a deep stable of relievers has been able to ameliorate that issue somewhat. What happens now? With the Phillies in need of starters and arms, will it get worse?
Center Field Entrance: Take a walk around and get a gander at the new entrance in center. I saw the steps were being poured the other day. Will they be ready to open by the end of the next home stand?
New Gear: Scrapple, Mother’s Day, and Armed Forces Day gear is already out. As is a T-Shirt for the Allentown Ambassadors throwback. Up next? St. Luke’s Night? Father’s Day? The Clubhouse Store is a must-stop on a lap around the field-level concourse.
The Ironpigs are alternating series here in May, as they’ll head to Rochester for a week before returning for Worcester the last week of May. Hopefully, some thanks go out to the Rochester organization for everything they did to support Daniel Brito and his teammates last season.
See you at the park,