IRONPIGS: Series Preview – Just the Worcester 5/24 – 5/29/2022

“Oh good heavens, baby where is my medicine?
Well I must have left it outside with my etiquette”

-Black Crowes

The Red Sox affiliate (I’m having trouble calling them the Woo-Sox) comes to town for the first time in 2022. Here’s what you need to know to get ready for a great week of ballpark activities.

(UPDATED: 5/25, 8:00AM)

Photo: Jack Mitroka

“Sitting Here”

It’s always weird when folks say that a team “sits.” I’m not sure exactly how that works, but as we write this on the Monday off-day, the IronPigs “sit” alone in third place in the International League East Division, 3.0 games behind Rochester and 1.5 behind Buffalo. They are 23-19 and have a 245/208 positive run-differential.

The Special Swine have won two series versus the first-place Washington affiliate, both at home and now on the road. We’ll see Buffalo plenty more, but not fourth-place Jacksonville at all, and fifth-place Durham only on the road, in July.

How Did We Get Here?

When the ‘Pigs left town after the game on 5/15, they had just dumped the series to second-place Buffalo, 2-4–our first 2022 exposure to the Bisons. This, after having won the previous couple series on the road at Scranton and Syracuse, by a similar count. Right now, the ‘Pigs are 6-4 in their last 10, and have won one game in a row.

Who’s Hot?

1B/DH Darick Hall continues to pace (read: tops overall in) the International League in RBI, Extra-Base Hits, and Total Bases.

OF John Andreoli is near the league lead in walks

INF Nick Maton leads the league in doubles, and had a 3-2B, 1-HR game on the road trip.

C/DH Austin Wynns is slashing .435/.574/.696 since the calendar turned to May.

Starting Pitchers Bailey Falter, Cristopher Sanchez, Michael Mariot, Colton Eastman and Ricardo Sanchez all had good starts in the series at Rochester.

Relief Pitchers Francisco Morales, Zach Warren, and Mark Appel continue to be solid for the Phillies Triple-A Affiliate.

Who’s Not?

Newcomer Corey Oswalt as well as fellow hurlers James Marvel, Jakob Hernandez and Jake Newberry have had their struggles.

INF/OF Scott Kingery has hit just .143 since coming up from Florida

OF John Andreoli, despite the walks, has hit just .161 on the season

Veteran INF/OF Drew Maggi is hitting .192

Reserve C Edgar Cabral is hitting .184

Photo: Jack Mitroka

Roster Moves since 5/15:

05/22/22 Lehigh Valley IronPigs placed RHP Tyler Cyr on the 7-day injured list.
05/22/22 Lehigh Valley IronPigs activated RHP Jake Newberry from the 7-day injured list.
05/20/22 Lehigh Valley IronPigs placed 3B Will Toffey on the 7-day injured list retroactive to May 19, 2022.
05/20/22 Lehigh Valley IronPigs activated LHP Zach Warren from the 7-day injured list.
05/19/22 Lehigh Valley IronPigs placed LHP Braeden Ogle on the 7-day injured list.
05/19/22 Lehigh Valley IronPigs activated LHP Damon Jones from the 7-day injured list.
05/18/22 Lehigh Valley IronPigs activated RHP Aaron Barrett.
05/17/22 SS Scott Kingery assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
05/17/22 RHP Mike Adams assigned to [Reading] from Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
05/16/22 Philadelphia Phillies optioned RHP Francisco Morales to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

[UPDATE:  No further roster moves as of 5/25; 9AM]

Our First Look at Worcester

The Team That Was Once Pawtucket is currently in 7th place in the 10-team IL East, with a 19-23 record. The IronPigs dropped a series 2-4 in Massachusetts back in April. They’re sporting a 2-game losing streak just having dumped the last two at home versus last-place Scranton after winning the first four of the series.

Old Friends: This team has a few familiar names, you might recognize–

RHP Connor Seabold – The former third-round pick of the Phillies didn’t get a start last time through their rotation, but has been putting up some very good numbers this season as a Worcester starter

C/Util Deivy Grullon – Just three games back in April, but he does appear on their active roster

INF Jonathan Arauz – Shipped to Houston in the Ken Giles deal in late 2015, he’s been in the Boston organization the last couple seasons.

OF Rob Refsnyder – The former RailRider has always been kind of an “IronPigs Killer” who always hits .300 or better and then raises his game.

Top Prospects:

#2 1B Tristan Casas

#4 RHP Brayan Bello

#5 INF Jeter Downs

#7 RHP Bryan Mata (inj)

#13 RHP Josh Winckowski

#23 C Ronaldo Hernandez

[UPDATE:  Tristan Casas and Connor Seabold were added to the 7-Day Injured List just prior to the series with the IronPigs.]


Photo: Jack Mitroka

Projected Pitching Match-Ups

As always, six-game series, roster moves, and even the fact that Seabold didn’t pitch versus Scranton, will impact these projections.  We’ll update if we have a chance:

[UPDATE:  Bailey Falter and Cris Sanchez, the nominal #6 and #7 starters for the Phillies, in some order, were both scrubbed from the ‘probables’ prior to Tuesday’s game.  No other announcements or roster moves were made, either from Lehigh Valley or Philadelphia.  Multiple relievers were “unavailable” for manager Joe Girardi in Tuesday’s loss in Atlanta–but it is assumed those were work-load related and not illness or injury.  Corrections as I know them have been made below, but they could and probably will change again. Worcester probables only known through tonight with Crawford, but appear on track with Seabold to the I.L.]

Tuesday: LHP Bailey Falter [Corey Oswalt] vs RHP Brayan Bello

Wednesday: LHP Cristopher Sanchez [James Marvel] vs RHP Kutter Crawford

Thursday: RHP James Marvel [TBA] vs LHP Thomas Pannone

Friday: RHP Michael Mariot vs RHP Brian Keller

Saturday: RHP Colton Eastman vs. RHP Josh Winckowski

Sunday: LHP Ricardo Sanchez vs. RHP Brayan Bello

What’s Going On At The Park?

It’s “Salute to Service Week” sponsored by Toyota

Tuesday:  Mike Schmidt Bobblehead Figurine Giveaway; Mike Schmidt appearance; Dog Day

Wednesday:  Umbrella Giveaway; ’80s Night

Thursday:  Tyler’s Amazing Balancing Act; Jewish Heritage Night; Military Appreciation Night; Happy Hour 5PM-7PM Plaza, 5:30-7:00 Stadium

Friday:  T-Shirt Giveaway; Jurassic Pork Night; Post-Game Fireworks

Saturday:  Star Wars Night; Post-Game Fireworks

Sunday:  6:35PM Start!  Car Show 10AM – 3PM; Camo Cap Giveaway; Memorial Day Celebration; Post-Game Fireworks.

Photo: Jack Mitroka

What To Watch:

Watch for roster additions. Is OF Mickey Moniak ready for Triple-A again, following his broken hand/wrist? Has C Logan O’Hoppe sufficiently shoved his way to a promotion yet, from Double-A Reading? [UPDATE: It appears Moniak is headed for Reading, as soon as Tuesday Morning Game.  I opined last week on Twitter that although Kingery went straight to Triple-A, that with Ortiz dinged up and Muzziotti on the shelf, Reading could use the help.  Guess that’s the way it’ll play out.  I’d look for Mickey to join the Pigs as they head to Scranton next week.  UPDATE2!  In speaking with reporters following Tuesday morning’s game in Reading, Moniak said that he’s been told he’ll be in Reading through Thursday.  Now, does that mean the weekend in Allentown?  Headed to New York with the big club?  Staying in Reading?  Perhaps it’s undecided and they just want Moniak to set his schedule and be prepared to move if necessary.  We’ll see.]

Watch the center field entrance. Is it done yet? Close? Is it still having an impact on what kind of fireworks we’re allowed to have? Do the IronPigs have a plan to return to conventional fireworks any time soon?  Are we gonna need a land purchase?

Watch out for moving day. I always call June 1 “moving day” in the minors, when some veteran players often move on or are asked to move on. June first isn’t until a week from Wednesday, but I’m wondering if some roster moves could start while the team (and Reading) are at home this week. Also, will additional roster limits come into play? Here or with MLB?

Watch Scott Kingery. Yeah, he’s started slow, but that is to be expected somewhat. Can he start to put it all together again? Is his swing that of prospect Kingery or the uppercut nonsense he was working with before he hurt his shoulder? Will they continue to leave him at second base or move him around? I’m under the impression they want to leave him in one spot until things settle in for him.

Watch Yairo Munoz. Can he start to play as well at home as he does on the road? Can he get his batting average back up to where he was leading the league at one point?

Watch Darick Hall. Can he hit lefty’s? How is he at recognizing off-speed pitches and balls and strikes from either pitching arm?  If he wants to grab a 40-man spot and see The Show, he’s gonna have to button some of this stuff up–despite the fact that he’s putting up some MVP-type numbers as far as Triple-A goes.  

Watch for Dalton Guthrie. Will he be able to get consistent playing time? He was doing very well in center field before his injury, but with the arrival of Matt Vierling and eventually Mickey Moniak, the reps will be fewer in center. Will he continue to get time in left or right field? I feel like he’s close to maybe putting it all together, but he’s gonna need the playing time to either sink or swim.

Can INF Nick Maton stay hot?  How long until fans start singing “Hungry Like The Wolf” when he’s due up?  

What’s Next?

The IronPigs head to Moosic to face the last-place RailRiders–but don’t take that for granted because I can’t see them being that weak for that long.  Then, out to Omaha.  Yeah.  Omaha.  As in Nebraska.  Because that’s close to Moosic [sarcasm].  They are the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, and I hope this is a sign that some of these out-lying teams will visit us at beautiful Coca Cola Park in the coming seasons.  This is the second of two, two-game roadies for the team in 2022.  

The IronPigs will return to Allentown on Tuesday June 14 to face Buffalo.  

See you at the park,


Featured Image by Jack Mitroka

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