Tuesday was a strange outing for Alec Asher. The right-hander faced the Syracuse Chiefs and threw six perfect innings to start the game; then came the seventh. In that inning, Asher lost the perfecto, lost the shutout, lost his chance for a win and wound up taking a ball off his leg that will send him to the DL with a calf contusion.
Asher has been lights out since joining Lehigh Valley at the end of last month. In four starts, he's gone 3-0 and has a 1.53 ERA over 29 1/3 innings. Opponents are batting just .144 against him and he has a WHIP of just 0.614 with the IronPigs. Tuesday, he was especially nasty through the first six innings and seemed to have things well in hand until the wheels completely came off in the seventh. Asher and the IronPigs had a 4-0 lead at the time, but Trea Turner doubled to leadoff the inning and Brian Goodwin followed that with a base-hit to left, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Asher then got former Mets outfielder Matt den Dekker to ground back to the mound, but Turner scored on the play and Goodwin moved to second. Matt Skole and Jason Martinson hit back-to-back home runs and the 4-0 lead had turned into a 4-4 tie with just one out in the inning.
Asher was able to regroup and got Scott Sizemore to ground out before Tony Campana hit a sharp grounder back at Asher, who took the ball off his leg, but was able to finish the play and thrown out Campana at first for the final out of the inning. Asher went to the ground and the trainer came on to check him before he hobbled off the field. Reports, even as late as Thursday, indicated that Asher would be okay and would be able to make his scheduled start on Sunday against Toledo. On Friday, news of the DL stint was released.
It's most likely that Ben Lively (6-0, 1.53 at Reading) will be promoted to Lehigh Valley to take Asher's roster spot. Lively was slated to pitch Saturday at home for Reading, but could be bumped back a day to go on Sunday. Lively has a streak of 13 straight scoreless innings for the Fightins, has struck out 46 in 47 innings and has a WHIP of 0.957 with an opponents batting average against of .185 in his eight starts with Reading.