How are things?
The IronPigs took two-of-three from Rochester to give them back-to-back series wins for the first time this season. The 'Pigs have already been eliminated both from postseason play and from finishing above .500 and they're currently one game behind their inaugural season pace in 2008 when they finished 55-89. They need to finish 4-11 to finish ahead of their mark from that season. Coming into play Tuesday, Lehigh Valley is 3 1/2 games behind Pawtucket to finish fourth in the six-team International League North Division. Several players have admitted to doing a little bit of scoreboard watching as they look to salvage whatever they can from the season. Monday night's win over Rochester put the Red Wings 4 1/2 games behind Lehigh Valley at the bottom of the division.
In his last three games, right-hander Ty Taubenheim has gone 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA and has allowed 15 hits and six walks in 16 2/3 innings of work. If you go back further and throw in Taubenheim's work at Double-A Reading, Taubenheim is 5-2, 2.11 in his last 12 games, covering 47 innings of work. With his win on Monday night, Taubenheim also became the first 'Pigs pitcher to win back-to-back starts since Brandon Duckworth accomplished the feat a month ago.
Mike Stutes is unscored upon in five of his last seven games, covering 10 1/3 innings and giving him a 2.61 ERA over that stretch and in his time with Lehigh Valley, Stutes has inherited nine runners and stranded them all. Not bad for a guy who is still adjusting to the role of a reliever. Michael Schwimer came to Triple-A for the first time earlier this season and started with 8 1/3 shutout innings and hasn't allowed a run in 13 of his 16 outings. And left-hander Mike Zagurski has not allowed a run in his last five games, allowing just one hit and one walk, with four strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings of work.
Joe Savery is the latest buzz at Lehigh Valley. The former first-round pick out of Rice has gone from the rotation to the bullpen and back to the rotation this season and threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs in his last start. The real news started the day after Savery's last start, when he was in the starting lineup Monday night as the team's designated hitter. Savery hasn't developed quite as well as the Phillies would like as a pitcher (although he has started to put some things together late in the season) and the Phillies are going to allow him to DH in a few games for the rest of the season and then head to the Florida Instructional League as a hitter. Savery was a first baseman and pitcher at Rice and hit 20-169-.356 for the Owls. This season, Savery is hitting .269 with one home run and three RBI. His last RBI came in his start as a DH as he delivered an RBI single to left.
Brian Bocock was a simply horrid hitter earlier in the season, but has turned things around big-time. In his last five games, Bocock is hitting .571 (8-for-14) and has raised his average from .196 on July 18 to .220 on the season and hit .309 in July and is hitting .268 so far this month. Cody Ransom is hoping for a September recall and has hit safely in his last ten games, hitting .382. Paul Hoover is also hoping for a September recall and has hit in six of his last seven games for a .364 average with four doubles. It's likely that either Hoover or Dane Sardinha will join the Phillies after September 1. Andy Tracy has spent the past two Septembers with the Phillies and has hit in seven of his last ten games, with four home runs among his 12 hits and posting a .343 average over the stretch.
Brandon Duckworth went on the DL August 16 with a left calf strain, making room for Joe Savery (turf toe) to be activated from the DL. The IronPigs added Greg Dobbs after he cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Lehigh Valley. To make room for Dobbs, the Phillies released outfielder Chris Aguila.
International League Leaders
Andy Tracy - fifth in OBP (.379), second in walks (63)
Nate Bump - seventh in ERA (3.35)
Scott Mathieson - second in saves (24), third in games finished (44), second in losses (12)
Brian Mazone - fourth in games started (25), fifth in innings pitched (147)
Joe Savery - third in losses (11), first in sacrifice flies allowed (11)
On the agenda
It's a weird schedule for Lehigh Valley over the last two weeks of the season.The IronPigs have a short two-game series at home against Syracuse before traveling to Scranton Wilkes-Barre and Syracuse for two games in each city. Then, it's back home for two against Scranton, back on the road for two against Pawtucket and then back home to finish the season with two games against Buffalo and Scranton.