Down as many as 4 runs, and entering the ninth inning down 1, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs rallied all the way back to defeat the Buffalo Bison (TOR) 11-7. Weston Wilson called game with a 2-run homerun to walk off with the victory Wednesday night.
What went wrong?
The IronPigs pitching struggled in many aspects of the game Wednesday night. Starting pitcher Michael Plassmeyer went 4IP 5H 5ER 4BB 3K. Plassmeyer could have escaped a horrible 4th inning with only giving up one run, but two lazy plays cost him multiple runs. He failed to cover 1B on a ground ball that took first baseman Weston Wilson off the bag, and while he was not paying attention, a Bison runner stole home. Two awful plays that put the IronPigs in 7-3 hole.
The Bison scored on a 2-run homerun by Tanner Morris in the first inning, a Tyler Heinmen RBI single, Morris with some high baseball IQ and stole home, and a wild pitch that scored Rafael Lantigua.
The IronPigs held the lead for 20 minutes in the bottom of the 8th, but the Bison fought back with 3 walks and a Sac Fly by Spencer Horwitz and a single by Wynton Bernhard to reclaim the lead.
What went right?
The IronPigs 1-4 hitters had themselves a night to remember. Jake Cave is making a strong argument that he should be recalled back up to the Phillies. Simon Muzziotti is showing you why he is one of the top prospects in the Phillies organization. The IronPigs honored Drew Ellis as being International League Player of the Week and he wants to go back-to-back. Weston Wilson called game!
The IronPigs scored 11 runs off of 11 hits in their win. The top 4 in the lineup accounted for 8 of the runs and 9 of the team's 11 hits.
Since being optioned down to AAA on May 4, Jake Cave has looked so much better. He is hitting with confidence and is making great defensive plays. He has hit in every game he has appeared in with the IronPigs this season. He got the scoring started with a 2-run homerun. I will be surprised if Cave is in AAA much longer. He really is a brand-new ball player.
The wind was a major factor during the game. Routine fly balls were moving around like the pros on Dancing with the Stars. Fortunately, the IronPigs benefited from it when a routine fly ball to end the inning fell to the ground.
A 4-run 7th inning helped give the IronPigs the lead. Simon Muzziotti and Drew Ellis hit RBI doubles to bring the deficit to just one run. Weston Wilson gave the IronPigs the lead with a 2-run RBI single. This was the first time Wilson gave the IronPigs the lead Wednesday night.
Andrew Bellatti was recently optioned down to AAA this week from Philadelphia. He had a perfect 9th inning in his team debut. I am a huge fan of Bellatti and what he can do. He has not pitched badly after returning from injury with the Phillies. I am hoping some time in AAA will help him continue to progress and he can return to the MLB soon and take a big leap in his game.
Down 1 in the bottom of the ninth, the Pigs' started the inning with the top of the order. Jake Cave started the Pigs' off with a leadoff double. Drew Ellis continued to pad his resume for another IL Player of the Week honor with an RBI single to tie the game.
Then Weston Wilson called game...
The Pigs have some really good talent in AAA with Jake Cave, Simon Muzziotti, and Drew Ellis. All 3 could be potential call-ups this season. Cave has already spent time in the MLB and has not let being sent down affect him at all. He not only is putting up great numbers, but watching him in CF, he was the biggest leader on that field. I would love to see him get recalled back up to Philadelphia soon. I believe he is going to return to the Phillies so much better than when he was sent down.
Simon Muzziotti is currently the Phillies 10th rated prospect. All season he has played with such great confidence. Big hits and big defensive plays. He has taken a passenger seat to guys like Cave and Ellis, but he is still one of the better players on the team. I am hoping he is not trade bait and the Phillies can see him through.
Drew Ellis was only promoted to AAA just one month ago from AA Reading, and he already looks like he is ready for another promotion. I don't see him getting called up this season, but he could be a good utility player if the Phillies move on from Edmundo Sosa and Josh Harrison this offseason.
If you are looking for pitching down in AAA, you may need to look elsewhere. Hans Crouse was once a promising prospect for the Phillies but continues to not look ready. He is pitching out of jams fairly well, but he also continues to pitch himself into jams. Eventually one bad mistake will cost him. Bellatti looked sharp in his team debut. I don't see him staying long, and I hope we see a similar situation when Jose Alvarado was sent down in 2022.