ALLENTOWN – Confusion. That is the word that can describe the Phillies organization with the injuries to to the parent club and all the additions, subtractions, and shifting of players to all levels. This holds especially true for the IronPigs who split a double header with the Rochester Red Wings last night.
Lehigh Valley pitchers started the night with the thrd best ERA in the International League yet the IronPigs were 17 games under .500. If that stat is not confusing enough, all you had to do is watch J.A. Happ's fifth rehab start and Domonic Brown's debut at Coca-Cola Park.
"He showed you all his tools tonight," manager Dave Huppert said of Brown. "He can win you a ball game in many different ways. With his arm, he can steal a base like he did tonight, and with the power."
Brown, Baseball America's #1 Phillies prospect did not disappoint in his home debut. In the first game, Andy Tracy's three-run blast that broke the Service Electric sign atop the row of advertisements beyond the outfield wall, gave the IronPigs as 3-1 lead. Brown followed by pounding out an infield hit, stealing second, advanced to third on the catcher's throwing error and scored on Neil Sellers sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead.
The lanky lefty scored the winning run in the 5-4 Game 1 win. After collecting his second hit of the game, Brown scored from first on Neil Seller's single.
"I was just running hard, going to third and relying on 'Hup' to send me home," Brown said.
He also drilled his first Triple-A homerun, a two-run shot that gave the IronPigs a two-run lead in game two. Despite Brown's blast, Lehigh Valley dropped its head scratching 24th one-run loss of the year, 3-2.
Happ started in the opener of a game that was suspended due to rain on the day he went on the disabled list, April 16. The Phillies lefty battled all night, walking four and allowing lead off runners in four out of the five innings he started. When he left with two on and no out in the seventh, Happ and the IronPigs led 4-2.
"Today was the best I felt health-wise," Happ said. "They battled me well. I didn't get ahead in the count and threw a lot of pitches, but I felt ok."
Happ gave up just two-runs in four-plus innings, with many thanks to Brown. The rightfielder nabbed Brian Peterson's drive and gunned down the speedy Trevor Plouffe trying to tag and reach third.
The 2009 Sporting News Rookie of the Year resumed his tear through "the-bigs" by going 1-0 and no allowing a run in his first two starts. Since then, Happ has been sidelined with a strained forearm since April 22.
"Hopefully this is my last one," Happ said of this rehab start. "I threw one of my best bullpens of my last couple of years."
Notes: The Game 1 walk off was the first such win of the season for Lehigh Valley ... Cody Ransom will be seeing a doctor today for what is called a "bulky knee" ... During the flury of moves made by the Phils, outfielder Willy Tavares was released. He was batting just .208 with no home runs and nine stolen bases in 96 at-bats with the IronPigs.