Gordon earns award ... Barfield keys win
As the Lehigh Valley IronPigs sealed another series win Monday with their 4-3 win over Norfolk, a rare weekly honor was bestowed on the pitching staff.
Brian Gordon became just the third IronPig to be named the International League Pitcher of the Week for May 9-15.
The right-hander had a 0.36 ERA in 13.2 innings pitched last week including 6.2 shutout innings against Toledo that gave him his first win as a starter for Lehigh Valley.
"He's been very steady," IronPigs manager Ryne Sandberg says. "He's got a great demeanor on the mound.
"He sets a good pace for our infielders playing behind him and he seems to get good defensive plays because of that."
Steady does not seem to be the word to describe Gordon who started his professional career as an outfielder in the Arizona Diamondback system. After reaching Triple-A for three teams, he switched to the mound under the tutelage of Hall-of-Fame strikeout king Nolan Ryan.
Last season he served mainly as a long reliever for the IronPigs sporting a 1-3 record and a 3.46 ERA.
"He hits his spots and changes speeds with that slower curve ball that he has. He's on a nice little roll with every outing being consistent with quality," Sandberg added.
Gordon was moved to the rotation when Vance Worley got his shot with the Phillies after Roy Oswalt left the team to deal with the severe weather tragedy in the South. Now that Oswalt will be returning Tuesday, it is likely that Worley will be sent back to Lehigh Valley.
That is great news for Lehigh Valley fans as Worley proved he could successfully face major league hitting. What will be more interesting is to see who will be bounced from the IronPig rotation.
Gordon is not worried. He is having a blast in this role and would love to stay there if he had the choice. If he is returned to the bullpen, he is more than fine with that as well.
"I'm always throwing 'if you ever need a guy, let me be the one'," the 32-year-old Gordon described himself. "As long as they need me in this roll, I'll be there."
Monday Night's Win
The IronPigs got a lot of help from Norfolk in last night's win.
The star of the game was Josh Barfield who had three hits, including a line drive homer to left field. Brandon Moss followed with a double and later scored on Norfolk catcher John Hester's throwing error to give IronPigs a 2-1 lead.
Ronnie Belliard, who seems to be in the thick of the Lehigh Valley scoring game-in and game-out, doubled in the third with one out. He advanced to third on Tide's pitcher Rick VandenHurk's errant throw on a pick off. Delwyn Young struck out, but the wild pitch allowed him to advance to first and Belliard to score. Young score on Moss's RBI single to give Lehigh Valley a 4-1 lead.
Ryan Feierabend (2-2) picked up the win by allowing just two runs on four hits.
Chance Chapman and Mike Zagurski bridged the gap to David Herndon who struckout two of his perfect ninth inning for his first IronPigs save.
Battle for First Place
Having now won 15 of their last 23 games, Lehigh Valley (22-16) is in tied for first place and tie their franchise best six games over .500. More importantly, they will now travel up the PA Turnpike to face the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (21-15) for a four games series.
Lehigh Valley will start Nate Bump on Tuesday followed by Brian Bass, Eddie Bonine, and Gordon on Friday.
The IronPigs return to Coca-Cola Park on Saturday to start an eight game home stand that features the Gwinnett Braves and the Rochester Redwings for a pair of four game series.
Rich Thompson is 15-for 15 in stolen base attempts this season (403-486 83 percent) for his pro-career ... In the last six games, Brandon Moss is 7-19 (.368) with a pair of doubles, a homer, and three RBI ... Josh Barfield has hit in 10 of his last 13 games batting .354 (17-48) with four doubles, a triple, and a homer.