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Pitchers have been through up-and-down season

Published June 18. 2019 12:29PM

For Drew Anderson, Enyel De Los Santos and Cole Irvin, the season has literally been a season of ups and downs; up and down the Northeast Extension to and from Philadelphia. Not only have the three been shuttled between the majors and the minors, but they’ve been shuttled between starting and relieving.

“The good news for these guys is that they’re getting major league experience and they’re learning to pitch in different positions,” said manager Gary Jones. “For some young players, they have to grind it out in different roles before they settle in to just where the big league club needs them, and the three of them are going through that now.”

Anderson has been recalled by the Phillies three times this season, but has pitched in a total of just two games – both in relief - for the Phillies, covering six innings. His 7.50 ERA with the Phillies and 6.00 ERA in nine starts for Lehigh Valley are surprising considering that he was one of the better pitchers in camp during spring training.

“It’s not easy, but you do what you can to show you belong in the majors and if they want you to pitch in relief, you do that and if you’re a starter when you get back here, you do that,” said Anderson. “Any experience you get is valuable and you have to look at it that way.”

De Los Santos has been up and back twice, making eight starts for Lehigh Valley and four relief appearances with the Phillies. As a major leaguer this season, he’s posted a 6.43 ERA. Last season, he was in much the same position when he started two games for the Phillies and pitched in relief in five more. Irvin is in his third stint with Philadelphia and was hit hard in Atlanta on Sunday in a relief appearance, his second in the majors, where he has also made three starts. His major league ERA stands at 6.84, while with the IronPigs he is 2-0 with a 2.44 ERA in eight starts.

Ironically, Irvin was supposed to start for the IronPigs Saturday night, but was scratched to join the Phillies in Atlanta. It appeared that he may start on Sunday, but the team decided to have Vince Velasquez - a former starter who they earlier said would pitch the rest of the season as a reliever – make the start and have Irvin pitch in relief. To replace Irvin on Saturday, the IronPigs went with Alexis Rivero, who had seven career starts and 181 relief appearances, as their starter. They then turned to Jose Taveras, who has 76 career starts and 16 career relief appearances, to pitch in relief.

HEY NOW, YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR ... The Triple-A All-Star Game will be played in El Paso, Texas on July 10, and we know there will be at least one former IronPig in uniform for the game. Former ‘Pigs manager Dave Brundage, who is now managing the Sacramento Bees in the San Francisco Giants organization, was named the manager of the PCL squad. Brundage, 54, has over 1,500 wins as a manager and is in his third season with Sacramento after spending four years managing the IronPigs.

Among current IronPigs, catcher Deivy Grullon is the only IronPigs player to lead the balloting at his position. The top two vote-getters among relievers make the team and Austin Davis of the ‘Pigs is currently holding down the number-two spot in the voting, but by a slim margin over Columbus’ Josh Smith. The only IronPig player in the top five in voting is outfielder Lane Adams.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING ... A four-strikeout inning doesn’t happen often, but thanks to a passed ball on Grullon, Austin Davis made it happen for the first time in IronPigs history. Davis struck out Bobby Bradley to lead off the top of the eighth on Sunday, but the ball glanced off Deivy Grullon’s glove and went all the way to the backstop, allowing Bradley to reach. Davis then whiffed the next three batters, stranding Bradley at first. He then put Columbus down in order in the ninth, adding a fifth strikeout to his line.

ALUMNI UPDATE ... Former IronPigs Andres Blanco and Pedro Florimon were in town with Gwinnett, but didn’t enjoy their stay. The two were a combined 1-for-23 (.043) with seven strikeouts. Andy Tracy came to town as the Columbus Clippers hitting coach and saw his players go 33-for-112 (.295) with 12 home runs in the three-game series. And in Norfolk, Tom Eshelman debuted with Norfolk and allowed one earned run in seven innings to get the win with his new team.

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