Far be it from me to waste quotes from a Hall of Famer. I spoke to Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs manager Ryne Sandberg in the visiting clubhouse at PNC Field after the Iron Pigs 5-2 win over the Scranton Yankees. Scranton started Brian Gordon, who was pitching for Sandberg’s team as recently as June 11th. Gordon, who was in his first start with his new Triple-A club after being sent down from the big leagues, pitched well; he allowed no runs and walked no one while scattering four hits and striking out seven through five innings of work.
I asked Sandberg, whose ticket to Cooperstown was punched in 2005, who he felt had the advantage in the Gordon vs. Iron Pigs matchup going into the game.
“It’s hard to say, it probably depends on the guy,” Sandberg said.
“Brian Gordon’s a pretty hot pitcher right now. We saw him for us hot, and he still throws the ball very well. It was key to keep them down a little bit and have our pitchers hold them in somewhat of a check also and keep it somewhat of a low scoring game. Our offense has the capability of putting runs up a lot of times late in the game, so we’ve had a lot of games like this.”
I also asked Sandberg about Iron Pigs reliever Justin De Fratus, who was extremely impressive in striking out five Yankees in 2 1/3 innings with a fastball that registered at 95 MPH on a reportedly slow stadium gun. De Fratus was just promoted from Double-A Reading in the Eastern League, where he posted a 4-0 record with eight saves and a 2.10 ERA in 23 relief appearances.
“I thought he threw very well,” Sandberg said.
“He continues to work very hard and show improvement. This is his second or third good outing like that, so he’s come a long way. That’s good to see. The guys are here to adjust to the level and show improvement and he’s really stepping up the last three outings.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com