Not The Start They Had Envisioned

It was with much fanfare that the Ottawa Lynx franchise, Triple-A affiliate of the Phillies, moved to Allentown, Pa., and became the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Unfortunately, the IronPigs’ start on the field has been anything but memorable. The Pigs have lost their first eight games.

While the IronPigs pitching staff has for the most part held up its end of the bargain, only three times allowing opponents to score more than four runs through their first eight games, their offense has been woeful.

Entering Friday’s games, the IronPigs are last in the International League in almost every major offensive category, including team average (.182), on-base percentage (.244), hits (47), extra-base hits (11, tied for last with Columbus) and runs scored (11). The IronPigs have already been shut out twice and have yet to score more than three runs in any game. Their 0-8 record matches the worst start in the International League since Columbus started 0-8 in 2001.

”You’re not going to find any guys in this room that have a doubt about what we have in this room,” Lehigh Valley catcher Jason Jaramillo told The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call. ”Not to say no one in here isn’t frustrated, because we are. Maybe it’ll take a broken bat hit that gets us going, or maybe it’ll be a rocket someplace. But something will get us going.”

Brandon Watson leads the IronPigs with a .294 average. Who’s Second? That would be third baseman Brennan King’s .227 mark. No other IronPigs are hitting over .200. Veteran minor league slugger Valentino Pascucci, who led the Pacific Coast League with 34 homers in 2007 for Albuquerque, is without an RBI, and former Mariners phenom Chris Snelling, owner of a .311 career minor league average, has yet to register an extra-base hit.

After being swept by Columbus and Pawtucket on their season opening eight game road trip, the IronPigs return home for their official home opener (they played an exhibition game against the parent Phillies on March 30) against Richmond on Friday night.

The IronPigs aren’t the only minor league yet to make a dent in the win column. Joining them are 0-6 New Hampshire (Blue Jays, Double-A), 0-6 Arkansas (Angels, Double-A) and 0-7 South Bend (Diamondbacks, low Class A).