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Thursday, December 8, 2022

AFL Recap: Three Shutout Innings for Irwin, Walk-Off Hit for Dickerson

Scottsdale needed extra innings to defeat Glendale 2-1 tonight and it was a Pittsburgh Pirates player providing the walk-off dramatics in the tenth inning. The Scorpions are now 3-6 on the year.arizona_fall_league_logo

The bigger news from this game is that Phil Irwin returned to action for the first time since May 2nd. He pitched just three games this season, one for the Pirates. He injured his elbow and needed surgery, causing him to miss the rest of the regular season.

Phil Irwin started the game for Scottsdale and looked like he’s been pitching all this time, not like someone that hasn’t pitched a game in over five months. He needed 12 pitches to retire the side in order in the first inning, ten of those pitches went for strikes. He got a ground out from the lead-off hitter, followed by two fly balls.

In the second inning, Irwin was almost all good as the first, needing 15 pitches to retire the side in order. He got a ground out from the lead-off hitter, then struck out the next two batters. He was at 27 pitches through two frames, 21 went for strikes.

In the third inning, Irwin made it eight in a row before giving up a two out single. He retired the first two batters quickly on a pop out to third base and a strikeout. After the single and a stolen base, he got a ground out to first base to end the inning. He threw 12 pitches in the third, eight for strikes. That was the end of the night for Irwin.

Alex Dickerson was in right field tonight after playing left field in each game prior. He also moved up to third in the lineup for the first time. In his first AB, he was called out on strikes. It was the tenth strikeout for Dickerson in 20 AB’s. In his next time up, he grounded out to shortstop. Leading off the sixth inning, Dickerson lined out to left field. In the eighth inning, he went down swinging for his second strikeout. He came up in the tenth inning with a chance to win the game. With one out and runners on first and second, Dickerson singled home the game winning run, his first RBI of the AFL season.

Gift Ngoepe got the start at shortstop and he batted ninth. In his first AB, he came up with runners on first and second, two outs and his team up 1-0 in the second. Ngoepe lined out to shortstop to end the inning. His second AB came with almost the exact same situation, 1-0 score and men on first and second, but there were no outs. Ngoepe drew a five pitch walk to load the bases. In the eighth inning, he went down swinging. In the tenth, he led off and worked a 3-1 count before popping out to first base.

Alen Hanson came in as a pinch runner in the ninth inning, reached second base with no outs, but never made it further as the score remained tied through nine.

Matt Benedict came in to pitch the seventh inning and got the first two batters quickly. He then walked the third hitter, made a throwing error on a pickoff play and gave up a double that tied the score at one run apiece. Benedict got the next batter for the final out. It was his only inning of work. He threw 20 pitches, 12 for strikes.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.


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Dickerson will never make the Pirates MLB roster if he can’t cut down the strikeouts, he is not Pedro.


I like Irwin and Cumpton a lot, but they have to stay healthy. I still think neither one of these guys make the rotation out of camp, Indy is going to be loaded with pitchers after ST this year.


They should follow the St.Louis model of their AAA team and pitch their minor league pitchers in a 6 man rotation, pays off late in the year and saves pitchers arms.

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