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.

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

    • The whole Scottsdale team has been bad with strikeouts this season. They have 97 in nine games. Second highest total in the league is 81. All three Pirates hitters are having trouble too. The strikeouts are usually high in the league because you’re facing prospects in every AB and many of them are starters airing it out for 1-2 innings, so their stuff plays up even more. You are right though, Dickerson is going to need to take a few more walks and at least not strikeout more than he has already. His total in AA is acceptable for a power hitter, as long as he can get the walks up.

  • 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.

    • I could see them starting with a rotation of Taillon, Kingham, Irwin, Cumpton and Sadler. That would be quite impressive. Usually never works out that way, always seems to be a veteran type thrown in there and/or someone gets held back

      • 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.

        • I think if that is their AAA rotation, the only one that might be limited on innings is Irwin because he missed so much time this year. Otherwise they are going to want to max out those other four and get their innings up so they are ready for a full major league season. Obviously Taillon and Kingham have a much better chance at a major league rotation spot, but Sadler and Cumpton aren’t just AAAA type pitchers. They may not make the Pirates rotation, but they will have more value to other teams as innings eating starters, or more experience on the mound if they pick up a bullpen role with the Pirates. With minor league rainouts all the time and less scheduled off days, they end up using a six man rotation often