A quick look at Sunday's game two lineup - a 7-1 win in the final game before the break - and a look at the league statistics and outsiders might have a difficult time understanding how this team owns the second best record in the entire 14-team IL.
But to fans that have been following all season, they know the IronPigs have been great at one thing: finding ways to win, no matter who is in the lineup.
Through the first 91 games of the season, manager Ryne Sandberg has seen 92 player transactions - an IronPigs record to this point in the season. To put this in perspective, in 2011 the 'Pigs had 78 transactions at the All-Star break and their previous high after the first-half of the season had been 79 in 2010.
Comparing the IronPigs Opening Day roster to their current one and you won't find too many similarities -* five players are completely out of the organization (Thompson, Podsednik, Montanez, Thurston and Bush), one was demoted to Double-A Reading (Hyatt), six are currently members of the Philadelphia Phillies (Diekman, Horst, Sanches, Schwimer, Valdes and Kratz) and two are on the IronPigs disabled list (Brown and Mitchell).
On Sunday, Sandberg's starting lineup featured just two names - Kevin Frandsen and Andres Blanco - that he also penciled into his Opening Day card on April 5 vs. Scranton/WB. Furthermore, just four of the 13 players that appeared in Sunday's game were on the Opening Day roster (Frandsen, Blanco, John Suomi and Phillippe Aumont).
Statistically speaking the IronPigs numbers won't wow you.
Overall, Sandberg's squad ranks 6th in the IL with a .259 team batting average, T-11th in runs scored and 4th in pitching with a 3.57 staff ERA. Moreover, the 'Pigs won't be confused with the '27 Yankees, hitting a league-worst 52 home runs; however, they don't go down easily striking out a league-low 519 times - 86 times fewer than the next closest team.
So how have the IronPigs found themselves in position to make it back to a second consecutive Governors' Cup? They win at home, they win close games and they have arguably the best starting pitcher in the league this season.
The IronPigs have been terrific at home going an astounding 33-12 thus far at Coca-Cola Park - the second-best home record in all of baseball! Only the Omaha Storm Chasers of the PCL have more wins (34) at their home park this season than Lehigh Valley.
Lehigh Valley has not only won at Coca-Cola Park this season but done so in dramatic fashion for the home crowd. Of their 33 wins, nine (27%) have come in walk-off fashion breaking the team record of seven which was set last season. True to form this season of different players stepping up at different times, six IronPigs have delivered a walk-off RBI, while Tuffy Gosewisch and Cody Overbeck have each delivered two.
The IronPigs have been dynamite in close games this season going 20-11 in one-run games - tops in Triple-A baseball, 39-19 in games decided by three-runs or less and a perfect 7-0 mark in extra-inning affairs.
Although they don't hit for much power, the IronPigs have hit when it matters most as evidenced by their .279 team average with runners in scoring position - third-best mark in the league - and their .403 average with the bases-loaded.
All-Star Kevin Fransen has led the clutch hitting with a .302 average and 24 RBI in 86 at-bats with runners in scoring position while Kyle Hudson, who came over from the Tampa Bay organization for Rich Thompson in mid-May, has hit a whopping .516 in 31 at-bats in those situations. When healthy Domonic Brown has also delivered in big moments hitting .356 with 17 RBI in 45 at-bats with RISP.
Another reason the IronPigs have been so good in close games - the bullpen. Despite a ton of turnover in the relief corps they have gone a combined 21-8 with 30 saves in 39 opportunities and a 2.91 ERA. The likes of Michael Cisco, Justin Friend and J.C. Ramirez, who have all been promoted from Reading within the last month, have filled their roles nicely left by the likes of Jake Diekman, Michael Schwimer and Jeremy Horst who have all been recalled by the Phillies.
Perhaps the biggest surprise this season has been Tyler Cloyd, the IronPigs 25-year-old ace who will be starting the Triple-A All-Star game on Wednesday for the IL.
Cloyd, who was slated for Double-A this season, has dominated the Triple-A ranks after tossing six perfect innings vs. the Yankees on Opening Night. The Bellevue, NE native leads the league in ERA (2.01), ranks 2nd in average against (.208), 3rd in WHIP (0.95) and T-3rd in wins (8). Moreover, Cloyd has gone at least six innings in 13 of his 14 starts allowing more than two earned runs in just three games. More importantly than the statistics however, the IronPigs have won 10 of the 14 games he has started this season.
Of course, the one constant has been Sandberg who has seemed to push all the right buttons at all the right times while constantly working with less than the allotted 25-man roster. The Hall-of-Fame second baseman has won 132 games in a year-and-a-half at the helm of the IronPigs after the franchise won just 184 games in its first three full seasons.
While the second-half of the season is sure to bring more shakeups to a roster that has already been through a blender its fair share of times, with the winning attitude established by Sandberg no matter who puts on that IronPigs uniform you can expect the wins to keep rolling in.
The IronPigs will begin their second-half surge on Thursday when they travel to Norfolk to begin an eight-game Southern Division road trip against the Tides at 7:15 p.m.
*Players had a combined 19 years and 98 days of service time in the Major Leagues entering the 2012 season.