Game 8: Harrisburg @ Trenton

NO ROSTER MOVES: Spoke to Tony Franklin in his office, and he said that he wasn’t expecting any roster moves.  Eric Wordekemper will be out for “a few days” after taking a line drive off of his left calf, but Franklin said he isn’t going to go on the DL for the time being.  Wordekemper was limping around the clubhouse with his calf wrapped.

Quotes from George Kontos and Tony Franklin below…

Game 8 – Harrisburg Senators @ Trenton Thunder
April 10, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: HAR Shairon Martis (0-0, 9.00) vs. TRE Daniel McCutchen (1-0, 0.00)

Starting Lineups:

Harrisburg (4-2) (0-0 road record, 0-0 vs. Trenton)

1 – Roger Bernardina
2 – Ed Rogers
3 – Justin Maxwell
4 – Jorge Padilla
5 – Luis Jimenez
6 – Yurendell De Caster
7 – Andrew LeFave
8 – Javy Herrera
9 – Ian Desmond

Trenton (4-3) (0-0 home record, 0-0 vs. Thunder)

1 – Ramiro Pena, SS
2 – Austin Jackson, CF
3 – Jose Tabata, RF
4 – Colin Curtis, LF
5 – Matt Carson, DH
6 – Cody Ehlers, 1B
7 – P.J. Pilittere, C
8 – Marcos Vechionacci, 3B
9 – Reegie Corona, 2B

Pre-Game Notes:

** The Thunder haven’t won a home opener since their first year as a Yankees affiliate in 2003, and are 6-8 overall.

** Some ridiculous occurence has led to a Trenton loss in the home opener ever since I started covering the team as a writer in 2006.  In a 3-3 game in the top of the ninth, J.B. Cox balked home a run after catching his cleat in the mound.  This was the first time I was treated to some Bill Masse profanity.

“He’s got a low leg kick,” Masse told us back then.

“He almost drags it on the mound. It just has to go in foul territory (for it not to have been a balk). He could have thrown it in the (freaking) dugout.”

He didn’t say freaking, however.

Last season, the Thunder were down 1-0 to Bowie, but had two runners on in the bottom of the ninth.

Ramiro Pena made two unsuccessful bunt attempts, and was called out when the umpire signaled a third strike after Pena stepped out of the batters box to check the signs, citing a new, but relatively obscure rule.

“Something like that really, really hurts at that point in the game,” Franklin said.

“(The umpire) said he stepped out of the box, and he did. And for that reason, I can’t fault him. But what hurts is that it happened to us in such a critical point in the game.”

This year?  I’m half-expecting the midges from last year’s Yankees playoff game in Cleveland to come to Trenton.  That’s my guess.  Either that or some sort of attack by rogue squirrels.

** Trenton was 14-2 against Harrisburg last year, and 8-2 against them at Waterfront Park.

** Who the hell is Shairon Martis, you ask?  Well, Martis is the 18th ranked prospect in the Nats system according to Baseball America, for starters.  He threw a seven inning no-hitter for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, and was acquired by Washington for Mike Stanton.  He went 14-8 with a 4.23 ERA for single-A Potomac last year.

** The rest of the pitching matchups for this series look like this:

4/11: TRE Phil Coke (0-0, 6.75) vs. HAR Josh Hall (0-1, 24.00)
4/12: TRE Jason Jones (1-0, 0.00) vs. HAR Marco Estrada (1-0, 5.40)
4/13: TRE Chase Wright (1-1, 2.45) vs. HAR Imsael Ramirez (0-1, 6.75)

** Both weekend games are 1:05 PM starts.

Pre-Game Quotes:

TONY FRANKLIN

On the Thunder being winless in home openers since 2003 — “I didn’t know that.  I don’t concern myself with those statistics, I just go out and try to win one.  We lost our opener last year, but let’s see if we can go out and change that tonight.  It would be a good time to change the history of the Thunder.  We did it last year with the championship, let’s see if we can change it for opening night.”

If, after the exhibition game and season opener, this feels like a third Opening Day — “Yeah.  If you’re three weeks into it, and you’re doing opening night, something’s wrong.  But it is what it is.  It’s great to get the home opener out of the way and get back to the daily routine.  Everybody can settle in, and after tonight that’s what’s going to happen.”

If he has a most memorable home opener — “No, they’re all different.  You know, they’re all special.  There’s a little bit of nervousness to each opener, but after the first pitch, I think all the butterflies go away and you just kind of settle down and play.  But they’re all significant in the regard that here’s another season tha’s about to begin.”

On if Eric Wordekemper would be headed to the DL — “Not right now, I think he’s going to be OK.  The guy took a pretty good shot, and he’s sore, tight and a little bit swollen.  But he’s feeling better today than he was last night, so that’s a good sign.  He came in walking today, and yesterday, he couldn’t do much of anything.  I think in maybe two or three days, we’ll find out a little bit more.  My feeling right now is we’re not going to have to put him on the DL.”

On if he’s expecting anyone to come from Scranton — “It has not affected us.  I haven’t heard anything as far as player moves as far as our team is concerned.”

GEORGE KONTOS

On pitching on short rest — “Cutch and I threw on the same day after we got rained out, and I threw less pitches and threw less innings than he did.  They asked me if I could go on short rest, and I said yeah.”

If he’s done it before — “Yeah, I’ve done it a few times in college.  I hadn’t done it in pro ball yet.  So that was the first time, and it felt fine.  It felt normal.  Instead of doing two sides during the week, we just did one light side.  Other than that, it was fine.”

On if he was surprised he pitched six innings — “I wasn’t really surprised.  We’ve been getting ready since January and building our arms up in spring training.”

On his first taste of Double-A — “It’s been good.  My stuff hasn’t really been normal.  In my first two starts, it’s been a little sub what I was expecting.  But it’s only April, and I’ve only made two starts, so it should be coming back.”

On what specifically is going on with his stuff — “My location with my fastball is a little bit inconsistent, and I’m a little bit inconsistent with my breaking balls.”

On fixing that through side sessions — “Just throwing on the side, and working on focusing in and getting my focus down and concentrating on every pitch.  I think when I’ve had some lapses in my first few starts, it’s been losing a little bit of concentration.  And as the season progresses, I want to start dialing in a little bit more.”

Radio Links: Click here for the links to each team’s broadcast.

Live Box Score: The MILB.com direct link is here.

Around the Eastern League: For scores from around the EL, go here.

Fearless Prediction: 5-3, Harrisburg.  McCutchen pitches well, but the somewhat overworked bullpen can’t hold it for him against the suddenly potent Senators offense.

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark):

** Going into the bottom of the 1st, it’s tied 0-0.

McCutchen: 18 pitches; 5 balls, 13 strikes

He walked #3 hitter Justin Maxwell after not getting the call on a 1-2 check swing.

** Heading into the top of the 2nd, the score is 0-0

Jose Tabata hit a two-out double to deep right field off of Martis.  Colin Curtis just missed driving him home after lining a pitch down the third base line that was only foul by a few feet, but instead struck out looking.

** After one and a half, it’s still scoreless.

McCutchen In The 2nd: 20 pitches, 8 balls, 12 strikes
McCutchen (unofficial) Pitch Count Totals: 38 pitches, 13 balls, 25 strikes

** Through two, it’s still 0-0.  1-2-3 inning for Martis.

** Going into the bottom of the 3rd, Trenton and Harrisburg are deadlocked at 0-0.

McCutchen started Ian Desmond out 3-0, but got him to strikeout swinging.  He followed that up with a swinging K to Bernardina as well.

McCutchen In The 3rd: 11 pitches, 4 balls, 7 strikes
McCutchen (unofficial) Pitch Count Totals: 49 pitches, 17 balls, 32 strikes

A good, efficient inning for McCutchen right there.

** CHAD JENNINGS IS REPORTING THAT ALAN HORNE INJURED HIMSELF DURING HIS START IN SCRANTON.

** Through three innings, we have a bit of a pitcher’s duel.  Trenton nearly broke through on a double by Austin Jackson, but Ramiro Pena was gunned down at the plate by Harrisburg’s left fielder, and we remain tied at zero.

** If a move needs to be made to promote someone to Scranton, Dan McCutchen is making a case for it to be him, that’s for sure.  Harrisburg’s line score is blank through three and a half.  0-0.

McCutchen In The 4th: 17 pitches, 6 balls, 11 strikes
McCutchen (unofficial) Pitch Count Totals: 66 pitches, 23 balls, 43 strikes

** After four complete, it’s still scoreless.  The ridiculous occurence that costs the Thunder the game hasn’t happened yet.  If tradition continues, it will sometime around the 8th or 9th. 

** McCutchen got ahead of the first two batters he faced, and got an 0-1 flyout and an 0-1 lineout.  LeFave grounded out on a 2-0 pitch.  0-0 in the bottom of the 5th.

McCutchen In The 5th: 7 pitches, 2 balls, 5 strikes
McCutchen (unofficial) Pitch Count Totals: 73 pitches, 25 balls, 48 strikes

** Martis is dealing as well.  Another 1-2-3 inning for him.  0-0 through five.

** The first batter in the sixth, Javy Herrera, broke up the no-hitter on a little jam shot to short center.  The savvy Thunder fans gave him a round of applause.

After Herrera got thrown out at second on a sac bunt attempt by Desmond, Roger Bernardina hit about a 400-foot fly ball to center on the first pitch that Jackson jumped for, but did not catch.  The cut-off man missed the throw, and Desmond scored.  Bernardina got to second.

Then Justin Maxwell hit a little excuse me check swing back to McCutchen, who dove for it, tossed it to first, and Ehlers couldn’t hang on.  Bernardina scored on the error.

2-0 Senators in the sixth.  That’s it for McCutchen.  David Robertson is in.  Two outs, two on.

McCutchen In The 6th: 18 pitches, 4 balls, 14 strikes
McCutchen (unofficial) Final Pitch Count Totals: 91 pitches, 29 balls, 62 strikes

** Robertson ended the inning, but the damage had been done.  2-0 Harrisburg going into the bottom of the 6th.  McCutchen’s line: 5.2, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

** CHAD JENNINGS SAYS ITS A RIGHT BICEPS INJURY FOR HORNE **

** Corona reached on a walk, and Pena singled up the middle to lead off the inning off of Martis.  But Jackson flew out to left on a pitch he must have just missed, followed by a walk to Jose Tabata.

Martis is out for reliever Tim Bittner with the bases loaded and one out.  If you had three in your “inherited runners for Tim Bittner pool,” you win. 

It’s 2-0 Harrisburg in the bottom of the 6th.  Colin Curtis is coming up to bat.

** Curtis hit a short fly ball to the right fielder.  Corona was beat by the throw, but the catcher dropped the ball — the throw was a touch up the third base line side — and the Thunder now trail 2-1.  The runners advanced to second and third as a result of the catcher dropping the ball, and Herrera was charged with an error.

With the runners on second and third, Matt Carson — hitless in his last 14 at-bats up until that point — grounded out to third to extend his dubious streak to 15.

Anyway, 2-1 Harrisburg going into the 7th.

** Martis line: 5.1 ip, 4 h, 1 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 6 k

** 2-1 Senators with the Thunder up to bat in the bottom of the 7th.  P.J. Pilittere threw out the only runner who reached on a close play at second.

** 1-2-3 inning for Bittner.  Thunder still trail 2-1 going into the top of the 8th.

** Robertson’s still in the game.  1-2-3 inning for him, too.  Reegie Corona’s set to lead off the bottom of the 8th.

** Former big leaguer Levale Speigner is in the game now for the Sens.  After Corona flew out to center, Pena beat out the throw on an infield single that made Desmond range way to his right to even get to the ball.  Pena then got to third when a weak ground ball to the…uhhh, less than agile first baseman Luis Jimenez went under his glove.

With runners on the corners and one out, Tabata grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.  2-1 Harrisburg, top 9.  Curtis-Carson-Ehlers for bottom 9.

** Robertson is out, and Michael Gardner is in.  Robertson didn’t allow a hit in two and a third.  Nice job by him.  Robertson: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.  For Harrisburg, Bittner: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.

** Gardner walked Maxwell, then hit Jorge Padilla with a 3-2 very inside fastball.  Jimenez is trying to bunt.  Can’t imagine how many times he’s bunted in his career.  Anyway, after failing to do so in his first two attempts, Gardner didn’t get a call on an 0-2 pitch that must have just missed the outside corner.  After throwing two more balls, he got Jimenez to strike out on a ball down and away and nearly in the dirt for the first out.

De Caster then walked on four straight pitches.  Scott Aldred is coming out to have a chat with Gardner, who has walked two and hit one so far in this inning.  Seems like Gardner is just barely missing his spots, either that or he’s getting pinched…but umpires aren’t going to give a call to a guy who isn’t throwing strikes.

LeFave then swung (at the first pitch!!!) and hit a little soft liner to left that Colin Curtis made a nice running catch on, but Maxwell tagged and scored and the Senators got a much needed insurance run to make it 3-1.

With two outs, Herrera got behind 0-2, and swung and missed at a pitch down and away.

3-1 Harrisburg going into the bottom of the ninth.

** Arnie Munoz is in to close.  Jim Ed Warden has Harrisburg’s only save this year, but Munoz does have a win and has finished two games for the Senators.

Curtis…saw the first pitch nearly go over his head, took an outside fastball for a strike, took what looked like a 12-6 curveball at the knees for strike two, took an inside fastball that just missed to even the count at two, took a low breaking ball to make the count full, then weakly grounded out to the pitcher for the first out. 

Carson…first pitch flyout to center.  16 consecutive at-bats without a hit for Carson.

Ehlers…took a pitch down and in for ball one.  Took another pitch for a ball, then a fastball got over to make it 2-1.  Outside fastball down and away to make it 3-1.  Ehlers took a mighty swing at a pitch down and away to make the count full.  Ehlers watched as a fastball caught the outside corner for the punch out.

** That’s your ballgame, kids.  3-1, Harrisburg.

Downloadable Multimedia: Daniel McCutchen VIDEO, Shairon Martis VIDEO

(All videos are in .mpeg format)

George Kontos AUDIO

(All audio is in MP3 format)

Photo Gallery:

Shairon Martis / Photo by Mike Ashmore

Daniel McCutchen / Photo by Mike Ashmore

Jose Tabata / Photo by Mike Ashmore

EL Championship Banner / Photo by Mike Ashmore

Home Opener Crowd / Photo by Mike Ashmore

Final Score: 3-1, Harrisburg.  Five straight home opener losses for Trenton.

Post-Game Notes:

** As somewhat expected, Chad Jennings reports that the Yankees have re-assigned Jason Brown to Staten Island.

** According to one scout in attendance — and there were many, by the way — McCutchen was between 90-94 miles per hour.  He also correctly pointed out that me asking about his velocity was “about the seventh most important thing you could ask about this guy’s pitching.”

He pointed to his location, and said it doesn’t matter how hard you can throw if you can’t locate it…

** The attendance was 6,974.  Last year, the number was 5,830 — but maybe half of those people were there because it was freaking freezing.

In 2006, the Thunder set a franchise record for home opener attendance with 7,069.

Post-Game Quotes: Coming later tonight or early tomorrow.

Thunder Thoughts: It appears to be a pre-requisite to have a wacky nickname if you’re a clubhouse attendant here in Trenton.  It took me three years to find out home clubbie Tom “Tonto” Kackley’s real name. 

Today, I introduced myself to the road clubbie, since I’m in there quite a bit, and he said his name was “Bambino.”

Marcos Vechionacci came out to the Ultimate Warrior’s entrance music for an at-bat.  Interesting choice.

There is no official pitch count kept at the Double-A level.  I kept it myself.

I rarely have bad things to say about fans, but they’re doing the wave.  Stop.  It wasn’t cool when it started in the 80’s, and it certainly didn’t get any less lame now.  Please…for the sake of mankind, stop.

Fireworks after the game tonight!  A packed parking lot by the time I get out and impossible audio conditions all in the same wonderful package.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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8 Responses to “Game 8: Harrisburg @ Trenton”

  1. David Mac Says:

    No fearless prediction, oh fearless one?

  2. thunderbaseball Says:

    Don’t fear, Dave. I just may have one.

  3. Mike R. Says:

    Hey Mike:

    Great start by Cutch. Great coverage by you. I came with a bunch of questions and you already answered them all.

  4. thunderbaseball Says:

    Well, it was going pretty well for the first five innings, anyway. Thanks for the compliments, as always. If you have anything to ask, fire away, since I have to go down and talk to the guys after the game anyway.

    Only planning on talking to Tony and Dan as of now…

  5. Mike R. Says:

    “Marcos Vechionacci came out to the Ultimate Warrior’s entrance music for an at-bat. Interesting choice.”

    Did he come running full speed out of the on-deck circle and jump up and down in the batters box? ;)

  6. thunderbaseball Says:

    He actually painted his face in weird neon colors, then found some ropes and started shaking them. The whole scene was just odd.

    OK, maybe that didn’t actually happen…

  7. Erik Says:

    mike…who took the pictures before the game,the ones you have posted of the new banner and Tabata signing autographs???

  8. thunderbaseball Says:

    I did. I get to the ballpark around 4:30 or so, go down to the clubhouse at 5:30, go up and put in as many quotes as I can, then go down to the field around 6:20-6:30 and take a few pictures.

    This is pretty much a one man show…

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