Archive for July, 2008

Nunez Acquired, May Start Saturday

July 31, 2008

The Yankees have sent infielder Alberto Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals in exchange for Harrisburg reliever Jhonny Nunez.

Nunez had made five appearances for the Senators this year, posting no record with a 1.13 ERA.  He last pitched on Tuesday, and the Thunder need someone to start on Saturday, so there’s speculation that he’ll get the nod.  So much for all those big names.

As of last night, the Thunder were carrying 23 players, so they would not need to make an immediate roster move to accomodate Nunez.

However, with Kevin Russo very close to returning, Kevin Russo returned today, so at least one move would appear to be imminent.

Pete Abraham also reports that the Yankees have signed Victor Zambrano.  Could he and/or Eric Milton appear in a Thunder jersey down the stretch?

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Ashmore Mailbag

July 31, 2008

As of now, I’m just looking to use this as a possible article for the paper…but if it goes well, I would consider making it a semi-regular feature on the blog.

Basically, if anyone has any questions for yours truly, feel free to fire away. You can either post them in the comments or send them via e-mail…if you want your question to possibly be considered for use in the paper, I will need your name.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 110: Altoona @ Trenton

July 31, 2008

Game 110 – Altoona Curve @ Trenton Thunder
July 31, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup:

Starting Lineups:

Altoona

1 -
2 -
3 -
4 -
5 -
6 -
7 -
8 -
9 -

Trenton

1 – Corona
2 – Ibarra
3 – Jackson
4 – Malec
5 – Curtis
6 – Gonzalez
7 – Ehlers
8 – Muich
9 – Cooper

Pre-Game Notes: My enthusiasm about America’s youth aside, I will not be at the ballpark today. Love those camp days, though.

Chad Jennings reports that Alan Horne was sent down to Tampa to work on some things. Seems unlikely that he’d be an option for the Thunder on Saturday, but you never know…

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.

Final Score: 1-0, Thunder.

Post-Game Notes: George Kontos with 13 K’s through eight innings, he allowed just one hit.  Cody Ehlers got his average over .200, too.  Good day for the Thunder.

Thunder Thoughts:

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

If You Can’t Be An Athlete, Be An Athletic Supporter

July 31, 2008

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting the answers to the questions you submitted via the “Ask the Thunder” post that I had up here a few days back.

The following players all answered your questions: Phil Coke, Chris Malec, Jose Valdez, Anthony Claggett, Mark Melancon, Jason Jones, Austin Jackson, Carlos Mendoza, Reegie Corona, Colin Curtis, Joe Muich, Eric Hacker, Eladio Rodriguez, George Kontos and Ramiro Pena

How long are the Thunder on the road for after today’s game?  Six days?  Well, keep your eyes peeled for a six day series unveiling the answers to your latest questions here on Thunder Thoughts…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Pena Jams Shoulder, Should Be Fine

July 31, 2008

Quick update on Thunder infielder Ramiro Pena…word is that he jammed his shoulder a little bit, but it isn’t anything major and he may be available to play tomorrow.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 109: Altoona @ Trenton

July 30, 2008

Game 109 – Altoona Curve @ Trenton Thunder
July 30, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: TRE Steven White (NR) vs. ALT Kyle Bloom (2-5, 4.12)

Starting Lineups:

Altoona

1 – Dorta
2 – Ford
3 – Negrych
4 – Romak
5 – Corley
6 – Lerud
7 – Bowers
8 – Webster
9 – Gonzalez

Trenton

1 – Corona
2 – Pena
3 – Jackson
4 – Malec
5 – Curtis
6 – Gonzalez
7 – Ibarra
8 – Rodriguez
9 – Cooper

Pre-Game Notes: There was a bit of a “guess that pitch count” game tonight before the game, and my guess of 60 for Steven White is apparently pretty close.  Still no word on a starter for Game 2 on Saturday just yet.

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.

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark): It would appear that only the rain can stop the Thunder from losing seven in a row.  3-0 already in the top of the 2nd, White’s getting knocked around a bit.

Walter Ibarra (!!!) just hit a three-run home run to tie the game at three, he just kept it fair here in the second.

Colin Curtis and Ramiro Pena just collided on a fly ball to short left field.  It wasn’t too bad as far as collisions go, and both players quickly got up and are OK.

Steven White is out after 2.2 innings, and wasn’t particularly that sharp.  I think the line will look a little better than he actually did.  The Z-Man, Tom Zenk Zach Kroenke is in.

Radio man Josh Landsburg had White at 62 pitches on the evening, so it would look like my guesswork was pretty spot-on.

Colin Curtis drives one in to give the Thunder a 4-3 lead heading into the 4th.

Phil Coke now in to pitch the 6th.  Chris Malec is now playing third, Cody Ehlers is at first and Walter Ibarra is at short.  So Ramiro Pena is out of the game…I wonder if something happened in that collision?

Over at Chad Jennings blog, he writes that Chase Wright posted this line: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks and that Mark Melancon is also making his Triple-A debut.  Great job by SCW.

Coke out after an inning, Jose Valdez in to pitch the 7th.  If the Thunder are going to have two bullpen games on Saturday — at least that’s the plan for now — they can’t be using the pen like this now.

Eladio Rodriguez just made a play that could easily be #1 on Sportscenter’s Top Plays.  With two outs and two strikes, Altoona’s batter struck out swinging but the ball got past Rodriguez and bounced off the backstop.  As the batter was running to first, Rodriguez slid to corral the ball and made a loopy throw to first off of his butt to get the out.  Great, great play.  6-3 Thunder in the 7th.

In-Game Photo Gallery:

Austin Jackson

Eladio Rodriguez

Steven White

In-Game YouTube Videos: Steven White VIDEO, Steven White VIDEO 2

Final Score: 6-3, Thunder.  The six game losing streak is no more…

Post-Game Notes: Thunder staffer Eric Lipsman, as on top of the trade scene as anyone, passed along that LaTroy Hawkins was dealt to the Astros for Matt Cusick.  Saw Cusick play last year…here’s what he looks like…

Thunder Thoughts: The Melancon/Wright call-up post was the 68th most read on WordPress yesterday.  Good to see my run of relative anonymity continues (ha-ha)…but thanks to everyone for continuing to come back for the latest info on the Thunder.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Pilittere Has Successful Surgery

July 29, 2008

One positive bit of news following the Thunder’s sixth straight loss was word that catcher P.J. Pilittere had successful surgery to reset his broken nose today.

Pilittere, the club’s starting backstop and an Eastern League All-Star, has been out of action since being struck in the face by a pop-up in New Hampshire on July 23rd.

“It went well, he feels good,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin.

“He said the only thing that was bothering him was that he had a little bit of a headache.  It was a quick procedure, and the doctor says he’ll be ready to go…he’s going to be able to ride the bike tomorrow from what I understand.  He’s going to be able to do some catching stuff pretty soon.”

Franklin, who was surprised that he could be seeing his catcher return sooner rather than later, was quick to point out how important the California resident has been to his team.

“Let’s face it, this guy’s been our engine for the past two years,” Franklin said.

“Everybody talks about the pitching staff, but there’s a reason they’ve pitched as well as they have.  P.J.’s the engine to the pitching staff, and it’s a void when you’re missing a guy like that.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 108: Altoona @ Trenton

July 29, 2008

NEWS: Steven White to start Wednesday

Game 108 – Altoona Curve @ Trenton Thunder
July 29, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: TRE Eric Hacker (5-2, 2.78 ) vs. ALT Dan Reichert (1-1, 3.55)

Starting Lineups:

Altoona

1 – Dorta
2 – Ford
3 – Negrych
4 – Romak
5 – Corley
6 – Lerud
7 – Boone
8 – Webster
9 – Bowers

Trenton

1 – Corona
2 – Pena
3 – Jackson
4 – Malec
5 – Curtis
6 – Gonzalez
7 – Ehlers
8 – Muich
9 – Cooper

Pre-Game Notes: It has been confirmed that Steven White will be taking the ball for the Thunder tomorrow.  Michael Gardner is penciled in to start game one of Saturday’s doubleheader…no word on what’s going on for the second game just yet.

Just got up from talking with Tony Franklin…he said that while Phil Coke’s name has been discussed as a possibility to start the second game on Saturday, that it isn’t what he was moved into the bullpen for.  I brought up the names Marquez, Hughes and Pavano, and he said he hadn’t heard anything regarding them, nor could he say anything about whether someone was coming up to make the start either.

I’ll be on the Fox Sports 1260 AM pre-game show to talk about everything that’s been going on…

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.

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark): 0-0, heading into T2.

Hacker had four straight swinging K’s at one point, but hit a rough patch in the 3rd and the Thunder trail, 2-0.

Chris Malec drives in Ramiro Pena with a double in the 4th, it’s now 2-1.

And Malec scores in the 6th to tie it at two after a low throw from Altoona’s second baseman gets away on what looked like a 6-4-3 DP ball.  2-2 in the 6th.

Anthony Claggett in the game in the 7th after six solid innings from Hacker.  Outside of a rough third, Hacker was pretty darn good.

Joe Muich dropped the ball on two consecutive plays at the plate with two outs — he really got nailed on the second play — and Altoona has a 4-2 lead.

In-Game Photo Gallery:

Wilkins Arias

Eric Hacker

Joe Muich

Jim Negrych

Dan Reichert

Eladio Rodriguez

Jose Valdez

Arias

In-Game YouTube Videos: Eric Hacker VIDEO, Jim Negrych VIDEO, Ramiro Pena VIDEO, Eric Hacker VIDEO 2, Chris Malec VIDEO, Anthony Claggett VIDEO, Wilkins Arias VIDEO, Wilkins Arias VIDEO 2

Final Score: 4-2, Thunder

Post-Game Notes: This team is absolutely brutal on the eyes right now.  There just isn’t enough offense to go around.  Losing guys like Russo, Pilittere and even Mendoza have caught up with them.

Thunder Thoughts:

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Starter Needed, Apply Within?

July 29, 2008

The rotation looks something like this:

Tonight — Eric Hacker
Wednesday — TBA (likely Steven White)
Thursday — George Kontos
Friday — Jason Jones
Saturday — TBA

The assumption right now is that Michael Gardner starting was just a one-time thing, and there will be some form of a replacement pitching on Saturday.

There have been a few names rumored to take the spot: Phil Hughes, Jeff Marquez, Carl Pavano and even Humberto Sanchez.

Bryan Hoch of MLB.com writes that both Hughes and Pavano will be making rehab appearances for Charleston tonight. 

Marquez has long been rumored to be coming to Trenton right around this time of the year.

As for Sanchez, he’s been pitching for the Yankees GCL affiliate, and hasn’t thrown since the 22nd.  He also hasn’t thrown more than an inning in his nine outings, so it seems very unlikely that it’ll be him.

If you’re looking for someone to come up from Tampa, three names pop up: Mike Dunn, Ivan Nova and Zach McAllister.

McAllister is the biggest prospect and is putting up the best numbers of the group, but has thrown a lot of innings this season and they may not want to push him any further than they already have.

Hopefully, I’ll have a little more insight as to what’s going on with the start on Saturday after I speak to Tony Franklin and some of the players at the ballpark today…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Melancon, Wright and Franklin Talk About The Moves

July 28, 2008

Before I get to the quotes, let me break these moves down just a little bit…

Chase Wright was 8-2 with a 2.96 ERA in 16 starts.  After two rough outings in coming back from shoulder soreness, he’d been pitching pretty well for the Thunder.  He will be starting for Scranton on Wednesday, and barring any future moves, will likely be there for a while.

Mark Melancon was 6-0 with a 1.81 ERA in 19 appearances.  He had a WHIP under one, and was striking out nearly one batter per inning.  Scranton will be the true test, and if he’s lights out in August and the Yankees have a need, don’t be shocked to see him in pinstripes.

Steven White was 4-4 with a 6.28 ERA in 25 appearances in Scranton, including 10 starts.  He’s been with the Thunder before, and he’ll more than likely be taking the ball on Wednesday.

Wilkins Arias was 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 29 appearances for Tampa, and will take the place of Melancon on the roster.  He had 64 strikeouts in 48.1 innings of work with just 14 walks.  Don’t know too much about the guy, to be honest…

Eric Wordekemper was 3-2 with a 3.35 ERA in 30 appearances for Trenton.  It would appear he got the short end of the stick here.  There was a brief, loud outburst in the clubhouse while a small group of reporters was speaking with Tony Franklin, and Franklin said, “That must be Wordy.”  So it would seem safe to assume he wasn’t too pleased with the news.

Can’t say I’d blame him if that were the case…clearly, he got the short end of the stick in these moves.

CHASE WRIGHT

“I just found out, I’m a little surprised by it. Definitely, there’s been guys who’ve pitched better the whole season. I’m a little surprised, but I’m definitely going to make the most of it.”

On it being his turn since Coke and JJ got the nod previously…

“They both pitched good (Coke and Jones) and they came back, so you never know.”

On if it’s a spot start or something permanent…

“They just said you’re pitching Wednesday, so I guess it depends on how I pitch. You never know.”

On getting scratched today…

“I was ready to go, Scottie (Aldred) called me, and I was taking my pregame nap. And he told me, and I was a little upset. I felt good, and I was ready to go out there and try to end this losing streak.
But that’s the way it goes.”

MARK MELANCON

“It’s great, it’s always good news. I still don’t know the logistics of everything, I think Chase and I are flying to Syracuse tomorrow morning. But it’s great, it’s exciting. Chase definitely deserves it, so it’s good.”

On if he thought he’d get to Scranton after hearing he’d be staying in Trenton all season…

“I had it in my mind planned out that way. But that’s just because that was one of my goals. I try not to think about what other people have in mind for me, I just try to think about doing my thing and being consistent, just try to do that.”

On being one step away from the show and if he thinks that’s a possibility this year…

“Once again, it’s another goal. Hopefully I’ll make that happen.”

TONY FRANKLIN

“I hate to see them go, and I say that in jest. I’m very pleased.  I’ve told many people this, any time you can send a guy to the next level and beyond, that is such a good thing. It really is a good thing. Guys who work extremely hard in this game, and I think all of them do, they deserve to be rewarded for what they’ve done on the field, and that’s what happening. They’re being rewarded for what’s happened with them on the field. They’ve certainly worked hard enough to do it. I think it’s time to see if they can do it at the next level, and I think they both can. Chase has been there before, Mark’s coming off of a very serious arm injury and fighting his way back. But man, it’s just so good, and I’m very happy to see them go and find out what they’re going to do up there.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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