Archive for September 3rd, 2008

Pitching In For A Win

September 3, 2008

Eric Hacker, Mike Dunn and Jhonny Nunez combined to allow one run on five hits while striking out 11 to give the Trenton Thunder a 1-0 lead in their best of five Eastern League Division Series against the Portland Sea Dogs.

Hacker got the somewhat surprising Game One nod, and showed it was well deserved after putting together his 18th consecutive start without allowing any more than three runs in a Thunder uniform.

While not particularly efficient — he threw nearly 100 pitches in only five and two thirds innings of work — he was effective enough to give his team a chance to win.

“They made me battle out there, they’re a good team,” said Hacker of the Sea Dogs.

“I just wanted to put this team on the board and get us ahead, and give us a chance to take the lead in this series.  I’d like to go a little deeper in the game, but I felt that if I could give it to the bullpen in the sixth or seventh inning, that we had a really good chance to win.”

After putting two runners on base with two outs in the sixth, manager Tony Franklin came out and made a somewhat surprising call to the bullpen, going with relative unknown Mike Dunn.

Dunn, who made his only appearance with the Thunder in the last game of the regular season on Monday, was outstanding, using a fastball and two sliders to get a three-pitch strikeout in that situation and giving the team an additional two outs to bridge the gap to Nunez.

“Dunn did a great job getting that out in the sixth inning, that was a big out for us right there,” Franklin said.

“The fact that he’s only been here for a short period of time, that doesn’t deter me from pitching him, it doesn’t deter Scott (Aldred) from pitching him.  If his stuff is good and he’s got the ability to throw strikes, he should be able to get guys out.”

Dunn is the very definition of getting thrown into the fire, and he certainly didn’t seem to mind.

“I love it,” he said.

“It’s a good thing that they have that faith in me, just being here in only my second game.  To put me in that situation, it makes me feel real good.”

Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time Dunn’s been in this very spot.  In 2006, he was called up to the Staten Island Yankees from the Gulf Coast League to help them in the postseason as well.

“I’ve been in that role before, so I kind of have that experience.  I knew what to expect,” he said.

ELDS Game 1: Portland @ Trenton

September 3, 2008

ELDS Game 1 – Portland Sea Dogs @ Trenton Thunder
September 3, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: POR Kris Johnson vs. TRE Eric Hacker

Starting Lineups:

Portland

1 – Jimenez
2 – Diaz
3 – Daeges
4 – Bates
5 – Anderson
6 – Wagner
7 – Reddick
8 – Suarez
9 – Hall

Trenton

1 – Corona
2 – Pena
3 – Jackson
4 – Malec
5 – Curtis
6 – Pilittere
7 – Cervelli
8 – Gonzalez
9 – Russo

Pre-Game Notes: Not a whole lot of news here.  The biggest bit of info I guess would be that Daniel Bard is unlikely to pitch in this series, which is a big blow to the Portland bullpen.

Going to focus more on in-game updates tonight than I am photos or videos.  I’ll have some of Buchholz and Marquez tomorrow for sure.

To keep track of Scranton’s series against Pawtucket, I think you know where to go.  Chad Jennings will have all the info.

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

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

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark): 1-2-3 first inning for Hacker, scoreless going into the bottom of the 1st.

Trenton takes a 1-0 lead on a two-out error on a routine ground ball hit by Chris Malec to Iggy Suarez.  Suarez bobbled the ball, then threw it away, allowing Reegie Corona to score.

The Sea Dogs get it right back in the 2nd, with Josh Reddick singling one home with two outs.  1-1, T2.

Trenton goes down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 2nd.  1-1, T3.

Hacker gets the Sea Dogs in order in the top of the 3rd, still tied at one.

Kris Johnson got out of a pretty big jam in the 3rd, helped out by Reegie Corona getting thrown out at third base on a close play.  1-1, T4.

The Thunder are threatening here in the bottom of the 4th…

…and Edwar Gonzalez drives one in to give Trenton a 2-1 lead, which leads to a meeting of the minds on the mound.

Eric Hacker’s out after his command seemed to desert him after five and two thirds.  In to the game is…Mike Dunn?  This is either really stupid or shows that they have a ton of confidence in a kid who just pitched his first Double-A game on Monday.

It was option 2.  Dunn struck out Josh Reddick with two on and two out on three pitches.  2-1, Thunder, B6.

Tonight’s attendance was 2,137.  While I certainly give the Thunder a lot of credit for not trying to pass off a number of 5,000 or so off on us, it still sucks that there aren’t more people here.

Mike Dunn got three outs, but walked Jorge Jimenez and was removed from the game in favor of Jhonny Nunez.  Good job by Dunn there.

Pretty tight game…2-1, Thunder, B8.  Not a lot of offense, only nine hits between both clubs.

Nunez coming out for the ninth inning, but the bullpen is seeing some action.

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

Final Score: 2-1, Thunder.

Post-Game Notes: Fantastic job out of the bullpen tonight.  Quotes from Franklin, Hacker and Dunn either when I get home or tomorrow morning.

Thunder Thoughts:

Special thanks to “Strike” for this lovely T-shirt, which was personally signed. I’m sure this picture won’t haunt me down the road…

No, I am not wearing it while covering the game…

Does one request Jamiroquai, or does that just kind of happen?  Nunez came out one of their songs in the 7th.  Interesting choice.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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