Archive for May, 2009

AUDIO: Zach McAllister And His Quiet Confidence

May 31, 2009

Click here to download and listen to a great exchange between Times beat writer John Nalbone and McAllister during our post-game chat. Z-Mac’s a really quiet, understated kid, and John asked him a really good question about the difference in his demeanor on the mound and in the clubhouse.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 47: Post-Game Notes

May 31, 2009

6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 K. 

Add it all together, and you’ve got an outstanding outing from arguably the Thunder’s best starter.  Zach McAllister lowered his ERA to 1.84 and improved his record to 4-2 with another impressive performance at Waterfront Park.

“I felt better as the game went on, especially in the fourth and after,” McAllister said.

This was his ninth Double-A start, and he’s yet to allow more than two earned runs in any single outing and has allowed only one home run in 53.2 innings of work.

Suffice it to say, he’s made a successful transition to the next level.

“I’m feeling pretty confident, I’m just trying to continue the success,” he said.

McAllister credited some of that success to some adjustments he’s made since the start of the season, which included getting his arm up so he can stay on top of all of his pitches and focus on driving the ball down.

“Early on, I was kind of side to side and getting a lot of run on the ball, but really not getting downward action on it,” he said.

“I think that’s been a huge part of it.  And just mechanically, staying balanced, and little things like that.  And just getting the confidence and believing that I can get them out.”

The ten K’s were a season high, and the most he’s had since an 11 strikeout performance on May 15th of last year with Low-A Charleston.  And yet, McAllister still feels there’s work that needs to be done to make himself even better.

“My slider and changeup still (need work),” he said.

“And just maintaining my arm motion and keeping it high and things like that.”

– For the second time in three games, a Thunder infielder was removed from the game with no apparent injury.  And for the second time in three games, apparently, he’s injured.

Seems like The Jorge Vazquez Experience may be getting a breather, as he was removed from the game with leg soreness. 

“It happened during the game,” said Thunder skipper Tony Franklin.

“He said it’s been coming on for the past couple of days and he’s kind of played through it.  I’m not sure exactly what the specific injury is.  I’m not sure if it’s his groin, knee, hammy or what.”

– The rotation slots for Monday and one of Tuesday’s games are still listed as TBA.

“We just don’t know what we’re going to do,” Franklin said.

“We haven’t gotten a phone call from anyone as to who’s going to start or who should start.  No one’s indicated that anyone’s coming.  It might just be a bullpen day.”

With the team at the 24-player maximum, a roster move would have to be made to accomodate anyone, including Alan Horne.  The most likely scenario would involve Ivan Nova being sent on a magical trip to Staten Island, since according to Franklin, he “might be back Wednesday.” 

Nova is currently back home following the death of his grandfather.

As for Horne, it seems he could be on the mound at some point over the next two days.

“I think he’s capable of pitching one of those two games,” Franklin said.

“But I’m not going to make the statement that he is going to pitch, because nobody’s told me specifically that he is going to pitch.  I would think that because he pitched in the simulated game and he reported no injury or stiffness or anything like that, he’s available.  But whether he’s going to pitch or not, I don’t know.”

– If I had to guess, I’d say Horne gets one of the starts and Eric Wordekemper gets the other.  Wordekemper and Josh Schmidt would be the freshest relievers, as neither has pitched since May 28th.  But Wordy went one inning his last time out, and Schmitty went three.

Anyone expecting Jason Stephens to come up can toss that idea out, as he threw five innings of one-run ball for Tampa today.  Jonathan Hovis — remember him? — struck out two in the 9th for the save.

However, keep in mind that deactivating Nova or anyone else is only a short-term solution.  The obvious choices to be deactivated or sent down have all either been deactivated or sent down already.  Short of demoting or releasing the struggling Marcos Vechionacci or perhaps doing something with an outfielder, there doesn’t seem to be anything obvious…perhaps Jorge Vazquez is placed on the DL depending on the seriousness of his injury, but again…short-term solution.

– I didn’t get a chance to speak to Noah Hall after the game, but did see him and he seemed fine.  WIMG’s David Fenster did catch up with him, and Hall said he was OK after getting nailed in the head by a pitch late in the game.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 47: Altoona @ Trenton

May 31, 2009

Game 47 – Altoona Curve @ Trenton Thunder
May 31, 2009
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: ALT Kyle Bloom vs. TRE Zach McAllister

Starting Lineups:

ALTOONA

Brian Friday, SS
Pedro Lopez, LF
Jim Negrych, 2B
Jason Delaney, 1B
Jeff Corsaletti, CF
Steve Lerud, DH
Hector Gimenez, C
James Boone, RF
Angel Gonzalez, 3B

Kyle Bloom, P

TRENTON

Justin Snyder, SS
Colin Curtis, CF
Chris Malec, 2B
Jorge Vazquez, 1B
Edwar Gonzalez, RF
Noah Hall, DH
Jose Gil, C
Marcos Vechionacci, 3B
James Cooper, LF

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): Sac fly by Chris Malec gives the Thunder a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first…

McAllister’s in a little trouble here in the third…a Jason Delaney infield single ties the game at one, and he’s been working out of jams quite a bit.

Uploaded a few videos from today and the past few days…check those out. 1-1, T4.

Malec drives in his second run of the day with an RBI single, Trenton up 2-1, B6. Kanekoa Texeira getting loose in the Thunder bullpen.

Jorge Vazquez taken out of the game here in the bottom of the 6th, Kevin Smith pinch-hitting. Second time this series that a player’s been removed for no apparent reason. Fantastic. Can’t imagine they’d put in a lefty to face the lefty Kyle Bloom here…something’s up.

And Smith delivers with a flare to left. Now 3-1, B6.

Six and two third solid innings out of the Z-Mac Attack, but Tex is now heading to the mound…

Uggh. Scary moment in the 7th. Noah Hall just got hit in the head with a pitch…got him in the batting helmet, of course. But still. He was down for a minute and is being attended to by the trainer.

Hall’s fine, he stole second base on the next pitch…

Marcos Vechionacci drove Hall in on an RBI groundout. 4-1, Thunder, heading into T8.

In-Game Photos:

bloom

Kyle Bloom

curtis

Colin Curtis

curtis2

Curtis

gil

Jose Gil

mendy

Carlos Mendoza

sign

Looking for a true bounce off the SBLI sign in right? Uhhh, don’t.

zmac

Zach McAllister

zmac2

McAllister

tex

Kanekoa Texeira

In-Game YouTube Videos: Check out my YouTube account for videos updated throughout the game…

Final Score: 4-1, Thunder

Thunder Thoughts: It’s Bark in the Park day here at Waterfront Park. Even Thunder staffer Patience Purdy brought in her little shi tzu Charlie, who she could have just as easily  named Frank Sinatra thanks to some pretty amazing blue eyes.  Can’t say there are too many jobs where you get random visits from dogs every day like I do here with Chase, Derby and now Patience’s dog.  And she didn’t even tell me to post this on the blog at all :)

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 47: Pre-Game Notes

May 31, 2009

11:00 AM — Lineups…

ALTOONA

Brian Friday, SS
Pedro Lopez, LF
Jim Negrych, 2B
Jason Delaney, 1B
Jeff Corsaletti, CF
Steve Lerud, DH
Hector Gimenez, C
James Boone, RF
Angel Gonzalez, 3B

Kyle Bloom, P

TRENTON

Justin Snyder, SS
Colin Curtis, CF
Chris Malec, 2B
Jorge Vazquez, 1B
Edwar Gonzalez, RF
Noah Hall, DH
Jose Gil, C
Marcos Vechionacci, 3B
James Cooper, LF

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

POLL: Should The Yankees Promote Jesus Montero To Double-A?

May 31, 2009

There’s some pretty heated debate over at River Ave. Blues regarding whether the Yankees should move 19-year-old Jesus Montero up to Trenton so he can catch every day.

Montero, as you may know, is rated as the Yankees second best prospect by Baseball AmericaHe got to play in the Futures Game at Yankee Stadium last season, and is hitting .341 with seven home runs and 34 RBI in Single-A Tampa, where he’s splitting time with fellow top prospect Austin Romine.

Well, what do you think?  And tell me why you voted the way you did in the comments…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 46: Post-Game Quotes, More Notes

May 30, 2009

- Spoke to Tony Franklin, Justin Snyder and Alan Horne after the game.  Would be funny if I just ended that sentence there and left you guessing at what they said, right?  Oh?  Not so much?  Well, here are some quotes for you then…

TONY FRANKLIN

“I was starting to wonder.  We didn’t look like we wanted to win the game for eight innings, and then all of a sudden we start doing something in the eighth inning.  It wasn’t a very good performance other than (Christian) Garcia’s pitching, I thought he did pretty good.  But we didn’t swing the bats very well to give him some support until late in the ballgame.  What a way to win it.”

“(Snyder) can surprise you from time to time with that power.  He did it in New Britain, he hit a home run like that.  When he hits them, he hits them really well.  I didn’t expect that kind of ball from him.  I can see maybe to straightaway right field, but in the gap and above the scoreboard, that’s pretty impressive right there.”

“(Hall had a) big hit.  He’s an experienced hitter who’s been in these situations a number of times in his career, and this is what we got him for.  So far, he’s worked out really well for our lineup.”

JUSTIN SNYDER

“Fastball.  I was just looking for a pitch.  I wasn’t even thinking home run, because I’m not the stereotypical home run hitter.  I was just trying to maybe put it in the gap and have Coop score from first, just do it that way.  But I got it up, got enough of it.”

“I wasn’t too sure, I thought I got enough of it to put it out, but it’s a big yard and there’s not many balls that leave this park, especially to right field.  Out of the box, I was thinking two, but it went out.”

ALAN HORNE

horne

“I thought it was fine.  Maybe I could have been a little more aggressive. I picked a little bit, which is probably more just seeing hitters again for the first time.  I warmed up great.  The bullpen going into was awesome.  I started, and I tried to make some my fastballs too good of a pitch.  I’ve got so much movement and was running the balls down off the plate.  But for the most part, it wasn’t bad.  It’s just frustrating throwing these and not knowing when I’m going to get to pitch.”

—————————————————–

- After last night’s mind-numbingly long and horrendous contest lengthy game, it was nice to see this one completed in a sporty 2:36.  Nice, big crowd tonight (7,440), walk-off home run, fireworks…it was a nice night to be at Waterfront Park.

- For those of you had Eduardo Nunez’s right thumb in your “which thumb did Eduardo Nunez injure?” office pools, congratulations.  No real update on him after the game, to be honest.  I did ask, but there is either nothing known or no information that they’re willing to tell me.  My particular favorite, and this had been mentioned by someone else as well, was today’s press release…if you read it, you’d assume that Nunez was sent to Staten Island for no reason and replaced by Carlos Mendoza.  It was as if nothing had happened to Nunez at all.  “Upper digit injury?”

- Tonight’s game was the 132nd Trenton Thunder game I’ve covered…putting me only 200 behind my Somerset Patriots total.  And that’s your useless Ashmore fact of the evening.

Game 46: Post-Game Notes

May 30, 2009

I’ll have more when I get home, but…

- According to Justin Snyder, that was his first walk-off home run since high school…

- Ivan Nova has left the team after a death in the family, and it is unknown when he will return.  Tony Franklin suggested that Alan Horne could fill Nova’s spot in the rotation for the time being if necessary.

- Horne said he felt he pitched pretty well in his simulated game and said he could pitch if needed Monday.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 46: Altoona @ Trenton

May 30, 2009

Game 46 – Altoona Curve @ Trenton Thunder
May 30, 2009
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: ALT Daniel Moskos vs. TRE Christian Garcia

Starting Lineups:

ALTOONA

Brian Friday, SS
Pedro Lopez, 3B
Jim Negrych, 2B
Jonel Pacheco, RF
Jeff Corsaletti, LF
Steve Lerud, C
Hector Gimenez, 1B
Jamie Romak, DH
James Boone, CF

TRENTON

Justin Snyder, SS
Colin Curtis, CF
Chris Malec, 2B
Jorge Vazquez, 1B
Edwar Gonzalez, RF
Noah Hall, DH
Kyle Anson, C
Marcos Vechionacci, 3B
James Cooper, LF

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): Nice, efficient first inning for Christian Garcia right there. He got a leadoff strikeout, a lazy flyout and a weak grounder back to himself…probably only needed 12 pitches at most to do it.

Trenton threatens in the bottom of the first…but The Jorge Vazquez Experience grounds into a 6-4-3 DP with runners on the corners and one out.

Two strikeouts that inning for Garcia, the last one on a nasty curveball. 0-0, B2.

Garcia gives up a home run to Hector Gimenez in the fifth, down the right field line…1-0, Curve, T5. Two hits for the Curve so far, only one for Trenton.

Justin Snyder with an RBI single in the 5th…tie game, 1-1.

Wilkins Arias in for Christian Garcia after 5.2 IP.

Steve Lerud promptly greets Arias with a run-scoring single…Altoona now up, 2-1, heading into T7.

Jason Delaney pinch hit for the 9 hitter and absolutely demolished an Arias pitch over everything in left field. 3-1, T7.

Kevin Whelan in for the 8th…

Noah Hall with a two-run double to tie the game at three. Super. 3-3, heading into T9.

JUSTIN SNYDER WALK-OFF HOME RUN IN THE BOTTOM OF THE 9TH AND THE THUNDER WIN IT!  5-3.

In-Game Photos:

In-Game YouTube Videos: Check out my YouTube account for videos updated throughout the game…

Final Score: 5-3, Thunder.

Thunder Thoughts:

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 46: Pre-Game Notes (Nunez To S.I., Mendoza Active)

May 30, 2009

5:40 PM — Got here around 1:50 for Alan Horne’s simulated game.  Wasn’t very promising at all.  He threw 38 pitches to Seth Fortenberry and Carlos Mendoza; 16 for strikes and 22 balls.  He walked three of the nine batters he faced, and struck out two.  He ended the game on a dirty offspeed swinging strikeout to Fortenberry.  He got behind seven of the nine batters he faced.

Also, and perhaps more importantly, Eduardo Nunez has been transferred to Staten Island and Carlos Mendoza has been activated.  Tony Franklin called the injury a strain or a sprain, but that’s about as specific as you’re going to get.

I’d love to have quotes for you, but the clubhouse was closed early thanks to a team meeting at 5:45, and nobody was really in there when we were allowed in at 5:30.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 45: Post-Game Notes

May 30, 2009

- As I mentioned in the post below this one, shortstop Eduardo Nunez experienced swelling in his thumb and was taken to the hospital during the game.  I stayed after the game and was able to speak to manager Tony Franklin…

“He went to the hospital to get his thumb X-rayed,” Franklin said. 

“I think the X-rays are negative, but it was on the thumb that he had surgery on a couple years ago, so it’s more of a precaution.  It did swell up on him, but I think he’s OK.  I haven’t seen him, (trainer) Tim (Lentych) kind of relayed the message to me.  I don’t know how much time he’s going to miss, or if he’s going to miss any at all.  We’ll know a little bit better tomorrow.”

Oddly, there seems to be no specific indicent that led to the swelling…

“He doesn’t really know (what happened),” Franklin said.

“He says he doesn’t know how the thumb actually swelled up on him.  He didn’t get jammed, the ball didn’t hit him.  But he really can’t remember how it occured or how it happened.”

- Wilkin de la Rosa…the numbers aren’t too bad, but he really wasn’t that great tonight.  105 pitches to get 17 outs, three long home runs, etc.  Of the four runs he gave up, only one was earned because of a two-out error by The Jorge Vazquez Experience on what should have been an easy 3-1 groundout that was followed by a two-run bomb and a solo shot.

“He’s been a lot better,” Franklin said.

“It’s kind of the same pattern the last couple times out.  We’ve got to be a little bit more efficient and throw more strikes.  He’s got the capability of not walking anybody.  He doesn’t overpower anybody, but he’s got enough fastball to pitch.  He’s got to make them put it in play, and when he does that, he’s pretty good.  When he puts it in play, his rhythm is pretty good, and he throws more strikes, and that’s what we’re trying to get him to do.  But he hung in there and battled and threw five and two thirds innings, and that’s pretty good.”

- Nice job by the 7-8-9 hitters tonight, going a combined 7 for 12 with seven RBI.  Kyle Anson, Justin Snyder and James Cooper all turned in outstanding games tonight, and Anson upped his average all the way to a respectable .242.

- Pitcher Jason Stephens will be leaving the Thunder and will be assigned to Single-A Tampa.  That leaves outfielder Seth Fortenberry as the only member of Trenton’s club who’s still in Staten Island limbo.

- Your friendly neighborhood beat writer didn’t leave the ballpark until 11:50 and didn’t get home until 12:35 AM.  If you see me tomorrow, give me a hug…either that or a caffienated beverage.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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