Archive for June 3rd, 2009

Game 51: Post-Game Notes

June 3, 2009

– Wilkin De La Rosa pitched a gem, spinning six scoreless innings of two-hit ball, walking just one and striking out eight.  But really, nobody’s going to remember that.  They’re going to remember that this was the night that the much heralded Jesus Montero made his Double-A debut.

“I feel great, feel very good for my first game,” said Montero, who no longer uses a translator as he did at the Futures Game.

“I hope everything goes better than tonight, but I feel really good today about catching.  And we won the game and did everything together.  I helped the team to win.”

Without being prompted, manager Tony Franklin was quick to give his newest player some credit for De La Rosa’s success.

“We were looking for De La Rosa to bounce back and have a good game,” Franklin said.

“He did a very nice job today, his rhythm was very good and his tempo was good.  When he’s like that, he just goes and his pitches are fantastic.  And I think Montero had a lot to do with it, I really do.  Today they clicked, and it worked really well.”

De La Rosa didn’t seem to disagree.

“I felt really comfortable with Montero today,” said De La Rosa through interpreter/actual living, breathing baseball player Jesus Montero.

“We’ve been together for a lot of years; Rookie, Charleston, Tampa and right now.  I feel like I have a lot of confidence with him.  I feel like I can throw everything because I’m comfortable with him.”

As for Montero, his Double-A debut was somewhat of a mixed bag.  He went 1-for-4 with an RBI single — and yes, he got to keep the baseball from that – two runs scored, a walk and a strikeout.

But he also went 0-for-2 in throwing out attempted basestealers, which is something that’s plagued his game in the past.

“Sometimes they’re going to be out, and sometimes they’re going to be safe,” said Montero with a smile.

“But that’s OK, that can happen in the game sometimes.  I just have to try to do my best.”

– The win vaulted Trenton, now 28-23, into sole possession of first place for the first time all season.

“It’s a good place to be,” Franklin said.

“The reason it’s a good place to be is that it tells you that you’re playing some pretty good baseball, and that’s the only thing that I’m after and I think the team is after on a daily basis.  Where you finish will take care of itself if you play good baseball.”

– Kanekoa Texeira nearly sparked a benches clearing incident in the eighth inning, when he threw a first pitch fastball at Bowie catcher Guillermo Rodriguez’s rear end after Colin Curtis had been hit previously.  Curtis had to be removed from the game in favor of Seth Fortenberry, but is apparently fine.

Rodriguez started walking towards Texeira — Texeira said he thought Rodriguez must have thought he was Spanish because he was yelling at him in Spanish — and the Thunder dugout was chirping right back at him.  But players remained at their positions on the field and in the dugout, and nothing further became of it.

“It was a pretty exciting game towards the end, but I guess you’ve got to have fun like that,” Texeira said.

So did the pitch…ummm, slip?

“It’s part of baseball,” he said. 

“If you hit somebody on purpose, you’ve got to believe, especially as a catcher, we’re going to retaliate.  And we did, and it happened.  It’s part of the game for me, that’s what I think.  You’re not going to headhunt him or go for his kneecaps, you’re going to go for a place it won’t hurt that bad.  And I did.  It’s over with and done.”

Whether it be Rodriguez’s wallet or a specific spot where his catcher is setting up, Texeira has been one of Trenton’s best and most consistent relievers this season, and this outing was no exception, as he allowed just one baserunner in three innings of work while on the way to collecting his second save of the year.

“I’m just trying to keep the ball down with movement, that’s basically what I’m doing.  It’s working,” Texeira said.

“My sinker’s kind of been the big deal for me right now.  It looks middle of the plate and they’re swinging, and all of a sudden it jumps in it at them and they start jumping away and swinging.  I’m getting a lot of ground balls, and I think that’s what they got me for.  To get ground balls instead of fly balls.  In Yankee Stadium, fly balls have been flying out now.  Keep the ball down low, that’s basically all that I’m trying to do right now.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Jesus Montero’s First Double-A Hit, RBI

June 3, 2009

A 7th inning single to give the Thunder a 5-0 lead.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Jesus Montero’s First Double-A At-Bat

June 3, 2009

Just uploaded this now…give it some time to process if it isn’t showing up right away.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 51: Bowie @ Trenton

June 3, 2009

Game 51 – Bowie Baysox @ Trenton Thunder
June 3, 2009
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: BOW Fredy Deza vs. TRE Wilkin De La Rosa

Starting Lineups:

BOWIE

Dave Krynzel, CF
Jonathan Tucker, 3B
Miguel Abreu, 2B
Michael Costanzo, 1B
Adam Donachie, DH
Joe Nowicki, LF
Ambiorix Concepcion, RF
Guillermo Rodriguez, C
Robert Valido, SS

TRENTON

Justin Snyder, SS
Colin Curtis, CF
Chris Malec, 2B
Noah Hall, DH
Jesus Montero, C
Edwar Gonzalez, RF
Kevin Smith, 1B
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): De La Rosa struck out Dave Krynzel, walked Jonathan Tucker, struck out Miguel Abreu and got Mike Costanzo to fly out to left to get his first inning out of the way.

For you Montero followers out there — so, you know, half the people reading this blog right now — Bowie’s Jonathan Tucker stole a base on him in the first…he got a really good jump, and Montero made a strong, accurate throw…but Tucker was safe on an easy call for the umpire.

Colin Curtis with a solo home run to right to give Trenton a 1-0 lead, B1. Then Chris Malec triples to right…

With runners on the corners, Jesus Montero swung at the first two Double-A pitches he saw. Popped one over the net foul, and popped the next one to the second baseman for the second out of the inning. Video of that is on the way.

Updates might be a bit sparce at times..I have something to work on for a story you’ll see a little later.

De La Rosa out after six…97 pitches…61 strikes…36 balls…2 hits…0 runs…1 walk…8 strikeouts. Not bad at all.

Kanekoa Texeira now in for the 7th…

Montero laces a single through the left side for his first Double-A hit and RBI. It’s 5-0, Thunder, B7.

Colin Curtis got plunked after a home run earlier in the game and had to leave the game…Seth Fortenberry has replaced him. Tex started the eighth inning with a pitch behind Guillermo Rodriguez that hit him, and he started to walk towards Texeira. He walked towards first base afterwards — with much encouragement from the Thunder dugout — and continued jawing the whole way. Something to keep an eye on…

In-Game Photos:

ccmalec

Chris Malec and Colin Curtis came out wearing each other’s jersey. “That’s what happens when you share a locker,” Curtis joked.

montero2

And the man of the hour, Jesus Montero…

montero3

montero4

montero5

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

Final Score: 8-0, Thunder.

Thunder Thoughts:

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Jesus Walks

June 3, 2009

Here’s a behind the scenes video of Jesus Montero walking out of the tunnel, preparing to make his Double-A debut.  If it doesn’t show up right away, I just uploaded it at 6:55 PM, so give it some time.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 51: Pre-Game Notes (Montero’s Here, Is Playing)

June 3, 2009

6:05 PM — Tarp is off the field…looks like we’re playing, kids.

6:00 PM — Chad Jennings spoke to Mark Newman and got some great information about a wide variety of players…be sure to check it out.

5:45 PM — Jose Gil to Tampa is the move. Spoke to Montero for about ten minutes, and spoke to Tony Franklin for a while as well…I have a lot on my plate tonight, literally…but I’m going to try to bang out those quotes later tonight.

Montero, who is very soft-spoken, emphasized a couple times that he wants to be a catcher. He’s working on his defense, and told us he grew up as a fan of Jorge Posada. He told us that Posada has worked with him in big league camp, and Montero is using some of things that Posada showed him.

Franklin made it pretty clear that Montero will only be used as a catcher on the field, and is expected to catch “the bulk of the games.”

Also, there are six starters for five spots…no word on what the plan is for that just yet, but a move will have to be made at some point in the very near future.

4:35 PM — Didn’t see Jose Gil on the field…kind of assuming he’d be the odd man out anyway, but no corresponding move is official yet. Montero was wearing #48 before the game, but no idea if that’s going to be what he wears tonight…assuming they play.

4:15 PM — BP has been wiped out and the tarp is on the field, so the Montero show will have to wait for another day. However, here’s the first picture you’ll see anywhere of Montero in a Thunder uniform.

montero

3:35 PM — Lineups are in…so is Jesus Montero.

BOWIE

Dave Krynzel, CF
Jonathan Tucker, 3B
Miguel Abreu, 2B
Michael Costanzo, 1B
Adam Donachie, DH
Joe Nowicki, LF
Ambiorix Concepcion, RF
Guillermo Rodriguez, C
Robert Valido, SS

Fredy Deza, P

TRENTON

Justin Snyder, SS
Colin Curtis, CF
Chris Malec, 2B
Noah Hall, DH
Jesus Montero, C
Edwar Gonzalez, RF
Kevin Smith, 1B
Marcos Vechionacci, 3B
James Cooper, LF

Wilkin De La Rosa, P

3:15 PM — Just saw Jesus Montero walk into the ballpark, carrying two large New York Yankees equipment bags. I have no idea what number he’s wearing or whether he’s going to play tonight and so on — I’d guess he’s not if he just got here — but again, when I get that info, I’ll pass it along.

3:00 PM — Am at the ballpark now. Only the pitchers are out, so I couldn’t tell you whether Jesus Montero is physically here yet, and whatever move that was made to accomodate him has yet to be made official, although I certainly have a hunch as to what it is.

Ivan Nova is back and is scheduled to pitch on June 6th, according to the posted rotation in the clubhouse.

Zach McAllister was also in the bullpen throwing a side session, using an interesting technique in which he had his back leg up on a plastic chair to adjust his arm slot a bit.

Obviously, you’re all here for Montero news, and as soon as I can get my hands on some info, you’ll see it here.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Montero’s Coming

June 3, 2009

Can confirm that the plan is for Jesus Montero to be promoted to Double-A Trenton.  With the team at the maximum of 24 players, apparently the delay in announcing the move is in making the final decision on what the corresponding move would be.

However, I’ve also been told that the plan could change, and that it could be possible for Montero to remain in Tampa.

Seems doubtful, though.  If Montero is, in fact, in Trenton tomorrow, you can rest assured that this will be the place to be for all the info you need to know.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Is Montero Coming? Well…

June 3, 2009

Take this into account…

1) Rumors started spreading around the press box late in Game 2 that Jesus Montero was getting called up to Double-A.

2) The second game of the doubleheader ended at around 11:15.  The door to manager Tony Franklin’s office didn’t open until around 11:50, meaning there was some business to attend to.

3) Franklin himself said there would be a move, but that he couldn’t elaborate any further until tomorrow.

Now, this could be a big fuss over nothing…maybe Noel Castillo’s on the way back up or something.  Yay!  But it could also mean that the Yankees best catching prospect may be on his way as well.  The second I find something out, you’ll see it posted here.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Games 49 And 50: Post-Game Notes

June 3, 2009

– Seeing how I got to the ballpark at 3 PM and didn’t get home until 1 AM, Game One is a bit hazy. But the thing that stood out to me the most was that Ryan Pope just didn’t seem to have it today.

“We’re working on some things mechanically, and I don’t know if I was too busy thinking about that or what, but it just got away from me,” Pope said.

“(Stuff) happens. If I make a play, it’s one run instead of five. Little things make a big difference in this game.”

The play Pope was referring to was a little dribbler down the first base line that would have been the third out of the inning. Instead, Pope and first baseman Kevin Smith seemed to have some miscommunication, and nobody picked up the ball.

“It was an inbetweener, and it was going to be a tough play for (Smith) to make,” Pope said.

“I thought I’d jump on it, and it just missed hitting my glove.”

Pope made his best Double-A start against Portland on May 13th, allowing just one baserunner in seven near-flawless frames of work. But after becoming the odd man out in the rotation for a turn after Christian Garcia joined the team, which led to a ten-day layoff, he hasn’t been the same.

In his last three starts, he’s lasted just 12 innings and has allowed 17 runs (10 earned) on four walks and 23 hits.

“You can’t make excuses whether (the layoff) has or hasn’t (affected me),” Pope said.

“You have time inbetween to prepare yourself for the next start. But obviously being out there every five days and competing is different than every nine or ten days. But I’m not really worried about it anymore. After the third inning tonight, in the fourth, fifth and sixth, I felt better.”

– Game Two is a bit more burned into my memory, seeing how it seemed as though it was never going to end. The Thunder took a 4-2 lead into the top of the 7th inning, but after having pitched so well over his last few outings, Kevin Whelan struggled and got tagged for two runs on two hits and a walk.

Amauri Sanit gave up the Jonathan Tucker triple that tied the game, which gave him the blown save, but also was the benefactor of a great play by rarely used third baseman Carlos Mendoza, who made a diving stop on a Miguel Abreu rocket down the line and had the presence of mind to tag third base to get the double play, as Tucker had strayed too far.

Mendoza took us through the play after the game.

“Abreu is a guy that’s a pull hitter,” he said.

“He pulled a couple of line drives in the first game, so I was kind of playing him on the line. I was just reacting. He hit it pretty good, all I did was a reaction. We were lucky. It was close, but I knew I had a chance, so I went back to the base. It got us a double play and got us out of the inning.”

After Colin Curtis singled and Chris Malec moved him over to second, Mendy cemented his hero status with a walk-off single, scoring Curtis on a very, very close play at the plate.

The 29-year-old Venezuelan discussed that play as well…

“With a base open, I didn’t think they were going to throw me that many fastballs,” explained Mendoza.

“But I guess they knew that I’m not playing every day. So I think they said just go after this guy. They were just throwing me fastballs, and you don’t see that often with an open base. So I took a 3-1 fastball and said well, I’m going to be ready for the next one, and I put a good swing on it and I got a hit.”

Bowie catcher Guillermo Rodriguez, in a moment somewhat eerily similar to a play in the 2007 Eastern League Championship Series after Wyatt Toregas argued that Curtis should be out after a similar slide, got right in the face of the home plate umpire and started jawing away before eventually walking away.

“I thought I got in there, I thought I caught the corner,” Curtis said.

“It was close, no doubt. But I definitely thought I got in there. Shoot, I’ve had a couple of those in my time here. Those are always fun. Not quite as exciting as the last one, but it was pretty good.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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