ELCS Game 1: Post-Game Notes

– You see games like the one the Thunder played last night, and you have to wonder if it’s just destiny at this point.

Trenton pitched its way in and out of huge jams in Game 1, and came out on top after Austin Romine shot a little flare to right center field off of Bryan Morris to score Austin Krum and put the Thunder ahead for good over the Curve in the tenth inning…

“I’ve faced Morris all year,” Romine told me.

“Morris loves throwing me cutters and loves throwing me curveballs.  I was sitting on a curveball the entire at-bat.  You could tell me the first swing, I had curveball timing, curveball everything.  I swung and missed horribly on the first one, so I was like well, he’s going to throw it again.  He left it up a little bit.  I was able to put a little bit of wood on it, but not all of the good part of it, and I got lucky.  It fell in.”

Romine’s single came a few frames after another base hit sent Krum charging towards the plate, only to have him thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

“It was kind of funny how it turned out the same way,” Romine said.

“(Hitting coach) Frank (Menechino) was joking with me when Krum got thrown out, he said you hit it too hard.  I said, ‘All right, I’ll work on that.’  So it just worked out. I hit it softer and he got to score.”

– Andrew Brackman is a large man.  But he also came up large last night, shutting down Altoona over the final five innings to pick up the win in relief of Andy Pettitte.  Brackman says it was a bit difficult adjusting to his new, one-time role of coming out of the bullpen…

“I was a little nervous,” he said.

“I just wanted to make sure I was warm before I got out there.  Coming out of the pen, you don’t know how much time you have, so I just tried to make sure I was ready to go back on the mound.”

The 40-man roster righty has allowed just three runs in his last 38 innings and will inevitably carry a lot of momentum into the 2011 season.  He says there’s a lot of reason for excitement…

“I still don’t feel like I was in college,” he said.  “I definitely think there’s more in the tank.”

– Dellin Betances is a large man.  Reporters are at risk of Tommy John surgery during every interview, overextending arms to try to reach the towering righty for an interview.  Thankfully, he obliged when approached by the traveling group of Trenton reporters when  asked about his Game 2 start later today…

“It’s a different game just because it’s the championship, but you’ve got to take the same mentality and try to attack the zone early and just give your team the chance to win,” he said.

Betances was outstanding in his first playoff start, but says there’s no momentum to be had from that.

“To be honest, I actually forgot about that,” Betances said.

“I’m just focused on (today) and just trying to go out and throw strikes and give the team a chance to win.” 

– The Thunder are a loose bunch.  Even Wilkin De La Rosa had time for a smile when Wilkins Arias grabbed Trentonian reporter Josh Norris’ recorder and joined in on the group interview with De La Rosa.  It hasn’t been an easy few weeks for De La Rosa, who has been the subject of a Major League Baseball investigation on his possible use of B-12 and was removed from the Yankees 40-man roster to add Steve Garrison, who ultimately never joined the Thunder as was the plan.

“I’m happy to be back,” De La Rosa said.  “That way, I can try to help the team to get a championship.  That’s all we want.”

“In this organization, it’s hard.  If you don’t do your job, they’re going to find somebody else.  I just want to get another opportunity, maybe next year, and come back and try to show something better.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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