Archive for April, 2008

Game 27: Trenton @ Connecticut

April 30, 2008

Game 27 – Trenton Thunder @ Connecticut Defenders
April 30, 2008
Dodd Stadium – Norwich, CT

Pitching Matchup: TRE George Kontos (0-2, 3.55) vs. CON Paul Oseguera (0-0, 0.00)

Starting Lineups:


1 – Ramiro Pena, SS
2 – Austin Jackson, CF
3 – Colin Curtis, LF
4 – Matt Carson, RF
5 – Kevin Russo, DH
6 – P.J. Pilittere, C
7 – Chris Malec, 1B
8 – Carlos Mendoza, 3B
9 – Reegie Corona, 2B


1 – Copeland
2 – Sosa
3 – Haines
4 – Denker
5 – Ishikawa
6 – Klink
7 – Witter
8 – Martinez-Esteve
9 – Richardson

Pre-Game Notes: Chad Jennings reports that Thunder alum Sean Henn has been DFA’d.  I agree with Chad in that I think someone will claim the former fireballer on waivers.

Jose Tabata, anyone? 

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

Live Box Score: The direct link is here.

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

Final Score: 3-2, Connecticut.

Post-Game Notes:

Thunder Thoughts:

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Thunder Thoughts Tuesday Power Rankings

April 30, 2008

Week four of the Thunder Thoughts Power Rankings has a familiar name at the top spot, while there are some big movers below…

(Note: The players ranking from the previous week is noted in parenthesis.)

1 – Daniel McCutchen, SP (1)

It seems like the only way he loses this spot is when his inevitable call-up to Triple-A happens.  Seven innings and 12 strikeouts in his last start?  Yeah, that’ll make you number one.

2 – Colin Curtis, OF (7)

Curtis has been one of the more consistent Thunder position players, if not the most consistent.  He has a 12-game hitting streak, and is third on the team in batting average with a .312 mark.

3 – P.J. Pilittere, C (5)

Going into the season, I never thought I’d see P.J. Pilittere’s name this high on this list.  But the fact is, he’s having a great month, and is hitting an outstanding .324

4 – Chase Wright, SP (4)

Far from the most spectacular pitcher in the Yankees system, I’ll take the guy who gives me six or seven solid innings every start and gives my team a chance to win any day.

5 – Jason Jones, SP (3)

See above.

6 – David Robertson, RP (6)

Lots and lots of hype around one David Robertson this season.  You saw the curveball video, right?  So you understand why…

7 – Austin Jackson, OF *8*

Seems to be improving a little bit every time I see him.  Has had some real good at-bats, and is looking like a baseball player instead of an athlete trying to learn one sport.

8 – Matt Carson, OF (12)

He got off to a hot start, then went into a big slump.  Now he’s hot again.  This could be a roller coaster season for Matt Carson, and it looks like this is one of the peaks…

9 – Kevin Russo, INF (11)

Although he only has 41 at-bats, Russo leads the Thunder with a .341 batting average.  His .974 OPS is also a team best.

10 – Zach Kroenke, RP (15)

Has put together a string of really nice outings after a few bad ones to start the year.

11 – Cody Ehlers, 1B (16)

Has been swinging the bat really well lately.

12 – Josh Schmidt, RP (9)

I don’t understand why Schmidt hasn’t been used a little more.  He’s pitched well, but has only appeared in six of the team’s 26 games, making him the most infrequently used of the bunch.

13 – Eric Wordekemper, RP *18*

Wordy is starting to show that he, in fact, the same guy who showed up late last season and was simply dazzling.

14 – J.B. Cox, RP (NR)

Rated more on reputation than the one good outing he had, Cox is likely to stay in Trenton for a little while before an inevitable call to Scranton.

15 – Ramiro Pena, SS (2)

The bat has cooled off quite a bit for Pena.

16 – George Kontos, SP (19)

Looks Kontos is really starting to come around, as his ERA is now just a shade over three.

17 – Michael Gardner, RP (10)

The guy is frustrating to watch sometimes.  He seems to always get ahead of hitters, then threaten to walk them. 

18 – Bo Hall, RP (17)

If you guys don’t send me any questions for Bo Hall, I may go the entire season without talking to the guy.  Possibly the most anonymous guy on the team.

19 – Chris Malec, INF (20)

Has been seeing some semi-regular playing time lately.

20 – Carlos Mendoza, INF (24)

Mendoza is respected in the clubhouse, especially after the way he handled being deactivated early in the season.

21 – Phil Coke, SP (23)

Has recently shown flashes of what he can be, but he also got smacked around in his last home start and was lucky to get out of there with a no decision.

22 – Reegie Corona, 2B (22)

Corona’s bat needs to come around, but he is tied for the team lead in stolen bases, and does draw a decent amount of walks.

23 – Joe Muich, C (21)

Just isn’t hitting right now.  Simple as that.

24 – Jose Tabata, OF (14)

That’s right, dead last.  I’m sure there are people more deserving of the spot if I was basing this solely on baseball, but earning a suspension combined with a poor start gets him the dreaded #24 spot.

OFF THE BOARD: Steven Jackson, RP.  Jackson was promoted to Triple-A Scranton.

NEW ON THE BOARD: J.B. Cox, RP.  Cox, who last pitched in Trenton in 2006, returns after missing the 2007 season with Tommy John surgery.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Chase Wright Photos From Tonight

April 29, 2008

Courtesy of Greg’s Connecticut Defenders Blog, here are a few pictures of Thunder starter Chase Wright from tonight’s 4-1 win.




Game 26: Trenton @ Connecticut

April 29, 2008

Game 26 – Trenton Thunder @ Connecticut Defenders
April 29, 2008
Dodd Stadium – Norwich, CT

Pitching Matchup: TRE Chase Wright vs. CON Joe Martinez

Starting Lineups:


1 – Russo, 2B
2 – Jackson, CF
3 – Curtis, LF
4 – Carson, RF
5 – Ehlers, 1B
6 – Pilittere, C
7 – Malec, 3B
8 – Mendoza, DH
9 – Corona, SS


1 –
2 –
3 –
4 –
5 –
6 –
7 –
8 –
9 –

Pre-Game Notes: Matt Carson has a 14-game hitting streak, while Colin Curtis has hit in 11 consecutive games. “Fab Five” Freddy Sanchez has the team record with a 27 game streak.

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

Live Box Score: The direct link is here.

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

Final Score: 4-1, Thunder.

Post-Game Notes: Matt Carson’s hitting streak ended, while Colin Curtis extended his. Cody Ehlers hit a two-run home run, while Chase Wright turned in seven solid innings.

Jose Tabata…absent from the lineup. Whatever spin they’re trying to put on it, keep in mind Tony Franklin said that Tabata would be back in the lineup today, and that didn’t exactly happen. Hard to argue with the fact that — temper tantrum or not — he needed to be sat down for some time.

Thunder Thoughts:

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Ask The Players…Again

April 28, 2008

Last week’s reader Q&A’s went well.  Better than I thought they would, actually.  I was hoping for a few more questions than I ultimately ended up receiving, but I thought it was a good way to let everyone interact with the guys.

So let’s do it again.

I will be in Trenton again starting Friday, and will be there after that on either Saturday or Sunday, potentially both.

Post your questions in the comments section, and I’ll do my best to get them answered.  Again, no promises that I’ll be able to get them all done, but I’ll do what I can.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Tabata WAS Suspended One Game

April 27, 2008

Have been able to confirm that Jose Tabata was suspended for this afternoon’s game. He is still with the team. It would hardly be surprising — considering the incident, his inability to hit consistently, and his admission that his hand still bothers him — for him to be sent down at some point.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Around the EL: Anthony Swarzak

April 27, 2008

Anthony Swarzak / Photo by Mike Ashmore

Anthony Swarzak came into the season as the Minnesota Twins 5th best prospect according to Baseball America

We talk about his prospect status, the tumultous start to his 2007 season, the benefits of finishing last year in the Eastern League and more…

Thunder Thoughts: Baseball America has you ranked as the Minnesota Twins 5th best prospect this year.  When you see something like that, does that mean anything to you?

Anthony Swarzak: “I think at a younger level, it means a lot more than it does now.  Now, it’s just you’re going to get an opportunity to do good, or you’re not.  At the Double-A or Triple-A level, if you perform, you’re going to get moved up, and if you don’t, you won’t.  That’s what it comes down to.  So not so much now as it used to.”

TT: With all the hype that’s surrounding you right now, is there any pressure that comes with that?

AS: “It’s not so much pressure.  I like to do good and everyone likes to have that prospect status, and everyone wants to keep that.  I just try to go out there and throw hard and throw strikes and get it done.”

TT: A few places have you projected as being a big leaguer as early as the end of this year.  Is that kind of the goal you have as well, to get there by the end of this season?

AS: “Absolutely.  I think that’s everybody’s goal in this clubhouse, as well as mine.  Nobody gets drafted and signed to play for the New Britain Rock Cats or the Trenton Thunder, you know.  But it all depends.  There’s been some other guys in the organization, like Kevin Slowey and Matt Garza, that blow through the organization much faster than me or any other guys have been doing.  It’s no big deal.”

TT: You were suspended 50 games at the beginning of last season.  How much of a hole did that put you in on the field, and do you feel like you’re finally getting out of it…

AS: “Absolutely, I feel like I’m putting it behind me.  Just put it behind me, and look towards the future.  I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job with that so far.”

TT: For someone who’s never seen you pitch, give me a scouting report on yourself…

AS: “I like to establish the fastball early, work it on both sides of the plate with that.  Throw some curveballs, a couple changeups, working on the slider.  That’s about it, you know.  Just keep it pretty simple.”

TT: How beneficial was your time in Double-A last year to your development this year?

AS: “Huge difference.  Everyone talks about the biggest jump in baseball is going from Single-A to Double-A, and when I got up here, I definitely struggled a little bit.  It’s a different kind of ballgame up here.  You can’t miss over the plate or up, because you won’t get that ball back, it’ll be a souvenir.  You just try to keep the ball down, and just worry about what you have to do.  It’s a definitely a pleasure being in this league a second time around when it comes to doing good.”

TT: Off the field, what kind of guy are you?

AS: “I try to be a nice guy, talk to anyone who wants to talk.  Off the field, I just try to work hard and take care of what I have to take care of.”

“Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Game 25: New Britain @ Trenton

April 27, 2008

NEWS: Several fans have e-mailed to say that after Jose Tabata’s seventh inning strikeout YESTERDAY, he got frustrated and slammed his bat down and simply left.  We can’t see inside the dugout from the press box.  One commenter reports he is serving a one-game suspension, but I have not been able to confirm this.  Hopefully will have more on this later.

Game 25 – New Britain Rock Cats @ Trenton Thunder
April 27, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: TRE Jason Jones (3-0, 1.80) vs. NB Jay Rainville (1-2, 9.53)

Starting Lineups:

New Britain

1 – Hughes
2 – Tolleson
3 – Peterson
4 – Moses
5 – Winfree
6 – Lis
7 – Plouffe
8 – Molina
9 – Butera


1 – Ramiro Pena, SS
2 – Austin Jackson, CF
3 – Kevin Russo, LF
4 – Matt Carson, RF
5 – Cody Ehlers, 1B
6 – P.J. Pilittere, C
7 – Chris Malec, DH
8 – Carlos Mendoza, 3B
9 – Reegie Corona, 2B

Pre-Game Notes: The team travels to Connecticut for a three-game series that starts Tuesday — they’re off tomorrow — and then return home to play Portland starting Friday.

The pitching matchups for the series against the Defenders are as follows:

4/29 — CON Joey Martinez (0-3, 2.95) vs. TRE Chase Wright (3-1, 3.34)
4/30 — CON Brooks McNiven (1-1, 2.08 ) vs. TRE George Kontos (0-2, 3.55)
5/1 — CON Adam Cowart (1-1, 2.13) vs. TRE Dan McCutchen (3-1, 1.42)

Which would mean Phil Coke pitches against Portland on 5/2, followed by Jason Jones on 5/3 and then Wright again on 5/4.

Portland will tentatively send Michael Bowden to the mound on 5/2, then Kris Johnson 5/3 and Dustin Richardson on 5/4.  All big prospects for them.  Can’t wait.

Colin Curtis carries an 11-game hitting streak into the game, while Matt Carson’s streak is now at 13.

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

Live Box Score: The direct link is here.

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

Final Score: 7-5, Thunder

Post-Game Notes: Kevin Russo and Matt Carson were both one hit away from the cycle.  Russo scored four runs, and Carson drove in five.  J.B. Cox made his first Thunder appearance since September, 2006 and gave up two hits while striking out one in two innings.

Thunder Thoughts: The Justin Masterson YouTube video I posted just last week has already accumulated over 3,000 views. Odd.

There will be something on the site tonight. Either an “Around the EL” interview with Anthony Swarzak or the previously scheduled “Alumni Sunday” with Dave Eiland. Not sure yet…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Autism Awareness Day

April 27, 2008

As I’ve mentioned several times previously, the Thunder will be hosting their annual Autism Awareness Day today.

Thunder Thoughts will be making a small (see: all I can afford) donation for every home run hit by a Thunder batter today.

For information on how to make a donation as well, please contact me at mashmore98 AT and we’ll figure something out.

Check Out This Freaking Curveball

April 27, 2008

I’m sure there’s a more professional headline than that, but seriously…check out David Robertson’s dirty, nasty, falls off the table curveball.

YouTube video here

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT