Archive for April 10th, 2008

Game 8: Post-Game Recap

April 10, 2008

Trenton Thunder manager Tony Franklin took a lot away from the team’s seven game road trip to start the season.

He took back four wins.

He took back some confidence in his pitching staff.

But he also came back with the realization that tonight’s game might have been a sign of things to come for his ballclub.

“We’re going to be in a lot of ballgames like this,” Franklin said.

“That was pretty evident from the first seven games.  It’s kind of reminiscient of last year, where we pitched well and didn’t put a lot of runs on the board.”

However, Franklin did say that he had “some reservations” about making such a remark this early in the year.

“I think we’ve got some good hitters, I think we’re going to mount a better offensive attack than what we saw tonight,” he said.

A pitchers duel through the first five innings, it was Harrisburg’s Shairon Martis who came out on top, allowing just one run on four hits and two walks in five and one third innings of solid work.

“Today felt very good,” Martis told me.

“My first start was a little wild, but today I did a good job.  I was keeping the ball down in the strike zone.”

Even Franklin walked away impressed from the somewhat unknown Nationals pitching prospect.

“That kid who was pitching against us did a pretty nice job tonight, I’ve got to tip my hat to him,” Franklin said.

“He was changing speeds, got ahead.  He did a nice job.”

But for a while, it seemed like McCutchen was going to come out on the winning end of things, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning.  But that’s when the wheels came off, with the Yankee prospect allowing four hits and a walk to give Harrisburg a 2-0 lead.

“I think maybe even in the sixth was a little better than it had been,” McCutchen said.

“Couple hits up the middle, a comebacker…I don’t know if you could call it a comebacker, but it was a ball that I didn’t quite handle.  And you just tip your hat to the ball that guy hit to center, it just kept going.  I thought it was routine, but I saw Jackson kept going back.  I had a lot of balls early that were hit pretty good that were caught, so that’s just how it works out.  But I felt good all the way through.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Game 8: Harrisburg @ Trenton

April 10, 2008

NO ROSTER MOVES: Spoke to Tony Franklin in his office, and he said that he wasn’t expecting any roster moves.  Eric Wordekemper will be out for “a few days” after taking a line drive off of his left calf, but Franklin said he isn’t going to go on the DL for the time being.  Wordekemper was limping around the clubhouse with his calf wrapped.

Quotes from George Kontos and Tony Franklin below…

Game 8 – Harrisburg Senators @ Trenton Thunder
April 10, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: HAR Shairon Martis (0-0, 9.00) vs. TRE Daniel McCutchen (1-0, 0.00)

Starting Lineups:

Harrisburg (4-2) (0-0 road record, 0-0 vs. Trenton)

1 – Roger Bernardina
2 – Ed Rogers
3 – Justin Maxwell
4 – Jorge Padilla
5 – Luis Jimenez
6 – Yurendell De Caster
7 – Andrew LeFave
8 – Javy Herrera
9 – Ian Desmond

Trenton (4-3) (0-0 home record, 0-0 vs. Thunder)

1 – Ramiro Pena, SS
2 – Austin Jackson, CF
3 – Jose Tabata, RF
4 – Colin Curtis, LF
5 – Matt Carson, DH
6 – Cody Ehlers, 1B
7 – P.J. Pilittere, C
8 – Marcos Vechionacci, 3B
9 – Reegie Corona, 2B

Pre-Game Notes:

** The Thunder haven’t won a home opener since their first year as a Yankees affiliate in 2003, and are 6-8 overall.

** Some ridiculous occurence has led to a Trenton loss in the home opener ever since I started covering the team as a writer in 2006.  In a 3-3 game in the top of the ninth, J.B. Cox balked home a run after catching his cleat in the mound.  This was the first time I was treated to some Bill Masse profanity.

“He’s got a low leg kick,” Masse told us back then.

“He almost drags it on the mound. It just has to go in foul territory (for it not to have been a balk). He could have thrown it in the (freaking) dugout.”

He didn’t say freaking, however.

Last season, the Thunder were down 1-0 to Bowie, but had two runners on in the bottom of the ninth.

Ramiro Pena made two unsuccessful bunt attempts, and was called out when the umpire signaled a third strike after Pena stepped out of the batters box to check the signs, citing a new, but relatively obscure rule.

“Something like that really, really hurts at that point in the game,” Franklin said.

“(The umpire) said he stepped out of the box, and he did. And for that reason, I can’t fault him. But what hurts is that it happened to us in such a critical point in the game.”

This year?  I’m half-expecting the midges from last year’s Yankees playoff game in Cleveland to come to Trenton.  That’s my guess.  Either that or some sort of attack by rogue squirrels.

** Trenton was 14-2 against Harrisburg last year, and 8-2 against them at Waterfront Park.

** Who the hell is Shairon Martis, you ask?  Well, Martis is the 18th ranked prospect in the Nats system according to Baseball America, for starters.  He threw a seven inning no-hitter for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, and was acquired by Washington for Mike Stanton.  He went 14-8 with a 4.23 ERA for single-A Potomac last year.

** The rest of the pitching matchups for this series look like this:

4/11: TRE Phil Coke (0-0, 6.75) vs. HAR Josh Hall (0-1, 24.00)
4/12: TRE Jason Jones (1-0, 0.00) vs. HAR Marco Estrada (1-0, 5.40)
4/13: TRE Chase Wright (1-1, 2.45) vs. HAR Imsael Ramirez (0-1, 6.75)

** Both weekend games are 1:05 PM starts.

Pre-Game Quotes:


On the Thunder being winless in home openers since 2003 — “I didn’t know that.  I don’t concern myself with those statistics, I just go out and try to win one.  We lost our opener last year, but let’s see if we can go out and change that tonight.  It would be a good time to change the history of the Thunder.  We did it last year with the championship, let’s see if we can change it for opening night.”

If, after the exhibition game and season opener, this feels like a third Opening Day — “Yeah.  If you’re three weeks into it, and you’re doing opening night, something’s wrong.  But it is what it is.  It’s great to get the home opener out of the way and get back to the daily routine.  Everybody can settle in, and after tonight that’s what’s going to happen.”

If he has a most memorable home opener — “No, they’re all different.  You know, they’re all special.  There’s a little bit of nervousness to each opener, but after the first pitch, I think all the butterflies go away and you just kind of settle down and play.  But they’re all significant in the regard that here’s another season tha’s about to begin.”

On if Eric Wordekemper would be headed to the DL — “Not right now, I think he’s going to be OK.  The guy took a pretty good shot, and he’s sore, tight and a little bit swollen.  But he’s feeling better today than he was last night, so that’s a good sign.  He came in walking today, and yesterday, he couldn’t do much of anything.  I think in maybe two or three days, we’ll find out a little bit more.  My feeling right now is we’re not going to have to put him on the DL.”

On if he’s expecting anyone to come from Scranton — “It has not affected us.  I haven’t heard anything as far as player moves as far as our team is concerned.”


On pitching on short rest — “Cutch and I threw on the same day after we got rained out, and I threw less pitches and threw less innings than he did.  They asked me if I could go on short rest, and I said yeah.”

If he’s done it before — “Yeah, I’ve done it a few times in college.  I hadn’t done it in pro ball yet.  So that was the first time, and it felt fine.  It felt normal.  Instead of doing two sides during the week, we just did one light side.  Other than that, it was fine.”

On if he was surprised he pitched six innings — “I wasn’t really surprised.  We’ve been getting ready since January and building our arms up in spring training.”

On his first taste of Double-A — “It’s been good.  My stuff hasn’t really been normal.  In my first two starts, it’s been a little sub what I was expecting.  But it’s only April, and I’ve only made two starts, so it should be coming back.”

On what specifically is going on with his stuff — “My location with my fastball is a little bit inconsistent, and I’m a little bit inconsistent with my breaking balls.”

On fixing that through side sessions — “Just throwing on the side, and working on focusing in and getting my focus down and concentrating on every pitch.  I think when I’ve had some lapses in my first few starts, it’s been losing a little bit of concentration.  And as the season progresses, I want to start dialing in a little bit more.”

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.

Fearless Prediction: 5-3, Harrisburg.  McCutchen pitches well, but the somewhat overworked bullpen can’t hold it for him against the suddenly potent Senators offense.

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark):

** Going into the bottom of the 1st, it’s tied 0-0.

McCutchen: 18 pitches; 5 balls, 13 strikes

He walked #3 hitter Justin Maxwell after not getting the call on a 1-2 check swing.

** Heading into the top of the 2nd, the score is 0-0

Jose Tabata hit a two-out double to deep right field off of Martis.  Colin Curtis just missed driving him home after lining a pitch down the third base line that was only foul by a few feet, but instead struck out looking.

** After one and a half, it’s still scoreless.

McCutchen In The 2nd: 20 pitches, 8 balls, 12 strikes
McCutchen (unofficial) Pitch Count Totals: 38 pitches, 13 balls, 25 strikes

** Through two, it’s still 0-0.  1-2-3 inning for Martis.

** Going into the bottom of the 3rd, Trenton and Harrisburg are deadlocked at 0-0.

McCutchen started Ian Desmond out 3-0, but got him to strikeout swinging.  He followed that up with a swinging K to Bernardina as well.

McCutchen In The 3rd: 11 pitches, 4 balls, 7 strikes
McCutchen (unofficial) Pitch Count Totals: 49 pitches, 17 balls, 32 strikes

A good, efficient inning for McCutchen right there.


** Through three innings, we have a bit of a pitcher’s duel.  Trenton nearly broke through on a double by Austin Jackson, but Ramiro Pena was gunned down at the plate by Harrisburg’s left fielder, and we remain tied at zero.

** If a move needs to be made to promote someone to Scranton, Dan McCutchen is making a case for it to be him, that’s for sure.  Harrisburg’s line score is blank through three and a half.  0-0.

McCutchen In The 4th: 17 pitches, 6 balls, 11 strikes
McCutchen (unofficial) Pitch Count Totals: 66 pitches, 23 balls, 43 strikes

** After four complete, it’s still scoreless.  The ridiculous occurence that costs the Thunder the game hasn’t happened yet.  If tradition continues, it will sometime around the 8th or 9th. 

** McCutchen got ahead of the first two batters he faced, and got an 0-1 flyout and an 0-1 lineout.  LeFave grounded out on a 2-0 pitch.  0-0 in the bottom of the 5th.

McCutchen In The 5th: 7 pitches, 2 balls, 5 strikes
McCutchen (unofficial) Pitch Count Totals: 73 pitches, 25 balls, 48 strikes

** Martis is dealing as well.  Another 1-2-3 inning for him.  0-0 through five.

** The first batter in the sixth, Javy Herrera, broke up the no-hitter on a little jam shot to short center.  The savvy Thunder fans gave him a round of applause.

After Herrera got thrown out at second on a sac bunt attempt by Desmond, Roger Bernardina hit about a 400-foot fly ball to center on the first pitch that Jackson jumped for, but did not catch.  The cut-off man missed the throw, and Desmond scored.  Bernardina got to second.

Then Justin Maxwell hit a little excuse me check swing back to McCutchen, who dove for it, tossed it to first, and Ehlers couldn’t hang on.  Bernardina scored on the error.

2-0 Senators in the sixth.  That’s it for McCutchen.  David Robertson is in.  Two outs, two on.

McCutchen In The 6th: 18 pitches, 4 balls, 14 strikes
McCutchen (unofficial) Final Pitch Count Totals: 91 pitches, 29 balls, 62 strikes

** Robertson ended the inning, but the damage had been done.  2-0 Harrisburg going into the bottom of the 6th.  McCutchen’s line: 5.2, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K


** Corona reached on a walk, and Pena singled up the middle to lead off the inning off of Martis.  But Jackson flew out to left on a pitch he must have just missed, followed by a walk to Jose Tabata.

Martis is out for reliever Tim Bittner with the bases loaded and one out.  If you had three in your “inherited runners for Tim Bittner pool,” you win. 

It’s 2-0 Harrisburg in the bottom of the 6th.  Colin Curtis is coming up to bat.

** Curtis hit a short fly ball to the right fielder.  Corona was beat by the throw, but the catcher dropped the ball — the throw was a touch up the third base line side — and the Thunder now trail 2-1.  The runners advanced to second and third as a result of the catcher dropping the ball, and Herrera was charged with an error.

With the runners on second and third, Matt Carson — hitless in his last 14 at-bats up until that point — grounded out to third to extend his dubious streak to 15.

Anyway, 2-1 Harrisburg going into the 7th.

** Martis line: 5.1 ip, 4 h, 1 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 6 k

** 2-1 Senators with the Thunder up to bat in the bottom of the 7th.  P.J. Pilittere threw out the only runner who reached on a close play at second.

** 1-2-3 inning for Bittner.  Thunder still trail 2-1 going into the top of the 8th.

** Robertson’s still in the game.  1-2-3 inning for him, too.  Reegie Corona’s set to lead off the bottom of the 8th.

** Former big leaguer Levale Speigner is in the game now for the Sens.  After Corona flew out to center, Pena beat out the throw on an infield single that made Desmond range way to his right to even get to the ball.  Pena then got to third when a weak ground ball to the…uhhh, less than agile first baseman Luis Jimenez went under his glove.

With runners on the corners and one out, Tabata grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.  2-1 Harrisburg, top 9.  Curtis-Carson-Ehlers for bottom 9.

** Robertson is out, and Michael Gardner is in.  Robertson didn’t allow a hit in two and a third.  Nice job by him.  Robertson: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.  For Harrisburg, Bittner: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.

** Gardner walked Maxwell, then hit Jorge Padilla with a 3-2 very inside fastball.  Jimenez is trying to bunt.  Can’t imagine how many times he’s bunted in his career.  Anyway, after failing to do so in his first two attempts, Gardner didn’t get a call on an 0-2 pitch that must have just missed the outside corner.  After throwing two more balls, he got Jimenez to strike out on a ball down and away and nearly in the dirt for the first out.

De Caster then walked on four straight pitches.  Scott Aldred is coming out to have a chat with Gardner, who has walked two and hit one so far in this inning.  Seems like Gardner is just barely missing his spots, either that or he’s getting pinched…but umpires aren’t going to give a call to a guy who isn’t throwing strikes.

LeFave then swung (at the first pitch!!!) and hit a little soft liner to left that Colin Curtis made a nice running catch on, but Maxwell tagged and scored and the Senators got a much needed insurance run to make it 3-1.

With two outs, Herrera got behind 0-2, and swung and missed at a pitch down and away.

3-1 Harrisburg going into the bottom of the ninth.

** Arnie Munoz is in to close.  Jim Ed Warden has Harrisburg’s only save this year, but Munoz does have a win and has finished two games for the Senators.

Curtis…saw the first pitch nearly go over his head, took an outside fastball for a strike, took what looked like a 12-6 curveball at the knees for strike two, took an inside fastball that just missed to even the count at two, took a low breaking ball to make the count full, then weakly grounded out to the pitcher for the first out. 

Carson…first pitch flyout to center.  16 consecutive at-bats without a hit for Carson.

Ehlers…took a pitch down and in for ball one.  Took another pitch for a ball, then a fastball got over to make it 2-1.  Outside fastball down and away to make it 3-1.  Ehlers took a mighty swing at a pitch down and away to make the count full.  Ehlers watched as a fastball caught the outside corner for the punch out.

** That’s your ballgame, kids.  3-1, Harrisburg.

Downloadable Multimedia: Daniel McCutchen VIDEO, Shairon Martis VIDEO

(All videos are in .mpeg format)

George Kontos AUDIO

(All audio is in MP3 format)

Photo Gallery:

Shairon Martis / Photo by Mike Ashmore

Daniel McCutchen / Photo by Mike Ashmore

Jose Tabata / Photo by Mike Ashmore

EL Championship Banner / Photo by Mike Ashmore

Home Opener Crowd / Photo by Mike Ashmore

Final Score: 3-1, Harrisburg.  Five straight home opener losses for Trenton.

Post-Game Notes:

** As somewhat expected, Chad Jennings reports that the Yankees have re-assigned Jason Brown to Staten Island.

** According to one scout in attendance — and there were many, by the way — McCutchen was between 90-94 miles per hour.  He also correctly pointed out that me asking about his velocity was “about the seventh most important thing you could ask about this guy’s pitching.”

He pointed to his location, and said it doesn’t matter how hard you can throw if you can’t locate it…

** The attendance was 6,974.  Last year, the number was 5,830 — but maybe half of those people were there because it was freaking freezing.

In 2006, the Thunder set a franchise record for home opener attendance with 7,069.

Post-Game Quotes: Coming later tonight or early tomorrow.

Thunder Thoughts: It appears to be a pre-requisite to have a wacky nickname if you’re a clubhouse attendant here in Trenton.  It took me three years to find out home clubbie Tom “Tonto” Kackley’s real name. 

Today, I introduced myself to the road clubbie, since I’m in there quite a bit, and he said his name was “Bambino.”

Marcos Vechionacci came out to the Ultimate Warrior’s entrance music for an at-bat.  Interesting choice.

There is no official pitch count kept at the Double-A level.  I kept it myself.

I rarely have bad things to say about fans, but they’re doing the wave.  Stop.  It wasn’t cool when it started in the 80’s, and it certainly didn’t get any less lame now.  Please…for the sake of mankind, stop.

Fireworks after the game tonight!  A packed parking lot by the time I get out and impossible audio conditions all in the same wonderful package.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

4/10: Farm Fresh

April 10, 2008

I still want to do the “Farm Fresh” updates, but they clutter up the game threads too much.  So I’ve decided to do them separately.  If anyone would like to see this moved back to the game threads, speak now or forever hold your peace…

(AAA) Scranton – There appears to be a bit of Paramore syndrome going on with the Scranton starters.  First Jeff Marquez, and now Steven White have gotten Crushcrushcrushed.

Louisville stomped Scranton, 11-0, last night.  White was responsible for nine of the eleven tallies, although “only” six of them were earned.  His line: 4 IP, 11 H, 9 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. 

Even Scott Patterson struggled, allowing two runs in two innings of relief.  He gave up three hits and walked two.  A very un-Scotty like outing.

Thunder alum Juan Miranda had the only multi-hit game for Scranton, going 2-for-4.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Shelley Duncan was sent down to Triple-A last night.  Chad Jennings points out that this presents a bit of a cluster-you-know-what (my words, not his) at the first base and outfield spots.  But if Jeter is really only unable to go for a few days, then Gonzalez will presumably come back down and Shelley can go back up.

Chad also has an update on Brett Gardner’s injury situation.

(A) Tampa – The T-Yanks lost, 8-4, to Dunedin last night.  Mike Dunn got the start, and struggled through his four innings, picking up the L after allowing three runs on six hits and three walks.  He did strike out five.

Damon Sublett DID play last night, going 1-for-5 with a double and 2 RBI.  Edwar Gonzalez had another nice game, going 2-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI.  He’s hitting .321 so far.

Tampa got the game to 5-3 after five innings, but the bullpen couldn’t keep them in it.  The large human, Grant Duff, gave up four earned in two and a third, and Stephen Artz allowed an unearned tally in the eighth.  Wilkins Arias came in for a scoreless ninth, but the damage had been done.

(A) Charleston – It was a camp day in Charleston today, with the ever-obnoxious 11:05 AM start.  But the RiverDogs battled through their eye-crusties and took their third straight game from Savannah by the score of 8-6.  Charleston is now 6-1 on the young season.

Jairo Heredia picked up his first win of the season, striking out six Sand Gnats through five innings of work. 

Charleston pounded out 16 hits, including a 4-for-5 night from Abe Almonte and a three-hit performance out of Justin Snyder.  However, Almonte was picked off once and caught stealing another time, although he did manage to swipe one bag on the night.

Jesus Montero, DH’ing with Austin Romine behind the plate, hit another home run and also doubled, raising his average to .345 on the year.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

4/10: Around the EL

April 10, 2008

** Eddie Kunz picked up his third career Double-A save, sealing the deal for the B-Mets, who beat the Akron Aeros, 6-3.

Kunz, listed as the Mets fifth best prospect by Baseball America, got the last four outs of the game without allowing a baserunner.

Another highly touted pitching prospect, Akron’s Chuck Lofgren, didn’t fare as well.  His record fell to 0-1 after he allowed four runs on six hits and two walks over six innings.

Fernando Martinez and Mike Carp both homered for the Mets, with Carp going 3-for-4 on the evening.

** In a game that saw a grand total of four hits, the ever-exciting fielder’s choice off the bat of Jeff Natale in the seventh inning allowed the Sea Dogs to escape Connecticut with a 1-0 win.

Portland nearly extended their lead to two, but Connecticut’s Ben Copeland gunned down Zach Daeges at the plate.

Dan Haigwood got the start for Portland and allowed two hits in four innings while striking out seven before he came out of the game.

Beau Vaughan, who may have had one of the creepier baseball cards in the Eastern League last year, got his second save of the year for the Sea Dogs.  Also, his name rhymes with Mo Vaughn.  So he’s got that going for him working against him too. 

For the Defenders, Adam Cowart was the hard luck loser, allowing the unearned run on only two hits and two walks in six innings.

Connecticut used 12 position players in the game.

** Led by a quality start from Bobby Brownlie, the Harrisburg Senators beat the Erie Seawolves, 2-1, in 10 innings.

Jorge Padilla drove in both runs for the Senators, going 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI.  He hit a walk-off single off of Matt Rusch to score Michael Daniel to get the win.

Pepperdine alum Daniel Worth had Erie’s only multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 on the night.

** New Britain fought off a late rally from New Hampshire, and kept the Fisher Cats winless after the Rock cats 4-3 win.

Ben Julianel got the second save of his Eastern League career and first since May 17, 2005 against those same Fisher Cats at Waterfront Park.

Dustin Martin got three hits for the Rock Cats as well — if his name sounds familiar, he was dealt from the Mets in the Johan Santana deal.  His .538 average is good for second best in the Eastern League, behind only New Hampshire’s Scott Campbell, who did not play tonight.

The Fisher Cats made things interesting off of Julianel in the ninth, as he gave up a leadoff triple to Jacob Butler.  Pinch hitter Ryan Patterson then reached on an error by Matt Moses, scoring Butler and cutting the lead to one.

Eric Kratz (sadly, not Stone Temple Pilots drummer Eric Kretz) then singled Patterson to second.  But Julianel retired the next three batters in order, and the Rock Cats walked away with the 4-3 victory.

** Former Yankees farmhand Jeff Nettles had two hits for Bowie, helping the Baysox to a 3-2 win over Reading.

Ex-big league catcher Ben Davis is also in Bowie, but he went 0-for-3 in trying to throw out attempted base stealers.

Chorye Spoone, the O’s eighth ranked prospect according to BA, got his first Double-A win after allowing only one run while scattering five hits in five and a third.

Greg Golson went 2-for-4 in the losing effort for the R-Phils.

** Eastern League Notes **

Just to follow up on the Chris Smith story from yesterday, Portland called up Miguel Asencio from extended spring training to take his place.  The former Royals hurler is now the only player up in Maine with big league time.

** Eastern League Standings **


Portland, 5-1
Connecticut, 4-2
Binghamton, 4-3
Trenton, 4-3
New Britain, 2-3
New Hampshire, 0-5 


Erie, 5-2
Harrisburg, 4-2
Reading, 4-3
Akron, 2-4
Altoona, 2-5
Bowie, 2-5

** Eastern League Leaders **


1 – Scott Campbell, NH, .563
2 – Dustin Martin, NB, .538
3 – Joey Hammond, REA, .438
4 – Jonel Pacheco, ALT, .435
5 – Mike Carp, BNG, .409


1 – Luis Jimenez, HAR, 4
2 – Mike Carp, BNG, 3
3 – Yurendell De Caster, HAR, 3
4 – Eight tied with 2


1 – Luis Jimenez, HAR, 12
2 – Yurendell De Caster, HAR, 11
3 – Mike Carp, BNG, 8
T4 – Jeff Frazier, ERIE, 7
T4 – Armando Camacaro, AKR, 7

 Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT