Game 77: Erie @ Trenton

BREAKING NEWS: KEVIN WHELAN PLACED ON THE DL WITH “ARM TROUBLE,” MORE INFO AS I GET IT.

Game 77 – Erie Seawolves @ Trenton Thunder
June 25, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: ERIE Ben Fritz (2-2, 5.59) vs. TRE Eric Hacker (1-1, 2.49)

Starting Lineups:

Erie

1 – Rhymes
2 – Kirkland
3 – Frazier
4 – Scram
5 – Ramirez
6 – Ryan
7 – Roberson
8 – Justice
9 – Cosme

Trenton

1 – Pena
2 – Curtis
3 – Jackson
4 – Pilittere
5 – Ehlers
6 – Tabata
7 – Malec
8 – Gonzalez
9 – Corona

Pre-Game Notes: Look for Eric Wordekemper to start Friday…

Kevin Russo was at the ballpark, and shows no signs of just having had surgery.  He was in good spirits, and is happy that he’s still in Trenton as opposed to being in Tampa, because he still wants to be a part of the team and has made many friends on the Thunder.

Mark Melancon didn’t know that the Futures Game was coming up.  The USA team is supposed to be selected tomorrow, and many people think Melancon has a good chance of making it…

“It would be a huge honor, and it would be fun,” Melancon said. 

“I think it’s in Yankee Stadium this year, it would be a perfect fit, definitely.”

I also spoke to P.J. Pilittere about his newfound fame in the cleanup spot, and here’s what he had to say:

“Yesterday was the first time there in a while for me, but I didn’t notice anything different.  I’m still going to be the type of hitter that I am, I’m not going to all of a sudden try to hit homers or anything, because that’s not my game.  For me personally, as a catcher, one through nine, the situation’s going to dictate how we’re going to pitch a guy.  They’re going to pitch me differently wherever I’m hitting, whether I’m leading off an inning as opposed to if there’s runners in scoring position or the bases are loaded with two outs.  Things are always going to be approached a little differently.”

With All-Star ballots due in to the league office by 5PM today, teams are sure to be announced soon.  Pilittere also spoke about his chances of making the team:

“You try to set little personal goals, and that would be a great achievement for me in my career.  I’m just going to try and play every day, I can’t try and play for that or play for stuff to happen two months down the road.  I’ve just got to try to stay with that short-term goal, which is the game every night.  I’m just going to try and be as consistent as I can.”

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): It don’t really think words would do it justice if you weren’t here for it, but that’s one of the more interesting national anthems I’ve heard here…

Trenton takes a 1-0 lead on a P.J. Pilittere sharp liner that was hit right to the shortstop but either glanced off of his wrist or the heel of his glove, scoring Colin Curtis.  1-0, B1.

TABATA PULLED A BALL DOWN THE LEFT FIELD LINE.  IT ACTUALLY KICKED UP CHALK HE PULLED IT SO MUCH.  He drove in two runs and gave the Thunder a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

Austin Jackson’s sac fly makes it 4-0 after two.  Fifty minutes in and we’re through two innings.  Eric Hacker…not the fastest working pitcher you’ll ever see.

7-0 in the bottom of the 5th.  Colin Curtis doubled home two runs, and Cody Ehlers also doubled one in.

Hacker out after 6.2 innings, Zach Kroenke in.  Good job out of Hacker, probably his best start in a Thunder uniform.

Still 7-0, heading into the bottom of the 8th.

Anthony Claggett in for the 9th.  To welcome him, the PA is cranking some Wilson Phillips.  Yup.

Final Score: 7-0, Thunder.

Post-Game Notes: Nobody is willing to discuss specifics of the Kevin Whelan situation.  One person said it was an “upper body injury” — apparently I’m covering the NHL playoffs — and another said it was an “arm issue.”

Tony Franklin said this before the game:

“He’s got some arm issues, I’m not exactly sure what it is.  I’m not sure if he got an X-Ray or an MRI or just what the case is.  He said he doesn’t feel right, so we’re going to do the precautionary thing.”

Marcos Vechionacci is still close to returning, but uhhh…no closer than “close.”  Franklin said before the game he hopes he’s three days away, but I also hope that I can get a date with Jenna Fischer sometime soon, and hoping doesn’t necessarily mean either one’s going to happen.

Thunder Thoughts: Look out for a “Getting To Know” Jason Jones feature coming soon to Thunder Thoughts.  When was the last time he had hair on his head?  What hobby did he recently pick up?  Find out soon…

If anyone’s curious about how the All-Star balloting goes…at least from the media side, I can tell you that we’re asked to submit one ballot that consists of the best player at each position in the league, not per division as you might think.  You can’t vote for anyone on a team you cover…however, they ask you for the best two pitchers and the best three position players on your team.

My Thunder picks were Jason Jones and Mark Melancon (really wish I could have found a spot for Phil Coke) and Austin Jackson, Chris Malec and Pilittere.

For anyone curious, Sidney Ponson isn’t actually physically here.  I’m pretty sure I’d notice if he were here.

A certain frequent reader of this site had asked me how the Thunder go about selecting what jerseys they’re going to wear for the game.

I asked Tonto, America’s favorite clubhouse attendant, about this…and he said that it’s usually the responsibility of the starting pitcher. 

Some lucky fan should thank me for getting the Chien-Ming Wang bobblehead with the detached head.  Imagine my dismay when I opened the box to see a porcelain head rolling around.  Good job by Joe Pappalardo to let me exchange it at the gate, and perhaps a better job by Erin Leigh at the ticket office to know exactly what kind of ticket I wanted — worst available.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

8 Responses to “Game 77: Erie @ Trenton”

  1. mbn Says:

    PJ batting 4th really bothers me. I know he is hitting very well, but he has no real power to speak of. Gonzalez would be a better choice, IMO. Or move Ehlers and Tabata up, and put PJ at #6 to protect them.

    Tough to argue against a Manager who has his team on top though.

  2. Bill Says:

    Don’t find it bothersome at all. Look at their numbers in the last 10 games. He put someone batting .340 in place of someone who was barely batting .200. I dont imagine this will be permanent, but I do think considering Pilittere has the best numbers with RISP of all the starting lineup, its really not that unfathomable to put him there.

  3. Brandon Says:

    Jesus Christ Whelan.

  4. K Says:

    Mike this post was great, covered a lot of ground. Thanks! GO THUNDER!

  5. Morton Says:

    Did they score Pilittere’s liner a hit or an error?

  6. thunderbaseball Says:

    Error. Should have been an error, was hit right at the shortstop and he flat out misjudged it.

  7. Brandon Says:

    keep pulling the ball Jose !

  8. Gabe Says:

    You’re the best, Mike. Thanks again!

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