Archive for September 4th, 2008

Praise For Pilittere: “He’s So Clutch”

September 4, 2008

The talk of the clubhouse after the game was P.J. Pilittere coming through again in the clutch, this time providing the game-winning single in the 8th inning.

Here’s what everyone had to say about the catcher’s latest efforts:


“He’s so clutch.  He is really clutch, he’s come through in those situations quite often.  I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather have at the plate in that particular situation.  I don’t know how many game winners he’s had, but all I know is through all these games that we’ve played, he’s come through more times than he hasn’t.”


“It’s like he bats 1.000 when there’s runners on base.  Seriously, that’s what it seems like.  He did a great job tonight behind the plate calling pitches.  He was what, 3-for-4 today and got that clutch hit with two outs.  You can’t ask for anything more.”


“P.J. came through today man.  He had three hits, and in a tough situation he came up with the big hit.  He just battled his (butt) off out there, and he had a great at-bat.  He’s a smart guy behind the plate.  He prepares himself pretty well, going over game plans.  All three of our catchers, they’re on top of it.”


Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT


Thunder Take Commanding 2-0 Series Lead

September 4, 2008

Down 3-0 in the sixth inning with Clay Buchholz on the mound, things were not looking good for the Trenton Thunder.

One swing of Austin Jackson’s bat quickly changed all that.

“He just threw me a pitch that I could hit,” said Jackson of his three-run, game-tying home run.

“But he was great all night, he’s one of the better pitchers that we’ve seen this year.  Great command, great changeup.  All his pitches were pretty sharp tonight.  (The home run pitch) was a curveball, it was up.  I saw it as soon as it came out of his hand.”

The immediate beneficiary was Jeff Marquez, who was on the hook for the loss until then.  He allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks, and didn’t seem to have his best stuff tonight.

“I feel like I did a good job battling, but that fourth inning where I gave up those two walks is kind of where it turned around,” Marquez said.

“But the relievers came in and did their job.  Humberto (Sanchez) came in and did a good job, Gardy did a great job, then Arias and Valdez.  They all had good games, and thankfully Jackson came through with a bomb.  Overall, it was just a good game and I’m just glad we won.”

Sanchez, the mighty righty who’s currently on a Major League rehab assignment with the Thunder, said he felt good after throwing an inning just three days after his Monday start.

“I just pretty much went out and challenged people,” said Sanchez, who gave up one hit and struck out one batter.

“I felt great, my stuff felt great.  It was good to bounce back.  These guys are pretty hyped up about this, and it’s a great feeling to be around this.”

The game took its final turn in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Dave Gassner walked Chris Malec and Colin Curtis singled Malec over to third, all with two outs.

Gassner was lifted in favor of T.J. Large, who threw a juicy first pitch offering to one of the most clutch players in the history of the Thunder, P.J. Pilittere.

Pilittere laced a single to right field, drove in Malec and gave the Thunder a 4-3 lead that they would not relinquish.

“All you can really do in that situation is try and tell yourself that the pressure is on the pitcher, but it’s easier said than done,” Pilittere said.

“I like being up there with some guys on.  That’s what every guy wants to do, everybody wants to be the guy to drive in some big runs or to give the team a lift.  It was an unbelievable feeling to drive in that run and get it done in regulation.  The last thing you want to do is play 13 or 14 innings here and then go on a bus and go play tomorrow after a long night.”

After the game, Thunder manager Tony Franklin was low-key, but still pleased with his club’s victory.

“It was going to be difficult if Buchholz was on, and he was certainly on,” he said.

“I didn’t expect any less, to be honest with you.  It was going to be a tough battle, but we hung in there.  Marquez did a good job keeping us close.  Three runs evidently wasn’t large enough to overcome.  I’m pretty happy with this win, believe me.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

VIDEO: Clay Buchholz vs. Austin Jackson

September 4, 2008

Here’s their first meeting in the first inning of tonight’s game.  Of course I didn’t shoot the home run…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

ELDS Game 2: Portland @ Trenton

September 4, 2008

ELDS Game 2 – Portland Sea Dogs @ Trenton Thunder
September 4, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: POR Clay Buchholz vs. TRE Jeff Marquez

Starting Lineups:


1 – Jimenez
2 – Khoury
3 – Daeges
4 – Bates
5 – Anderson
6 – Wagner
7 – Reddick
8 – Suarez
9 – Hall


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

Pre-Game Notes: In my opinion, if the Thunder win this game, they win the series.  It sounds stupid when they’re already up 1-0, but I’d say that if this were the first game.  This is, unquestionably, the best pitching matchup you’re going to see this series.  If Jeff Marquez can lead the Thunder past Clay Buchholz and the Sea Dogs, they’ve pretty much got this one wrapped up. 

Do you agree, Tony Franklin?

“Nothing’s ever in the bag for me until it’s in the bag,” he said.

“I just can’t allow myself and I won’t allow myself to think past tonight’s game.  Once we get past tonight’s game, I’ll worry about the next game in Portland tomorrow.  But we’ve got to do this one first.  The matchup tonight, it’s going to be difficult for us, no question about it.  The kid’s a good pitcher.  He pitched well here last year, and he pitched well enough to go to the big leagues last year.  So we’ve got to take care of business here tonight against him, and then we’ll see what happens after that.”

To keep track of Scranton’s series against Pawtucket, I think you know where to go. Chad Jennings will have all the info.

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

Live Box Score: The direct link is here.

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark): Marquez allowed two baserunners in the first, including one in which the runner probably should have been called out on a “lane violation” of sorts.  But he got out of the jam, and the score is 0-0 going into B1.

Pretty well pitched ballgame so far, still scoreless going into B2.

Buchholz was perfect through the first eight batters, but had runners on first and second with two outs.  But he got Ramiro Pena to strike out on a nasty curveball, and the game is scoreless through three.

Mickey Hall doubled home two runs in the fourth, but got thrown out at third.  This game is, essentially, over.  The Thunder aren’t getting more than two runs off of Buchholz, this series is tied at one.  I’m sure you guys hope I’m wrong…but I just don’t see it.

Zach Daeges makes it 3-0 in the 5th with a single to right…

Buchholz is just nasty.  Filthy, filthy curveball.  Nine strikeouts, including at least one in each inning and him striking ot the side in the 5th.  3-0, T6.

Marquez out after just five, Humberto Sanchez in.  Pretty disappointing outing from Marquez, to be honest.  The pitching matchup everyone was hoping for didn’t really seem to materialize, at least on his end.

AUSTIN JACKSON CRUSHES A THREE-RUN HOME RUN OFF OF BUCHHOLZ IN THE SIXTH AT TIE THE GAME AT THREE.  He was squaring to bunt on the first couple pitches, and the decision was definitely getting questioned up here.  Looks like swinging away was the way to go.

One inning and that’s it for Sanchez.  Mike Gardner in.  It’s tied at three in the 7th.  Biiiiiiiig spot for Gardy right here.

Gardner got behind the first two batters he faced, walking the first one.  But the second, Daeges, grounded into a 5-4-3 DP on a 2-0 pitch.  The third hitter, Bates, also got ahead of Gardner, 1-0.  Bates walked on a 3-2 fastball that missed up and in.  That would be the end of Gardner’s outing.

Tony Franklin went to the mound and brought in Wilkins Arias.  With Bates on first and Lars Anderson up, Arias induced a pop-up to short right field that was caught by Reegie Corona.

Buchholz out after six, and Richie Lentz is in for the Sea Dogs.  Buchholz seemed to lose some serious steam in the sixth…he was pretty stellar through five.  His line: 6 ip, 6 h, 3 r, 3 er, 1 bb, 9 k, 1 hr

Scranton is getting no-hit through six…

Dave Gassner pitching the eighth for Portland.  Interesting…he was supposed to start a game in this series.  Looks like the Thunder might be in for a Bartolo Colonoscopy.

In the bottom of the 8th, all with two outs, Chris Malec walked and Colin Curtis singled him over to third.  Gassner was removed from the game in favor of T.J. Large.  The usually clutch P.J. Pilittere stepped up to the plate and smacked a first pitch single to right field to give the Thunder a 4-3 lead.  Unbelieveable.  Mister Clutch does it again.  

4-3, going into T9. Wilkins Arias coming back out.  I’ve been wrong all night, but I don’t know about this move, either…

Arias struck out Mickey Hall looking, but allowed a 2-2 single to Jorge Jimenez.  That was it for Arias, and Jose Valdez took over.

Ryan Khoury got ahead 3-0 on Valdez, and Khoury appeared to walk on a 3-1 outside fastball, but the umpire called it a strike.  But Khoury walked anyway.  With runners on first and second and only one out, Tony Granadillo came on to pinch run for the slow-footed Jimenez.  Zach Daeges came to the plate and promptly grounded into a 4-3 DP.  Thunder win, 4-3.

In-Game Photos:

Aaron Bates

Clay Buchholz


Jeff Marquez

Humberto Sanchez

In-Game YouTube Videos: Clay Buchholz VIDEO, Clay Buchholz VIDEO 2, Jeff Marquez VIDEO, Humberto Sanchez VIDEO

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

Akron is up 1-0 in their series against Bowie.

Final Score: 4-3, Thunder.

Post-Game Notes: What a game.  Valdez really lucked out on that last double play to end the game.  Trenton takes a 2-0 lead.

I’ll have quotes from Tony Franklin, Jeff Marquez, Austin Jackson, P.J. Pilittere and Humberto Sanchez sometime tonight or early tomorrow.

Was checking out this interview with Chad Jennings.  Chad likes MythBusters as well, I see.  Good job by him.  I watch for Kari Byron, but uhhh…you know, science is good too, and stuff.

Thunder Thoughts: Must be a big series…ESPN’s Keith Law is here.  Talked to him for a little bit, seems like a good guy.

Mark Newman also here for the second straight day.

I’d eat the food in here today, but I’d have to kill it first.  The chicken was…uhhh, interesting today.

WOW!  Reegie Corona came out to “Informer” by Snow.  What.  The.  Hell.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT