– The Thunder sank back to a game under .500 with a 9-1 loss in front of “over 6,000 fans” to the Harrisburg Senators. Not likely to be included in the attendance tonight was Yankees farm director Mark Newman, who certainly couldn’t have liked the performance he saw from his Double-A club.
“They knew he was here,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin when asked if the players knew of Newman’s presence.
“But you have to chalk this up to maybe being one game at a point in time when you have your farm director and the vice president of the organization in town. It’s happened before. It’s not something you want to see happen, because you want to be impressive as much as you can, but you chalk it up and you move on and you try to be better tomorrow. But certainly, we didn’t play very well.”
– Ryan Pope’s performance all season has been somewhat perplexing. In some starts, he’s been absolutely dazzling, which is the way you could describe his last start on the road. However, in others, such as tonight’s, he’s turned in some clunkers.
“If you miss (your location), you get hurt,” said Franklin of Pope’s performance.
“It’s kind of unfortunate that we had to leave Popey out there as long as we did. But we’re a little thin right now, and sometimes you have to take one in the shorts. I appreciate him staying out there.”
Pope, who fell to 4-8 and saw his ERA jump to 5.40 after tonight, didn’t seem to have a problem with having to wear it to benefit a short and somewhat beleaguered bullpen.
“I don’t mind,” he said.
“I’m out there to do my job, and as long as they’re going to leave me out there, I’m going to pitch. You don’t have forever in this game. You pitch as much as you can, and if I’m getting hit around, I want to pitch. It’s my job to get out of it, and I just didn’t.”
– Chris Malec was with the Thunder very briefly in 2007, called up but never getting a chance to play. Last season, he spent all of the year in Double-A.
Both of those teams would go on to win Eastern League titles.
This year, after seeing some time in Scranton, Malec is back with the Thunder. Considered one of the veteran leaders on the team and the go-to guy by the press, we asked Malec what the differences were between the previous Thunder clubs he was on and this one.
“I think it’s the same kind of talent level,” he said.
“Those teams might have been a little bit older. But this team has the talent, as much if not more than the previous two years. I think it’s just a matter of finding our niche and finding that confidence to start winning and put together a good streak.”
– Josh Schmidt will start one of the two games of the doubleheader on Wednesday.
“He’s done it before, and he’s been great for us this year,” said pitching coach Tommy Phelps of Schmidt’s performance as a starter.
“He comes out and attacks hitters and throws a lot of strikes. He’s capable of giving us three or four innings, and that’s what we need, especially with the doubleheader.”
– Kanekoa Texeira no longer appears to be in the starting rotation…
– It doesn’t sound like Eric Wordekemper’s Scranton call-up will last too long. Before the game, Franklin described it as a temporary situation, telling us he should be back shortly. However, you can’t argue with the numbers he put up, pitching four innings and getting the win in Triple-A.
– Jorge Vazquez is getting closer to returning from the DL. His wrist is no longer wrapped and he is now throwing. He has not swung the bat yet, and is expected to see a doctor on the 29th with the hopes of getting cleared to play.
– Zach McAllister needs “a little more time” to return from his dead arm, according to Franklin.
– I did an interview over at the NYY Pinstriper website. It doesn’t particularly feel like my fan club has anyone in it at the moment…but in any event, if you want to check it out, feel free to do so.
– I have a game-used bat and baseball card set to give away over the upcoming days. Stay tuned for that. If anyone wants a piece of my clipboard after that went flying through the press box the other day, I suppose I can give that away as well.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com