– Essentially, today never happened. The Thunder started the day two games back of New Britain for second place — and the last playoff spot — in the division. A win of the conclusion of the suspended game put them just a game back, but a loss in the seven inning “second game” put them right back where they started.
“We could have done ourselves a lot of good,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin.
“That’s the way it goes sometimes. But yeah, we could have been sitting pretty good.”
Had things not gone their way in the first game, though…they could be sitting…uhhh, even worse than they are now.
“The biggest question mark I had coming into today was if we were going to finish off the first game, and get that win,” Franklin said.
“That would have been a tough one to lose.”
— The loss of the second game boiled down to a play at the plate, where New Britain broke the game open in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Steve Singleton singled home Luke Hughes on a somewhat hard hit ball to left. Erik Lis was sent home by the third base coach, but James Cooper made a strong throw that easily beat Lis. But Lis slid hard into Thunder catcher Kyle Anson, knocking the ball loose and allowing him to score. Furthermore, with the ball rolling around by the backstop, Brian Dinkelman followed Lis home and made it a 5-1 game.
With Austin Krum having went on to hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning, those two runs ultimately turned out to be the difference in the game.
When approached at his locker, a polite but quiet Anson had very little to say about the play.
“I didn’t hold on to the ball,” he said.
“It was just a matter of just not holding onto the ball, guys. I’ve got nothing else.”
Franklin was asked if it would have been a different ballgame if Anson was, in fact, able to hang on to the baseball.
“Yes, absolutely. There’s no question about it,” he replied.
“Kyle felt bad about it, he came in and apologized. It’s a tough play. All you can do is move on, it happens from time to time. He one-handed it and tagged him one handed, and when he did that, the ball flew out. He didn’t have it secure with both hands. That’s what you want to try and do, but I think the play was where the ball was on his left and he had to bring it back to the right, and he really didn’t have a chance to do it. Tough play. But I can’t fault Kyle for that.”
— No real word on what Jason Stephens taking Josh Schmidt’s scheduled start tomorrow does for Schmidt’s status. Is he eligible for one of the “TBA” starts? Does he stay in the bullpen?
As for Stephens, he last pitched on August 25th, a six-inning start for Tampa. So tomorrow would be his day to pitch. He is not yet officially active on the roster, however. A move will need to be made.
— Before the game, Franklin, as expected, offered little in the way of his plans for the 2010 season and if a return was something he’d consider.
— I also spoke to Tony before the game about if he manages any differently at this point of the season considering the somewhat dire situation the club is in. Download this audio clip to hear what he had to say.
— Chad Jennings has got a story posted about some possible September call-ups, including some interesting information on players who need to be added to the 40-man to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. I’ve been asked a few times now about how that might affect Trenton, and outside of maybe losing one or two players, I don’t anticipate anything major. Thing is, this team can’t afford to lose anyone.
— Stay tuned for the transcript of the lengthy chat that Trentonian colleague Josh Norris and myself had in the Thunder dugout today with Damon Oppenheimer. It was my first time interviewing him, and hopefully not the last. Really good guy.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com