Game 138: Post-Game Notes

— What can you even say after a game like that?  This certainly isn’t my first rodeo, so hopefully it carries some weight when I say that’s got to be one of the most memorable regular season games I’ve ever covered.

Trenton was down 7-0 heading into the 5th inning. 

Seven. 

To. 

Nothing. 

Jeremy Bleich turned in a pretty brutal start (3 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K), but was picked up by his teammates in a wild seventh inning that saw six runs cross the plate to tie the game at seven.

The kind of momentum the Thunder would have had after a win like that — not to mention they’d have locked into a tie for the final playoff spot — would have been unreal.  So losing made it that much harder.  And losing the way they did made it harder yet.

No one cares about what I do in my job, just that I get my job done and get information to you.  I get that.  But I can’t remember a time I wanted to get out of a clubhouse faster than I wanted to get out of that one. 

The players were in a pretty somber mood.  The first thing I saw when I walked in was one player simply sitting with his head buried at the base of his locker.

And yet, everyone I talked to — Tony Franklin, Jeremy Bleich, Kanekoa Texeira and Noah Hall — were professionals and answered every question I had.

Here’s what they had to say:

TONY FRANKLIN

“I didn’t think for a moment that we couldn’t come back, but I knew that we had to do some pretty special things.  But, they scored early, and they gave us an opportunity to put some runs on the board in a number of innings.  We finally put one good inning together.  And I felt we could.   I just didn’t know how much we were going to get, but we got enough.  So it wasn’t exhausting.  You just keep on hoping that you get that inning, and we did.”

(On pinch-hitting Hall for Cooper) “To be honest with you, they’ve got one left-handed pitcher down there.  And Steedley was in the game.  Well, if we’re going to do something, we’re going to have to do it right there.  You only get so many opportunities.  If I try to wait and think that this opportunity may come around again, it may not.  So you take your chances and you take your shots, and hopefully they work out.  And it did tonight.”

“We’re a little short on pitching right now, and I think the matchup with Arias facing Hughes to start the inning was not a good matchup.  We thought that (Tex) was going to be a better matchup.  I think Hughes and Ramos are the guys in their lineup who can possibly hit the ball out of the park and end the ballgame.  We ended up not getting him out.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Tex has been solid for us all year, and I’d go with him again.  He’s been good.  I’m not going to second guess myself about the move.  I think it was a good move.  And I think we were all in a consensus that that’s what we were going to do, it just didn’t work out.”

“Hopefully, this makes us stronger.  No one’s dead from it.  We know what we need to do, and I think everybody in there knows exactly what has to happen.  I think that despite what you saw tonight, it’s an indication of what we can do.  We can come back from this.  We’re going to come out and give it our best effort, because we know we have to.”

“(Bleich) just wasn’t sharp for whatever reason.  I haven’t had a chance to talk with him and Phelpsy hasn’t had a chance to talk with him either, but he wasn’t as sharp, no question about it.  I’m sure that he would have liked to have done something different.  But it’s part of the game sometimes, they go out there and they just don’t have it for whatever reason.  You talk about player development, this is a perfect player development situation.  You learn from these experiences and these difficult times and hopefully it carries you not only through your minor league career, but your entire Major League career.  I don’t know what the problem was, I don’t know if it was physical.  I just don’t know.  But I’m sure we’ll talk about it and we’ll find out.  He gave us an opportunity.  If he doesn’t shut them down in that second inning, we don’t get a chance to come back.  After that, he pitched OK.”

JEREMY BLEICH

“I actually felt really good getting ready tonight, getting ready for the game.  I was confident about my stuff.  A couple hits here and there in the first, along with a couple bad breaks…I walked a couple guys in that inning.  It’s certainly frustrating.  I’d love to have some of those pitches back and I wish some of those hits didn’t find holes, but they did.  I had confidence in my stuff and I felt great tonight, but being in baseball is tough sometimes.”

“I think once some things don’t go your way; when guys get on base, when guys do get on base, when guys do hit the ball hard and get hits, it’s magnified.  Guys are going to score instead of nobody being on base.  When a guy hits a hard single up the middle, it’s not as big of a deal.  It’s frustrating and magnified.  You haven’t gotten breaks and you left the ball up and the guy was able to flip it over the first baseman’s head.  It’s tough.”

KANEKOA TEXEIRA

“I walked the first guy and gave up a hit and they scored, that’s about it.”

“I made my pitch.  He was a little tardy on it and got the ball to right field and I don’t really know what happened out there.  That’s part of baseball.  We’ll come back ready for tomorrow.”

“I’m kind of tired right now.  I’ve thrown 99 innings and my career high is 60-something.  My body’s a little tired, but mentally I’m staying strong and just keep on going.”

NOAH HALL

“I just saw Frank yell into the dugout that they were warming up a lefty, and whenever I hear that, I’ve got to be ready to hit and figuring out where the lineup is at and all that stuff.  I ran out of the bullpen, came back and (Tony Franklin) just asked, ‘Are you ready to go?’  And I said yeah, so he threw me in there.  First pitch, I figured he’s going to throw something over the plate.  It was a ball, but I swung and missed and it wasn’t a big deal.  I knew I was still going to get something.  This year, and maybe even in my career, I tend to focus a little more with guys in scoring position.  I do a little better, for whatever reason.  I got 0-2 quick and just battled.  He kept trying to throw that curveball, he threw a fastball away that was off the plate, and then he threw another curveball down.  It was a strike, and I wanted to make sure I just hit it and not try to do anything special.  I got the bat on it, and obviously it went in a good place.”

“Then I saw the right fielder throw up his hands, and soon as I saw that, I knew he wasn’t going to go get the ball.  The worst case scenario is the umpire sends me back…but skip was like, ‘Get down, get down!’ and I was like oh man…I didn’t want to get thrown out there.”

“It’s really, really hard (to come off the bench cold).  It’s so hard because you’re not in the groove of the game.  You’ve got nothing to go on, no timing going on and you don’t even know how your eyes are going to react that day.  It’s hard.  Your first at-bat, you’ve just got to be ready to hit.  And even then, you kind of get to be prepared.  But when you’re just sitting around, you can’t just stay prepared the whole game running around the whole time.  It’s tough.  To be honest, I haven’t had a lot of pinch-hits in my career.  I’ve had a number of chances.  That was probably the biggest one I’ve had.  I wish it would have turned out better in the end, but it got us closer and we ended up tying it, which was huge.  But it’s really hard.”

“We’re all pissed (about losing).  Basically, we’re all pissed, but we’re all in here confident.  I’m still high on us coming back.  Obviously, we did lose.  But we showed a lot of heart to come back by down that many.  We were down seven to nothing.  So to come in and tie it up, I think that gives us more confidence than them.  Even now, even though they won, I’m still thinking they’re thinking we got lucky today, we really got lucky.  We were one play or two away and we win this game.  I feel like we still have the momentum even though they won.”

— The loss puts the Thunder’s backs completely against the wall.  They are two games back of the Rock Cats with three games to play.  One loss and their season is, for all intents and purposes, over.

— Check out some Phil Bartleski video on the YouTube account…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

5 Responses to “Game 138: Post-Game Notes”

  1. whiteycat Says:

    Sad, sad loss!

  2. BTL05 Says:

    The agony of defeat…..

    Superb job Mike.

  3. thunderfangabe Says:

    definitely one of the coolest comebacks i’ve seen this year. or any year maybe. noah had another key hit in a big inning for the thunder. that was good of them to all answer your questions.

    and seeing austin hit a foul ball that got stuck in one of the squares in the netting about 20 feet up behind home plate was pretty funny. dont know how it managed to get in there but it stayed for about 30 seconds before it fell out.

  4. thunderfangabe Says:

    according to the NB paper here, luke hughes played his last game of the season for NB last night. he’s going to be in the world cup.

  5. Art Vandalay Says:

    A truly heartbreaking loss…but in the words of Yogi, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Hopefully they can pull off a miracle.

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