Archive for September 5th, 2009

Thunder Stay Alive With 12 Inning, 4-3 Win

September 5, 2009

Trenton’s season remains alive after a 4-3, extra inning win in New Britain.  Ryan Pope turned in an excellent start, and Kanekoa Texeira gave Trenton an unbelievable performance out of the bullpen one night after being on the mound for the loss.

Stay tuned for reaction from the clubhouse from another unbelievable game here in Connecticut…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT


Game 139: Trenton @ New Britain

September 5, 2009

Game 139 – Trenton Thunder @ New Britain Rock Cats
September 5, 2009
New Britain Stadium – New Britain, CT

Pitching Matchup: TRE Ryan Pope vs. NB Matt Fox

Starting Lineups:


Austin Krum, CF
Matt Cusick, 2B
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Chris Malec, 1B
Richie Robnett, DH
Edwar Gonzalez, RF
P.J. Pilittere, C
Marcos Vechionacci, 3B
James Cooper, LF


Brian Dinkelman, LF
Alejandro Machado, 2B
Erik Lis, DH
Wilson Ramos, C
Whit Robbins, 1B
Juan Portes, RF
Steve Singleton, SS
Ramon Santana, 3B
Yancarlos Ortiz, CF

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

Live Box Score: The direct link is here.

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

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark): I will update as the internet allows…

0-0, heading into T2.  The internet here is sooooooo spotty, but I’ll do what I can.

Awesome catch by Marcos Vechionacci, as he goes tumbling over the railing in the third inning on a pop-up by the dugout…he would have went completely head over heels and hard onto the steps had he not literally been caught by one of his teammates.

Matt Cusick with a two-run double down the right field line in the 3rd inning gives Trenton a 2-0 lead…

Eduardo Nunez with a little flare to short center gives Trenton a 3-0 lead after wacky bunt play…3-0, T5.  But no lead is safe in this series.

Pope, who was 0-3 with 17 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings in five previous starts against the Rock Cats, has been awesome tonight.  He needed to step up and he did.  He’s allowed one run, but it’s 3-1, Thunder, heading into T8.

79 pitches through seven innings for Ryan Pope.  One of his best outings of the year, but at some point you’re going to have to wonder if they’re leaving him in there a touch too long…then again, what do they have in the bullpen right now?  Kanekoa Texeira is apparently available for 1-2 innings…Jose Valdez is available…I wouldn’t count on Wilkins Arias after he threw three innings…Grant Duff might be available…Josh Schmidt isn’t after his start…Phil Bartleski flat out isn’t who you want in this spot…and who knows if Adam Olbrychowski is even here.  3-1, Thunder, B8.

Wow.  Pope got two outs and then it just fell apart to some extent.  Alejandro Machado doubled to left field to score a run…and then Eduardo Nunez with quite possibly the worst throw I’ve seen anyone make all year.  Machado advanced to third.  Two outs.  One run game.  Pope is out.  Jose Valdez is in to face New Britain’s #3 hitter, Erik Lis.  I mean, this just reeks of bad news.

There is no available lefty to face Lis, that’s why it’s Valdez…Arias is spent after yesterday.

Yup.  Blew the lead.  3-3.  Lis with a flare down the left field line.  Two outs, B8.

Tie game going into the 9th.  It’s funny.  One of these two teams got a lefty added to their roster today.  It sure wasn’t the Thunder.  It may have cost them their season. 

Wow, very controversial play at first base to start the inning…Austin Krum chopped one high off of the plate.  Reliever Alex Burnett fielded the ball around the mound and fired to first.  The throw beat Krum by two steps or so, and the first baseman was pulled off the bag…put he appeared to still make the tag.  Krum was called safe.  After a spirited argument by Tom Nieto, the umpires convened and the called stayed as is…

Fundamental baseball…yikes.  Matt Cusick popping up two bunts with Krum on first and no outs.

Cusick strikes out.  Nunez pops out to second and slams his helmet to the ground.  Malec up.  Two outs.  Krum still on first after nearly being picked off.

Honestly, this is awful.  Austin Krum caught stealing with the cleanup hitter, Chris Malec, up in a tie game with two outs.  That is all kinds of atrocious.  New Britain has a chance to win it in the bottom of the 9th off of Jose Valdez.

With one out, Juan Portes singled through the left side.  One on, one out.  B9.  Tie game.

Valdez, throwing consistently at 95 MPH, strikes out Steve Singleton.  One on, two outs.  B9.  Tie game. 

We’re going to extra innings, people.  3-3, Top 10.   Chris Malec is…uhhh, still up.

1-2-3 inning for the Thunder.  Heading to bottom 10 and…again, New Britain can win the game and a playoff spot with one swing.

Valdez walks the leadoff batter and #9 hitter, Yancarlos Ortiz.  Someone is getting loose in the pen, but the bullpens are beyond the walls and you can’t tell who is up…

Wooooooooow.  Brian Dinkelman with an absolutely excellent bunt down the first base line…P.J. Pilittere let it roll, and roll, and roll…the ball stopped…and couldn’t have been more than a few centimeters foul.  On the next pitch, though, Dinkelman pulled off a succesful sac bunt.  Alejandro Machado up with one out and a runner on second.  B10.  3-3.

Machado, who’s hitting about a buck twenty-five, is being intentionally walked for Erik Lis.  Lis burned them the last time out, he’ll burn them again.  Why walk Machado — yes, to set up the double play — but why walk a .125 hitter to get to the guy in the 3 spot?

Wilkins Arias is in.  That is unbelievable.  Where was he the last time this situation was up?

Lis swings…first pitch (!!!) and Arias induces a fly ball to short center.  What a turn right there.  But Wilson Ramos, who ended it last night, is up.  And that’s it for Arias. 

Kanekoa Texeira is in.  Same guy who Ramos ended the game off of last night.  Tex couldn’t be a nicer guy…but I don’t trust him here.  I’d rather see Grant Duff.

Ramos also swings first pitch, and Tex gets a weak pop-up to shortstop.  That’s two relievers stepping up BIG TIME right there.  Heading into the top of the 11th.

After another 1-2-3 inning for Trenton, Kanekoa Texeira is back on the mound for the 11th.  This HAS to be his last inning.  The guy’s arm probably feels like a bag of sand at this point.  He entered the game with 99 innings under his belt.  Shows how gutsy he is to even be out there.

But Tex gives up a leadoff single through a wide open left side to Whit Robbins…runner on first, no outs.

Portes sacrifices Robbins to second.  Runner on second for Steve Singleton with one out.  3-3, one out, B11.

Singleton is being intentionally walked to get runners on first and second for Ramon Santana.  This is Santana’s second day in Double-A…

There doesn’t appear to be anyone up in the bullpen.  Why?

Texeira buries one in the dirt.  It escapes Pilittere.  Runners on second and third.  One out.  2-1 count.  Do you walk Santana?

They aren’t.

HUGE strikeout for Texeira right there.  Freaking huge.  Yancarlos Ortiz now up.  Two outs.  Runners on second and third.

Texeira induces a weak grounder back to himself…throw to first…in time…we’re going to the 12th.  WOW.  Heartpounding baseball right here.

Frank Mata enters the game for the Rock Cats in the 12th…

Austin Krum with a leadoff walk…

Cusick sacrifices Krum over to second. One out, Nunez is up…

Nunez hit a routine ground ball to short…but Singleton’s throw was low. Cusick advances to third on the error and Nunez reaches first. Runners on the corners. Chris Malec up. One out. Let’s hope his life isn’t like 6-4-3…

THE THUNDER TAKE THE LEAD!!! CHRIS MALEC WITH A FLY BALL TO SHORT LEFT FIELD…CAUGHT BY DINKELMAN…THE THROW…THE SLIDE…IT’S CLOSE…SAFE! Austin Krum slides feet first and just beats the throw from Dinkelman. 4-3, Thunder, T12.

Heading into the bottom of the 12th.  Thunder lead, 4-3.  But Kanekoa Texiera, who admitted how tired he is last night, is back out there and the bullpen appears to be dormant.  Dinkelman-Machado-Lis are your Rock Cats scheduled hitters.  And now there’s really no lefty for Lis.

There appears to now be action in the bullpen…it more or less has to be Grant Duff.

Dinkelman strikes out looking with a great pitch on the outside corner by Tex.  One away.

Machado strikes out looking with a wicked 80 MPH curveball on the outside.  Two away.  This is a flat out incredible performance by Texeira.

Lis walks on the exact same pitch that got called a strike on Dinkelman and Machado.  Exact same spot.  One runner now on…Yangervis Solarte pinch running for Lis.  4-3, Thunder, two outs, one on…B12.

Four hours after the first pitch…Ramos grounds out to third and we’ve got meaningful baseball tomorrow.  Thunder win, 4-3.

In-Game Photos:


Kyle Anson


Wilkins Arias


James Cooper


Tony Franklin


Frank Menechino


Eduardo Nunez


Ryan Pope


Pope, in a shot back by unpopular demand!


Richie Robnett


Kanekoa Texeira


Marcos Vechionacci

In-Game YouTube Videos: Check out my YouTube account for videos updated throughout the game…

Final Score: 4-3, THUNDER

Thunder Thoughts: They play the Family Guy version of the Rick Astley clip here…

Game 139: Pre-Game Notes

September 5, 2009

6:30 PM — I should be on the radio again in the third inning…

5:50 PM — Some brief notes from Tony Franklin’s pre-game chat…

* Last night’s result doesn’t seem to affect the way he’ll manage the game: “I can’t see trying to do something in these next three games.  If an opportunity presents itself, I’ll try to take advantage of it, kind of like yesterday.”

* David Trahan is confirmed to be on the DL with a bad right hand, and Adam Olbrychowski is joining the club: “We’re still a little thin down there in the pen.  Guys have been worked quite regularly down there.  If we need him, we’ll certainly use him.”

* Seems that Zach McAllister pitching on short rest isn’t an option: “I really don’t think we’ll do it.”

Also, I spoke to two of the Rock Cats — former big leaguer Alejandro Machado and Erik Lis — about their impressions of last night’s game and the mindset of their club going into tonight, knowing they only need to win one out of the next three games to make the postseason.

“We just want to go out and play like it’s a regular game,” Lis said.

“We’re 139 games in right now, and coach said just take it one game at a time and play the game you know how to play.  We’re trying not to think about it too much, just go out and have fun.  Whatever happens, happens.”

Only needing one out of the next three games, Lis isn’t concerned that his ballclub might take the foot off the gas pedal.

“See, that’s the mindset we don’t want to have,” he told me.

“We just need to go out and play our game and not try to do too much.  Hopefully, we’ll come out with a win tonight and have some confidence going.”

For Machado, who played briefly with the Boston Red Sox a few seasons ago, his veteran presence seems to have played more of a role than his on-field play has. 

“I’m trying to help,” he said.

“I’m trying to let them know everything I know and help them.  It’s fun.  Any time you’re in the playoffs, it’s fun.  Wherever it is.”

And New Britain is where one of the craziest games in the Eastern League season took place last night, with the Rock Cats needing a walk-off double in the ninth inning after being up seven runs heading into the fifth inning.

For both players, the game was memorable.

“That was tough, because we were up early in the game and then they came back,” Machado told me.

“We kept pushing and we kept trying, and finally we found a way to win.”

Lis echoed similar sentiments.

“That was a great game,” he said.

“We came out strong, then they came out strong and tied the game.  They had the momentum going.  But it came to the ninth inning and we got it.  I think we have the momentum right now, and we’re going to try to take it into this game.”

4:20 PM — Not that it’s particularly relevant with the team on the road and all, but they are going to be hitting on the field today.  Yesterday, they hit in the cages, which are located behind the right field wall.

4:15 PM — Adam Olbrychowski likely won’t be here until around gametime.  Turns out David Trahan has a legitimate hand injury that he likely came to Trenton with.

New Britain has recalled Tony Davis, a lefty reliever, out of Rookie ball in Elizabethton.  Shows you how desperately the team needed another lefty arm out of the bullpen, they only had one.

3:35 PM — Remember that time the Yankees signed a pitcher out of independent ball, then assigned him to the disabled list before they ever used him?  Well, that’s what seems to have happened here.

The Yankees called up RHP Adam Olbrychowski from Single-A Tampa and have placed David Trahan on the disabled list.  Perhaps he injured himself in the hotel.  Sigh.

In any event, Olbrychowski — and I take this straight from the team release — was 3-2 with a 2.73 ERA in 32 games (three starts) for Tampa this season.  Opponents only hit .233 against him.  Last season, he was 7-8 with a 5.13 ERA in 22 games (19 starts) with one save for Charleston (Low-A).  He gave up 112 hits in 98 1/3 innings.  He was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2007 draft.  He played three season at Pepperdine University, and had a career record of 9-8 with a 3.62 ERA.  He was named all West Coast Conference in 2007, and ranked fifth in the conference in ERA (2.90).

I am at the ballpark, as I will be all series, and will have more information as it becomes available.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT