Archive for July 26th, 2010

Game 102: Post-Game Notes

July 26, 2010

— Andrew Brackman turned in what may have been the finest outing of his Double-A career tonight, spinning 6 1/3 innings of shutout baseball.  He allowed just two hits and struck out eight New Britain Rock Cats en route to his second victory in a Thunder uniform.  While he did walk four batters — he exited the game after consecutive free passes — his curveball was absolutely dazzling tonight.

“I had a couple of games like that in Tampa, where I threw it pretty good, but that was the best game so far in Trenton,” Brackman said.

“I could throw it for a strike or throw it for a strikeout pitch.  I had command of it today.”

Curveball and all, Brackman’s outing left his skipper walking away pretty impressed.

“Each outing he’s had, he’s gotten better each time,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin.

“It takes a little time to start to get the feel of things for this level.  If you’ve got the goods, which he does, you’re going to start improving on each outing.  (The curveball) was pretty tight tonight, it was pretty good.  He’s thrown some pretty good ones here and there in previous games, but tonight he had a pretty curveball throughout his performance tonight.”

Brackman’s velocity was down from the 96-98 he’d been at previously this season, with The Trentonian’s Josh Norris having him at 90-94 tonight.  But with that decrease in velocity came an increase in command, something Brackman also attributed to switching between two and four-seam fastballs more often.

“I felt good out there.  Maybe I got a little tired towards the end, but for the most part my mechanics stayed the same and I felt pretty good,” Brackman said.

With Rene Rivera behind the plate, the Thunder certainly get a different look.  Courtesy of good friend and Somerset Patriots radio broadcaster Adam Amin, Rivera threw out just two baserunners in 20 games while with the Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League.  But in Trenton, the former Major Leaguer is 7-for-9, which includes the two times he nabbed the speedy Ben Revere trying to steal second base tonight.

In comparison, Austin Romine has thrown out just 18% of attempted basestealers this season, a career low.

“The guy throws very well, and he hasn’t been in this game as long as he has without doing what he’s been doing for us, and that’s throwing very well and calling the game very well,” Franklin said.

“It’s apples and oranges.  We’ve got a young catcher trying to learn his trade and try to become more productive with his throwing, and I think in time, he will.  Certainly, Romine has got the arm strength to do it and the mechanics and things of that nature.  But yes, Rivera has done an extremely good job.  He threw out Revere twice tonight, and that’s a pretty good feat.  Even with a guy with that kind of running speed, he can make up ground and I thought he did a heck of a job.  The thing about his throws, is they’re in a spot where all you have to do is just apply the tag.  He’s consistent with where he throws the baseball.”

— George Kontos was, again, outstanding tonight in relief.  Two innings, one hit, three strikeouts.  He’s been between 89-93 MPH on the radar gun (I personally saw him at 91 MPH tonight) and has showed excellent command.  With this kind of work — his ERA dropped to 2.63 — he won’t be long for Trenton.

— Damon Sublett, once believed to be out for the season after undergoing thumb surgery, played in a Yankees GCL game today and went 0-for-5.  The outfielder has missed nearly three months and is still likely a little ways away from re-joining Trenton, if that is indeed the plan for him.   

— (Via Thunder PR guru and facial hair enthusiast for a day, Bill Cook) On July 4th, the Thunder wore these special Stars and Stripes hats and after the game they were autographed. Now they are available on ebay with all the proceeds benefiting Trenton Thunder Charities. Purchase a hat and you’ll get a great, one-of-a-kind collectible and help the Thunder help our community.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 102: In-Game Updates

July 26, 2010

Trenton wins, 6-0…

Top 8th — George Kontos is in…

Bottom 7th — RBI’s number 87 and 88 for Brandon Laird on a two-run double…Trenton leads, 6-0.

Top 7th — Brackman exits after two straight walks and that’s it for him.  Outstanding outing.  2 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts in 6.1 IP.

Bottom 5th — Some videos…

Top 3rd — Brackman through three…3 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 4 K

Bottom 1st — Man, it is hard to believe the Rock Cats are 42 games under .500…or maybe not.  Trenton’s scored four off of Mike McCardell in the first to give themselves a 4-0 lead.  A two-run double from Daniel Brewer and back-to-back singles from Marcos Vechionacci and Matt Cusick get the job done.

Top 1st — Ben Revere reached on an error by Marcos Vechionacci, but Rene Rivera threw him out trying to steal second…Brackman retired the next two batters he faced in order to get out of the inning.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 102: Pre-Game Notes

July 26, 2010

7:00 PM — Tim Norton is a little further away from returning than he’d hoped.  He was on pace to return yesterday, but his strained lat still isn’t completely healed.  Grant Duff is on pace to return in a week.

6:15 PM — Austin Romine will be getting a few days off, according to Tony Franklin.  Sounds like it’s more to re-charge his batteries than anything else, but it’s still interesting.  I’ll have stuff about that after the game.  I also spoke to Lance Pendleton about winning Eastern League Pitcher of the Week as well. 

4:45 PM — Lineups are here…

ROCK CATS

Ben Revere, CF
Juan Portes, LF
Chris Parmalee, 1B
Jair Fernandez, C
Steve Singleton, 3B
Joe Benson, RF
Erik Lis, DH
Yancarlos Ortiz, SS
Chris Cates, 2B

Mike McCardell, P

THUNDER

Justin Christian, LF
Austin Krum, CF
Brandon Laird, 3B
Daniel Brewer, RF
Marcos Vechionacci, 1B
Matt Cusick, DH
Rene Rivera, C
Luis Nunez, SS
Justin Snyder, 2B

Andrew Brackman, P

3:15 PM — Tim Norton, also believed to be close to a return, is running stadium steps right now.  Certainly, Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” playing in the background will put an extra jump into his step…

3:00 PM — Lance Pendleton has been named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week.  After a stretch of seven days in which he went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, I’d say he’s deserving.

Sounds like Damon Sublett, who was once feared to be out for the season, could be close to a return.  Stay tuned on that…

Not a whole lot else going on at the ballpark.  I know you’re all pumped to see the 30-72 Rock Cats come to town for the first time…they’re sending 0-11 Mike McCardell to the mound today against Andrew Brackman.  Adam Warren and D.J. Mitchell are your Thunder pitchers tomorrow and Wednesday, while New Britain counters with Deolis Guerra and Kyle Gibson.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Listen To My Sunday Night WFAN Appearance

July 26, 2010

From the “things I never thought I’d be typing” department, I did a 15-minute spot with WFAN host Lori Rubinson last night.  She asked me about many of the Thunder prospects you’ve been reading about here this season, as well as players who’ve come through Trenton, and at least one who could be here soon.

If you’re not tired of me as it is, you can listen to the interview by clicking here and finding the appropriate link.

Big thanks to WFAN producer Chris McMonigle for setting this up as well.  I always thought my only audience with WFAN would be my occasional chats with Sweeny Murti at Yankee Stadium, so to actually be a guest on a station I’ve spent so much time listening to with my buddies in the car was a real thrill.  Nervewracking to say the very least, but awesome.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com