Archive for July 27th, 2010

GMS Patch

July 27, 2010

The George Steinbrenner memorial patches have arrived and are being worn by Thunder players for the first time…

I’ll have post-game notes later today, but no in-game stuff.  Am shooting some videos, though…

Game 103: Pre-Game Notes

July 27, 2010

11:30 AM — Lineups…

NEW BRITAIN

Ben Revere, DH
Estarlin De Los Santos, SS
Chris Parmalee, RF
Jair Fernandez, C
Steve Singleton, 3B
Joe Benson, CF
Erik Lis, 1B
Mark Dolenc, LF
Chris Cates, 2B

Deolis Guerra, P

TRENTON

Austin Krum, CF
Dan Brewer, LF
Austin Romine, C
Brandon Laird, 3B
Marcos Vechionacci, 1B
Matt Cusick, DH
Edwar Gonzalez, RF
Luis Nunez, SS
Justin Snyder, 2B

Adam Warren, P

9:45 AM — Yeah, absolutely positively nothing going on here.  The same can likely be said for the status of my brain, as I haven’t slept since I was last at the ballpark…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

A Break For Romine

July 27, 2010

Thunder manager Tony Franklin — and he made it clear it was his decision and not one that came from up top — decided to give starting catcher Austin Romine a few days off. 

While the timing is odd –you’d have expected something like this to come after Romine endured a stretch where he went across the country to play in the Futures Game, returned to Harrisburg to play in the Eastern League All-Star Game and then caught for Trenton the very next day — it is not a punishment, says Franklin.  Anyone thinking it’s related to the July 31st trade deadline is also likely misguided as well. 

According to Franklin, it was just “a time to step back and start the engines over.”

“I think every now and then, a young player needs a day or two to clear his mind and see where he is,” Franklin said.

“He’s been playing fairly well, but there’s more.  We spoke on this subject yesterday.  Don’t get me wrong, we’re not punishing him, we’re not unhappy with him.  We think he’s putting a pretty good season together.”

As for the timing, it was curious to several people who heard about the move, Romine included.

“I’d have thought I might have got a day off (after the All-Star Game),” he said.

“But, like I said, I’m never going to ask for a day off.  I’ve never asked for a day off in my career.  If I’m in the lineup, I’m going to play.  These days off now, I’m going to take them and get my work done and try to stay fresh.”

Romine has, however, unquestionably struggled in the second half of the season.  Via friend and colleague John Nalbone, the 21-year-old backstop is hitting only .212 since the Eastern League’s version of the midsummer classic and only .190 with three extra-base hits and five runs batted in his last 10 games.

“He expects more from himself and we expect more from him.  The organization expects more from him,” Franklin said.

“We’re going to let him get a couple days and get back at it.  There may be a little fatigue there, physical fatigue.  And that’s a direct result of maybe some mental frustration, because maybe you’re not hitting as well or you’re not throwing guys out as well or you’re not blocking balls, and those types of things.”

In his third full professional season, this is the first where the California native has been asked to handle the bulk of the catching duties, having most recently split them with Jesus Montero for most of  last season in High-A Tampa.  The kind of workload he’s had to endure this season can be underestimated, says his manager.

“I don’t care how young you are, that takes a lot,” Franklin said.

“We’re playing a 142-game schedule.  If he’s going to play in the major leagues and be an everyday catcher, he’s going to play 162 regular season games.  If you play in the playoffs, and you go to the World Series and you play in November, that’s about 30 more games, I’d say.  That’s 190 games a year.  You’ve got to be physically fit, you’ve got to be mentally prepared.  This is where you start learning how to do that.  From time to time, you’ve got to give them days off to recharge a little bit.”

Franklin and Romine had a lengthy chat on Sunday about the subject, and Romine insisted he wasn’t tired, something he reiterated to reporters before yesterday’s game.

“Catching full time for the first year, it’s nothing I can’t handle,” Romine said.

“I actually feel better now than I did last year at this time.  It was hard to catch in Tampa, it was really hot.  It was a real miserable place to be playing.  But I actually feel really good about where I am right now.  My legs aren’t hurting, my knees aren’t sore.”

Sitting on the bench has proved difficult for Romine, who is used to playing everyday.

“I always want to play,” he said.

“I never want to be sitting on the bench.  I don’t like it, I never have.  But like I said, he is the manager, so it’s whatever he says.  It’s fine.” 

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Pendleton Named Pitcher Of The Week

July 27, 2010

Knocking on the door for a call-up to Triple-A Scranton, Thunder right-hander Lance Pendleton was named the Eastern League’s Pitcher of the Week, surely adding to a strong case for a promotion.  Right, Lance?

“I think we’ve got some guys who might be getting called up before me,” said Pendleton with a smile.

“We’re in a pretty solid playoff hunt right here, and it would be fun to stay here and help Trenton win another one.  That’s kind of what I’m expecting is going to happen, but I guess you never know.”

After consecutive starts in Richmond and Altoona in which the friendly Texas native posted a 2-0 record with 12 strikeouts in 13 innings of work, Pendleton found out he won the weekly award from Thunder manager Tony Franklin, who made the announcement in the clubhouse about three and a half hours prior to gametime.

“It was well deserved,” Franklin said.

“I think he’s well aware of where he’s at in his career right now, and what this season means to him.  He’s been pretty steady.  He’s had a steady progression of getting to this point where he can be Pitcher of the Week.  That takes a lot.  He’s done a fantastic job for us, he’s been a pretty consistent guy for us over the course of the season.”

The award was, somewhat understandably, one of the last things on Pendleton’s mind after his impressive run.

“I knew I had two good outings, but the award, I kind of forget about that kind of stuff,” he said.

“I know Noesi got it a month or two ago, and that’s really the last time I’d thought about Pitcher of the Week.  (In the two outings), it was real good.  I got my fastball down and that’s been real big for me.  I got ahead of hitters very frequently.  Tommy and I have been talking a lot about pitch selection and we implemented some things with that, too.  On top of that, my offspeed pitches, I’ve been really confident throwing them ahead in the count and behind in the count, even in the count.  Just throwing them whenever.  That’s really helped me out so far.”

Pendleton has appeared in 21 games for the Thunder this season and has put together a record of 9-4 with 100 strikeouts and a 3.49 ERA in 108.1 innings.  Pendleton has quietly led the Eastern League with 100 strikeouts and is also ranked third in batting average against (.215) and tied for third in wins (9).

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

It Actually Is Easy Being Green…

July 27, 2010

It’s even easy being Brian Austin Green, who is inexplicably with Megan Fox.  Way to go, David Silver.  In more relevant news, here are some photos from tonight’s game, which featured the odd combination of “Irish Heritage Night” and “Mustache Night.”

Cory Arbiso

Andrew Brackman

Brackman

Justin Christian

Matt Cusick

Wilkin De La Rosa

Brandon Laird

Hector Noesi

Rene Rivera

Austin Romine

Justin Snyder

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com