The Thunder front office has never pulled as hard for their team as they likely are tonight. A Trenton win in New Britain would clinch the division title and home field advantage for the first round of the playoffs against New Hampshire.
It would also put Andy Pettitte on pace to start the first game on Wednesday at Waterfront Park.
According to Chad Jennings, the “Core Four” Yankee threw 50 pitches in a successful simulated game earlier today, and would likely throw a bullpen on Monday and make a rehab appearance on Wednesday. Jennings speculates Pettitte would be allowed to throw roughly 65 pitches.
Barring a meltdown against an absolutely horrendous Rock Cats team, the Thunder will host the Fisher Cats on Wednesday, September 8 and Thursday, September 9 for the first two games of the series — as well as Sunday, September 12 (if necessary) for a fifth and deciding game.
A likely scenario if Pettitte takes the hill for Trenton is this: Cory Arbiso backs up Pettitte in the first game. Dellin Betances starts game two, Adam Warren starts game three, Andrew Brackman starts game four and Manny Banuelos would start game five. It seems unlikely Trenton would use two starters in the first game, and with Arbiso being singled out as the fifth man in the rotation by Thunder manager Tony Franklin anyway, this may be the best way to go.
Betances and Warren would be pitching on five days rest, while Brackman would get his regular four days.
Playoff tickets are available at trentonthunder.com — and the house is likely to be packed when/if Pettitte takes the bump.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com