ELDS Game 1: Post-Game Notes (Updated)

— Made it home, posted some player and manager quotes (with proper attribution if I wasn’t there for it)…but here are some quick notes as well…

— Stay tuned for stories on Adam Warren, Taylor Grote and Rob Segedin, as well as some interesting pre-game comments from Tony Franklin…

— The hype will be around tomorrow, but you likely got the better game today.  That was baseball at its best.  Drabek and Betances were locked in an absolute duel, and neither side was giving an inch.  Betances and Drabek were both absolutely dazzling at times.  But it was Betances who got the better of Drabek and the Fisher Cats, keeping the hitters off-balance with an-at times stellar array of offspeed stuff.

The only worry on Betances on the night, who ESPN’s Keith Law had at 95 MPH on the gun — which oddly coincided with his pitch count getting kicked up to 95 — was that he wasn’t as efficient as he could/should be with his pitches, especially early.

As for Drabek, he was outstanding as well…but a little small ball from the Thunder in the fourth inning got them the only run they’d ultimately need.

— Rene Rivera absolutely crushed that Trystan Magnuson offering in the 7th…Rivera said after the game that it was a fastball that he took out of the yard.  Rivera is a guy who can change the game with one swing of the bat, and he gave the Thunder a much, much needed insurance run…

— There appeared to be some form a confrontation between reliever J.B. Cox and Franklin in the dugout after Cox was removed from the game by Franklin in the eighth inning.  Several witnesses saw Cox and Franklin chest to chest. 

Cox allowed two baserunners and got two outs in the eighth before being pulled in favor of Pat Venditte.

— Let me say this…if New Hampshire loses this series, their built-in “well, you guys had Andy Pettitte” excuse went out the window when Betances outpitched Drabek.  They had every opportunity to take a one game lead tonight with the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year out there, and failed.  Blame that.

— Here are some quotes from Dellin Betances…

“I know Drabek was pitching well all year, he won Eastern League Pitcher of the Year, so I knew it was going to be a tough one.  I had to just keep trying to put up zeroes and give my team a chance to go deep in the ballgame and win.”

“I just tried to make quality pitches.  I got myself in some messes, but whatever Romine was calling, I was going with.  It was good to have him behind (the plate).”

“Those situations, I’m just trying to make big pitch after big pitch.  Just try to get a big strikeout.  Snyder made a good play on one of those.  It was good to have good defense.”

“To know that you’re pitching in front of your hometown, it’s always nice being here and having family here.  The fans were in the game the whole time.  It was good to keep pitching well.”

“The bullpen’s been doing a good job, so I had confidence in them.  Next time, I’ll want to go longer, but this team is a good hitting team and they kept fouling pitches off.  It was a battle tonight.”

“They extended my pitch count today, so I didn’t feel tired at all.  There were some pitches where I was pulling off, but I didn’t feel tired.  Just adrenaline kept me going.  I definitely felt I could have kept going, but it was the right move.  My pitch count was up and there were two lefties coming up.”

— Here’s what Justin Snyder had to say…

“I was just trying to field my position like I should.  Some of those plays were a little tougher than I would like, they’re not routine ground balls or anything.  It’s just getting out of jams and picking up Dellin.  He got himself in and out of situations tonight.  Coming in and beating them first game is pretty clutch.”

“Just going throughout the year and trying to prove to Tony that I can do that…it’s just a sign that he believes in me and believes in my abilities to put me in the 2 hole now that Corban’s out of there.  I just tried to come and try not to disappoint him, try not to make him look bad.”

“The way they’ve been playing us, (I didn’t expect 2 runs would be enough).  One through nine all can swing it, especially if you get Mastroianni on base, it’s like an automatic double.  We definitely didn’t think two was going to be enough.  They showed there at the end that they’re here to play and perservere through tough times.  But two runs did it.  Sweet.”

“(Thames has) owned us from day one.  But talking to Romine, he said pitch him a little bit differently.  The last few games, we figured some stuff out against him, and we put it into motion tonight.”

“(This was) huge, especially with Drabek going on the mound.  He knew he was going to come out and pitch like he had all year.  The pitchers in the stands who were charting said he was no lower than 95 for the first three innings.  Coming away with two runs against him is pretty clutch.  Having Dellin down there shutting people down…everything came together tonight.”

“I know Dellin has that in him…just his last few starts up here, he’s been lights out.  Just mixing pitches, 3-2 changeups, 3-2 curveballs for strikes, and just keeping hitters off-balance.”

— Here are some Tony Franklin quotes…

“This is a big win for us, no question about it. To get the first game here at home against Drabek, in the manner in which we got it, was outstanding. That’s what playoff baseball is all about. That’s why you throw out the won/loss record during the regular.:

Dellin stranded five runners in scoring position with less than two outs.

“He’s got an extra gear. His changeup worked well. If you have velocity, you have to have something to keep them off of your fastball. They didn’t get many good swings on his change up. Every time he called a breaking ball in a fastball count, we got an out or a strike.”

What did Betances top at?

“I haven’t looked at the readings yet. Phelps said 95 is hard to hit elevated. He threw some balls past some pretty good hitters, especially against the lefties. Especially against Thames.”

Snyder’s game?

“[Moving the runner] That type of thing does get overlooked. There were times this year when we didn’t move runners and it cost us. That’s a big play in any game and moving a runner [to second base] with no outs. The plays at third were very very good. How fitting was it to end the ball game on that particular play.”

— Here are some Kyle Drabek quotes, courtesy of Kevin Gray of the Union Leader…

“We’re still confident. We weren’t able to score runs tonight but that doesn’t happen much against this team.”

“We’ve been in a little slump lately, but the playoffs are a great place to turn that around. Our team is still confident. We feel like we’re the best team in this league.”

“It was a little hard for me to find the strike zone. I don’t know why. … I don’t know how many first-pitch strikes I threw (8 of 22), but not many.”

“A leadoff walk is never good. They put a few hits together and were able to get him in.”

“It’s a big loss. You don’t want to lose the first game in a playoff series. You have your down time after a loss, but there’s always tomorrow.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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