— Confidence. There would be no reason for the Thunder not to have had it against Altoona Curve starter Justin Wilson. The 23-year-old lefty made just one appearance against Trenton this season, and they lit him up to the tune of three runs on six walks and three hits in a 2 1/3 inning outing that was his shortest of the year.
He may very well have turned in his best outing of the year tonight.
“I felt good out there, I got ahead of guys,” Wilson told me.
“I had awesome defense behind me with Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer and Miles Durham with that huge catch. A lot of those guys played outstanding tonight.”
The Anaheim, CA native said that July 23 disaster against Trenton never so much as crossed his mind.
“That was a long time ago,” he said. “I didn’t even think about it, truthfully.”
There is no “glass half-full” situation when talking about how Trenton did against Wilson tonight. He either buried them, or they buried themselves — Trenton left eight men on base during the course of the game — but either way, he shut them down.
According to Thunder manager Tony Franklin, he did not feel the team was overconfident against Wilson given what they’d done against him their last time out.
“You can’t be overconfident. Not when you’re in a short series like we are right now,” he said.
“You’ve got to be ready to play and do what you normally do to win ballgames. That didn’t happen for us tonight. That kid pitched a pretty good ballgame against us, he shut us down pretty good.”
— Adam Warren gave up one hard hit-ball all night. Andrew Lambo’s second inning shot — which actually turned out to be all the offense Altoona needed — accounted for that. Things really unraveled for him in the fifth inning though, where he issued a two-out walk to Jim Negrych, which was followed up by Negrych advancing a few pitches later on a passed ball. Three runs later, and Warren’s night was essentially over.
“Generally, when you lose the strike zone there, bad things happen,” Franklin said.
“The result was the three runs. When you make pitches and you get the outs you need, things work out OK. If you walk Negrych, and the ball gets past Romine and he ends up at second base and miss a play on De Los Santos, before you know it, you’ve got three runs.”
For Warren, a good kid who put together a real good year, it’s a tough way for him to go out.
“I’m not going to dwell on it too heavily. I felt like I had good stuff,” he said.
“It’ll hurt for a day or two, but in the long run, I feel like I’ve grown so much this year as a pitcher that I can’t really let one outing define this year.”
— I questioned why Ryan Pope came in to pitch the ninth inning tonight. The back seat manager that I am, I’d have saved him for a potential save situation in Game 4 so that he didn’t have to go back-to-back days. So I asked Franklin about it after the game.
“He needed some work,” Franklin said. “He hadn’t pitched in a while.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com