— Ah. Finally a day where you can take a bit of a breath and not have 20,000 things going on after the game. A potential storyline, however, was that Steve Garrison had left the game after just 64 pitches. Turns out, according to both Garrison and Tony Franklin, that he’s just being kept on a very strict pitch count.
“He was going to pitch five innings,” Franklin said, pointing out that his first two starts (which were on the road) featured similar limitations.
“We’ve got a long season, and we can’t afford to screw around with arms. I think you guys are all familiar with how we take care of pitchers and look at their amounts of innings. We like to have them finish the season instead of having them get to July and August and them not being able to pitch. It’s by design. It may seem a little odd to you guys, but I think the plan makes sense to the pitching people in the organization.”
Garrison admitted it was difficult to come out after just five innings.
“The pitcher in me wants to keep going, the competitor in me wanted to keep going,” he said.
“But I’m glad I’m healthy and that we closed it out and got the win. It’s a good feeling.”
Garrison wasn’t sure if that tight of a pitch count would be the norm for him this season, but said he assumed part of it was that he was primarily used in a relief role this spring. All in all, the hometown kid put together a solid outing, allowing just one run on two hits while walking just one and striking out five. One of the two hits, however, was a first inning no doubter of a home run off the bat of Jose Flores.
“It was an OK pitch, I was trying to go in and it had too much of the white of the plate,” Garrison said.
“He put a really good swing on it. It might have been the wrong pitch, but if I threw it where I should have, I would have been OK. But that’s one of those where you just tip your cap.”
— I think it was after Game 2 yesterday that Franklin said that if his team got anywhere from four to six runs a game, things would be all right. They got four tonight, and things worked out just fine. Every Thunder starter except for Austin Romine had a base hit; Brad Suttle led the way with a three-hit game, while Cody Johnson, Melky Mesa, Corban Joseph and Addison Maruszak each knocked in a run.
— The bullpen, which was certainly a problem in Game 2 yesterday, rebounded tonight. Cory Arbiso was solid, despite giving up a run, and Brian Anderson and Fernando Hernandez shut things down in the 8th and 9th, respectively. Hernandez made things interesting by allowing two hits, but he lowered his ERA to 6.75. As for Anderson, he was hitting 92 MPH on the radar gun tonight, and has looked impressive, converted outfielder or otherwise.
— No word on any move to get Manny Banuelos on the roster for tomorrow’s start…but nothing official will likely be done until tomorrow anyway.
— I spoke to Romine before the game for a feature you’ll see soon…probably when the team is on the road. I’ll probably chat with Anderson and Hernandez tomorrow as well, with a possibilty of Justin Christian mixed in there too.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com