— The suddenly surging Trenton Thunder took the series from the Red Sox-affiliated Portland Sea Dogs, sweeping all three games. They’ve gone 13-6 this month and have climbed to a 24-18 overall record.
— Neither Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos has had that one start this season that’s really shown what they’re capable of. Put your finger over the walks column for Banuelos today, and it was a 4 2/3 IP start with just 2 hits allowed, 1 run (unearned) and seven strikes. But when you factor in the four walks and that he needed 98 pitches (57 strikes) to get through those 4 2/3 frames, it wasn’t his best effort. It was, perhaps, a bit of a step back. Two starts ago, he walked just two in five innings to earn his first Double-A win and in his last start he went a season-long six innings while issuing three free passes.
“It’s being addressed, always has been addressed, and will continue to be addressed,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin when asked about starting pitching walks.
“If they’re going to be Major League pitchers, they’re going to have command the strike zone, that’s first and foremost. You’ve got to throw strikes to make guys stay on pitches, and if you don’t throw strikes, they’re not going to swing at bad pitches. Good hitters don’t. The higher you go, they’re going to wait and wait you out and before you know it you’re going to be out of the ballgame in a short amount of time.”
Banuelos was sitting around 92-93 MPH with his fastball, but did touch 95.
— I’ve seen all of Banuelos’ home starts this season. Here’s a breakdown by pitch count and highest noted velocity…
4/19 vs. Richmond — 64 pitches/42 strikes; 92 MPH (first post-blister start)
4/30 vs. New Hampshire — 88 pitches/56 strikes; 94 MPH
5/5 vs. Portland — 96 pitches/53 strikes; 93 MPH
5/10 vs. Reading — 84 pitches/XX strikes; 94 MPH
5/22 vs. Portland — 98 pitches/57 strikes; 95 MPH
— Austin Romine and Corban Joseph, who lead the Thunder in batting average with .282 and .278 marks, respectively, each had two-hit games.
— Saw two names in the Thunder lineup you either don’t get to see often or haven’t seen at all yet this season; Yadil Mujica and Damon Sublett.
Mujica played for the first time since May 7, and went 1-for-3 with a run scored to up his average to .138 on the season. Sublett, meanwhile, was a mildly surprising addition to the lineup given his well-documented possible transition to the mound. In his first game of the season — on his 19th active day on the roster –he went 0-for-4 with 2 K’s.
— Yet another nice job by the bullpen…Cory Arbiso, Pat Venditte and Josh Schmidt spun 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. John Nalbone will likely have a story in the Times about the Thunder’s recent run of bullpen success.
— Grant Duff was in the clubhouse after the game with his right surgically repaired elbow heavily wrapped, although he did not pitch in the game. Duff was obviously pleased to be back and in very good spirits. It will be interesting to see how he performs, given that he hasn’t pitched in an actual game yet this season, and had only been in extended spring training.
— Duff has officially been added to the roster, which puts the team at 100 percent capacity with 24 players. So a move will need to be made to get Warner Madrigal on. No one was anticipating his arrival, but it was certainly hard to miss the 265-pounder walking into the Thunder clubhouse at around 11:50 AM yesterday. But it wasn’t too hard to put together the pieces. He was carrying a Yankees equipment bag with the number 68 on it — which is apparently the number he’d been assigned in spring training — and I heard the name either “Warren” or “Warner” when someone was speaking to him. I know what Adam Warren looks like it, and that sure as hell wasn’t him, so I did a quick Google image search, and I knew I had my man.
According to the 2008 Baseball America Prospect Handbook, Madrigal’s fastball is around 93-96 MPH, and he also features a slider. He’d been on Scranton’s disabled list all season, and will be activated in Trenton on Tuesday.
— Stolmy Pimentel, according to BA, is the sixth best prospect in Red Sox organization. According to his performance against the Thunder, it might be time to re-evaluate that. He lasted just 1 1/3 IP today, getting knocked around to the tune of six runs on seven hits and a walk. There was also some sort of issue with his glove before the game…not sure what the story was there. His last start at Waterfront Park, on May 4, wasn’t much better. He lasted 4 1/3 innings that night, and allowed two home runs (four runs total) and eight hits.
— The pitching matchups for the series in Reading are tenatively scheduled as follows:
5/24 TRE Shaeffer Hall vs. REA Austin Hyatt, 6:35 PM
5/25 TRE Dellin Betances vs. REA Ryan Edell, 6:35 PM
5/26 TRE Craig Heyer vs. REA Chris Kissock, 11:05 AM
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com