— Ah yes, the good ol’ 1 AM version of the post-game notes. I’m sure this will be just a beacon of outstanding journalism.
— I remember last season when I predicted that the Fisher Cats would beat the Thunder in a playoff series. Some of the reaction to that, no joke, is not suitable for print. In a shocking development, I was completely wrong and Trenton not only beat New Hampshire, but they swept them.
So how is that relevant to this series? Well, the Fisher Cats (35-20) and Thunder (34-21) are the top two teams in the Eastern Division of the Eastern League and, for now, seem like they’re on a collision course for another postseason matchup. And what a hell of a series it would be if the last two games have been any kind of indication.
Just like last night, it once again appeared that a shoddy start by a Thunder pitcher would bury them. And while Dellin Betances’ line is certainly a lot prettier than Shaeffer Hall’s was last night, don’t for a second think he was anywhere close to what he can be tonight. He was wild…not effectively wild, but flat out wild…he walked five in 5 2/3 innings and hit a batter with a curveball he lost control of as well. He limited the hits and limited the damage as a whole, but both control and — as a result — pitch efficiency haven’t been good lately for either of the so-called Killer B’s.
“There’s a lot of deep counts…I mean, we start the ballgame with a walk and that’s not a good way to start,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin.
“He had a couple innings there where he was better, but overall his command of the strike zone and command of his pitches wasn’t good. He wasn’t as good today. He was missing to his arm side a lot, a lot of pitches were in on hitters tonight. When you’re doing that, you’ve got to do something to make an adjustment…he’s not a polished Major League pitcher, this is why he’s here. By season’s end, hopefully we can get him straightened out and when he goes out there, he’ll be good from beginning to end.”
— Good for Cody Johnson. What a nice kid, and it’s good to see him do well…and that comes from someone who was as critical as anyone of him over the first month and a half of the year. Check the post below this one for his post-game video interview with myself and 7-11 aficionado Josh Norris, and the post below that one for the video of his walk-off single.
If you watch any part of the post-game chat we did, I think his answer to my question about hitting with confidence is where you need to go…
— Your daily Austin Romine update is as follows: Romine is experiencing neck and back stiffness after, and Tony Franklin would love my use of this term, getting trucked by Travis Scott on Thursday night. Romine was seen by team doctor Lou Fares, and nothing has been ruled out, which includes a concussion. Romine, however, does not believe he has a concussion and did not say that he experienced any head pain or issues or dizzyness, etc.
“I’ve never had a concussion before, so I don’t feel any different. They haven’t been throwing that word around, so it isn’t even something that’s crossed my mind, really,” Romine said.
Franklin would not rule out a disabled list trip for Romine, but said he probably will not play tomorrow and will not play “until we hear from the doctors and front office people as to what and how we should proceed with this.”
Romine said the stiffness makes it difficult to swing, so it would be difficult for him to play…he also said there are no further medical tests scheduled. He also had a good attitude about the whole thing when asked how he’d rank this collision among the ones he’s had.
“That was a good one, that guy’s a big dude…it sucks that I got rolled,” Romine said through a laugh.
— Adeiny Hechavarria and Jose Pirela put on a Major League-caliber show at shortstop tonight for the Fisher Cats and Thunder, respectively. Hechavarria made two particularly dazzling plays (one of them can be seen on video in my in-game video post), but Pirela made a game-saving play of his own late in the game as well.
But the Thunder’s tenth inning rally started on a Hechavarria error…
“I told Phelpsy that was the first ball I’ve seen him boot,” Franklin said.
“All the talk in the dugout over the course of the game with every play he makes is ‘This guy’s a Major League defender right now.’ There’s no question about it, it’s very evident how good he is out there.”
As for Pirela…
“He’s gotten better, aggressively better over the course of two months or so,” Franklin said.
“He got off to a rough start, no question about it, but he’s settling in and playing well. The play he made was a very, very solid play. If you’re a Major League shortstop, that’s the play you make.”
— Breakout game by DeAngelo Mack…he went 4-for-4 to up his average to .300 in his brief stay up here. I don’t see him going anywhere once Melky Mesa returns. Hard to get a read on Mack as a player though…I don’t think he really has that standout tool. He described himself as “the type of player that just tries to do everything right,” and that makes some sense…seems like a very good all-around player.
— Again, another fantastic job by the Thunder bullpen as a whole. 4 1/3 scoreless frames out of Cory Arbiso, Fernando Hernandez and Wilkins Arias with zero walks issued amongst them. Given Betances’ struggles with the free pass, that part was particularly big.
“I can’t say enough about our bullpen,” Franklin said.
“They all came into some pretty clutch situations for us, and they performed well. That’s generally what happens when the middle guys come in, they give us an opportunity to win.”
— I owe you features on Hall, Johnson and Mack. I know this. You will see them. You will, however, not see me at a day game tomorrow. Talk to me when it’s free Ripken Power Shred Sundays or something like that. Then I’ll be there.
— Some photos from the day…
Ryan Baker and a very happy Chase
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com