— I’m pretty sure that any and all footage of that game will be burned. Then the ashes will be burned, and the ashes of the ashes will be burned. The point, for those who it somehow escaped, is that this was not pretty baseball. The teams combined for seven total errors, and three of them belonged to Trenton…which is coincidentally how many hits they had.
Corban Joseph had a double and a triple in his first two at-bats. Jose Pirela, before…ummm, contributing his 18th error of the season — and what a gem that was — had the Thunder’s only other hit.
— Dellin Betances, as he usually is when he pitches, is your story tonight. I wouldn’t necessarily say this in a bad way, but he can be frustrating to watch. You see flashes of what he can do…his curveball is pretty nasty when it’s working, and his fastball tops out at around 95 MPH. In five innings, he struck out eight. Good, right? Sure. But he lasted just five innings. Good, right? No. And he knows it.
“Hopefully next time, I’m able to go more than five,” Betances said.
“I can’t throw five innings. I have to be able to pitch longer in the games. I’ve just got to throw more strikes early and stop falling behind and just try to put guys away when I’m ahead 0-2 or 1-2 instead of taking them 3-2 and end up striking them out or walking them.”
Thunder manager Tony Franklin was pretty succinct in responding to a question about how Betances can improve and really put together a start where he can go deep into a game: “Be more efficient.”
“You continue to work at it. It’s repitition of it, like you learn most things,” he said.
“Confidence…just being able to have the ability to go out there and do those things. There’s no magic to it, there’s no secret formula to it. You go out, you talk about what you’re going to do, and you go over the gameplan and see if you can execute that gameplan. That’s where the efficiency comes in.”
95 pitches in five innings?
“That’s not pitch efficiency,” Franklin said. “That’s not what we’re looking for, but I think in time we’re going to be able to get to that.”
Franklin did not think it was a lack of confidence for Betances, moreso a lack of consistency…
“I think he’s confident in his ability to get hitters out, but having high pitch counts and being behind in the count quite often doesn’t allow him to do that as well as he can. And I think that’s what we’re striving for, getting ahead of hitters more and being able to put them away.”
Betances certainly did not pitch badly. Not at all. Although, just four pitches into his outing, it looked like it might go that way after Josh Johnson deposited a Betances offering over some fencing they’d set up about 400 feet away in the outfield.
“That first inning, I left a pitch up to the second guy. He hit it pretty good…the first inning was pretty much the game though, to be honest,” Betances said.
— The Thunder are still 13 games over .500. Hard to believe given the lineup they’re throwing out there sometimes, but Franklin will of course tell you — and believe it — that what he has is enough. Granted, he doesn’t have enough players — the team is two short of the maximum 24 — but he did admit that tonight wasn’t his team’s “finest hour.”
“We’ve played well for a long time, but I don’t think we were thinking very well out there tonight,” Franklin said.
“I told them that generally when you have games like that, your thinking is pretty clouded…that kind of magnifies your physical performance out there. We weren’t very good out there…as a matter of fact, we played pretty poorly.”
— Austin Romine was still in the clubhouse, playing cards with a teammate. He has done some physical activity, but nothing baseball related. Melky Mesa, meanwhile, was running stadium steps before the game today. There is no timetable on a return for either.
— Of tonight’s bullpen trio of Brad Halsey, Fernando Hernandez and Grant Duff, only Hernandez had a sharp outing. Halsey gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in his first multi-inning outing of the season (1 2/3) and Duff gave up a no doubter of a home run off the bat of Bill Rhinehart. Hernandez, who has been shaky at best for most of the season, struck out three in a spotless 1 1/3 frames of work.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com