— I’ll get to the game in a minute, the news after it is somewhat significant. DH Cody Johnson has been sent down to High-A Tampa, while OF Zoilo Almonte has been called up from High-A Tampa.
In 74 games, Johnson was hitting .226 with 15 home runs and 45 RBI. The big problem? 138 K’s in 297 AB’s. He played just a handful of games in the outfield, primarily serving as the team’s regular designated hitter, and was a one-dimensional player who was way too inconsistent. Regarded as a nice kid by everyone in the media, Johnson declined to speak to us after the game…which is understandable. The move also likely spells the beginning of the end of the road for him in this organization.
He was given plenty of time to put everything together by the Yankees organization, and didn’t. It can hardly be viewed as good sign that a player who spent the entire first half of the season in Double-A is getting demoted, which is something the Yankees rarely do with their position players at this level. Once you’re up, you’re up. Up is Zoilo Almonte, and it’ll be hard to see a scenario in which he doesn’t stay up. In 69 games in Tampa, Almonte hit .293 with 12 home runs and 54 RBI, primarily playing in left field. Almonte, like Johnson, is just 22 years old.
Melky Mesa and Ray Kruml are sure to have regular spots in the outfield, and it would seem Almonte would as well. It would also seem as though DeAngelo Mack picked a bad time to get hurt, and that Damon Sublett…who has actually played very well as of late, will become the team’s fourth outfielder at best.
— Trenton won the game, 9-5, snapping a nine-game losing streak that included a four game sweep at the hands of Reading that ended the first half. J.C. Ramirez was very hittable on the mound for the Phillies tonight — he certainly wasn’t the only pitcher they had who had a rough night, but we’ll get to that later — and the Thunder bats were alive early and often.
“We needed to beat these guys, they had a stranglehold on us there for a minute,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin.
“It was good to get a win tonight.”
Ray Kruml continued his hot streak by going 3-for-4 to up his average to .306…and he added a stolen base in the process. Jose Gil also continues to have a nice year, and his 3-for-3 night got his average up to .281. And he stole a base too! Jose Gil! With NO THROW!!!
Shaeffer Hall scuffled through five innings and wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen him in the past…he gave up four runs on four hits and three walks, and struck out three batters.
“He was pretty good, he battled,” Franklin said.
“Not real sharp, but he did well enough to keep us in the game…he did a nice job. But he’s always given us an opportunity to be in the games.”
— Brad Lidge was not good tonight for Reading. His catcher, Tim Kennelly, didn’t do him many favors behind the plate, which led to three wild pitches…but Lidge also walked a batter, hit two and nearly struck a third in Brad Suttle, who flew out to deep right field instead.
“(That was) pretty close, I thought it was going to hit me. But I got out of the way, luckily,” Suttle said with a laugh.
“I had faced him the last series, and surprisingly he threw me a lot of offspeed pitches. I feel like I had a good plan, but I just missed it, so I was a little disappointed. I knew I got it a little off the end.”
Lidge told reporters after the game that he had an uptick in velocity but lost some of his control. Suttle didn’t notice too much of a difference at all between facing him this time and several days ago in Reading.
“I knew he had a good slider and a good curveball, and I think I hit a slider. He’s got a good sharp curveball, and good control of his offspeed pitches. Tonight, he was a little bit wild though.”
Tony Franklin, meanwhile, thought Lidge showed signs of his old form.
“He bounced some balls that got by the catcher, but he’s still got his good stuff,” Franklin said.
— Looks like Ryan Pope will be returning to the closer’s role. He finished out the game for the Thunder tonight — albeit not in a save situation — and will likely be used in that role.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com