— That has to be the worst game I’ve seen the Thunder play all season. I don’t think it’s close, really. The hitting was spotty, the pitching was awful at best and the fielding…yikes.
The hitting? No Trenton player had more than one hit, and only Ray Kruml reached base more than once…and that was on two walks.
The pitching? Craig Heyer turned in an uncharacteristically poor outing, allowing a season high seven runs (five earned) in 5+ innings of work. Pat Venditte allowed all of his inherited runners to score, Brad Halsey imploded in the ninth, and Cory Arbiso wasn’t much better in just a third of an inning.
And the fielding? Rob Lyerly, playing at third base for just the third time in 23 games at the Double-A level, earned the dubious distinction of tying a team record with four errors tonight. He shares the mark with David “The Rock” Gibraltar, the immortal John Raifstanger and Wilton Veras, who actually went on to play for the Red Sox.
Combine all that, and you’ve got a 13-2 pounding at the hands of the Reading Phillies, who effectively ended the good run Trenton got off to to start the second half…and also now climb to just two games back of the Thunder for second place in the Eastern Division.
Other than that, it was a simply fantastic night in the same way the old joke about asking Mrs. Lincoln how the play was…you know, “other than that.”
“Nothing came together tonight,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin.
“(Craig Heyer) not being sharp, us not making plays, we’re not hitting. That kind of thing. It all just snowballed on us tonight, and all of it wasn’t good.”
Particularly concerning is that Trenton has now lost 10 out of their last 12, which includes dropping nine straight heading into the All-Star break. It had seemed that the ship had been righted, but this game…not just a loss, but a big loss in which the team as a whole played poorly…could lead to questions about if that’s truly the case.
“We weren’t good, that’s what happened. We were not good out there tonight,” Franklin said.
“If we were better, the score probably would have been different and maybe we could have come out with a win. But we just weren’t a good baseball team tonight. That’s the reason for the score.”
— As for Lyerly, he had an interesting stat line tonight…one hit in four AB’s with three punchouts and four errors. Not one he’ll want to remember.
“He’ll be back out there at some point, but probably not tomorrow,” Franklin said.
“I feel bad for him. It’s a tough night to handle, and I’ve had some nights when I wasn’t very good, and it weighs on you. You kind of feel responsible about those things that happen out there. What could have happened if I had made plays? So I’ve been there and I feel for him. It’s not easy to take. But he’s going to be in the lineup somewhere tomorrow, and he’s going to have to forget about this one as quickly as he can and go about the business of playing tomorrow.”
— I think I reported this pre-game, but OF DeAngelo Mack has a bone bruise on his left hand…his status is uncertain, but it seems relatively minor given the level of concern that was initially around the injury. 3B Brad Suttle has “arm stiffness” and his status is also uncertain.
— Goodness was that a lot of work covering the Lidge and Victorino dual rehabs. Two guys? Both Phillies? Both All-Stars? For a Trenton paper? I earned my money tonight, I promise you that. Once they’re over, though…rehabs are somewhat fun to reflect on. Granted, this one isn’t over, as both players will play here tomorrow as well…but still.
For someone who admitted after the game that he was playing through pain, Victorino looked great. I thought for sure that ball he hit in the first was gone (watch the video…it missed by maybe three inches?) and the legs were certainly looking fresh as well when he ran out that infield single in the second, which forced Lyerly into one of his four E-5’s.
To his credit, Lidge looked like a completely different pitcher than the one we saw on Thursday. While the velocity didn’t climb up a tick like he would have liked — although he insists that’ll come once he gets to Philly — he needed just 12 pitches to get through a 1-2-3 seventh as opposed to 28 pitches that only got him two outs two days ago. But the big test, and I asked Lidge about this after the game, is throwing back-to-back’s…so tomorrow’s outing will be the big one for him.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com