— The freefall continues. Trenton is 10-21 in their last 31 games after dropping a quick, rain-soaked contest to the Akron Aeros, 3-2. Juan Diaz delievered the big blow, depositing a ninth inning Josh Romanski offering very, very far away to put Akron on top. It was the only mistake that Romanski, who has otherwise been very good, made. Thanks to that, and Reading’s game being suspended tonight, the Phillies are now in second place in the Eastern Division. Not the Thunder.
“We didn’t play very well tonight,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin.
“How many hits did we have? Eight. We’re just not putting them together. We’re not playing good baseball, that’s what happened during the course of the season and the course of the losing streak. We’re not finding a rhythm.”
Someone who certainly found a rhythm was Graham Stoneburner, who allowed two runs on a walk and six hits through seven innings of solid pitching. Stoneburner, who has become somewhat of a forgotten man, needed just 87 pitches to get through his outing and showed increased velocity compared to his first outing back, touching 93 MPH tonight. He was perfect in five out of his seven innings tonight.
“He was very good, but we need to give him more run support. Not just him, but everyone,” Franklin said.
“We just haven’t been scoring enough and not getting runners in scoring position enough to put seven runs on the board during the course of the game. That kind of run production is probably going to win you a game with that kind of pitching.”
We spoke with Stoneburner after the game, and he actually felt as though he pitched better his first time out…
“I felt like I was a little more crisp actually last time,” he said.
“This time, that second inning, I just didn’t execute very well. I kind of put the team in a hole, really. I was fortunate from there on out. I got a really good play from Melky, throwing the guy out at home.”
Stoneburner also noticed the increase in strength and velocity that we saw upstairs.
“I think it’s coming back,” he said.
“I’m starting to get back in pitching form, it was kind of tough this year to get shut down right after three starts and pretty much have to start all over again and have another spring training, pretty much. My innings are getting up there, and I’m starting to get into a better rhythm. I’m starting to understand my delivery a little more and get a better feel for pitching.”
The 23-year-old righty, who entered the season as the Yankees 17th best prospect according to Baseball America, also came into the season with lofty expectations put on his shoulders. But it was his neck and right shoulder that gave out on him, causing him to essentially miss three months of the season. So, when asked to describe what this season has been like, his answer wasn’t surprising.
“Frustrating,” he said.
“It’s never fun to be injured, and it’s always frustrating. But, I’m fortunate to be back. I have to keep moving forward from here.”
— It doesn’t seem as though Austin Romine or Ray Kruml will be playing tomorrow. Franklin described Romine’s back issues as “a situation where it might take some time” when asked if he’d play. Kruml feels better and told Franklin the swelling on the top of his right foot had gone down somewhat, but he still is unable to play.
— Kanekoa Texeira will likely be activated tomorrow. He was at the ballpark today.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com