— If the 2011 Trenton Thunder were collectively looking to put a game on their resume, this would likely be one of the last ones they’d pick. Graham Stoneburner got touched up for three runs in the first inning to put Trenton in an early hole, and outside of a late rally capped by a eighth inning Rob Lyerly home run, they never really seemed in the game.
While the score indicates a 6-5 loss, it didn’t seem that close at all.
Thunder manager Tony Franklin is getting increasingly frustrated with his team’s play.
“What I’ve got is the same recording of the way our past few weeks have gone,” he said.
“It’s not good and it’s starting to wear on me. I think we’re a better team than that. I just keep seeing the same movie over and over every night and I’m tired of watching that same movie. We need to do something different.”
Trenton is now 10-24 in its last 34 contests, and haven’t held a share of first place in the Eastern Division since July 3rd. Now, they’re out of a playoff spot all together.
I’ll put the question to you guys in the exact wording I put it to Franklin: Is it time to light a fire under these guys asses?
“Possibly, possibly. I did slam the door when I came in,” he said.
“I hadn’t done that yet. So I’m getting there, I’m getting close. But I can’t lose sight of the fact that there’s still some teaching opportunities out there to be met and that’s what my job is.”
Franklin couldn’t pinpoint what the turning point was that sent his team into this skid, but is certainly aware they need to get out of it in a hurry.
“Baseball’s kind of like that. You get into one of those streaks and when it starts to happens, you wonder how long it’s going to last,” he said.
“I think it started with the nine game losing streak, it could have been before that. We came out of that with a win or two, and then we got right back into it by losing four or five. Then before you know it, it starts to snowball. And it’s a big snowball. It’s already a snowball, and before you know it, it’s a big one and heading towards gigantic. It’s kind of tough to come out of it. But I’ve got to feel that we’re a better team than that, and we’ve got less than a month to go. We need to prove that we are.”
— After Lyerly’s home run in the eighth, the Thunder seemed to be starting another rally in the ninth. Damon Sublett led off with a triple, and Jose Gil walked. Runners on the corners, nobody out and trailing by two. Something could happen here.
And then Gil got picked off. Wasn’t close. He didn’t even get back to the bag.
“We can’t afford to make a mistake like that,” Franklin said.
“(Jose) knows better. Call it what you want, but for me it’s certainly a lack of concentration and basically that’s the way we’ve been playing. You just don’t make mistakes like that if you’re focused and concentrating on what you’re doing.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com