— Reading starting pitching is giving the Thunder fits this series. Austin Hyatt’s performance tonight was simply more of the same.
Between Mario Hollands, Jonathan Pettibone and Hyatt, the Thunder have scored just two runs in 21 innings off of the R-Phils starters so far, and things certainly won’t get any easier on Sunday with Futures Game participant Julio Rodriguez on the mound.
“Those are probably three of the best games we’ve had pitched against us,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin. “Their guys pitch well and executed extremely well.”
Unfortunately, the game got away from Trenton and their starter, Mikey O’Brien, very early. The Phillies tacked five runs on the board in the first inning, sending ten men to the plate in a 43 pitch inning that essentially ended the game before it had even begun.
“I just wasn’t really catching any breaks that first inning,” O’Brien said. “I felt good and my stuff felt good, and I didn’t catch any breaks. They were just putting the bat on the ball. You’ve just got to battle, I didn’t want to come out after the first or second inning. I just tried to save our bullpen and pitch as deep as I can. I wanted to just throw quality pitches and try to get outs.”
The 22-year-old righty pitched relatively well after the first inning, with only a Darin Ruf home run serving as a blemish, but O’Brien struggled for a second straight outing after having been shut down for a start by the Yankees organization to manage his innings…or, as they’d tell it, he came down with an ingrown toenail. Either way, he refused to use that as an excuse with reporters after the game.
“Overall, I feel great, so I don’t think that played into effect at all,” he said. “I felt good, but that happens. I can’t really do anything about that now. I just have to try to bounce back.”
O’Brien issued a leadoff walk to Phillies center fielder Jiwan James, which was followed by a single by Cody Asche that moved James to third. An RBI groundout by Cesar Hernandez put the first run of the game on the board and put Reading on top, 1-0. But it would get much worse.
Ruf singled through the right side, which moved Asche to third and put Ruf at second after right fielder Zoilo Almonte’s throw eluded cutoff man Kevin Mahoney after Asche has been held at third base. But none of that mattered when Tug Hulett’s double scored them both and put the Thunder further behind, 3-0. Back-to-back RBI singles by Phillies catcher Sebastian Valle — in which center fielder Melky Mesa appeared to have a chance at catching the ball but laid back to try to make a throw home — and Troy Hanzawa put Trenton in a 5-0 hole before they even had a turn at-bat.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com
(Some content from my Trentonian story was used in this post)