6:15 PM — Apologies for the very late post, have been running around like crazy for the past hour or so…
This is obviously a pretty big series. Trenton is, as Tony Franklin put it, in a bit of a “downward spiral,” having lost their last five games. They’re 5 1/2 games up on New Britain for the division lead and 6 games up on Reading…who obviously have a lot to play for not only the rest of the way, but in these four games.
“This is what this all about,” Franklin said. “If you’re going to be involved in championship baseball, whether it be at this level or (elsewhere) you have to learn how to play in the moment. And this is the moment. I think they should think about it in those terms.”
For whatever it’s worth, it seems the players may be taking a lighter approach.
“I think we’re treating it just like it’s another four games,” said Thunder first baseman Luke Murton. “We’re trying to stick with what we’ve done all year, go out prepared and play the best we can. Hopefully we’ll come out on top.”
Murton couldn’t pinpoint what’s led to the five-game losing streak, saying that they’ve run into guys who are throwing the ball well. But he also knows they need to turn it around fast, and this will be a difficult place to do it.
“We went through a stretch where it felt like we couldn’t lose,” he said. “We were winning, winning, winning. Now we’ve lost a couple in a row, so it’s time to see what this team is made of. It’s time to get it up a notch.”
Added Franklin: “We need to play well, that’s for sure. We’ve played well for so long, and all of a sudden we’re not. It happens, it’s part of a season. You have some losing streaks, and this is one. Right at the tail end of the season is not the most ideal to kind of falter. But this what we are, and we’re going to have to play well. I think we’re OK, we’re battling. We’re not giving away games. We’re not having a few hits fall for us.”
Lineups are here…
Thunder lineup: A Almonte LF, Pirela 2B, Adams 3B, Z Almonte RF, Murton 1B, Maruszak SS, Mahoney DH, Garcia CF, Gil C, Nuno P
RPhils lineup: Gillies CF, Asche 3B, Ruf 1B, Fox DH, Joseph C, Castro RF, James LF, Abreu 2B, Hanzawa SS, Martin P