5:45 PM — Really, there are only so many places you can go with the whole Thunder-Phillies battle on the Trenton side. Guys aren’t going to tell me anything different than they have the past few days, despite the losses continuing to pile up.
So I headed over to the Reading clubhouse and spoke to Tommy Joseph and Ethan Martin as part of a larger feature, but I also wanted to get their take on the race that they’ve been thrust into…
“I don’t think things are going bad for them so much as I think we’re just playing really good baseball right now,” Joseph said.
“They’re a really good ballclub and they’ve got a lot of talent on their team. But I just think right now, the Reading Phillies are playing really good baseball. We go out there every day and take care of business…we just treated this series like another four games. At this point, it doesn’t matter who we play, it’s going to mean a lot.”
As for Martin, two of his three Eastern League outings have come against the Thunder, so he certainly already has a feel for their lineup.
“They have some good hitters, and you’ve got to make your pitches against them. If you don’t, you’re going to pay,” he said.
“The first time I faced them, I missed a pitch and they hit a home run. The other night, I got behind in the count and got into their counts and used the fastball, and they’re going to make you pay for it. (With their seven-game losing streak) it’s baseball, it’s going to happen. There’s not too many teams that can keep rolling and rolling. They’re just hitting theirs, but they’re a good enough team to where they can get out of it, too.”
However, as Joseph said, a lot of the credit for the Phillies closing the gap should go to…well, the Phillies.
“The offense is doing unreal,” Martin said. “The way they’re scoring runs makes it so much easier for us pitchers to go out and be confident, knowing that they’re going to score for us. And we’ve stepped up with pitching, too.”
5:20 PM — Thunder lineup: Pirela 2B, Garcia CF, Adams 3B, Z Almonte RF, Murton DH, Mahoney 1B, Murphy C, Segedin LF, Ibarra SS, Hall P
Phillies lineup: Gillies CF, Asche 3B, Ruf LF, Castro RF, Joseph 1B James DH, Abreu 2B, Lerud C, Hanzawa SS, Hyatt P