— Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? Spirits were still pretty high in the Thunder clubhouse before the game. The team was selling confidence, and I admit I was buying.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we couldn’t get (into the playoffs),” Trenton skipper Tony Franklin said before the game.
“It just makes you quite anxious when you’re not winning baseball games, it makes you start to think about different things. But as far as the doubt is concerned, no there’s no doubt in my mind that we couldn’t get it done…I think we’re capable of winning the whole championship.”
That was about as much of a declarative statement as you’re going to get out of Franklin, and his players were quick to back him up.
“You have to think you should win it,” said Thunder shortstop Addison Maruszak. “If you don’t think you should win, then you’re probably not going to win it. You have to be confident in yourself — everybody does — that you’re going to win it. And that’s why he’s a good manager, because he’s the head of all of us. If he’s saying that, he believes it. And if he believes it, all of us should believe it.”
— So let’s fast forward to the game then, shall we? The Brett Marshall-Jameson Taillon matchup was pretty highly anticipated, with the latter making his Double-A debut for Altoona. And it was Taillon who shined, holding the Thunder to just four hits through his five innings of work, striking out six along the way.
Brett Marshall uncharacteristically turned in a clunker, allowing four runs on ten hits through his six innings, and his defense had some…ahem, interesting moments behind him that led to a rough 5-0 loss.
Taillon’s comments to reporters are available in the post below this one in video form.
— After the game, and for the second straight night you could hear a pin drop in the clubhouse. Franklin was extremely aggravated. I asked him if there were any positives at all that he could take from tonight’s game.
“None,” he quietly replied, smoke practically billowing from his ears.
“There was nothing positive to take away from this game. I expect more. I expect a lot more than what happened out there tonight. It’s not a very good brand of baseball. If we continue to play that way, I don’t expect to win a game. You’re not going to win games playing like we played, making mistakes like the way we did today…we’re making mistakes, and right now we’re not the type of team that can overcome them.”
I also asked if — as Franklin has said in the past during the team’s seven-game losing streak — this was simply a case of another well-pitched game against them, or if there was more to it than that.
“We didn’t help ourselves, we only had five hits, I would think that was a pretty game that was pitched against us,” said Franklin, whose team has now lost 11 of their last 14.
“We’re going to have good games thrown against us, we’ve got to find a way to score some runs, plain and simple.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com