— The traveling Trenton contingent of myself, Josh Norris and John Nalbone spoke with many, many people after Trenton’s come from behind 4-1 win over Reading on Thursday night, which evened the series at one game a piece. Let’s break down the key moments of the game first, then I’ll pass along selected comments from the participants involved…
— David Aardsma started the game for the Thunder and was only going to pitch one inning with a supposed 25 pitch maximum. He joked yesterday that he was hoping he wouldn’t reach his pitch limit like he did in another outing. Well, he threw 28 pitches tonight, and he’s lucky it wasn’t more.
Aardsma walked leadoff man Tyson Gillies and then gave up a hard hit single back through the box to Cody Asche, which set the stage for Darin Ruf. Ruf singled through the left side to new left fielder Ramon Flores, but Flores bobbled the ball which allowed Gillies to score…Asche headed for third and Flores made a beautiful throw to third…but who was going to be there to catch it? David Adams broke away from the bag to appear to be in position to cut off a potential throw home, but then came back towards the bag to receive the throw after some apparent miscommunication with Addison Maruszak…Adams was to the first base side of the bag, a little bit towards home plate when he made the catch, and appeared to just barely nick Asche with a tag on his back, left arm on his headfirst slide into third to get the first out of the inning and limit the damage.
The next batter, Jake Fox, singled, but Aardsma retired the next two men he faced to end the inning and escape having allowed just one run.
— Maruszak came up big again when his team needed it the most, and at a somewhat unlikely time. Trevor May was shoving it through four innings, and had allowed only a leadoff single to Adonis Garcia that nearly took his head off. Maruszak took the fifth May offering he saw and deposited it over the short porch in left, tying the game at one run a piece.
— Shaeffer Hall, who found out last night from myself and Josh that he wasn’t starting today, came into the game to start the second and was absolutely aces. He breezed through 5 2/3 innings of one-hit ball in just 63 pitches, but somewhat surprisingly left the game in favor of Graham Stoneburner with two outs in the seventh after retiring the last two men he faced. Stoneburner, Lee Hyde, Branden Pinder and Ryan Pope shut Reading down after that.
— Hyde retired only one of the two lefties he faced, walking Asche to set the stage for Ruf in the bottom of the eighth in a 1-1 game. Tony Franklin elected to insert Branden Pinder in to face Ruf, he of all of 1 1/3 Double-A innings. Ruf absolutely demolished a Pinder offering over everything in left field…but it went just foul. Pinder then induced a fly out to left, keeping things tied, 1-1, heading into the top of the ninth.
— Rob Segedin. The former third round pick of the Yankees hit just .188 in the regular season, and was by all accounts considered to have had a disappointing first foray into Double-A. And then tonight happened. After Franklin believed in him and said it would have crushed him to have taken him out of the lineup, Segedin delivered with a two-out, bases loaded, bases clearing triple to right field past a diving Leandro Castro to break the game wide open in the top of the 9th. Castro laid out for the ball, but appeared to misjudge it just a bit…the ball landed behind his outstretched arm.
The big story of the past two days was “mega-prospect” Tyler Austin sitting in favor of Segedin. Funny part of all of it? Segedin will indeed sit tomorrow.
— OK, now the quotes…there will be a ton of them. Get out your reading glasses, folks.
“Early on, I wasn’t finishing my pitches when I was getting ahead of guys. The walk to the leadoff hitter, Tyson Gillies, you can’t ever walk the (leadoff) guy, especially a guy that fast, he’s going to score. After that, I just wasn’t finishing the pitches. I’d get ahead, but I was leaving balls too far over the plate and giving up hits. It didn’t really hurt us that much, they weren’t big, huge hits, they were singles. After giving up the run, I started battling to make my pitches. I got a couple ground balls and got out of it.”
“It’s one of those things where it’s getting in games and getting in situations and having confidence in your stuff. My speed isn’t quite where it normally is, so it’s a matter of just trusting that the pitches are good enough and making my pitches. That’s just being in games and getting comfortable and it takes a little time. Right at the end, I was really finishing them and making my pitches and they were going right where I wanted them to.”
“I’m going to stay with the team and pitch for them on Saturday.”
“I feel like there’s definitely work to do. I feel like I’m getting closer every outing, but if I pitch I did like I did at the very end of that outing, absolutely.”
“I’m happy to back up Skip. There was a lot of press with Tyler coming up, and Tyler’s a great player. I just want to thank Skip for the opportunity to show what I’ve got.”
“It’s a situational game. He’s behind 2-0 with an open base, anything with Mahoney, he’s a great hitter. If he was going to pitch to him and give him a pitch to hit, Mahoney would put a good swing on it, so I wasn’t surprised about (the IBB to Mahoney). It was a good call by their manager, but I just came through.”
“I was looking for something away. He’s got a pretty good cutter, a pretty good slider. I was kind of focusing on a ball away. First pitch was in, and I laid off that. The second one, he actually missed a little bit over the plate but it was still a little bit in. I just got lucky enough to get the ball down.”
“I got decent wood on it. It kind of hung up there for a little bit. At first, I thought it was definitely going to get down, but Castro…Luis (Dorante) was saying he actually overpursued it and had a good chance to catch it. It’s been one of those years where you hit balls hard at people and you can’t do anything about it, all you can control is the swing you put on it and the pitches you swing at. It was a good time for me to get something.”
“I always have confidence no matter what I’m hitting. Every time I go out there, I’m thinking that I’m still the best player out there. Confidence is never a factor for me whether I’m hitting 0 or 1.000. Every day, I come to the field ready to play.”
“In 2010, I came up here for the playoffs with really no professional experience and it was the same thing here then. They had a bunch of guys who played and helped them get to the spot they’re at, and he stuck with them. I talked to Tony before that I knew my role was going to be very limited if I was going to play at all, and I didn’t get a chance to play…(being here two years ago) it was more of an atmosphere thing and getting to see the competition. It’s a great time to play, during the playoffs, and I didn’t get to play so I can’t really say it helped me, but it was good to see and get used to the environment. When I was here, Andy Pettitte was throwing so there were big crowds and a lot of exciting stuff. It was good to get that exposure in professional baseball.”
“I had a plan in mind, and we’re going to follow the plan. So, no (Segedin) won’t be in the lineup tomorrow. I’m not going to (say I told you so on Segedin). But we had a plan in mind, and David’s going to DH tomorrow. We still have to follow the format with Adams on his days of getting him off his feet, and tomorrow is his DH day. That moves Segedin out, and we get Austin at first base.”
“I was elated (on the Segedin hit). We needed a big hit. It was really nip and tuck there, and there were times during the game where each team might have had an opportunity there. I look up at the board and saw we only had three hits and they only have three hits, and it just goes to show you it was a well pitched ballgame. This time of year, it’s all about pitching and defense, and when you get a big hit like we got tonight, that generally puts you over the top. It just happened to be Segedin tonight, and Addy got the home run to tie us. It was a well played game”
“(Hall was) outstanding, outstanding. You guys asked me earlier if I thought (coming into the game in the second) would affect him, and I didn’t think it would. He had eight innings to work with after that, and he did a heck of a job. It’s just like finishing an inning and going out there after you retire the side, he did a great job.”
“(Ruf’s eighth inning AB) It was certainly far enough (to be a homer), it was just a matter of whether it was going to be fair or foul. There was no question it was going to leave the ballpark, and he just got out in front of it and hooked it pretty good.”
“I think (getting out of the first inning with one run allowed) was the biggest part of the ballgame, to be honest with you. It could have been a lot more, but David did a great job in minimizing the damage. After he faced the first couple of batters, he found his rhythm and started finishing some pitches and he was fine. But I think that was the biggest part of the ballgame, that first inning there. It could have gone a different route, and if it had I don’t know what we would have done. But we did a great job by holding them to one run there.”
“(The play at third) turned out to be hug, there could have been another run there on the board. We were able to cut the run down. Pitching and defense will keep you into games, bad baserunning will take you out more than any errors will…you’ve got to be careful what you’re doing out there on the bases, especially when you’ve got a rally going. If you run yourself out of it, you’re going to look back and ask yourself what if…tonight, they’re probably asking themselves what if.”
“It wasn’t a mix-up (on who should have covered third on that play), I just think that Addy was over…if (Adams) was (making a play to cutoff a throw at home) he made a heck of an adjustment back to the base, which is good. Sometimes, you’re going to have to do those types of things, everything isn’t always set in stone and you just have to make the adjustment on the fly, and that was the case. I didn’t see the total play, but I know he wasn’t at the base and had to back up to get in position, and fortunately the throw was there and he put the tag on him.”
“(Play at third) That’s my bag, because it’s a base hit. It’s always my bag. Then, I heard Dave but I couldn’t exactly hear what he said. I thought he was saying he had it. We both were close to the bag, and I peeked at him at the last second, and he was in a better position than me, so he just took over. It was miscommunication. It is my bag, but he thought because I didn’t see him drop it because I’m running to third, he decided to take it at the last second, which is good. It’s late or good communication, but it was bad communication at the beginning.”
“(That play was) pretty big. That was the first out, so actually that’s probably the biggest play of the game, that’s probably bigger than Segedin’s (hit). You never know what might happen, they might still not get it, but that’s a pretty big play.”
“My first at-bat, (May) threw a get me over curveball, which I’ve seen before. And then he left a changeup up and in, and that’s the one I tapped to shortstop kind of awkwardly. We were all noticing that he was leaving offspeed way down or hanging it a little bit. My last at-bat, I almost fought off an 0-0 and an 0-1 fastball, and I forget what happened next, but then he threw offspeed up again and I tried to stay on it as long as possible and I just caught it perfect. First at-bat, same thing happened, except I took a better swing my second at-bat.”
“Struggling is a good word for (Segedin). It’s unfortunate, but he has been hitting the ball hard at people, and his bloopers have not been falling. I went up to him in the training room, and I said, ‘For all the bad luck you’ve had, you picked a good time for it to stop.’ I couldn’t be happier. I didn’t see it, I was running. I heard he dove, and if he’d have caught that, I’d be pretty upset. Other than that, we all played good today. That’s how we’re going to have to play to beat them. It’s going to be a battle. We’re not going to smoke them, I don’t think they’re going to smoke us. But it’s going to be games like this.”
“I just heard that (Ruf) is a good hitter. There’s going to be a lot of good hitters up here. I don’t really pay attention to (him leading MiLB in HR’s) I just go out there and do my job and pitch to my strengths. If he’s going to get it, he’s going to get it.”
“I just went after him; fastball, fastball. Then, once he cranked that one, I kind of went after him; slider, slider.”
“It was gone, but it was either if it was fair or foul. It didn’t really phase me, so I just went after him.”
“Obviously, a new hitter seeing a new hitter is going to be to our advantage. I just went out there and did my job and that was that.”
“It’s just going out there throwing strikes and getting outs.”
“(On the play at third) I was actually going to cut four, because I was supposed to be the cut man. Then we had a bobble in left field, and Addison and I didn’t have great communication there, so I just kind of jumped in and ran back to the bag. We barely got him, but the umpire called him out. I think we barely got the tag. It ended up as a busted play, but it ended up working out.”
“(Getting out of that inning with one run), it’s huge. It’s absolutely huge. Something like that after yesterday’s devastating loss, for them to get up early with two runs…but to get out of that when they had one out with two guys on there, that’s huge for us. That’s huge, that was clutch.”
“I think just getting a W on the road gives us more confidence going back home. Then we’ve got some young guys to step up and pitch. If they keep doing their job, hopefully we can have more guys at the plate step up and do their job. Hopefully, it’s going to be exciting.”
“I’m going to be honest with you, it was a little different than what I’m normally used to. I tried to keep it as close as I could to the other games that I’ve started. It was a little tough, because we had the first inning where we were up and he was still on the mound getting loose, and I needed the catcher. But everything kind of got delayed a little bit, but I just went out there and treated the second inning like it was my first. Starting with the back end of the lineup first was a little different, but other than that I tried to keep everything as similar as possible.”
“You know, I didn’t really feel too much pressure. I know it’s kind of tough to say that because it is a crucial game to try to this series up at one going back to our place, but I felt like there was a lot less pressure today than any other game this season for some reason. I don’t know what it was, but I just had that feeling. I had to control was what I did out there, and the rest was out of my hands. I just went out there and gave all I had and we ended up with the W.”
“I don’t think (the outing could have gone better). Honestly, I just went after every hitter. Attacked them. The hit that Hulett got off me, I felt like it was a good pitch, he just got it into left field and it fell. Other than that, I walked a couple guys…Ruf’s a pretty good hitter and I didn’t want to give him anything easy and Joseph, he’s been pretty good against me this season. I just wanted to be careful with those guys and just attack.”
“(I was) a little bit (surprised to come out that early), but I felt like if I could hand the ball off to anybody, Stoney is a great guy to give it to. It was a right on right matchup, and he had a runner on first and we were able to get out of it. It was a great call.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com