5:40 PM — So, I spoke to Tony Franklin, Tyler Austin and Rob Segedin before the game…
Let’s start with Segedin. I asked him if it was kind odd to be out of the lineup today after all the talk of him being in it the past two days, especially after what he did last night. Does that make sense? Anyway, here’s what he said…
“I knew that Dave was going to DH today, I knew that before yesterday’s game that the chances of me being in today were slim,” Segedin said.
“It was huge (to come out of Reading with a split). We were at their place, and now that we’ve got three games at home in front of our home crowd, hopefully it’s a big advantage to get to the championship series.”
All right, now Tyler Austin. In 159 regular season games as a pro, Austin has never hit eighth. No big deal, he says.
“That doesn’t bother me at all, I’m just happy to be in the lineup and just want to come out and help the team get a W tonight,” he said.
I asked the “mega-prospect” if he felt like the combination of that spot in the order and opposing pitchers possibly being unfamiliar with him might change the way he gets pitched to…
“I don’t know, maybe they will and maybe they won’t,” he said. “Either way, that’s not going to change my game.”
Let me present Franklin’s comments in their entirety about Austin…I asked him both about how he arrived at hitting him eighth, and if players have to earn spots in a batting order.
“What does it matter where he hits,” Franklin asked. “I don’t even remember (where he hit in this lineup), that’s how important it is to me. What’s important to me is that the kid is in the lineup and he’s getting a chance to play. I don’t think it’s that important where he hits. What I try to do when I’m making up a lineup is to try to construct it to where I think guys are going to benefit the most. He’s a young guy, first time up here. We had him in the third slot one day…we had him in that slot, and it’s not that I don’t think he can handle it, but he is going to replace Adams? I don’t think so. Is he going to replace Zoilo? I don’t think so. Addy’s hot. When you look at it and you start constructing your lineup, he’s going to end up sixth or seventh, somewhere around there. That’s the only reason he’s hitting where he is, and actually what it does is it makes our lineup a lot longer. It makes our lineup longer, so I think it benefits us more than anything.”
“I always have (believed in that), and I always will. But don’t get me wrong, that when we’re talking about our young players and we’re talking about where they’re best suited to hit, the amount of at-bats you get during a year are important. I think it’s been proven that each slot lower in the batting order, you’re going to miss about 15 at-bats a year. So we like to elevate them as much as we can. I think guys do need to earn their spots. I think hitting in the third spot is a place of honor, I always have felt that. I have always felt that your best hitters are in the number three spot unless you’re a leadoff guy like Pete Rose. Those guys that have hit in the third spot and the fourth spot and fifth spot, those are places of honor. I never hit in those spots.”
4:00 PM — Well, Tyler Austin is playing. But he’s hitting eighth. It’s a start, I guess. He hasn’t hit there all season in any of his stops.
Thunder lineup: Garcia CF, Flores LF, Adams DH, Almonte RF, Maruszak SS, Murphy C, Mahoney 3B, Austin 1B, Ibarra 2B, O’Brien P
Reading lineup: Gillies CF, Asche 3B, Ruf 1B, Hulett 2B, Castro RF, Joseph C, Tripp DH, Myers LF, Hanzawa SS, Martin P. No Jake Fox.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com