— Yeral Sanchez. About a week ago, there probably weren’t too many people who knew who he was. And perhaps, those who did know him weren’t terribly impressed. In 31 games for High-A Tampa, the Cuban-born outfielder was batting just .226 with an abysmal .634 OPS to boot.
So, it only makes sense that he’s 5-for-7 in his first two games with Trenton, including tonight’s three-run homer to left field that put his team on top for a good in a 9-2 Thunder thrashing of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
“When he came to us, (Pat Roessler) came to me and said he’s going to provide a little more punch in our lineup,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin. “And we needed a right-handed bat that kind of helps balance our lineup out. And so far, so good.”
So good indeed. Sanchez smashed a Deck McGuire first inning offering over everything in left field to give the Thunder an early 3-1 lead, which at least to Franklin, wasn’t unexpected given he’d never looked at his Tampa numbers to begin with.
“I didn’t look at the numbers, I never do,” he said. “It doesn’t concern me. It’s about what you’re going to do when you get here. I’ll base my opinion on him at the end of of the year on what he’s going to do for us at the end of the season. I was aware that his numbers weren’t really productive, but that’s OK. You come to another level, and it can be a real fresh start for you.”
— Perhaps Thunder starting pitcher Zach Nuding could use a fresh start…as could the majority of the arms that got into the game on Thursday night, with the notable exception of another Cuban import, Rigoberto Arrebato, who spun a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the game.
Nuding walked five batters and allowed six hits through five innings of work, and was followed by Danny Burawa and Tommy Kahnle both of whom walked three men apiece in a combined three innings of work. But Trenton was able to turn three double plays — two of them for Nuding — and somehow managed to allow just two runs, in part thanks to New Hampshire leaving a combined 12 men on base throughout the night.
“We got double plays when we needed them tonight,” Franklin said. “We walked 11 guys, that’s a lot. But we made a pitch when we had to make it and we got out of the innings. We’d like to be more efficient, but it was a tough night.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com