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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

ALCS Thoughts, Winter Leagues update

So, Phillies fans, exactly what has happened lately to Chase Utley's ability to throw? He looks less confident out there than late-period Chuck Knoblauch with the Yankees. Remember? The guy who got so out of wack that he hit Keith Olbermann's mother in the face with a throw? Here's hoping he straightens it out before the month is over, or it's going to be a long offseason for Utley in the pages of The Inquirer and the Philly Daily News. And I don't even want to think about how the hosts/callers will treat him on sports talk radio.

Additionally, and I know it's been a problem all season, but that Philadelphia bullpen is absolutely brutal. When your most trustworthy reliever is Chan Ho Park, that's a problem. And please, please, pleeeeeeaaaaase don't try to tell me Brad Lidge is back, just because he hasn't given up a run this postseason.

He skirted danger in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Rockies, walking two batters and ending the game by getting Troy Tulowitzki to BARELY miss a three-run, walk-off home run. That's not exactly lights-out relief work, if you ask me.

Additionally, if the atom-ball that Utley turned into a double play in Game 1 is six inches to the right or left, then that ninth inning takes on an entirely different scope. The Dodgers would have had runners on (probably) first and third and nobody out. Considering he walked the next man, James Loney, things could be looking a lot worse for the Phils than a 1-1 split heading back to Citizens Bank Park tomorrow night.


As for the ALCS, what a game by CC Sabathia. That certainly was what the Yankees were hoping for when they doled out $171 million to ink him for the next seven years, wasn't it?

It's been quite a while since the Bombers could enter a postseason with someone they could legitimately claim as a true ace. Now it's up to A.J. Burnett -- another big-money man -- to repeat CC's feat in Game 2 tonight (if possible) in the windy, rainy Bronx.

Of course, the big question with Burnett is: Will it be Jorge Posada or Jose Molina calling pitches behind the dish? To me, the answer is Molina. He's clearly established a better rapport -- and coaxed better results from -- Burnett all season long.

With Posada calling pitches, the opposition is hitting .270/.353/.775. With Molina, those numbers drop to .221/.307/.658. -- quite the difference, if you ask me.

Additionally, just look at Burnett's results in Game 2, when Molina was the starting backstop: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER and 6 K. He did walk five men and hit another two, but he worked around them.


The Arizona Fall League has started, and some former and soon-to-be Thunder players have started off quite well.

Brandon Laird, who could be manning the hot corner next season in Trenton, has coasted through the first four weeks with a robust .625 average, including a home run and seven RBIs.

Austin Romine, who will more than likely be in Trenton come April, is sporting a .462/.500/.962 line, with a pair of RBIs thrown in for good measure.

Colin Curtis, who started last season with the Thunder, has a .316 average, two doubles, a home run and four RBIs.


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