Blogs > Minor Matters

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

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another exasperating loss for the Thunder

TRENTON – Before every game, Thunder manager Tony Franklin oversees his infielders as they work on their craft. Jose Pirela and Corban Joseph in particular can be seen taking ground balls and working on perfecting the double-play turn. Rob Lyerly works on getting better at the corners.

This is all in addition to the day’s regularly scheduled pregame practice session.

After the infield’s display in the fifth inning of the team’s 9-3 loss to the Binghamton Mets last night, it’s clear that there’s a lot of work left to be done.

In that frame, Shaeffer Hall, who had the misfortune of being a control artist who can get hitters to beat the ball into the dirt, watched as Lyerly, Pirela and Addison Maruszak each misplayed grounders behind him.

The final error of the inning, Lyerly’s, would have ended the frame with just four runs on the board and the Thunder staring at a 6-2 hole. Instead, Niuman Romero, activated from Binghamton’s disabled list to replace the promoted Jordany Valdespin, reached, and the B-Mets tacked on three more.

When asked about it before the game, Franklin agreed that his team’s defense, particularly on the infield, has been one of the major contributing factors in its current tailspin.

“It’s a defensive game. I’ve said this for five years and I’ve said this for a long time in my career. … We’ve made a lot of errors, and errors have contributed to big innings (and) runs, and that makes playing the game a little more difficult.”

To wit, through the first 116 games, Trenton has committed 130 errors. Four players (Pirela, Joseph, Lyerly, Brad Suttle) have more than 10, something that hadn’t been accomplished since 2006.

Allowing seven runs in an inning is never good, but facing a former first-rounder throwing high-90s gas only compounds the situation.

That was the case with Matt Harvey last night, the seventh overall selection in last June’s draft, who, although he didn’t have lockdown stuff, was able to quiet the Thunder’s bats over five innings.

In all, Harvey allowed three runs on six hits, walked nobody and fanned six.

Before the disastrous fifth, things were actually looking up for the Thunder, who were able to briefly time Harvey’s fastball. Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte strung together consecutive singles in the second, and Damon Sublett sent home the first run with a ringing double into the left-center field alleyway.

A groundout from Jose Gil – who also erred in the fifth – brought home a second run, which tied the game at the time.

NOTES: Joseph was not initially in the lineup. He was scheduled to visit the doctor to have a stye over his eye lanced. Plans changed, however, and he was reinserted into day’s starting nine. … Ray Kruml took batting practice yesterday, and could be activated in time for this weekend’s set in Harrisburg. … Austin Romine (lower back) is still day to day.

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