Back from vacation ... here are some notes (UPDATE)
For instance ...
Dellin Betances was promoted to Scranton. This makes sense. He pitched very well his last time out, and his velocity was hitting the upper-90s. He had been throwing a much higher percentage of fastballs in recent days, an indicator, I think, that the Yankees may use him as a reliever in the near future.
With his promotion, the Thunder's rotation is left with a 6-foot, 8-inch hole to fill. As it stands, here are Trenton's five starters:
1. Shaeffer Hall
2. Graham Stoneburner
3. Steve Garrison
4. Craig Heyer
There are two in-house candidates for the elusive Four Question marks Of Doom spot -- Cory Arbiso and Kei Igawa. Arbiso is starting tonight in the second game of the doubleheader with Erie, so you can probably count him out at least for Friday.
Igawa just came off the shelf, where he'd been since June 23, so he'd be fresh as a daisy on Friday. That said, he's been markedly better as a reliever with the Thunder this season -- not that it really matters to the guys who make these types of decisions.
The other, more interesting candidate is Jeff Marquez, who was with the team way back in 2008, my first year of coverage. He's working his way back from injury, and is currently with the Tampa Yankees. He last pitched on the 13th, so he'd be on five days' rest.
Because Marquez is on the 40-man roster, no move would be needed to get him on the Thunder's roster on Friday. This is key, because the team is currently carrying the maximum 24 players.
Additionally, Austin Romine was activated off the team's disabled list this afternoon. Inflamed disks in his back put him out on August 3rd. Tonight's game will be the first he's played in exactly two weeks. Don't expect him here for long, however. He'll get the bump to Scranton once Jesus Montero is ready to take the first car up to the Bronx.
Corban Joseph missed three consecutive games after having a stye on his eye taken care of. My sister dealt with one of those at one point, and I remember her saying that they were no fun at all. Though he wouldn't admit, I'd bet it hindered his performance some.
The Thunder also dropped two of three to the Harrisburg Senators over the weekend, including one that was lost when Bryce Harper hit a 480-foot walkoff home run off of Ryan Pope on Friday.
As it stands, Trenton is, at 60-60, in a tie for second place in the Eastern Division with the Reading Phillies. Lurking just a half-game back is New Britain, who also could overtake both Reading and the Thunder for the wild card.
If the Thunder are going to make the playoffs, they're going to have to beat some of the best competition the circuit has to offer. After their quartet with Erie, they have seven games with division leader New Hampshire, three with Western Division frontrunner Bowie and eight with the Rock Cats.
UPDATE: Welp, I missed on that one, folks. Jeff Marquez was placed on the 60-Day DL and most certainly not be starting against the Baysox on Friday. Igawa leads the race.