ELDS Game 2 - Postgame notes
Bright Spots: Where to begin? How about the first inning, on what Addison Maruszak said might have been the biggest play of the game. With runners on first and second, Darin Ruf singled to left, where Ramon Flores bobbled the ball. Tyson Gillies scored, but Flores recovered in enough time to nab Cody Asche on a very close play at third.
“(That play was) pretty big," Maruszak said. "That was the first out, so actually that’s probably the biggest play of the game, that’s probably bigger than Segedin’s (hit). You never know what might happen, they might still not get it, but that’s a pretty big play.”
Maruszak also homered on Thursday, a solo blast in the fifth that tied the game. It was his 17th longball of the year. Here's what he had to say about what he saw from Trevor May, who looked pretty vanilla for most of the game:
“My first at-bat, (May) threw a get me over curveball, which I’ve seen before. And then he left a changeup up and in, and that’s the one I tapped to shortstop kind of awkwardly. We were all noticing that he was leaving offspeed way down or hanging it a little bit.
"My last at-bat, I almost fought off an 0-0 and an 0-1 fastball, and I forget what happened next, but then he threw offspeed up again and I tried to stay on it as long as possible and I just caught it perfect. First at-bat, same thing happened, except I took a better swing my second at-bat.”
Before we get to Segedin, let's talk about Hall, who put forth one of the grittiest (I'm sorry) efforts from a Thunder pitcher in postseason play, especially considering the media were the ones who informed him on Wednesday that David Aardsma would be stepping in for the first inning on Thursday.
The lefty kept Reading off-balance and off the bases all night, something that, with guys like Ruf, Jake Fox, Tommy Joseph and Leandro Castro, isn't particularly easy. Without Hall's effort, the Thunder could very easily have been heading home down 2-0. Instead, they did what they needed to do and split at FirstEnergy Stadium. Here's Hall on his outing:
“I’m going to be honest with you, it was a little different than what I’m normally used to. I tried to keep it as close as I could to the other games that I’ve started. It was a little tough, because we had the first inning where we were up and he was still on the mound getting loose, and I needed the catcher. But everything kind of got delayed a little bit, but I just went out there and treated the second inning like it was my first. Starting with the back end of the lineup first was a little different, but other than that I tried to keep everything as similar as possible.”
“I don’t think (the outing could have gone better). Honestly, I just went after every hitter. Attacked them. The hit that Hulett got off me, I felt like it was a good pitch, he just got it into left field and it fell. Other than that, I walked a couple guys…Ruf’s a pretty good hitter and I didn’t want to give him anything easy and Joseph, he’s been pretty good against me this season. I just wanted to be careful with those guys and just attack.”
Now on to Segedin, the final hero of the evening. Many in the media, including yours truly, questioned why Tony Franklin would play Segedin instead of Tyler Austin, the new kid in town with the big numbers. Franklin said that benching him now, after he'd helped all season, wouldn't be beneficial to his development. Whether that line of thinking is right or wrong is still open to debate. Given the chance, however, Segedin rewarded his boss' loyalty in a big way.
“I was elated (on the Segedin hit). We needed a big hit. It was really nip and tuck there, and there were times during the game where each team might have had an opportunity there. I look up at the board and saw we only had three hits and they only have three hits, and it just goes to show you it was a well-pitched ballgame. This time of year, it’s all about pitching and defense, and when you get a big hit like we got tonight, that generally puts you over the top. It just happened to be Segedin tonight, and Addy got the home run to tie us. It was a well-played game”
Segedin, who watched the 2010 playoffs from the bench, was happy to come through in such a big way on Thursday, especially knowing that he'll sit on Friday in favor of Austin while David Adams moves to designated hitter.
“I was looking for something away. He’s got a pretty good cutter, a pretty good slider. I was kind of focusing on a ball away. First pitch was in, and I laid off that. The second one, he actually missed a little bit over the plate but it was still a little bit in. I just got lucky enough to get the ball down.”
“I got decent wood on it. It kind of help there for a little bit. At first, I thought it was definitely going to get down, but Castro…Luis (Dorante) was saying he actually overpursued it and had a good chance to catch it. It’s been one of those years where you hit balls hard at people and you can’t do anything about it, all you can control is the swing you put on it and the pitches you swing at. It was a good time for me to get something.”
Finally, there was Pinder, who got Ruf with a man on for the final out in the eighth, arguably the biggest at-bat of the game. He'd never seen Ruf before, and that always gives the pitcher the edge, even if it's against a masher of Ruf's caliber.
“I just heard that (Ruf) is a good hitter. There’s going to be a lot of good hitters up here. I don’t really pay attention to (him leading MiLB in HR’s) I just go out there and do my job and pitch to my strengths. If he’s going to get it, he’s going to get it.”
“Obviously, a new hitter seeing a new hitter is going to be to our advantage. I just went out there and did my job and that was that.It’s just going out there throwing strikes and getting outs.”
Trenton will send Mikey O'Brien out there tomorrow against Ethan Martin in an obviously pivotal Game 3 at Waterfront Park.
Picks to click: Here are my game story, notes, and a feature on Trevor May from Game 2
Flicks to click: Here videos of Segedin's triple, Pinder getting Ruf, and Flores cutting down Asche at third.