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

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Spree for Three starts Tuesday

AKRON, Ohio – By winning on Sunday, the Thunder gave themselves a sizeable advantage entering the Eastern League Championship. That advantage is a perfectly set rotation, starting Tuesday with 13-game winner Brett Marshall in Game 1.

Marshall will be opposed by Paolo Espino, the de facto number-one on a staff depleted by the loss of lefty Giovanni Soto and knuckleballer Steven Wright. In 20 starts in the regular season, Espino was 7-3 with a 3.09 ERA and a team-best 106 strikeouts.

Trenton will follow with Shaeffer Hall, Mikey O’Brien and Nik Turley, the latter of whom pitched five solid innings to close out Reading on Sunday. Because of the travel day on Thursday, Trenton can also bring Marshall back in a possible fifth game. They wouldn’t have had that luxury if they had played Bowie.

Akron will counter with righty Danny Salazar on Wednesday, followed by Carlos Carrasco, Toru Murata and Brett Brach at Waterfront Park. Carrasco, who is on a major league rehab assignment, will pitch just one inning on Friday before turning things over to T.J. House.

David Aardsma, Trenton’s resident rehabbing righty, will pitch twice in the series, though it is unclear in which games.

The Thunder and Aeros split their season series at six games apiece. Trenton took three of four in the teams’ last meeting, last month at Canal Park.

As it was last series, the biggest key to Trenton scoring its third championship will be a deep and talented bullpen. Of the 10 runs the Thunder surrendered in the division series, just was charged to a reliever – Aardsma in Game 4.

As constructed, the pen features two arms – Craig Heyer and Graham Stoneburner – capable of multiple-inning work, as well as plenty of late-inning heat in Tommy Kahnle, Branden Pinder, Mark Montgomery and closer Ryan Pope.

Manager Tony Franklin also will have lefties Lee Hyde and Josh Romanski at his disposal. In addition to his repertoire, Hyde also brings a lethal pickoff move that he used to snuff out Darin Ruf at first in one of the most pivotal moments of the last series.

After its last roster overhaul, Trenton is without a few of the hitters who’ve faced Akron this season. Of those who remain, catcher J.R. Murphy leads the way with 6 hits in 16 trips. Adonis Garcia, with his .317 average against the Aeros, isn’t far behind. Kevin Mahoney also notched 10 hits versus the Western Division champions.

The Thunder’s championships in 2007 and 2008 came against Akron. Starting Tuesday, they’ll see if they can make it three.


Blogger Peter Lacock said...

I'm going to go out on a limb and pick Trenton in a sweep.
Pettitte should come throw a few innings just for the hell of it on Friday. He and Aardsma can team up and O'Brien and get 5 innings as the closer.

September 11, 2012 at 1:10 AM 

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