Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Postgame Notes - June 9
Final score: Trenton 3, Richmond 2
Synopsis: Tyler Austin's double off the left-center field wall scored Slade Heathcott from first and helped Trenton salvage the finale of its three-game set with the Flying Squirrels. Zach Nuding tossed five strong frames, and Caleb Cotham pitched in with four innings of one-run ball.
What went right: Tyler Austin is still red hot. Over his last 10 games, he's hitting .372/.391/.628 with five doubles, two homers and eight RBIs. That includes an 0-for-10 stretch over two games. He singled in the first inning today, then drove home the winner on a double off the base of the wall in left-center.
He struggled mightily in the early portion of the season, but now is starting to adjust to the higher level of pitching in Double-A.
"I'm just trying to zone in on a certain pitch and trying to put a good swing on it," he said. "Things have worked out pretty well."
In spring training, Mark Newman mentioned that Austin was going to have to work on adjusting to pitchers throwing fastballs in breaking-ball counts, breaking balls in fastball counts, and just pitchers who throw more sophisticated sequences than what he'd seen at two levels of A-ball.
That showed in the first two months, when he struggled mightily to recognize and hit breaking pitches. He did walk quite a bit, which showed a good idea of the strike zone, but he obviously still had strides to make.
"Still working on it. Still working on it," he said. "It's tough. Pitchers vary. Everybody's different. It's tough."
The same goes for Slade Heathcott, who singled early in the game and drew a key walk in the ninth off Phil McCormick, a pitcher he said during the last homestand was the toughest he'd faced all season long.
“His fastball is 80. It looks 100,” he said then. “It’s got good sink. It’s kind of a multi-action pitch that’s coming up and then sinking back down on the hands hard. And then his slider – everything he’s throwing is starting a foot from behind you anyway.”
Over his last 10 games, Heathcott is hitting .289/.372/.474 with two doubles, a triple, a homer, five RBIs, five walks and eight Ks. He's making scads of hard contact, so he, like Austin, appears to actualizing his massive toolset.
Pitching in: Zach Nuding tossed his fifth straight outing with three or fewer earned runs, and Caleb Cotham fanned six in four innings of relief. It was just the second relief appearance of the year for Cotham, who spent the last month in Triple-A.
Cotham said he did have to alter his warm-up routine a little, as is the case with most starters who come out of the pen, but it didn't affect his results.
“I threw a little in the cage and
then went out and gave myself a whole inning to get ready,” he said. “I
didn’t get to long-toss, but I felt ready.”
Happy birthday: Manager Tony Franklin turned 63 today. For the first time since 2007, they gave their manager a win as a present. Overall on his birthday, the Thunder are 2-3 and have had an off day and one rainout.
Transaction action: After the game, Ali Castillo, whose defense has been nonpareil at shortstop, was sent back to High-A Tampa to make room for the arrival of Carmen Angelini, the Yankees' 10th-round pick way back in 2007. He's missed all but nine games over the past two years, and is hitting .322/.352/.496 with Tampa. After handing him $1 million in the draft, it's time to see if they have anything.
Pick to click: Here is my game story from Sunday's action.
Flick to click: Here is a highlight reel I made from Sunday.