Final score: Reading 5, Trenton 4
Synopsis: Even though they showed some fight, errors and sloppy play once again did Trenton in, this time against Jesse Biddle and the Reading Fightin Phils.
What went right: First and foremost, Eduardo Nunez, the Yankees shortstop working his way back from a strained left oblique, took five at-bats and seemed to come through quite well. He did not show himself in the clubhouse while it was open to the media (in the weight room and eating), so I have no comments from him.
He went 0 for 5 with two punchouts -- including one that ended the game -- but did not seem to be in any distress while doing so. That's a positive. He'll play shortstop for seven innings or four at-bats, whichever comes first.
Ramon Flores had two hits, a double and a single, and scored a run. That was the left fielder's first multi-hit effort since June 11. In fact, since July 14, Flores has had just four extra-base hits (two doubles and two homers. So any sign of pop can be counted as a positive.
The Thunder also stole five bases last night, including three from shortstop Carmen Angelini. For a team that had stolen just 42 bases in its previous 84 games (or one bag every two games), that's pretty out of character.
What went wrong: Two more errors, mostly, both of which came on the same dreadful play in the eighth inning. I detail it more in my game story (link below), but Aaron Dott threw Albert Cartwright's sac bunt attempt into center field, and then Slade Heathcott threw it to the backstop. That allowed a run to score, and instead of one out and a man on first, Reading had nobody out, a run in, and a man on third.
Jim Murphy (aka Darin Ruf 2.0, now with more mustache) promptly cashed Cartwright in from third with the eventual winning run.
Manager Tony Franklin gave his team an earful after the game, and the message was the same as it has been for the last couple of weeks: You guys need to get your act together.
“We’ve got to be a lot better,” he said. “We’ve got to have a lot better results, and a lot of times the
way to change results is to change your thinking, not so much your physical
play. I think we play OK from time to time, but we’ve got to come with a better
frame of mind. We can’t let all the stuff on the periphery bother us. We just
have to focus on doing our job and doing a better job of that.”
For the players' part, they don't see the recent skid as anything more than the normal bumps and bruises that come along with a 142-game grind.
“Every team goes through it,”
starter Mikey O’Brien said. “It’s part of baseball. It’s a long season,
especially now. It’s starting to get real hot out and the All-Star break is
right around the corner. Guys maybe start pressing a little bit if they’re in a
slump or something, but it’s just part of baseball. We’re going to have streaks
and we’re going to have good ones and we’re going to have bad ones.”
Picks to click:
Here are my gamer
from Thursday's action.
Flicks to click: Here are highlight reels from myself and from the team. I included both because most of the Thunder's good stuff happened after I had to stop shooting to go write the game story.