Game 137: Trenton Thunder (65-71) @ New Britain Rock Cats

In the home finale of the 2011 campaign, the Thunder’s bid to reach the playoffs took a severe hit with another loss and wins by New Britain and Reading.  With the season’s final series beginning on Friday night in New Britian, the Thunder find themselves in a position where they need to “win-out” and receive some outside help to make the playoffs.

RHP Jeff Marquez will make his third start of the season with the Thunder on Friday night in New Britain.  The former Major League pitcher with the White Sox and Yankees, Marquez has appeared once this season with Trenton on a Major League rehab and once more as a Minor Leaguer.  His last start, on Saturday night in Trenton against New Britain, the righty allowed four runs (two earned) in six innings in a no decision.

LHP Pat Dean will make his Double A debut on Friday night against the Thunder.  The lefty from Naugatuck, CT was 3-6 with a 6.67 ERA in 11 starts this season with the Fort Myers Miracle in the Florida State League.

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Thunder Drop Home Finale to Fisher Cats

New Hampshire manager Sal Fasano joins Hank Fuerst on the SBLI Pre-Game Show.

(Trenton, NJ) – Despite a strong start from Shaeffer Hall, the Trenton Thunder (65-71) were blanked 2-0 by the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (74-64) in the 2011 finale at Waterfront Park on Thursday night.  In front of 7,568 Thunder fans, the Fisher Cats used a first-inning unearned run, a late insurance run and a strong performance from pitcher Willie Collazo to inch closer to a playoff berth.  The loss, accompanied with a win by the New Britain Rock Cats, drops Trenton’s elimination number to just one with five games to play.

Hank:

Hughes, Jeter, Irene

What a season in Trenton

On to New Britain…

Jay:

Sellout crowd for

Fan appreciation night

Way it ought to be

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Game 136: New Hampshire Fisher Cats (73-64) @ Trenton Thunder (65-70)

Thunder Head Groundskeeper Ryan Hills (pictured, left, on his tractor) and his Ace Hardware Grounds Crew prep the field for the final time in the regular season in 2011.

Today’s Game Notes

Last night’s 7-2 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats not only broke the team’s seven-game losing streak and clinched the season series with New Hampshire, but it kept the Thunder alive in the Eastern League playoff race.  Now, the Thunder have a chance to salvage a split in the four-game series tonight at Waterfront Park in the final home game of the 2011 season.  Accompanied with losses by New Britain and Reading last night, the Thunder enter play on Thursday night 3.5 games back of the Wild Card spot with six games to go and an elimination number of three.

LHP Shaeffer Hall gets the ball for what will likely be his final regular season start in the 2011 season.  The lefty from Lee’s Summit, MO enters the outing tied for Craig Heyer for the team in lead in starts (23) and wins (10). Hall last worked on Friday against New Britain when he received a no decision, allowing just one run in 6.2 innings.  In four appearances against the Fisher Cats this season, Hall is 1-1 with a save.

RHP Dustin McGowan will appear on a Major League rehab and start against the Thunder tonight at Waterfront Park.  The 29-year-old righty has not pitched in the Majors since 2008 when he went 6-7, 4.37 with the Blue Jays.  The 33rd-overall pick in the 2000 Draft is a career 20-22 with a 4.71 ERA in the Big Leagues, all with Toronto.  In four starts with New Hampshire this year, McGowan has fared 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA.

The Bank of Princeton’s Hank’s Take it to the Bank: The Thunder most likely need to win out to advance to the postseason…so here goes nothing.  The Thunder will win tonight.  Season Stats: .472 batting average (60-127, hit streak: +2)

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Garrison’s Gritty Win Keeps Thunder Alive

Thunder beat writer John Nalbone joins Hank Fuerst on Wednesday’s SBLI Pre-Game Show…

(Trenton, NJ) – Austin Krum drove in three runs and the rehabbing Ramiro Pena drove in another to lead the Trenton Thunder (65-70) past the first-place New Hampshire Fisher Cats (73-64) 7-2 on Monday night at Waterfront Park.  The Thunder offense used a pair of three-run innings to back Steve Garrison, who threw 5.2 strong frames to grab his fourth win of the season.  The win in the third game of the four-game set breaks a seven-game losing streak for the Thunder and keeps the team’s faint playoff hope alive in the Eastern League Eastern Division.

Hank:

The hometown hero

Breaks the Thunder losing streak

Winning streak at one

Jay:

Krum’s extra-base night

Leads to holding out hope

For more playoff talk

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Game 135: New Hampshire Fisher Cats (73-63) @ Trenton Thunder (64-70)

Continuing our #RamiroPenaMania coverage, here's a shot of the shortstop taking batting practice with the Thunder in 2008 (Mike Ashmore).

Today’s Game Notes

After receiving their seventh straight loss and seeing their elimination number reduced to three, the Thunder will likely need to win the rest of the remaining seven games (and receive some help) to qualify for the Eastern League playoffs this season.  The 3-2 loss to New Hampshire last night officially eliminated the Thunder from catching the Fisher Cats in the race for the Division title.  Despite having lost four in-a-row to the Fisher Cats, the Thunder need to win just once over the next two nights to clinch the season series.

LHP Steve Garrison is scheduled to come off of the Disabled List for the Thunder and start for the 15th time this season.  It will be Garrison’s first start against the Fisher Cats since an Opening Day outing that saw the lefty from Ewing, NJ hurl four scoreless innings in a no decision.  In his last start, an outing in Erie on August 17, Garrison allowed five runs on seven hits in four innings in a 9-6 Thunder win.

RHP Yohan Pino gets the ball to make just his ninth start of the season for the Fisher Cats.  In his last start, the Venezuelan righty allowed four runs in seven innings in a no decision against the Harrisburg Senators.  The former Twins and Indians farmhand has made 26 relief appearances (2-2, 3.95) and eight starts (1-5, 3.86) for the Fisher Cats this year.

The Bank of Princeton’s Hank’s Take it to the Bank: The Thunder’s elimination number will not fall to one tonight.  Season Stats: .468 batting average (59-126, hit streak: +1)

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Usher Earl: Unfortunately, Final Entry of 2011

As I write my final installment for the Trenton Makes Thunder Blog, I had a few funny observations I wanted to share. One observation was made by an intern regarding how the players prepare themselves for a ballgame. He said that before the players take the field they loosen up in the clubhouse by dancing to Techno Music in the dark, lit only by glow sticks! Seems like an unusual way to get ready for a game, but who could complain with the success that the team has had for most of this year.

 

Another observation that was made was during an extremely hot July home stand. As I was seating fans I spotted a fellow usher who was sporting long pants with a hooded jacket over his head and zippered up to his neck. I approached him and asked why he was dressed so warmly in such severely hot weather. He then unzipped his hooded jacket, and to my amazement, he showed me that he also had a long sleeve shirt underneath his Thunder polo! He said that he dressed in this manner because the material he was wearing was protecting him from the UV rays of the sun and was wicking away the sweat from his body, making him much cooler on the hottest of days. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

 

The funny observations continued with the Thunder’s 3rd Annual Mustache Bash during the August 9th home stand. The event was designed to pay homage to the famous Yankees of past who have sported mustaches, such as Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly and Goose Gossage. The team also honored and recognized famous mustaches throughout history and fans were able to nominate themselves for the “Wildest ‘Stache of the Night” Award. But for me, the most entertaining thing to watch was the Thunder Staff sporting all types of mustaches for the event. Some staff members valiantly tried to grow a mustache for the first time, others decided to skillfully paint them on instead, as well as, those who decided on the stick-on variety. Whatever the personal choice, it was a great time by all who participated in the hairy antics!

 

I would like to make a few acknowledgements as I finish my last of five blogs for the Trenton Thunder. I would first and foremost like to thank Bill Cook (Public Relations Director) who gave me the opportunity and encouragement to write this blog. I would also like to thank Jay Burnham (Broadcasting Director) who was nice enough to edit and post the blogs to the Internet. Great thanks also go to Will Smith (General Manager) and Ryan Crammer (Operations VP) for authorizing and approving this project. Finally, I would be remiss not to thank Susanna Hall (Office Manager), who with her support and direction allowed me to fulfill my responsibilities as a first year usher and ticket taker.

 

It was a wonderful season and I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to meet such interesting people along the way. I enjoyed building relationships with the front office staff, the game day staff and the interns. But most importantly, what I will take from this season was the relationships that I made with the Thunder fans. Without their enthusiastic support of the home team, none of this would have been possible. Trenton has the best fans in Minor League Baseball and I was so pleased to have had a front row seat in witnessing it this season!

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Trenton Edged By New Hampshire on Tuesday Night

(Trenton, NJ) – The rehabbing Ramiro Pena and the Trenton Thunder (64-70) were edged by the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (73-63) 3-2 on Tuesday night at Waterfront Park in the season’s third-to-last home game.  Pena, working his way back to the Major Leagues after an appendectomy in July, wrapped an RBI-single in his return to a Thunder uniform.  His efforts were not enough as the Thunder lost for the seventh straight time and saw their elimination number dwindle to just three with seven games to go.

Hank:

Playoff hopes dwindling

With seven games left, Trenton

Needs to win them allFisher

Jay:

Losing streak stretches

To an unlucky seven

Cats close on title

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