Trenton will need their bats to come up big in this next series, as they will face some tough pitching from Akron. The Aeros pitching had a 3.03 ERA for the season, by far the best as Richmond came in second with a 3.51 ERA. They struck out hitters a league leading 1057 times and allowed just 433 walks. Only Richmond allowed fewer homers, as the Aeros hurlers gave up 79 round trips.
Akron will throw out some tough starters who have served them well this season. T.J. House and Paolo Espino both spent the bulk of the season with the Aeros and will make starts against Trenton this week. House went 8-5 in 23 starts with a 3.98 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 90 Ks and 44 walks. Espino went 7-3 in 20 starts with a 3.09 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 106 Ks and just 34 walks. Preston Guilmet has been the Aeros’ closer all season, going 2-2 with 24 saves and a 2.39 ERA over 50 appearances.…
The Thunder took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. David Adams started the inning by lining a double to left, moving to third on a ground out by Zoilo Almonte. Addison Maruszak scored Adams with a single to right and Murphy followed with a homer to left, giving Trenton the 4-1 edge.
It was not going to be an easy victory, however, as Reading started to fight back in the top of the sixth. Eastern League MVP Darin Ruf started the inning with a solo shot to left. Hulett singled to center and Castro followed with a single of his own. Miguel Abreu singled to left, laoding the bases and Jiwan James hit a sac fly that plated Hulett and brought the Phillies within one run of the Thunder. Maruszak gave Trenton some insurance with a solo homer to left in the bottom of the inning, making the score 5-3.
David Aardsma came in for the top of the seventh, giving up a leadoff single to Tyson Gillies who moved to second on a wild pitch.…
The game quieted down quite a bit after the second, with neither team getting more than one base runner on at a time. Corban Joseph hit a solo shot to center in the fourth, but that was all the Yankees could manage, despite the bullpen putting together a solid 7.1 innings of relief work. In the end, Pawtucket took the 7-1 victory, winning the series three games to one and earning a date with the Charlotte Knights in the Championship round of the Governor’s Cup.
Vidal Nuno: Nuno lasted just 1.2 innings and gave up seven runs on seven hits, a walk and a strike out.
The Offense: The Yankees only managed two hits against their old teammate, Nelson Figueroa, who went eight strong innings. Kevin Russo, Ronnier Mustelier and Luke Murton each went 0-4.
Kelvin Perez: After Nuno was pulled with two outs in the second, Perez threw a strong 3.1 innings for the Yankees. He gave up two hits and struck out four.…
Meanwhile, the Yankees bats continued to be cold, as they failed to get a hit in the third through the seventh. Pawtucket added some insurance in the top of the eighth. Jason Repko started the inning with a single to right, moving to second on an error by Cole Garner. A wild pitch moved Repko to third and J.C. Linares tripled him in. Ryota Igarashi was able to strike out Danny Valencia and get LaRoche to ground out, ending the inning with the Yankees trailing 3-0.
Gustavo Molina finally got the Yankees on the board with a solo homer to left in the bottom of the eighth. Kevin Russo started the ninth with a double down the right field line, almost getting thrown out at second. Corban Joseph grounded out, moving Russo to third. A single by Ronnier Mustelier plated Russo and brought the Yankees within one. Luke Murton promptly popped out to first, leaving the Red Sox just one out away from moving on to the Championship round.…
The Yankees had a chance to strike back in the top of the sixth, as Ronnier Mustelier drew a walk and Murton was hit by a pitch. Mesa grounded into a double play, though personally I thought he beat the throw to first. Unfortunately, Romine hit a sharp grounder to third and was too slow to first, ending the inning.
Empire State found itself in all kinds of trouble in the bottom of the seventh. Spears started the inning with a double, after three Yankee fielders converged on the ball and none came up with it. Brentz lined a single to right, tying the game. Jonathan Hee grounded a single to right, that rolled under Corban Joseph’s glove at second. Cole Garner made a bad throw to third, allowing Brentz to score and giving the Red Sox the 3-2 lead. Juan Cedeno entered the game for Ortiz and struck out Jeremy Hazelbaker. Preston Claiborne took the ball next, striking out Thomas. …
Unfortunately, the Red Sox got their insurance in the bottom of the eighth. Kelvin Perez replaced Whitley on the mound and gave up a lead-off single to Dan Butler. Bryce Brentz hit a homer to center and the PawSox held a 7-4 advantage. Ramiro Pena tried to get a rally going in the ninth, when he singled with one out. Darnell McDonald doubled, putting runners on second and third with the top of the order coming up. Kevin Russo struck out at a ball that almost landed in the dirt and Joseph went down looking to end the game with a 7-4 Yankee defeat.
Ronnier Mustelier: Went 0-4 and hit into a double play.
John Maine: Gave up five runs on seven hits, two homers and two walks over just 4.2 innings of work. He struck out six.
Kelvin Perez: Gave up two runs on two hits in one inning.
Corban Joseph: He went 2-4 with a run scored, a walk and a double.…
The loss of major prospects like Dellin Betances and Manuel Banuelos made pitching a question mark for the Thunder, heading into the season. Of course, Betances was eventually demoted, but he was still largely battling the same control issue he had with Empire State. Despite this, the Thunder put together some nice pitching performances in 2012. Their team 3.74 ERA was fourth lowest and they managed 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings and allowed just 95 homers.
Brett Marshall was the standout pitcher for Trenton this season, going 13-7 with a 3.52 ERA. He struck out 120 batters while walking just 53 and keeping opposing hitters to a .255 average. Unfortunately, the Thunder will need him to shake off an ugly August, where he went 2-3 with a 6.03 ERA and got smacked around for a .291 average. Shaeffer Hall was another solid arm for Trenton, going 910 with a 3.67 ERA, 100 Ks and just 41 walks. On a couple occasions he flirted with the rare minor league complete game.…