Much like the parent club, the AA Thunder are locked in a battle for the best record in the league with a division rival (the New Hampshire Fisher Cats).
Just like the parent club, the last week has been a week of .500 ball, including dropping a series against that rival.
The Thunder lineup is an interesting mix of top prospects and former top prospects: Austin Romine, Corban Joseph, Damon Sublett, Kevin Whelan, Ryan Pope, Hector Noesi, Alan Horne, George Kontos, JB Cox, Jeremy Bleich, DJ Mitchell and Andrew Brackman.
Any one of those guys could help the big league club at some point in 2011, either as a backup or as a fill in or as a budding superstar.
Corban Joseph was called up to play 2B for the Thunder; there was some mystery about what happened to David Adams, who was having a breakout season. Turns out that Adams broke a bone in his foot and will miss the remainder of the season. Not sure why the Yankees were so tight lipped about the injury, but maybe Adams was on a list of trade chips.
Wednesday, the Thunder completed a sweep of the New Britain Rock Cats with an improbable comeback walkoff. After DJ Mitchell pitched 7 innings, allowing only 2 unearned runs, the offense came back in the bottom of the 9th. Austin Romine had a single as part of the rally, and Luis Nunez drew the walk off walk.
Thursday was the lone victory against the Fisher Cats, thanks to six innings of one run ball from Lance Pendleton. Luis Nunez started the scoring with a triple, coming in to score on a Justin Snyder double. Austin Romine added a solo homer.
The weekend was rough for the Thunder, as Friday started a 4 game skid.
On Friday, Hector Noesi couldn't make it out of the 4th innings, and the 7 run deficit was too much for the offense to overcome.
Saturdayy was Andrew Brackman's turn. Brackman did pretty well his first time through the lineup, but by the 6th inning the wheels came off. That's part of the learning process for young pitchers, and Kevin Whelan, Wilkins Arias and J.B. Cox picked up Brackman by throwing 3 2/3 shutout innings.
Mike Ashmore summed up Sunday perfectly:
The loss of Laird, regardless of what Joseph does, will put a heavy, heavy dent in the championship hopes of a team that showed absolutely nothing against a team they’ll have to go through to get there. Trenton dropped three of four against New Hampshire — who now moves into first place in the division – and they’ll have to get past them without Laird, who was hitting .291 with 23 home runs and 90 RBI for the Thunder this season.
Manager Tony Franklin exploded over a questionable call by an ump he's been ejected by before. He got his full say in, though, shouting at and bumping the ump, and eventually having to be physically removed by the rest of the coaching staff.
George Kontos was pitching for a call-up, on the list of guys who could have filled the open bullpen spot in Scranton. He stunk. 5 ER in 1.1IP.
Tuesday's double header finally included a win. DJ Mitchell delivered a quality start, but left with a no decision when Ryan Pope allowed 3 runs in less than an inning of work. In the second game, the offense scored all the runs they needed over the weekend. Corban Joseph doubled and tripled to lead the Thunder offense.