I was lucky enough to attend last night's Trenton Thunder playoff game against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
The big news, of course, was Andy Pettitte's rehab start. He was supposed to go four innings or 65 pitches, whichever came first. The four innings came first as he was efficient, throwing just 51 pitches without a walk. The NH batters, for the most part, did not look overmatched. There were several hard hit balls, but only two found holes. He K'ed four, and looked to have decent command, especially of his off-speed stuff.
Of the 20 or so games I've attended, last night was by far the largest and loudest crowd I've ever experienced in Trenton. It felt like Yankee Stadium (strangely, the last Yankee game I attended was Game 6 of the ALCS, which Pettitte started). It was truly a playoff atmosphere.
Unfortunately, a good portion of the crowd left when Andy did and missed one helluva match. Top prospect Adam Warren relieved Pettitte and pitched even better than #46: Warren threw six shutout frames with two walks and 10 K's. Having never seen Warren before, I paid special attention to him. Going by batters' reactions, his fastball, despite sitting in the low 90's, looked dominant. He located it well and got a number of K's on 4-seamers up out of the zone. He consistently got ahead of hitters and often showed off-speed pitches, but usually finished with well-located heaters. His delivery is a little funky and he kind of short-arms the ball (think Jaret Wright), but it's working to great effect so far.
The game went to extras and it appeared that New Hampshire had taken the lead in the 12th when a slow grounder with two outs and runners on second and third enabled the batter to reach first. The throw from third-baseman Justin Snyder nearly pulled first-baseman Marcos Vechionacci off the bag, but the runner was called out. NH's manager sprinted out of the dugout and 'spiked' his helmet before screaming in the umpire's face. Unsurprisingly, he was ejected (replays show he was safe).
In the bottom half of the 12th, the first batter struck out and those of us who remained (under 1000) groaned and wondered how long the game would go. Rene Rivera answered that question moments later with a no-doubt blast to left-centerfield that cleared the 20-foot wall. As the Thunder celebrated, a NH coach started a fresh argument with the 1B umpire, probably telling him he cost them the game.