TRENTON – The Thunder returned home from seven game road trip after going 3-4 through stops in Hartford and Altoona. The bullpen was responsible for three of the four defeats that included blown saves by Cale Coshow and Cody Carroll. Despite their 7-6 start to August, the Thunder have remained in first place every day since April 24 and have built an 8 1/2 game lead over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in the Eastern Division heading into action with the Akron RubberDucks on Tuesday night at ARM & HAMMER Park.
- Despite the recent struggles from the back-end of the bullpen and Colten Brewer being promoted to Triple-A, Mitchell says that Coshow will remain his closer in one-inning save situations. Carroll will also get opportunity to close most games that require two innings of relief. Mitchell says that both right-handers will remain his primary closing options. Coshow, an imposing hard-throwing right-hander is 2-5 with a 4.11 ERA and has converted 15 of his 19 save opportunities. The 24-year old Carroll has fanned 46 batters in 38 2/3 innings but has converted just one of five save chances in his time with Trenton.
- Mitchell says that he is hoping to get southpaw Justus Sheffield back into his rotation before the start of the postseason. The 21-year old Sheffield has been on the DL since early July with a strained right oblique. “He is progressing nicely,” admitted Mitchell. “When we were out in Altoona he threw at 120-feet, he is starting to spin sliders.” Mitchell admitted that Sheffield has yet to throw off of a mound but is expecting that to come sometime soon.
- Domingo Acevedo has already thrown a career-high 128 innings after tossing just 93 in 2016. Mitchell admitted that while he isn’t certain of an exact limit on Acevedo, it is distinctly possible that he will have to be shutdown prior to the conclusion of the season.
- Trenton currently holds a magic-number of five games to clinch a second consecutive postseason berth. Any combination of Thunder victories coupled with Binghamton or Reading losses will secure the team a spot in the playoffs. In 2016, Trenton posted the second best record in franchise history at 87-55; at 78-41, they are currently three games ahead of that pace.
- The Thunder have held a lead at some point in 105 of their 119 games this season (88.2%).
- The Yankees organization has told outfielder Zack Zehner that they would like to see more power from him in order to play-up to his corner outfield position. After hitting just five homers in the first 81 games of the season, the 25-year old Zehner has hit five in his last 30 games.