TRENTON – Typically laid back and collected during his postgame meetings with the media, Thunder Manager Bobby Mitchell was noticeably bothered following his teams second straight defeat at the hands of the Richmond Flying Squirrels on Friday night at ARM & HAMMER Park.
“I think as a team right now, we don’t have a lot of fire,” admitted Mitchell after Friday’s 5-3 loss. “I know that it is August, but still, I don’t like to compare teams at all, but I thought that last year’s team right now had more fire than we do right now.”
Mitchell added, “just like now, I walk out there and people are joking around. I don’t like that; I am not really fond of people joking around after a loss. They can joke around once they leave, but that is something that I think we need to learn as a team.”
The Thunder have had a postseason berth clinched for over a week and are on the verge of clinching their first division title since 2012 with a magic number of two. Last season’s team finished with 87 victories and spent the final weeks of the season in a tight battle trying to overtake Reading for the division title. While they ultimately finished behind them, the team was motivated to catch them and it fueled their play when they ultimately took them down in the opening round of the postseason.
While this team has spent every day in first place since April 24, the Thunder are just 13-11 in August and Mitchell knows that come postseason, it will be tough to flip on a switch and play with conviction after playing out the string so flat.
“They all know that we are in the playoffs,” said Mitchell. “I don’t know if they even know anything about the division; sometimes you wonder if they even know. It is a matter of getting some fire going into the playoffs; you’re not just going to turn it on going into Binghamton, it’s not going to happen.”
Mitchell added,”It is definitely going to be a battle, but if we go in flat like we are now we are going to get beat. It is my job to get these guys going again.”