June 2011

Lineup & Game Notes (June 18, 2011)

Greg Hopkins hit his home run last night into the street behind Perfect Game Field. It probably wound up in that yard.

Saturday’s Lineup:
Reggie Keen – CF
Nick Shaw – SS
Cody Hawn – 1B
Greg Hopkins – 2B
Mike Walker – 3B
Chris Dennis – DH
TJ Mittelstaedt – LF
Tony Pechek – C
Chad Stang – RF

Saturday’s Starting Pitcher:
Jameson Dunn

Roster moves:
Jameson Dunn activated from the DL
Dan Britt to the DL retroactive to 6/16

UPDATED ROSTER: Timber_Rattler_Roster_061811

Saturday’s Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesJune18

Saturday bonus photo:

This is the point at which the homer by Hopkins left the ball park. The picture at the top of the post is what you see if you turn 180 degrees to look out of the stadium.

Postgame Thoughts (June 17, 2011)

Reggie Keen takes ball four to force in a run in the third inning on Friday night at Cedar Rapids.

Cedar Rapids 8, Wisconsin 7
Boxscore | Game Story

Quad Cities 4, Peoria 1
Boxscore | Game Story

  • For as much as I was feeling all WHOOOOOOOO!! last night, I feel whatever the opposite of WHOOOOOOOO! is.  OHWWWWWWWWW!?? Is that right?
  • There really isn’t a lot to add to the game story tonight.  But, I’ll hit the cliff notes for those of you who didn’t click
  • Wisconsin’s hitters collected one hit in the final 6-1/3 innings tonight.
  • Both batters hit by Timber Rattlers pitchers scored
  • Cedar Rapids scored three runs on wild pitches, including the tying and winning runs.  Two of those runs came with two outs.
  • I still stand by my Greg Holle belongs on the All-Star Team comment from last night.
  • By the way that is the 10th time an opponent has won in their last at bat (5th walkoff) against the Rattlers in ’11
  • Wisconsin is 0-3 in extra innings.
  • HOLY TED WILLIAMS! Dennis, Mittelstaedt, and Hopkins absolutely crushed their home runs tonight!
  • Charly Bashara was darn near perfect tonight out of the Rattlers bullpen.  Retired 10 of 11 batters faced.
  • Tyler Cravy was cranking it up to the plate.  90-91 and very good placement as he struck out both batters he faced.
  • By the way, Dennis with 29 home runs in his Timber Rattlers career.  The franchise record is 36.
  • Postgame roster moves:
    RHP Dan Britt to the DL retroactive to June 16
    RHP Jameson Dunn activated from the DL
  • Dunn gets the ball tomorrow.  Austin Ross is set to start on Sunday.
  • Here’s what needs to happen for the Rattlers to get into the playoffs.  Wisconsin wins Saturday & Sunday. Quad Cities loses Saturday & Sunday.
  • Get ‘em tomorrow and hope for the best.

Lineup & Game Notes (June 17, 2011)

Perfect Game Field is ready for tonight's Rattlers game.

Friday’s Lineup:
Reggie Keen – CF
Nick Shaw – 2B
Cody Hawn – 1B
Greg Hopkins – 3B
Mike Walker – DH
Chris Dennis – LF
TJ Mittelstaedt – RF
Ty;er Roberts – C
Mike Brownstein – SS

Friday’s Starting Pitcher:
Jimmy Nelson

Friday’s Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesJune17

Postgame Thoughts (June 16, 2011)

Brooks Hall is greeted by his teammates after he leaves Thursday's game at Peoria.

Rattlers 2, Chiefs 0
Boxscore | Game Story

Clinton LumberKings 5, Quad Cities River Bandits 1
Boxscore | Game Story

  • I will update this later with a more professional version.  But, since I have a 3-hour drive to Cedar Rapids to make tonight
  • WHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
  • PLAYOFF RACE!!!!
  • FUNNNNN!!!!
  • THANK YOU, CLINTON!!!!
  • WHOOOOOO!
  • HALF GAME OUT!!!! FIVE IN A ROW!!!
  • WHOOOOOOO!
  • Like I said, more professional later tonight.
    LATE NIGHT UPDATE:
  • Nothing like a drive to clear your head.  Let’s call the above “Irrational exuberance”.  Because in the words of the wise sage and catcher Jake Taylor said to Willie Mays Hayes after the Indians clinched a tie for the AL East title on the last day of the season: Yep. But we haven’t won anything yet.
  • Brooks Hall got some help from the defense and the ball not carrying to right field in Peoria.
  • Web gems from Brownstein in the third and Hopkins in the fifth. (Read the game story for the context of the play by Hopkins)
  • Line drive at Shaw in the fourth. Hard hit ball at Hawn in the fifth.
  • The double by Gibbs in the fifth hit halfway up the wall in right. I thought he hit a ball even harder in the seventh, but Romero had time to get back and camp under it on the track.
  • Plus, Keen caught the fly ball that May hit in the fifth to the warning track in right-center after a long run.
  • No pitch speed readings on Hall tonight. The indicator was tough to read with burnt out bulbs and bulbs that stay on all the time.  Plus, the one in O’Brien Field is a little unreliable (about 2-3 mph slower).
  • I like how he handled himself tonight.  He was behind in the count at the end of at bats six times in 25 batters faced.  One one of those times when he was behind did the batter reach base (Gibbs walked on a 3-1 pitch).
  • Here is probably the best example of how Brooks pitched tonight:
    Brooks walks Gibbs on the 3-1 pitch with one out in the bottom of the second
    Brooks falls behind Elliot Soto 2-0
  • Brooks gets a visit from pitching coach Chris Hook
    Brooks does not give in and groove one to Soto
    Brooks gets Soto to ground into a tailor made (by one of the Brooks Brothers?) 6-4-3 double play.
  • Keep in mind the Rattlers had just taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
  • How many times in the past do you remember the Rattlers scoring a run only to give the run back in the opponents’ next at bat.
  • Okay. Rattlers are up 1-0 with two out and none on in the eighth.  I believe I mentioned on the air how shallow the Chiefs outfielders were playing Nick Shaw at the time.  He crushed a triple that one hopped the wall about where Keen ran down the ball hit by May.
  • Cody Hawn with another mutli-hit game and his second hit delivered Shaw across the plate for a 2-0 lead.
  • Greg Holle with a routine 3-up, 3-down ninth inning for his 15th save.  He is 15-for-15 in save situations in 2011
  • In the baseball sense of the word, it is an absolute CRIME that Greg Holle is not playing in the All-Star game next Tuesday.
  • I shouldn’t mention anything, because every time a Rattlers closer gets close to it something happens like: Getting promoted (Jim Henderson) or Being Turned Into a Starter (Brian Stitt…No really…A story for another day)
  • The Timber Rattlers record for saves in a season is 19.  John Thompson set the record in 1995, the first season of the Timber Rattlers franchise.
  • Here’s something else that hasn’t happened in a while:  The Rattlers completed a four game sweep of the Chiefs at O’Brien Field on Thursday.  The last time that happened: July 11-14, 2003.
  • The Chiefs were still a Cardinals affiliate at the time.
  • Pitching matchups for the series with the Cedar Rapids Kernels
    FRI: RHP Jimmy Nelson (2-6, 5.09) v. RHP Baudilio Lopez (0-1, 15.00)
    SAT: RHP Jameson Dunn (2-0, 1.59) v. RHP AJ Schugel (2-2, 3.41)
    SUN: RHP Austin Ross (6-3, 3.39) v. RHP Brian Diemer (6-4, 3.44)
  • Quad Cities hosts Peoria on Friday night at 7:00pm.  The Friday pitching matchup at Modern Woodmen Park:
    PEO: Hayden Simpson (1-3, 5.47)
    QC: Zach Russell (2-6, 4.80)
  • Okay, the Rattlers are 1/2 game behind the Chiefs.  But, let’s not overlook Beloit.  They won for the ninth time in their last 10 games with a victory over Cedar Rapids on Thursday night.
  • There is still a scenario where the Rattlers pass Quad Cities, but lose the wild card to Beloit on the tiebreaker.
  • The Snappers are at Burlington this weekend.
  • Got all that?  No?  Well, these last few bullet points may bring it all home/.
  • The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are heading into the last three games of a half and still in contention for a playoff spot for the first time since 2001.
  • The Rattlers had clinched their playoff spots before the final weekend in 2003 and 2005.
  • This is going to be fun
  • Let’s go, Rattlers!

Lineup & Game Notes (June 16, 2011)

A great day for baseball at O'Brien Field!

Thursday’s Lineup:
Reggie Keen – CF
Nick Shaw – 2B
Cody Hawn – 1B
Greg Hopkins – 3B
Mike Walker – DH
Chris Dennis – LF
Mike Brownstein – SS
Tony Pechek – C
Franklin Romero – RF

Thursday’s Starting Pitcher:
Brooks Hall

Thursday’s Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesJune16

Postgame Thoughts (June 15, 2011)

STOSH! gets the strike out to end game two.

STOSH!

Game one
Rattlers 2, Chiefs 1
Boxscore | Game Story

Game two
Rattlers 6, Chiefs 2
Boxscore | Game Story

  • Tyler Thornburg with a complete game. 7IP, 2H, R, 9K. He’s awesome.
  • I saw somewhere that Thornburg is dominating 18 and 19 year olds in the Midwest League.  For grins, here are the ages of the Chiefs in their starting lineup for game one:  21, 22, 22, 25, 23, 23, 21, 19, 19.
  • Greg Rohan is 25? Really? Theoden King! Say it isn’t so.
  • Oh, and the 19 year olds in this game against Thornburg: 1-for-2 with a double and three of the walks that Thornburg issued on the night.
  • Look, he’ll move up when he moves up? Patience. All we need is just a little patience.
  • POP QUIZ, HOT SHOT:  A Rattlers player is 10-for-33 in his last 10 games (He’s started nine). He has hits in seven of those games. He has driven in 10 runs. If I told you that player’s name is Tyler Roberts, what do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?
  • Tyler Roberts answered his own POP QUIZ tonight. What do you do with a runner at second and two outs with the score tied 1-1 in the top of the sixth inning in a 7-inning game and the pitcher throws you a 2-1 offspeed pitch? You line that pitch into right-center for an RBI single to give the Rattlers a 2-1 lead.
  • Yes. He’s still hitting .209, but he is improving.
  • And I’m taller.
  • Great Red Barber, that first inning of game two could not have been scripted better for the Rattlers.
  • Cam Greathouse extended his lead in the walks by a pitcher in the Midwest League.  He walked two and hit one in the first three batters he faced.  Oh, bases loaded no outs. Walker and Dennis coming to the plate? Yes. I will take that every day.
  • Walker’s two-run single was quickly followed by a three-run homer by Dennis and the Rattlers had a 5-0 lead.
  • That would be the baseball equivalent of the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique
  • All Dan Britt had to do was get out to the mound and throw strikes.  He did.
  • Well, he also needed Franklin Romero to get an outfield assist to throw out a runner at the plate in the third inning, too.
  • Romero with seven outfield assists this season.  The Rattlers with 27 outfield assists this season.
  • Britt struck out four, gave up four hits, and allowed two runs before turning the game over to STOSH! for the seventh.
  • The PA announcer almost introduced STOSH! like this: Now pitching for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, from British Columbia, Stosh Wawrzasek…And in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Final Bruins 3, Canucks 0.
  • He did not. That is a good thing.
  • I followed the last three innings of the Quad Cities at Clinton game two ways. The first was the play-by-play on the scoreboard.  Then, listening to Dave Lezotte call the game on KCLN.  It was very, very, very frustrating as the Rattlers needed the LumberKings to beat Quad Cities to get the Rattlers to within .5 games of the Wild Card with four games left in the half.  There is so much about this that is so eerily familiar (See: 2002, 2004, 2006-2008):

    First, the game is tied 5-5 and Clinton is batting in the bottom of the eighth inning:

    • Robert Anston singles on a line drive to center fielder Oscar Taveras.
    • Anthony Phillips out on a sacrifice bunt, pitcher Justin Wright to first baseman Victor Sanchez. Robert Anston to 2nd.
    • Carlton Tanabe singles on a fly ball to right fielder Nicholas Longmire. Robert Anston to 3rd.
    • Julio Morban strikes out swinging.
    • Mickey Wiswall grounds out to first baseman Victor Sanchez.

    Second, here is the Quad Cities top of the ninth:

    • Victor Sanchez flies out to center fielder Robert Anston.
    • Chris Edmondson doubles (7) on a line drive to right fielder Kevin Rivers.
    • Michael Swinson walks.
    • Offensive Substitution: Pinch runner Joseph Bergman replaces Chris Edmondson.
    • With Ronny Gil batting, wild pitch by Jessie Nava, Joseph Bergman to 3rd. Michael Swinson to 2nd.
    • Ronny Gil walks.
    • Oscar Taveras grounds into a force out, second baseman Jorge Agudelo to catcher Carlton Tanabe. Joseph Bergman out at home. Michael Swinson to 3rd. Ronny Gil to 2nd. Oscar Taveras to 1st.
    • Pitcher Change: Jonathan Arias replaces Jessie Nava.
    • With Starlin Rodriguez batting, wild pitch by Jonathan Arias, Michael Swinson scores. Ronny Gil to 3rd. Oscar Taveras to 2nd.
    • Starlin Rodriguez walks.
    • Cody Stanley doubles (14) on a line drive to right fielder Kevin Rivers. Ronny Gil scores. Oscar Taveras scores. Starlin Rodriguez scores.
    • Nicholas Longmire grounds out, shortstop Anthony Phillips to first baseman Tim Morris.
  • Oh, and that run scoring wild pitch in the top of the ninth? It was on the first pitch that Arias threw after coming out of the bullpen.
  • Sigh.
  • So, the Rattlers trail the River Bandits by 1.5 games for the Wild Card with four games left in the first half.  They play Clinton (21-45) on Thursday and Peoria (33-33) over the last three days.
  • If the Rattlers go 4-0 over the last four games, Quad Cities needs to go 2-2 for Wisconsin to get the Wild Card
  • If the Rattlers got 3-1 over the last four games, Quad Cities needs to go 1-3 for Wisconsin to get the Wild Card
  • Oh, and if the Rattlers go 4-0 over the last four games, they will finish the first half with an eight-game winning streak.
  • And, if Quad Cities wins three game while the Rattlers finish the first half with an eight-game winning streak…that will be really, really depressing.
  • Keep on going, Rattlers. Who knows what’s going to happen in the future. Just take care of your own business.

Lineup & Game Notes (June 15, 2011)

The Peoria skyline is the background as the Rattlers stretch before game one of Wednesday's doubleheader.

Wednesday’s Game One Lineup:
Reggie Keen – CF
Nick Shaw – 2B
Cody Hawn – 1B
Greg Hopkins – 3B
Mike Walker – DH
TJ Mittelstaedt – LF
Mike Brownstein – SS
Tyler Roberts – C
Franklin Romero – RF

Game one starter:
Tyler Thornburg

Game two starter:
Dan Britt

Wednesday’s Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesJune15

Bonus Game Note (Since, I ran out of room):
LAST (Hopefully): Tonight is the final doubleheader of the first half for the Timber Rattlers.  This will be the eighth twinbill of the half for the Rattlers.  Wisconsin is 7-7 in the first seven.  Wisconsin has swept one doubleheader [5/19 v. Beloit], been swept in one doubleheader[4/23 @Burlington], and split the other five.  Wisconsin is 4-3 in the first game of doubleheaders this season.

Postgame Thoughts (June 14, 2011)

Even the opposing catcher is there to greet Mike Walker after a grand slam.

Rattlers 12 Chiefs 5
Boxscore | Game story

  • Ross worked hard tonight.  95 pitches in five innings.  He probably should have been out of that third inning before any runs scored – or before Chris Hook got ejected – but after the grand slam he got six of his 11 Ks in the final 2-1/3 innings.
  • Truth be told everyone had problems figuring 0ut the strike zone of the umpire tonight.  This was the first time either team had seen him call a game.
  • Welcome back, Mike Brownstein!   His first pro home run could not have come at a better time.  A three-run blast in the fourth got the Rattlers right back in the game.
  • Since I bring up the 1-for-10 and 2-for-17 stat on nights when the Rattlers struggle with runners in scoring position, let’s bring this stat up tonight: The Rattlers were 7-for-13 with runners  in scoring position.  That included 6-for-10 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
  • Tyler Cravy and Eric Marzec do the job with two scoreless innings a piece.
  • Something to keep your eye on for tomorrow:  Chris Dennis tried to blast the ball out of Micah Gibbs grasp in the seventh inning.  The Peoria catcher held on and words were exchanged. The ball may have been flipped.  Benches cleared. Bullpens emptied. Order was restored.  Nothing happened when Dennis batted in the eighth.
  • Cody Hawn with three hits and a walk.  Two of the three hits were very similar to hits earlier in the season (like last week) where an opponent would make a spectacular play.  The 7-leaf clover is working.
  • Mike Walker hits the second grand slam of the season for the Rattlers.  First time since 2008 the Rattlers have had two grand slams with the bases loaded.
  • AND he drew his 41st walk of the season. He leads the MWL in that category.
  • So, Walker now has 11 home runs and is slated to participate in Home Run Derby on June 20 at Quad Cities.
  • If you can still call it home run derby.  From the River Bandits website:
    The Midwest League All-Star Home Run Derby will take place on the field at Modern Woodmen Park on Monday, June 20, beginning at 7 p.m. The format will be different than in years past. This year’s home run derby will be a combination of a hitting showcase and a home run derby. Players will be heavily rewarded for hitting home runs, but hitters will also be awarded points, and earn money for local Quad Cities charities, for hitting randomly placed targets around the field and stadium. There will also be special guest entertainers performing between rounds of the derby.
  • The contestants in this contest include Travis Witherspoon of Cedar Rapids (Four homers) and Michael Crouse of Lansing (Five homers).  The reason those two are included? Stolen bases.  No. Really.
  • I want to give this a chance, but the phrase”Re-inventing the wheel” keeps running through my head.
  • Along with “The Russian Bear Trio” and David “No Way” Burlet, the acts that will entertain fans during the home run derby…instead of…you know…the Home Run Derby entertaining fans during the Home Run Derby.
  • Sorry. Cheap shot.
  • Why do I have the feeling that the players are just going to say, “The HECK with this, I’m swinging for the fences!”?
  • But, I’ll give it a chance. The plan is to live blog both the…what Hitting Exhibition….and the All-Star Game right here on the blog.
  • PLAYOFF STUFF: Quad Cities won, Beloit split a doubleheader.  Rattlers are alone in third place right now. They still trail Quad Cities by two games.  The Rattlers (34-30) have six games left. The River Bandits (36-28) have four games left.
  • To get the First half Wild Card:
    If the Rattlers go 4-2 in their last six games, they would be 38-32. QC would have to go 1-4 (37-32)
    If the Rattlers go 5-1 in their last six games, they would be 39-31. QC would have to go 2-3 (38-31)
    If the Rattlers go 6-0 in their last six games, the would be 40-30. QC would have to go 3-2 (39-30)
  • They can only take care of what is in front of them.  Rattlers sending Tyler Thornburg and PROBABLY Dan Britt on Wednesday in the doubleheader at Peoria.
  • Let’s see what happens.

Transactions, Lineup, Game Notes (June 14, 2011)

Jimmy Nelson and Charly Bashara toss bullpen sessions on Tuesday at O'Brien Field in Peoria.

Transactions:
IF Yadiel Rivera transferred from Wisconsin to Helena
OF Robbie Garvey transferred from Wisconsin to Helena

IF Mike Brownstein transferred from Brevard County to Wisconsin
OF Chad Stang transferred from extended spring training to Wisconsin

Tuesday’s Updated Roster: Timber_Rattler_Roster_061411

Tuesday’s Lineup:
Reggie Keen – CF
TJ Mittelstaedt – LF
Cody Hawn – 1B
Greg Hopkins – 2B
Mike Walker – 3B
Chris Dennis – DH
Tony Pechek – C
Mike Brownstein – SS
Chad Stang – RF

Tuesday’s Starting Pitcher:
Austin Ross

Tuesday’s Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesJune14

Postgame thoughts (June 12, 2011)

Rattlers 4, TinCaps 1
Boxscore | Game Story

  • Watch the video.  I’m not sure what else I can add to that stuff.
  • JIMMY!
  • Did you see him in the highlight after getting the strikeout to end the seventh inning? You can’t tell me that he didn’t enjoy that outing today.
  • That was a vast improvement from his first start of the homestand.
  • He hit 94 on the gun and struck out eight.  Still needs a little refinement and there were four stolen bases on him.  BUT, he pitched like a second round pick!  That is very good.
  • Greg Holle is used to pitching with runners on base. So, I wasn’t surprised to see him get out of that jam in the 8th.
  • Tyler Roberts has had a tough series at the plate, but look at the defensive play that he made on the low throw from Hopkins for the second out of that eighth inning.  Tough play.  But, Country made it.
  • Speaking of Hopkins…HE’S ON FIRE!  Three more hits today and another RBI.  His hitting streak is now at 12 games.  Plus, with all of the defensive plays….I believe that to use a more accurate video game reference…Hopkins is in God Mode.
  • Nick Shaw is not far behind.  He is on his second 10-game hitting streak of the season and his batting average is at .262.
  • Damn. Peoria won. Beloit won. Quad Cities won.  Up-to-date Wild Card Standings:
    QC: 35-28
    WI: 33-30
    PEO: 33-30
    BEL: 33-30
  • This will not be easy.
  • Here are the scheduled pitchers for the Rattlers on the road trip:
    PEORIA:
    TUE: Austin Ross
    WED: Tyler Thornburg/TBA
    THU: Brooks Hall
    CEDAR RAPIDS:
    FRI: Jimmy Nelson
    SAT: Jameson Dunn
    SUN: Austin Ross
  • Okay. Off day on Monday. I may post. I may not. Not sure yet.  A lot of the players will be at the Golf Outing for the Miracle League of the Fox Valley.
  • Right now..PRINCE! First place Brewers! Yes, a long way to go, but I love it.
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