April 2012

Nine after 9 for April 25, 2012

Dayton 3
Rattlers 4
Boxscore | Game Story

Celebrate again!

  1. Tonight was the third walkoff victory in 11 home games for the Rattlers.  In 70 home games during the 2011 season, Wisconsin had four walkoff wins.
  2. The last game-ending homer for the Rattlers was Mike Brownstein’s three- run homer on August 1, 2011 to beat Burlington in extra innings.
  3. Greg Hopkins is no stranger being mobbed by his teammates.  On August 3, 2011, Hopkins drove in the winning run with a single to beat Clinton 2-1 in tenth inning.
  4. I’m not sure if it was a great move by Andy Moye or bad base running by Juan Silva, but…wow.  Silva singles in the second, takes a big lead, Moye throws to first and Silva just got back.  Silva takes a bigger lead. Moye throws over to first and looks like he picked Silva off.  Silva is called safe.  Silva takes a BIGGER LEAD – obviously thinking that there is no way that Moye will throw over again.  Moye throws to first and Silva was out by a lot…I mean a lot.
  5. Speaking of a lot, Tyler Robers threw out Steve Selsky at second base on an attempted steal by…oh, in the name of Moe Berg, it was a lot.  Country may be struggling to hit, but the kid has an arm.
  6. If you look at the highlights below, you’ll note that Yadiel Rivera was a few steps from third when the camera cut to home plate and I paused a bit in the call.  That was when the left fielder – Silva – put both arms up and the base umpire raced out to the corner to see that the ball had either become stuck under the fence or rolled under the fence for a ground rule double.  Rivera had to go back to third.
  7. Max Walla Watch:  2-for-3, 2B, 2 runs, BB.  That’s three multi-hit games in his last five games
  8. Macias and Jason Rogers each had three hits with an RBI.  Rogers also had a heads up base running play in the third after his RBI single.  He noticed that nobody was covering second base and sprinted there to take the extra base on the Dragons.
  9. The relievers tonight were fortunate and good.  Jacob Barnes gave up a couple of line drives in the 5th with runners at second and third.  Fortunately, they were hit within easy reach of Rattlers fielders.  Barnes gave up two hits, got a double play, and got into trouble with back-to-back walks in the eighth.  But, Harvey came on and struck out Kyle Waldrop on a 3-2 pitch, a 91mph pitch on the inside corner that Waldrop took for strike three.  Harvey struck out two more in the ninth, gave up a triple, and got the last out on a grounder to Hopkins at first.


Lineup & Game Notes for April 25, 2012

Outlined against a blue gray April sky....

Tonight’s Lineup:
John Dishon – LF
Max Walla – RF
Chadwin Stang – CF
Jason Rogers – DH
Yadiel Rivera – SS
Brandon Macias – 3B
Carlos George – 2B
Tyler Roberts – C
Greg Hopkins – 1B

Wisconsin’s Starting Pitcher:
Andy Moye

Dayton’s Starting Pitcher:
Stalin Gerson

Timber Rattlers Game Notes:

Dragons Game Notes:

Tonight’s game starts at 6:35pm CDT.  Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or on their internet feed.  Broadcast starts at 6:15pm. If you are a subscriber to MiLB.TV, the game is available there, too.

Nine after 9 for April 24, 2012

Wisconsin 4
South Bend 10
Game Story | Boxscore

Dusk in South Bend

  1. I’ll lead off with Goforth’s velocity, because that is what everyone asks about.  He was 94-96 with a  few 98s in there.  I saw a 100 on the scoreboard after one pitch.  It was low and away and Rafael Neda did a nice job stopping it. I cannot say that the actual velocity was 100, I can only say that I saw 100 on the scoreboard.
  2. Here’s the thing though, Tom Belza, the second Silver Hawks batter in the game, fouled off a 98mph fastball to stay alive.  Then, he turned around a 95mph fastball to the gap in right-center for a triple.  Goforth went to more breaking balls and off speed after that.  It’s a process.
  3. The fifth inning was tough.  Two outs with two on and the score was 2-1.  Then, back-to-back walks  forced in a run.  Then, a 2-0 pitch to Montilla was smacked for a two-run single to center and the Silver Hawks were up 5-1 and had all the runs they needed.
  4. Contrast the start from Jesse Darrah.  I don’t think he topped 90 tonight, but he hit his spots, walked one, and struck out one. If anyone ever needs to have “pitch to contact” explained, they should look at this game.
  5. Ender Inciarte joins the “He can get promoted anytime club”. Really glad the Rattlers don’t see him again.  The only ball that he didn’t run down in the outfield today was one that Yadiel Rivera banged of the middle of that wall in center.
  6. Oh, yeah. About that.  Yadiel Rivera crushed one off the middle of that big wall 405′ from home plate.  He had his sixth multi-hit game of the season.  He chased some pitches out of the zone in the ninth inning and struck out to end the game.  It was his 17th strikeout of the season.  Rivera leads Rattlers hitters in strikeouts and is tied for the team lead in multi-hit games.  Rivera is a work in progress…but just imagine what type of player he will be as that work progresses.
  7. Carlos George singled in the ninth to extend his hitting streak to seven, the longest streak on the team this season.
  8. I’ll take up a part here to explain a play because I know that there are going to be some questions.  In the third, Belza singled to left and was thrown out 6-4 at second to end the inning.  Here’s what happened: the single was a bloop to shallow left and dropped between left fielder Ben McMahan coming in and Rivera going out. The ball bounced on the turf and went over the head of McMahan, so Belza took off for second.  But, the ball hung up there for Rivera to catch it before it hit the ground a second time.  Rivera, turned and threw a strike to George at second to retire Belza for the out. Easy. Right?
  9. The bus just entered the Chicago city limits.  The team will be home before sunrise.  That may be the best sentence I could write today.  See you at the yard.

Lineup & Game Notes for April 24, 2012

I think there is a game today, but I'm not sure. Maybe I can ask someone.

Tonight’s Lineup:
Yadiel Rivera – SS
Max Walla – RF
Chadwin Stang – CF
Jason Rogers – 1B
Ben McMahan – LF
Brandon Macias – DH
Carlos George – 2B
Rafael Neda – C
Greg Hopkins – 3B

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher:
David Goforth

Silver Hawks Starting Pitcher:
Jesse Darrah

Timber Rattlers Game Notes:

Tonight’s game starts at 6:05pm CDT.  Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or on their internet feed.  Broadcast starts at 5:45pm.

Nine after 9 for April 23, 2012

April 23, 2012
Wisconsin 1
South Bend 8
Game Story | Boxscore

A Monday night at The Cove.

  1. Mark Williams struck out the first batter of the game on a high outside pitch.  The ball got away from Tyler Roberts to the backstop and that runner reached base.
  2. The next batter sent a liner to right. Max Walla charged but had to let the ball drop in for a hit. Unfortunately, the ball took a SUPERball bounce on the artificial turf and went over Walla’s head to the wall for an RBI triple.
  3. John Pedrotty was the starter for the Silver Hawks.  In his previous 15.1IP this season, he had walked 11 and struck out 10.  Tonight, he faced 22 batters, walked one, and struck out five.  He got to a 3-ball count on six batters and the only walk was of the four-pitch variety and John Dishon drew it in the fifth.
  4. Dishon was balked to second base, but he broke for third too early as Pedrotty held the ball.  Dishon did a nice job staying in the rundown and almost got away, but he was run down by the second baseman for a 1-6-5-4 caught stealing.
  5. Yadiel Rivera came back strong after an off day on Sunday.  He had a single and a double to end that 0-for-15 slide.
  6. Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones was titled Garden of Bones.  The Cove should have a nickname that implies a graveyard for extra base hits.  Hokins, Stang, Walla, and Walla again struck the ball very well tonight, but the ball just hung up there for Ender Inciarte to run down in center.  Inciarte raced back just short of the track in center on consecutive balls hit by Stang and Walla in the third inning.  That wall in center is 406′ from home plate. The power alleys are 360′ and that makes for a lot of room out there.
  7. Speaking of Ender Inciarte, he was the MWL Offensive Player of the Week this week.  Tonight, he had two hits and two RBI.  He is in his third tour of duty with the Silver Hawks.  In 2010 and 2011 against the Rattlers, he was a combined 2-for-19.  Inciarte may be in his third year with South Bend, but he doesn’t turn 22 until October of this year.
  8. Best opportunity for Wisconsin against Pedrotty was in the sixth. A double by Rivera and a single by Walla put runners on the corners with no outs.  But, a strikeout and a 4-6-3 double play ended that real quick.
  9. To end this on a personal note, I got a chance to talk with Mark Haley, the Silver Hawks manager before the game today.  To understand how big a deal that is…well, here is a story from January 12 of this year.

Haley, the 52-year-old manager of Arizona’s Class A affiliate, has been hospitalized for 20 days after he suffered a ruptured bowel following back surgery earlier last month. He was admitted to South Bend Memorial Hospital on Dec. 24 after experiencing urinary tract and abdominal pain, with further testing revealing a ruptured bowel. He underwent surgery Dec. 29 to remove a portion of his bowel and had been unable to breath on his own or sleep without medication since.

Haley is largely unaware of what has transpired over the last few weeks, his wife said. A CT scan Wednesday came back negative, and doctors plan to move Haley from his intensive care room today to a surgical floor, and then to a rehab floor. His wife said Haley may be able to sit up and consume water today as well.

When I talked to Mark he said that he woke up in the hospital one day and told his wife that they had a wedding to get to.  The wedding occurred while Mark was out.  He said that the last thing he remembered before waking up was Christmas. 

We talked a little about his team, a little about prospects (He really likes Kaleb Cowart of Cedar Rapids and Miguel Sano of Beloit), a little about his recovery, and a little about how much he appreciated everyone’s prayers and good thoughts.  The last thing I said to him was to jokingly ask him to take it easy on the Rattlers.  He told me not to worry.  The Rattlers will be just fine this year.

He wasn’t supposed to be back yet.  But, he’s way ahead of schedule.  It is great to have Mark Haley is back as the manager of the Silver Hawks.

And if that doesn’t put an early season 8-1 loss into perspective, I don’t know what will. 

Lineup & Game Notes for April 23, 2012

Tonight’s Lineup:
Yadiel Rivera –
Max Walla – RF
Chadwin Stang – CF
Jason Rogers – 1B
Ben McMahan – DH
Brandon Macias – 3B
Greg Hopkins – 2B
John Dishon – LF
Tyler Roberts – C

Wisconsin’s Starting Pitcher:
Mark Williams

South Bend’s Starting Pitcher:
John Pedrotty

Wisconsin’s Game Notes:

Tonight’s game starts at 6:05pm CDT.  Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or on their internet feed.  Broadcast starts at 5:45pm.

Nine after nine for April 22, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012
Wisconsin 1
South Bend 2
10 innings
Game Story | Boxscore

Drew Gagnon extended his scoreless streak to 11-1/3 innings today.

  1. Baseball America’s write up on Drew Gagnon as the #23 prospect in the Brewers system: “Gagnon has good life on a 90-93 mph fastball that reaches 95 at times. He had issues in the past with his curveball and slider blending in a slurve, but he showed a quality79-82 mph curve in instructional league.  He also has an average changeup, though he’s still learning how to put hitters away with his secondary pitches.  Gagnon has good mound presence and likes to attack hitters with his fastball. The Brewers envision him [as] a workhorse who could fit in the No. 4 slot in the rotation.”
  2. This may be the most accurate thing I have ever read in a Baseball America writeup on a prospect. Gagnon went after guys today. He touched 95 once on the stadium radar that I saw and mixed in the breaking stuff very well.  Locations were good, too.
  3. Don’t let the 4 GO: 11FO ratio bother you today.  The wind was blowing in at about 20mph today, the wall is 14 feet high all around the Cove, it’s 336′ down the lines, and there have been five homers hit in 11 games at South Bend this season.  He knew the conditions and he attacked hitters.  A lot of the fly balls were actually popups on pitches which either fooled or jammed Silver Hawk batters.
  4. One last note on Gagnon.  He’s scheduled to pitch at Miller Park on Friday against Dayton.  Get your tickets – just $10, see him in person, and judge for yourself.
  5. Defense with three errors today – after they had committed two errors in the 11 games before today.  Let’s focus on that last error through The Win Probability Inquirer.  One out, runner at first bottom of the ninth, grounder to third is misplayed.  Instead of a game ending double play, the game continues.  I set the run environment at 4.0 as an average – and because I don’t know any better.  According to this, the Rattlers went from a 80.75% chance of winning before the error to a 68.33% chance of winning.  Toss in the hit batsman to the next batter and the Rattlers dipped from 68.33% to a 47.76% chance of winning.
  6. Sunday was game #17 of the season.  It was the fourth blown save of the year.
  7. Rafael Neda with a day in the life of a catcher.  Before the game he was running to first as part of his round of batting practice and a ground ball took a weird ricochet off the wheel of a screen in front of first.  The ball jumped up and got Neda in the side of the helmet.  In the ninth, the 230 pound Bobby Stone crashed into Neda to try and jar the ball loose and score the winning run.  Neda held on for the out.
  8. Max Walla with two more hits today.  He is 4-for-7 since collected his first hit on Saturday.
  9. Did you know…Carlos George is the team leader in RBI with 10? He is.

Lineup & Game Notes for April 22, 2012

Sunday Morning in South Bend.

Today’s Lineup:
Chadwin Stang – CF
Max Walla – RF
Jason Rogers – DH
Ben McMahan – LF
Brandon Macias –  3B
Greg Hopkins – 1B
Carlos George – 2B
Rafael Neda – C
Adrian Williams – SS

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher:
Drew Gagnon

Silver Hawks Starting Pitcher:
Jeff Shields

Timber Rattlers Game Notes:

Timber Rattlers Roster Moves:
C Parker Berberet to the DL
OF Ben McMahan activated off the DL for today

Timber Rattlers Roster (As of April 22):

Today’s game starts at 1:05pm CDT.  Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or on their internet feed starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 12:45pm.

Nine after Nine for April 21, 2012

Wisconsin – 3
West Michigan – 2
12 innings
Game Story | Boxscore

The view from in here was pretty good for the last three days.

  1. All you need to know about this game is right here:
    Kevin Shackelford: 4IP, 2r, 0BB, 2K
    Tyler Cravy: 4IP, 0r, 0BB, 3K
    Tommy Toledo: 3IP, 0r, 0BB, 2K
    Seth Harvey: IP, 0R, 0BB 2K
    12IP, 2R, 0BB, 9K
  2. Oh, you want a little more. How about the Whitecaps didn’t have a runner get past second base after the second inning. And all of the pitchers were between 92 and 95 on their top speeds.
  3. Here’s the funny thing. David Chavarria and I were talking before the game about what to expect out of some starting pitchers… not necessarily Shackelford, but hang with me here. Dave said that if a starting pitcher to is going to give up a couple of runs, make sure they are early and then make sure that those runs are all they get to let the offense get back into the game. It’s almost like there was a script.
  4. Max Walla is no longer hitless! His double in the sixth was well struck to the opposite field and he scored the tying run on the Parker Berberet double later in the inning.
  5. The Rattlers coaching staff pushed the right buttons in the 12th. Rafael Neda was hit by a pitch with one out. Chadwin Stang pinch ran and stole second despite everyone knowing that exactly what he was in there to do.  John Dishon followed with a single to score Stang with the go ahead run.
  6. The Rattlers offense did just enough today.  They walked one time and struck out 16 times in the game. Yet, they had ten hits and five of those hits were doubles.  After scoring 26 runs in the three games before Saturday, one off day is okay…I guess.
  7. Tack on another errorless game for the Rattlers defense.  Two errors in their last eleven games.
  8. For the velocity mavens out there, Seth Harvey registered 95 with one pitch and 94 on several others on the stadium pitch speed indicator.
  9. Two outs, nobody on, bottom of the 12th.  Harvey shatters Danry Vasquez bat. The ball hits the grass about 15 feet in front of the mound at about a 45 degree angle to the baseline with some unbelievable spin on it. The ball scoots by Harvey and rolls towards Carlos George at second base.  Then, the ball – still with some wicked spin on it – gets by George and rolls into the outfield in shallow center. Vasquez winds up at second base with a double.  It either reminded me of the Bugs Bunny slowball that struck out three Gashouse Gorillas or the tether on the blernsball started moving that ball on it own.  If baseballs have gained sentience, we are doomed, people…DOOMED!

Next series is here in South Bend.  It’s changed a bit since the last time.

The Cove has astroturf. It should be interesting.

See you tomorrow.

Lineup & Game Notes for April 21, 2012

Ever wonder what the view from the top of that thing would be like?

Saturday’s Lineup:
Yadiel Rivera – SS
Max Walla – RF
Jason Rogers – LF
Parker Berberet – DH
Brandon Macias – 3B
Greg Hopkins – 1B
Carlos George – 2B
Rafael Neda – C
John Dishon – CF

Wonder no more!

Wisconsin’s Starting Pitcher:
Kevin Shackelford

West Michigan’s Starting Pitcher:
Josue Carreno

Timber Rattlers Game Notes:

It's even pretty good from back a few steps.

Today’s game can be heard on AM1280, WNAM or through the internet feed – which will be working from the start today thanks to the hard work of Kelsey and Steve back at the mothership.  Miller Lite Pregame Show starts at 11:40am.


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