May 2012

Lineup and Game Notes for May 31, 2012

From the plate in Cedar Rapids.

Thursday’s Lineup:
Chadwin Stang – CF
John Dishon – LF
Jason Rogers – 1B
Nick Ramirez – DH
Greg Hopkins – 3B
Rafael Neda – C
Yadiel Rivera – SS
Max Walla – RF
Carlos George – 2B

Wisconsin Starting Pitcher:
David Goforth

Cedar Rapids Starting Pitcher:
Eswarlin Jimenez

Timber Rattlers Game Notes:
RattlersGameNotesMay312012

Kernels Game Notes:
KernelsGame Notes 5-31

Follow tonight’s game:
Radio: AM1280, WNAM
Internet Audio: WNAM Internet Feed (new link)

Nine after 9 for May 30, 2012

Wisconsin 10
Cedar Rapids 2
Boxscore | Game Story

It was late in the evening and they blew that room away.

  1. The best teams have the shortest memories.  There are teams that take a couple of days to recover from a loss like Tuesday.  Lose a heart-breaker in 14-innings on get away day get in at 3am and play that night.  I just have to go back to last year. Remember the Memorial Day loss in Kane County last year?  The Rattlers scored three in the top of the eleventh, but lost when the Cougars scored four in the bottom of the eleventh.  Then, they get on the bus, go to Bowling Green, lose two more games before salvaging the final game in the three game series with the Hot Rods.  That didn’t happen tonight.
  2. The possibility of that happening was gone in the first five batters.  They scored five runs in the first inning.  Wisconsin has now outscored opponents in the first inning 44-14.
  3. Wisconsin knocked around Austin Wood pretty good tonight and the last thing the Kernels needed was to go to their bullpen in the first inning.  But, they did because of this:

    …starter Austin Wood (2-4) was removed after two-thirds of an inning and five runs against. The parent Angels have new pitch-count philosophies for their younger arms. They are limited to a certain number of pitches per game, as usual, but also a certain number of pitches per inning.

    That particular 36-pitch limit hit Wood last night and forced his removal. Same thing happened in the first inning last week to Cam Bedrosian in a game at Beloit.

    “It puts stress on your arm, these long innings like that,” Burke said. “For a younger pitcher, that’s stress on their arm.”

  4. The biggest hit of that first inning belonged to Adrian Williams.  If Williams is retired by the Frank DeJiulio, the Rattlers leave the bases loaded and are up 3-0, a nice start.  By smacking a two-run single to center, Williams makes it 5-0 and it’s a great start.
  5. Chad Thompson pitched very well tonight.  He kept his pitch count down and worked through six innings.  Yes, he struck out seven in each of his last two starts.  But, he only went four innings in each of his last two starts.  The only blemish tonight was an unearned run in the second.  Two strikeouts and a very confident start for him.
  6. I am running out of ways to describe the offense of Greg Hopkins.  Three more hits, two more RBI, and a laser beam of a home run that wound up in someone’s front yard.  He leads the team in homers now with seven and – on the strength of going 16-for-35 on this road trip – Hopkins leads the Midwest League batting race with a .332 average.  By the way, that 16-for-35 on this road trip includes on 0-for-4 in the first game.  That puts Hopkins on a seven game hitting streak and he is 16-for-31.  Broadcaster math tells me that would be above .500.
  7. It was a good day to be Mark Williams.  His alma mater wins twice to claim their second consecutive NCAA Division III College World Series Championship and he works three solid innings for his second save.
  8. Good news from Quad Cities.  The River Bandits destroyed Beloit 20-3 tonight.  If you thought five runs in the first was impressive, how about twelve runs in the first?  Beloit’s loss and Wisconsin’s win means the Rattlers have a three game lead on the Snappers in the division with 17 games remaining.
  9. The Rattlers won 10-2.  But, they could have had a lot more.  Brandon Macias got robbed by Kaleb Cowart in the first inning with a leaping grab of a high bouncer ticketed for the left field corner with two on and two out.  In the second, – as I put on twitter: Wow. If Cowart robbed @Cias12, Ryan Jones just mugged @maxwalla and drove away in Walla’s carDon’t believe me?  The plays are back-to-back on the Kernels highlights starting at the one minute mark:

    That diving play by the left fielder Hairgrove later in the highlights also took a hit away from Macias.  I just couldn’t get excited about that one after the catch that Jones made.  Walla got the last laugh on Jones and the Kernels.  He crushed a homer to right in the fourth. No one could take that thing away from him.

Lineup and Game Notes for May 30, 2012

Back at it today.

Tonight’s Lineup:
Brandon Macias – 3B
Max Walla – RF
Jason Rogers – LF
Nick Ramirez – 1B
Greg Hopkins – 2B
Rafael Neda – C
Carlos George – DH
John Dishon – CF
Adrian Williams – SS

Wisconsin Starting Pitcher:
Chad Thompson

Cedar Rapids Starting Pitcher:
Austin Wood

Timber Rattlers Roster Moves:
LHP Michael Strong to the DL retroactive to 5/29
RHP Kevin Shackelford activated from DL are available tonight

Updated Timber Rattlers roster:
Timber_Rattlers_Roster_053012

Timber Rattlers Game Notes
RattlersGameNotesMay302012

Kernels Game Notes:
KernelsGame Notes 5-30

Follow tonight’s game:
Radio: AM1280, WNAM
Internet Audio: WNAM Feed (new link)

Nine after 9 for May 29, 2012

Peoria 4
Wisconsin 3
FINAL – 14 innings
Boxscore | Game Story

John Dishon took a bit of Peoria with him last night.

  1. I talked a bit with Matt Erickson about the final play of the game.  I was going to talk to Cameron Garfield about it, but Gar looked pretty down on the bus and I didn’t want to bug him about it.  John Dishon’s throw to the plate was in time, but Erickson said that Gar told him in the dugout that he went too quick to get the tag down on Chen and didn’t secure the ball.  If he did, who knows, we might still be in Peoria.
  2. The manager – unasked – also brought up the play in which Dishon got caught off third base on that infield single in the top of the eleventh.  Dishon was at second and Brandon Macias smacked a single off the glove of pitcher Sheldon McDonald.  Matt said he was hoping that McDonald would panic and try to throw to first because he wasn’t going to get Macias and first and Dishon had such a big head of steam coming around third that he would have scored on that throw to first.  However, McDonald handled the play exactly right.  He got to the ball, realized he had no chance to get Macias and looked to third.
  3. The game could also have ended one inning earlier.  The Chiefs loaded the bases with one out against Tommy Toledo.  Toledo got the second out on a force play at the plate.  Then, on a 3-2 pitch, he got Javier Baez – the #1 pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 2011 draft and a Florida high school phenom- to chase a high fastball for strike three.  That is taking advantage of a young, aggressive hitter who wanted to celebrate with a walkoff grand slam.

    Got. Him. Swinging.

  4. Speaking of young, aggressive hitter….You’re probably wondering how a position player who hasn’t played in a game all season long comes into a game, retires all six batters he faces, and picks up a win.  Kenny Socorro did exactly that because the Rattlers just started going after pitches.  That’s the mindset sometimes when a position player comes into a game, it normally doesn’t work and that position player doesn’t need to be throwing a TJ Mittelstaedt knuckleball either.  In the thirteenth, two players went after Socorro’s first pitch while the other struck out on a 1-2 pitch.  In the fourteenth, outs were made on a 2-0 pitch, a 1-1 pitch, and a 2-1 pitch. In all, Socorro threw 14 pitches and retired the side in order in both innings.
  5. To put that in perspective, the actual pitchers for the Chiefs managed to retire the Rattlers in order one time.
  6. The thing that stung about that winning rally for the Chiefs int he 14th inning was the Tyler Cravy had two out with no one aboard.  It looked like he had struck Chen out on a check swing, but it was ruled that he held.  Then, Cravy had Zeke DeVoss 1-2, but walked him.  Eight walks by Timber Rattlers pitching on Tuesday night.  Starting pitcher Drew Gagnon walked two and both scored against him.  In the fourteenth, Chen would be the third Chief to reach on a walk to come in to score
  7. I made this point on twitter last night and it will be in the game notes later today, but this should be highlighted out here, too.  The Rattlers bullpen worked 16-2/3 innings in the four games at Peoria.  They allowed one run – the game winner in the bottom of the 14th.
  8. The long outings shouldn’t hurt the bullpen over the next few days in Cedar Rapids.  Wisconsin is scheduled to have tandems going all three games.  Wednesday is Chad Thompson and Mark Williams.  Thursday is David Goforth and Chad Pierce.  Friday is Will West and Jacob Barnes.
  9. The Rattlers are 5-2 on the first seven games of this road trip.  The two losses are last night’s 14th inning loss by one run and the 5-4 loss at Quad Cities when the River Bandits broke a 4-4 tie with a run on an error in the bottom of the ninth.  This hasn’t been a bad trip.  Also, both losses came in the final game of a series in which the Rattlers were going for a sweep. Sweeps would be nice, but winning series does the job almost as well.

Lineup and Game Notes for May 29, 2012

400′ from home plate

Tuesday’s Lineup:
Chadwin Stang- CF
Brandon Macias – 3B
Jason Rogers – DH
Nick Ramirez – 1B
Greg Hopkins – 2B
Cameron Garfield – C
Max Walla – RF
Yadiel Rivera – SS
John Dishon – LF

Wisconsin Starting Pitcher:
Drew Gagnon

Peoria Starting Pitcher:
Kyler Burke

Timber Rattlers Game Notes:
RattlersGameNotesMay292012

Follow tonight’s game:
Radio: 1280AM, WNAM
Internet Audio: WNAM Feed (New Link)

The sky is particularly blue today.

Nine after 9 for May 28, 2012

Wisconsin 3
Peoria 1
Boxscore | Game Story

A home run to center only need clear the yellow line. Nick Ramirez said to heck with that and cleared the whole batter’s eye. Seriously.

  1. Where do you want to start? My choice? That let’s me start with Rafael Neda.  The other night I mentioned that Neda hit the ball hard a bunch and took an 0-for-5.  Today, with two outs and Carlos George at first he lined an 0-1 pitch to the gap in left-center for a double.  Neda has taken a lot of knocks, collisions, foul tips, hit by pitches, and 0-for-whatevers at the plate.  The thing about Neda, in fact the thing about all of the Rattlers this season, they don’t let it get to them. Or they at least do a really good job of not showing that it gets to them.  Neda was just about to go down to catch a bullpen before Sunday’s game when I talked with him about his tough night on Saturday. He knows that those hits are going to start falling soon.  Just keep taking the same approach.  He got a big hit to fall in for him today. Good to see.
  2. Javier Baez made his Midwest League debut today as a member of the Peoria Chiefs.  He put on a show in batting practice with home runs over the batter’s eye and out past the flagpoles (Reference that in the picture).  He ran on Max Walla on a single to right and was thrown out at second.  Baez, the ninth overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft and the #2 prospect int he Cubs organization, had two hits on Monday and the Cubs think they have a good one.
  3. Matt Miller showed quite a bit today.  For today, just ignore the walks and strikeout totals.  When things went sideways on him, he executed his pitches and kept the Chiefs to a single unearned run.  What do I mean sideways?  How about when Zeke DeVoss started the fourth inning with a routine flyball to left that the wind blew to the track for a double.  DeVoss was still at second when the inning ended.  Had it not been for his own error to allow DeVoss to get into scoring position in the sixth, Miller would have had six shutout innings.  Yes, he walked four and his pitch count was (unofficially) 82 with 45 strikes, But, there was and has been real improvement for Miller.
  4. Remember when I mentioned how knocked around Neda has been this season?  He was hit by a pitch to lead off the eighth inning in a tie game.  In a really weird echo, the only other time Neda was hit by a pitch this season was on April 21 at West Michigan.  He was ht by a pitch with one out in the 12th inning of a tie game on that day.  Chadwin Stang pinch ran for him that day and came in to score what turned out to be the winning run.  This time…
  5. John Dishon pinch ran for Neda.  Dishon before Monday, Dishon had entered the game as a pinch runner three times and had scored twice.  The first time he scored as a pinch runner was on April 18 against Burlington and he scored the run in the bottom of the eighth that broke a 6-6 tie.  The second time he scored as a pinch runner was on April 29 against Bowling Green and he scored the run in the bottom of the eighth inning that broke a 2-2 tie.  Monday was the fourth time he pinch ran and the third time he’s scored the tie-breaking run.  On Monday, he scored because….
  6. …of a perfect sacrifice bunt by Adrian Williams that moved him into scoring position. I know. #bunttowin #smallball Deride it if you will, but Williams did the job that got Dishon into scoring position or else….
  7. …the two-out single by Walla doesn’t get Dishon home.  Walla has talked often about slowing the game down to give him a chance to be successful as a professional.  Today it looked like he had the game on pause.  Throw out that runner at second base?  You bet! Double to the opposite field? No problem. Drive in the go-ahead run in by pulling a single through the hole between the first baseman and the second baseman? I got you covered.  Make a diving catch in the ninth to save at least one run?  Yep.  What else do you have?  I’ll tell you what Walla has, an eight game hitting streak.
  8. Seth Harvey came into the ball game in a tough spot in the bottom of the eighth inning.  Runners at first and second with one out and the three and four hitters (Paul Hoilman and Ryan Cuneo) due up for the Chiefs.  Harvey went after Hoilman and struck him out.  Cuneo lined a ball to left-center.  BUT, Dishon, who stayed in the game after pinch running for Neda and moved into left field as a defensive replacement, ran that ball down to end the inning.  Harvey has inherited 11 base runners this season and only three have scored.  Harvey got some margin for error when Ramirez launched his blast in the top of the ninth.  But, it that was too easy.  Baez singled and Zapata singled and the tying runs were aboard.  A bunt moved the tying runs into scoring position.  Then, Walla made the diving catch and held the runners on their respective bases.  A grounder to short completed the great escape.  If we do a poster of Harvey this season, it shouldn’t be an action shot from the ballpark.  It should be something that is taken at the Houdini display in the History Museum at the Castle. Can we get someone on that?
  9. Earlier, I noted that Javier Baez was hitting home runs in batting practice that cleared the batter’s eye in center.  Nick Ramirez cleared that thing in the game…on a 1-2 pitch…in the ninth inning.  Click on the picture up top.  Imagine the white dot of the baseball clearing the whole thing over the second square in from the right.  That was crushed.  That is the second ninth inning homer in as many days that has silenced the crowd in Peoria.  Much respect on the TITAN-ic blast.

Much respect.

Memorial Day Post, 2012

On July 9, 1940 Dick Williams made the start for the Appleton Papermakers in a Wisconsin State League game against the Sheboygan Indians. He struck out ten, walked two, and scattered seven hits for a 5-3 complete game win at Spencer Street Stadium. Here is a link to a brief story about that game from the July 10, 1940 Milwaukee Sentinel.

Gary Bedingfield included information about Williams in a book that he wrote:

Described as having “good stuff, with an overhand curveball breaking down on the hitter,” Williams got off to a good start, but then struggled to win a game until June 18, when he defeated Green Bay, 2-0. Another run of bad luck saw him traded at the beginning of August to the Sheboygan Indians of the same league. The trade coincided with the extraction of an ulcerated tooth, and under the guidance of Joe “Unser Choe” Hauser,…he fared much better and ended the year with a 9-9 won-loss record and a 4.94 ERA.

Back with Sheboygan for 1941, Williams earned recognition as “the best left-hander in the league.” On June 3, he pitched a 1-0 three hitter against Wisconsin Rapids and followed that on June 27 by scattering eight hits in a 3-2 win against Janesville, striking out 16 batters to tie a Wisconsin State League record. He finished the regular season with a 14-11 record and a 3.89 ERA, and struck out 138 in 177 innings. The Indians finished fourth in the league to earn a place in the playoffs, and Williams earned his team with a sensational 1-0 five-hitter against the La Crosse Blackhawks. The Indians were then awarded the championship when Green Bay forfeited.”

The name of the book that Gary Bedingfeld wrote is Baseball’s Dead of World War II: A Roster of Professional Players Who Died in Service.

Williams entered the US Army in 1942 and served in the 82nd Field Artillery Battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division. He took part in the liberation of The Philippines. Dick Williams did not come home.

[Richard L. Williams] was killed in action during the battle for the Philippines on February 21, 1945.

Technician Fifth Grade Williams was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and is buried at the Manila American Cemetery at Fort Bonifacio in Manila, Philippines.

Memorial Day is more than baseball, a day off from work, and the unofficial start of summer. It is to honor the memory of Technician Fifth Grade Richard L. Williams of Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Appleton Papermakers, and the Sheboygan Indians and all who gave the “last full measure of devotion”.

Lineup and Game Notes for May 28, 2012

It’s a beautiful morning in Peoria.

Today’s Lineup:
Chadwin Stang – CF
Max Walla – RF
Jason Rogers – LF
Nick Ramirez – 1B
Greg Hopkins – 3B
Yadiel Rivera – SS
Carlos George – DH
Rafael Neda – C
Adrian Williams – 2B

Wisconsin Starting Pitcher:
Matt Miller

Peoria Starting Pitcher:
Jose Rosario

Timber Rattlers Game Notes:
RattlersGameNotesMay282012

Follow today’s game:
Radio: AM1280, WNAM
Internet Audio: WNAM Feed (New Link)

Nine after 9 for May 27, 2012 (UPDATED)

Wisconsin 3
Peoria 2
Boxscore | Game Story

This post should be a whole lot cooler, but I can’t get the photos that I want to use off my camera. So, bear with me.  I’ll explain the map in a bit.  (Never mind. Got them and added them in the appropriate places.)

  1. A former broadcasting colleague of mine used to joke that one day – just to see if anyone was listening – on a dramatic, tape measure home run he would like to use profanity.  For example: Dukes down 2 in the ninth with two outs. Jason Shanahan at  the plate with two on and a 3-2 pitch on the way from from Jason Schlutt…..<crack of the bat> HOLY ^#@$&!*! There’s a fly ball &^#$*!!@ deep to left-center!!  THAT *&$^&*#^^@&##$@@#$$ is #^&*$(@@!!! is GONE!!!!  The home run that Yadiel Rivera hit today was that kind of home run today.  More on that in a bit.
  2. Pitching first. How about the job that Will West did in the third inning today?  A double by Zeke DeVoss and a triple by Taiwan Easterling gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead and a runner at third with no outs.  West gets a strikeout, a strikeout, and a grounder to third to strand Easterling at third.  West showed a very nice curve and what looked like a changeup.  He pitched his way out of the jam in the third with both of those pitches.
  3. Jacob Barnes is on a roll.  In his first seven appearances, Barnes walked 11 and struck out 10 in 19-2/3 innings.  After he went ten days between appearances – with a stint on the DL, Barnes came back and has allowed no runs on two hits over 6-2/3 innings with no walks and six strikeouts.  Control is much better.
  4. Speaking of long layoffs….Cameron Garfield last swung a bat in a game that counted in the standings on July 22, 2011.  He went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI single, and a stolen base today.  This is where the picture of his line drive double to left-center field from the sixth inning should go. (ADDED)

    Cameron Garfield doubles to left-center on May 27 at Peoria. (Added on 5/28)

  5. Chadwin Stang doubled in the third.  Max Walla singled in the ninth.  Both extended their hitting streaks to seven games.
  6. Walla’s single in the ninth was a line drive down the left field line.  He just reached out and served it sharply to the opposite field.  This is where the picture of Chiefs closer Yao-Lin Wang and his bright red glove should go. (ADDED)

    I’m told that he also has a bright blue glove. (Added 5/28)

  7. When the talk turns to the hitting ability of Yadiel Rivera, talk turns to pitch selection.  There are times where he can’t wait to swing at that first pitch no matter where it is to him.  Today, he let the first pitch from Wang go by way high out of the strike zone.  The next pitch…Geez, Rivera couldn’t have asked for the pitch in a better location…
  8. To get an idea of where he hit that pitch go to the map at the top of the post.  Manipulate it so that you can see the street and the Caterpillar HQ (the white building across the street) and home plate.  Keep in mind that the field is roughly 12 to fifteen feet below street level and the protective net (being held by all of those poles on the other side of the walkway behind the berm) are probably 20 to 25 feet high.  Rivera cleared all of the obstacles that are supposed to hold a home run inside the stadium.  The ball took one bounce in the middle lane of traffic and hopped up between the two trees and bounced off the Caterpillar building. (This is where the picture from the radio booth would go to allow you to see how far that is.  This is also where the picture of the gentleman looking for the baseball near the Caterpillar building would go. – ADDED)

    The word CATERPILLAR is between and above the two trees where the ball that Rivera hit eventually landed. (Added 5/28)

    The guy, who is partially hidden by the gray pole on the left, is looking for Rivera’s home run ball.

    It was an impressive home run that silences the crowd. Now, the Rattlers just need to keep making noise.

  9. The street view may give you a better idea.  Click on the map below and turn until you can see into the stadium. There you go.

Lineup and Game Notes for May 27, 2012

The annual photo of the Peoria Chiefs Stadium palm trees.

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

Wisconsin Starting Pitcher:
Will West

Peoria Starting Pitcher:
Michael Jensen

Timber Rattlers Game Notes:
RattlersGameNotesMay272012

Follow today’s game:
On the radio: AM1280, WNAM
On the internet: NEW LINK (free)

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