Nine after 9 for May 4, 2012

COMBINED NO-HITTER!

Timber Rattlers 5
LumberKings 0
Boxscore
TimberRattlers Game Story
MiLB.com Game Story (with quotes from both Chad Thompson & Mark Williams)

Moments before history

Then, history:

  1. Chad Thompson was a bit of a surprise starter for me, but the decision to start him and work Mark Williams out of the bullpen had been made when Thompson got to town last week.  It worked out.  Definitely.
  2. First the offense. Then, we’ll get to the nuts and bolts and history.  Four runs in the first inning.  Jason Rogers RBI single, Greg Hopkins 3-run homer.  For a video representation of Greg Hopkins at the moment go here. (Hint: HE’S ON FIRE!)
  3. Thompson was on about an 80-pitch limit tonight. Unofficially, I had him for 70 (39 strikes).  If you read that story up top, you will see this from him: “It was my first outing, so all I was worried about was doing what I’m supposed to do — just throw strikes, try to get ground balls,” Thompson said. “Fortunately, it all ended up working out really well.” Indeed!
  4. He didn’t throw hard tonight – i didn’t see anything over 88 from him, but he threw well. Struck out six. Walked three. And I can’t think of one ball that was hit tonight where I went, “Dang. There’s a hit.” Everything was pretty much a routine out in the game for Thompson.
  5. If you want to know why this performance tonight may mean a little more to Chad Thompson, just read this article from last May. (Thanks to Jim over at Brewerfan.net for the article.)  Go ahead. This post will still be here when you are done with it.
  6. Williams came out of the bullpen in the best state of mind…Oblivious to what is going on: “When I came in, it was just another game,” Williams said. “I didn’t even realize it was a no-hitter until I looked up at the scoreboard in the seventh inning. … I was a little bit nervous at that point. I knew [Thompson] was throwing really well. But when you’re in the bullpen, you’re screwing around, you’re talking a little, so you don’t know just how well the starter’s going.” Honesty. I like it!
  7. There were only two plays that Williams – who hit 91 at least once on the stadium gun tonight – needed more than a routine defensive play to hold on to the no-hitter.  The first was a Long run into foul territory by right fielder Ben McMahan to retire Jabari Blash in the seventh inning. The other was…well, here’s the play from the MiLB.com story with commentary from Williams: In the ninth, Williams had a scare in the ninth when Baron hit a high chopper back to the mound that he dropped on the transfer.”‘Oh crap, oh crap’ was all I was thinking,” he said.  But, he got the out and two strikeouts to end the game and give the Rattlers the fourth no-hitter in franchise history.
  8. Clinton’s last hit in the series was a single by Jamal Austin with one out in the third inning on Friday.  Between Drew Gagnon, Kevin Shackelford, Thompson, and Williams, the Rattlers no-hit the LumberKings for the final 15-2/3 innings.  Clinton is only hitting .209 as a team after Friday’s game. I had a good talk with their manager Eddie Menchaca and their hitting coach Tommy Cruz before the game today.  I know both of them from the days when the Mariners were the parent club of the Rattlers.  Both talked about how much they like the way the Rattlers play as a team, how the Rattlers play defense, and how the hitters put together strings of very good at bats.  They also talked about how young the LumberKings are and how they have had trouble hitting the ball so far this season.  Remember that Clinton did turn it around in the second half last year and made the playoffs.  I like both Eddie and Tommy they will need to put in a lot of work
  9. Not to end this on a down note, but the question is probably going to come up for those who saw the boxscore and noticed right fielder John Dishon came out of the game and there were a lot of defensive changes after that happened.  John took a pitch off his hand in the second inning and it was ruled a foul ball to keep the count at 2-2.  He told me that he tried to grip the bat after that and thought, “Oh, this doesn’t feel right.” Then, he said that his next thought was, “Don’t be a strike. Don’t be a strike.” Dishon went out to play the field in the bottom of the second, but did not return to the field in the bottom of the third and there was: Jason Rogers from 1B to LF; Ben McMahan from LF to RF; Greg Hopkins from 2B to 1B; Adrian Williams into the game at 2B.  I’ll have to wait for news on what happens next with Dishon. For tonight: Enjoy the no-hitter, first place, and the five-game winning streak.

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