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.

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