May 2012

Nine after 9 for May 26, 2012

Wisconsin 11
Peoria 3
Boxscore | Game Story

The Rattlers offense was as hot as the weather!

  1. By Odin’s Raven!  Hopkins and Rogers and Goforth and Pierce and oh, everyone.  We’ll get to it all in a minute.  But, let’s begin at the beginning or actually before the beginning. Let’s go back to an ending.
  2. The Rattlers Friday ended at 3am this morning and the first bus to the ballpark on Saturday was 1:30pm.  That is a quicker turnaround than you would imagine.  Especially for how hot it was in the Peoria area today.  The temperature gauge on the scoreboard may be a bit off due to the sun shining on it all day long, but just walking out of the clubhouse and up the tunnel to the dugout and on the field was like trying to swim uphill…if I can mix my metaphors…
  3. The Chaos Meter pegged pretty early tonight.  Ben McMahan was in the lineup and taking batting practice with his group.  That was when I headed down to the field.  Between my leaving the press box and getting to the field, McMahan had left the field and got into the clubhouse.  I heard, “Mac, what’s wrong?” as I walked by the clubhouse.  Then, I got to the field and Matt Erickson asked me to head back in to find out if MacMahan could play or if he needed to go on the DL or to see if they could get the ball rolling on a transaction.  This is all roughly at 5:10pm for a 6:30pm game. Dusty Rhodes told Matt that he would take care of the details.  Then, we waited to see what would happen.  The roster move came through (McMahan to the DL & Adrian Williams off the DL) at 5:35. Then, lineup change didn’t get finalized until 5:40.  Chaos Meter was pegged right there.  And that’s all I know about that.
  4. I have said that this team seems to thrive on Chaos.  It looks like 11 runs and 16 hits are thriving.  Eight of the nine players had hits.  (It really should have been nine, but Rafael Neda was robbed twice tonight).  Max Walla, who replaced McMahan in the lineup, walked and singled against the left-handed pitcher that he was originally held out of the game to not face.
  5. Chadwin Stang probably should have had four hits tonight.  He had two sharp singles and a bunt single – his third bunt hit of the year, but Peoria second baseman Zeke DeVoss make a great pick on a grounder headed to center in the fourth and fired to first to barely get Stang at first.  By the way, that’s a 6-game hit streak for Stang now.
  6. David Goforth worked six innings, struck out four, and – most importantly – didn’t walk anyone.  In fact, he did not go to a 3-ball count on a single batter on Saturday.  That helped him keep his pitch count low and he was at 75 (with 50 strikes) by my unofficial tally.  Goforth did hit DeVoss on an 0-2 pitch in the first inning, but he looked good tonight.  Sorry, no velocity readings on the stadium gun tonight, but I can probably guess that he kept it between 92 and 94 and maybe ramped it up a couple of times.
  7. Chad Pierce earns his first professional save in an 11-3 game by pitching three scoreless innings.  One walk, one hit, and three strike outs.  In his previous three outings, Pierce had allowed seven runs on 15 hits over 12 innings.  Good to come in and wrap things up for the save.
  8. I have seen some long home runs in Peoria. Jason Rogers joined that list tonight and he did it by doing something that he hasn’t done a lot of this season.  He jumped on a first pitch.  Brandon Macias had just walked with one out in the sixth against Felix Pena.  Pena grooved one and Rogers destroyed it.  He also smacked two singles and a double for a 4-hit night.  Heck, he even hit the ball hard when he grounded into the 6-4-3 double play in the first inning.    Keep doing what you’re doing.
  9. Greg Hopkins doubled, homered, and homered in his first three at bats and drove in six runs.  I said that I thought Hopkins was starting to heat up after his 4-for-5 night in Quad Cities on Thursday, but tonight was ridiculous.  Fun, but ridiculous.

Lineup and Game Notes for May 26, 2012

Peoria Chiefs Stadium on a Saturday.

Saturday’s Lineup: (Changes in BLUE)
Chadwin Stang – CF
Brandon Macias – 3B
Jason Rogers – DH
Nick Ramirez – 1B
Greg Hopkins – 3B
Max Walla – RF
Yadiel Rivera – SS
Rafael Neda – C
John Dishon – LF

Wisconsin Starting Pitcher:
David Goforth

Peoria Starting Pitcher:
Gerardo Concepcion

Timber Rattlers Game Notes:
RattlersGameNotesMay262012

Roster moves:
Ben McMahan to DL
Adrian Williams activated from DL

Updated Roster:
Timber_Rattlers_Roster_052612

To follow tonight’s game…here is the repost from the bottom of last night’s Lineup post:

There have been issues with the internet feed the last few nights and the station engineer gave me the story and a few tips on how to listen to the games.

The story: The station has moved to a new provider for the internet feed.  The new provider is supposed to be able to automatically  take out the commercials and go back into programming.  There have been a few problems with that on their end, but here are the fixes he suggested.

#1: There is a new link or try the Main WNAM page and click on the big  LISTEN LIVE button at the top.
#2: Download the Silverlight and Adobe Flash programs and start running them on your computer.
#3*: Be Patient. If you go to the link and there is dead air, hang with it the programming should come back on.
#4**: Test it out before the game.

*-This is the most important one.  My blood pressure started to go up after I was at the new link and heard nothing for 45 WHOLE SECONDS!  The NERVE!

**-This one is mine…but it makes sense.

If you are in the listening area, feel free to tune in on AM1280, WNAM.

Nine after 9 for May 25, 2012

Timber Rattlers 4
River Bandits 5
Boxscore | Game Story

Before the fall.

  1. The other night, Dusty Rhodes was wondering how much longer the Rattlers could pull a win out of their…hat when they don’t play well.  The answer was given tonight.
  2. Wisconsin outhit the River Bandits.  Quad Cities didn’t have a hit after the fourth inning, but they kept hanging around, hanging around and snuck it out in the end.
  3. Look, it was a sloppy game all around for both teams. Here’s all you need to know, the last Rattlers run and the last three Quad Cities runs scored without an RBI.  A wild pitch and four errors led directly to the last four runs of the game.  This probably should have been a 3-2 game.
  4. Here’s the thing though.  Talking with David Chavarria before tonight’s game he talked about the way the coaches handle the team this year.  They don’t “air” guys out.  They know that players know when things went bad.  Paraphrasing Chavarria, “Sometimes the best coaching move is to say nothing at all.”
  5. Not to say that they won’t talk things out, but they will teach and go to work. Not scream.
  6. If anything the errors made were from being too aggressive and trying to make plays.  There were throws to trying to get runners that probably should not have been made. Trying to make plays is good.  Knowing when to make them is better.
  7. Tonight was the second start in a row for Chad Thompson in which he struck out seven in four innings.  Tonight was also the second start in a row in which he threw a lot of pitches and had to come out after four innings.
  8. But, there was good news.  Beloit lost in extra innings to Cedar Rapids.  The Rattlers are still two games up on them in the Western Division.  Kane County won to sweep Burlington.  The Cougars are four games back of the Rattlers and two games back of Beloit.
  9. Four games in Peoria starting Saturday night.  Here are the probable pitchers:SAT: RHP David Goforth (3-3, 5.74) v. LHP Gerardo Concepcion (1-3, 7.89)
    SUN: LHP Will West (1-0, 3.60) v. RHP Michael Jensen (4-2, 2.92)
    MON: RHP Matt Miller (3-4, 4.24) v. RHP Jose Rosario (3-5, 5.65)
    TUE: RHP Drew Gagnon (3-1, 3.08) v. LHP Kyler Burke (1-2, 2.31)

Lineup and Game Notes for May 25, 2012

Centennial Bridge as seen from the Sky Deck on the third base side of Modern Woodmen Park.

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

Wisconsin Starting Pitcher:
Chad Thompson

Quad Cities Starting Pitcher:
Dail Villanueva

Timber Rattlers Roster Moves:
C Parker Berberet transferred to Brevard County (Florida State League) from Wisconsin
C Cameron Garfield transferred to Wisconsin from Helena (Pioneer League)

Updated Timber Rattlers Roster:
Timber_Rattlers_Roster_052512

Timber Rattlers Game Notes:
RattlersGameNotesMay252012

If you listen to the Timber Rattlers on the internet feed see below information for IMPORTANT NEWS!!

There have been issues with the internet feed the last few nights and the station engineer gave me the story and a few tips on how to listen to the games.

The story: The station has moved to a new provider for the internet feed.  The new provider is supposed to be able to automatically  take out the commercials and go back into programming.  There have been a few problems with that on their end, but here are the fixes he suggested.

#1: There is a new link or try the Main WNAM page and click on the big  LISTEN LIVE button at the top.
#2: Download the Silverlight and Adobe Flash programs and start running them on your computer.
#3*: Be Patient. If you go to the link and there is dead air, hang with it the programming should come back on.
#4**: Test it out before the game.

*-This is the most important one.  My blood pressure started to go up after I was at the new link and heard nothing for 45 WHOLE SECONDS!  The NERVE!

**-This one is mine…but it makes sense.

If you are in the listening area, feel free to tune in on AM1280, WNAM.

Nine after 9 for May 24, 2012

Timber Rattlers 9
River Bandits 6
Boxscore | Game Story

Drew Gagnon pitches to the outside corner in the fourth inning of the game on May 24, 2012.

  1. I’ve always used the phrase Yeoman’s Work to describe the dirty work that doesn’t get top billing but is maybe more important that the stuff that gets top billing – like offense in a 9-run, 12-hit night with a big homer and one guy with four hits and three RBI.  So, Yeoman’s Work by Tyler Cravy tonight get the #1 spot on Nine after 9.  He put in five innings of relief work and struck out eight.  Cravy came into the game when the score was tied and struck out the side in order in the fifth.  Then, after the Rattlers took the lead in the sixth he came back out and struck out three more River Bandits in the bottom of the inning.  He threw his off-speed stuff more than I have seen him in the past and his curve buckled more than a few knees.  Well done, @TylerJayCravy.
  2. Drew Gagnon threw a lot of pitches tonight.  In the first three innings, he had 55 (38 strikes).  In the fourth inning alone, he made 34 pitches (15 strikes).  All three of his walks came in that fourth inning.  For the velocity mavens out there, he reached 93 a couple of times on the stadium indicator.  But, that doesn’t mean anything if the ball is not going where he wants it to go.
  3. It was fortunate – for Gagnon – that there was a hard hit ball in the second inning.  David Medina had just tripled with one out in the inning and the Rattlers infield was playing back to get the out at first.  Virgil Hill hit a sharp grounder at Greg Hopkins at third.  Medina took a couple of steps to the plate on contact, got trapped and was eventually put out in a rundown.
  4. The Rattlers hitters took advantage of the hard infield tonight.  They swung down on the ball and several Rattlers were the beneficiaries of fortunate hops.  I can’t believe how many bad hops there are in the Modern Woodmen Park infield.  In the second inning alone John Dishon and Max Walla had key hits on high bouncers off the dirt in front of home plate.  Dishon’s second hit of the game was on a second bounce on the infield that got away from Matt Williams at short.  There were problems with the infield grass – really, really thick – in the past at this ballpark.  But the weird hops have migrated to the infield dirt.
  5. Okay, let’s talk a little offense.  Hopkins with four hits, three RBI, and a run scored.  He has run hot and cold this season.  Tonight may be the start of him starting on another tear.
  6. Yadiel Rivera struck out his first two times at the plate on a couple of bad swings.  In the fourth, he should have been at least on second base as he scalded a ball down the third base line heading for the left field corner, but Tyler Rahmatulla made a great play to snare the line drive.  Then, in the sixth, Rivera got a 1-0 pitch right in his wheelhouse and crushed it to the berm in left field for a three-run homer and a 9-5 lead.  Rivera now on a 10-game hitting streak – the first Rattler to reach double digits with a hitting streak this season -  and has matched Jason Rogers in home runs with five. Or, as he says here, “HR The Fifth!!” He’s having fun…and he’s already heard about that tweet from his teammates.
  7. Heads up base running by Dishon in the second.  Bases loaded with one out.  Nick Ramirez hits a fly ball to shallow left-center and Matt Williams – the shortstop, remember – makes a great catch, but it’s a sliding catch with his back to the infield.  Dishon tags and scores easily.  That run made it 3-0.
  8. The Rattlers do not get any of their runs in the sixth without the error by Williams.  Runner at first with one out and Ramirez sends a sharp grounder right to Williams, who proceeds to not make any play.  He just couldn’t get a handle on the ball.  That opened the door and the Rattlers walked right through to a four run inning.  Think about past Rattlers teams in that spot. Does that four run inning happen or not?  This team is playing with so much confidence right now and they are able to exploit the mistakes made by opponents – even if it’s just one mistake.  On their side, they are able to cover for miscues of their own.  Special teams do that.
  9. Speaking of special teams…The last time the Rattlers were 13 games over .500 was when they were 76-63 at the end of the 2005 season.  That team went 39-31 in the first half and claimed a playoff spot by winning the West by one game over Clinton.  That team was 27-20 after 47 games in the first half.  This team is 30-17 after 47 games.  This team leads Beloit by two games for the top spot and Kane County by five games for the wild card spot.  There are 23 games left after today.

Lineup and Game Notes for May 24, 2012

Modern Woodmen Park from right-center field.

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

Wisconsin Starting Pitcher:
Drew Gagnon

Quad Cities Starting Pitcher:
Sam Gaviglio

Timber Rattlers Game Notes:
RattlersGameNotesMay242012

Timber Rattlers Roster Moves:
C Tyler Roberts to the DL
OF John Dishon activated from the DL

Timber Rattlers Updated Roster:
Timber_Rattlers_Roster_052412

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

Game time is 7:00pm. Miller Lite Pregame Show begins at 6:40pm

Nine after 9 for May 23, 2012

Timber Rattlers 5
River Bandits 4
Boxscore | Game Story

The window that can’t open is also the window that can’t be cleaned now…apparently…Forget it, Jake. It’s Quad Cities.

The Rattlers were headed for a nice, simple, boring 5-2 win tonight. Then, things got hectic.  I think that this team’s motto should be Facilis Stolidusat (Based on my muddily recollected Latin that should be: Easy is Boring). Tonight’s Nine after 9 will start with a look at a few things from the eighth inning on that caused chaos.  Before we get going a few notes.  Matt Miller settled in, retired 11 in a row to finish up his seven innings, and picked up a much-deserved win despite giving up seven hits in to the first 16 batters he faced.  Chadwin Stang was one of my Chinese Fortune Cookie Lucky Number Picks to Click and he had a big two-run single along with a pair of outfield assists.  The Rattlers committed four errors – three by outfielders – and picked up three total outfield assists.  Shhhhhh. Yadiel Rivera lined a double down the third base line on a 1-2 pitch and has a nine-game hitting streak.  Get ready for the Chaos!

  1.  In the top of the eighth inning, Nick Ramirez hit his second double of the game.  Max Walla came on to pinch run for Ramirez.  Ben McMahan moved him over with a grounder. Parker Berberet got Walla in with a sacrifice fly for a 5-2 lead.  When the Rattlers went back out for the bottom of the eighth they made some defensive changes.  Tommy Toledo came into the game in relief of Miller, Walla to RF, McMahan to LF, and Jason Rogers to 1B with Ramirez out of the game.  The official scorer went thought Walla went into LF and McMahan stayed in RF. Chaos Meter at 53%
  2. The first play of the bottom of the eighth inning was a fly ball to left and McMahan got turned around on it, but managed to get to the ball in time.  He had the ball in his glove…and dropped it.  The scoreboard operator put it up as a hit.  The official scorer marked it as a double, but didn’t bother to tell anyone over the internal PA. The next batter doubled to drive in a run to make the score 5-3 and Toledo’s scoreless streak ended at 15-1/3 innings.  Chaos Meter at 65%
  3. Toledo retired the next three hits and the Rattlers lead stayed at 5-3 when Wisconsin did not score in the top of the ninth. Seth Harvey relieved Toledo for the bottom of the ninth inning and walked Virgil Hill with one out.  The Rattlers chose not to hold Hill on at first base.  He took off for second and took the base on a defensive indifference.  Chaos Meter at 71%
  4. David Medina lined a sharp single to right – where Walla fielded the ball cleanly – and River Bandits manager Luis Agauayo put up the stop sign on Hill.  HOWEVER, Hill rounded third, barely avoided crashing into his manager (Hill did this by going to the outside of his manager who was 15 feet down and 8 feet off the line) and scored without a play.  Why without a play? Because as Walla went to throw the ball in, it slipped out of his hand and rolled into short right-center to allow Medina to take second base and put the tying run into scoring position with one out. Chaos Meter at 89%
  5. Pinch runner Casey Rasmus takes over at second base and moves to third base on the very next pitch when Harvey uncorks a wild pitch.  Chaos Meter at 93%.
  6. Harvey walks the batter at the plate – Roberto Reyes – on four pitches and the winning run is on base. Chaos Meter at 95%
  7. Harvey gets the second out with a strike out and gets ahead of Matt Williams 0-2. Chaos Meter at 91%
  8. Harvey tried to get Williams to chase something in the dirt, but Williams lays off the pitch AND Reyes steals second base uncontested to put the winning run in scoring position.  Chaos Meter at 95%.
  9. Williams hits a high bouncer to the mound. Chaos Meter at 83%.  Harvey bobbles. Chaos Meter at 94%.  Harvey’s throw to first sails and Rogers has to make a leaping attempt to catch the ball! Chaos Meter at 99%.  Williams arrives just as Rogers comes down to tag him and there is a collision! Chaos Meter: Above Classification!  Rogers holds on to the ball and Williams is out! Rattlers Win! Chaos Meter broken.  Say what you will about the 2012 Timber Rattlers, but you have got to include that they thrive on chaos.  Also, they have won five in a row. Also, since Beloit lost, they are now two games up on the Snappers in the MWL Western Division.  What a way to start a road trip.

Lineup and Game Notes for May 23, 2012

One of the best views in the Midwest League.

Wednesday’s Lineup:
Brandon Macias – 3B
Greg Hopkins – 2B
Jason Rogers – LF
Nick Ramirez – 1B
Ben McMahan – RF
Parker Berberet – C
Yadiel Rivera – SS
Tyler Roberts – DH
Chadwin Stang – CF

Wisconsin Starting Pitcher:
Matt Miller

Quad Cities Starting Pitcher:
Kyle Hald

Timber Rattlers Game Notes:
RattlersGameNotesMay232012

Follow tonight’s game:
On the Radio: AM1280, WNAM
On the Internet: WNAM Internet Feed (free)

On the wall

These have been sitting around the radio booth for the last few months.  I haven’t had time to put them up – and I really don’t have the space to put them up – so they just sit here.

The booth needs to be cleaned out to make room for the DIII College World Series and I need to move them.  But, I did want to share them with you here on the blog.

First,  I think that everyone in Appleton had this poster at one time:

The Marlboro Man sign in the outfield cracks me up every time.

Second, The Timber Rattlers rotation of 1996:

Left to Right: Roy Smith, Kevin Gryboski, Greg Wooten, Russell Jacob, and Greg Scheer

Last, The Young Guns of 1998:

Clockwise from Upper Left: Leslie Brea, Gil Meche, Russ Koehler, Ryan Anderson, & Brandon Parker

Enjoy the off day. Back at it on Tuesday from the road.

Nine after 9 for May 21, 2012

Kane County 4
Timber Rattlers 7
Boxscore | Linescore

Last pitch at home until June 6

  1. Welcome to the Midwest League, Will West.  It was pointed out by Kyle from Brew Crew Ball that West is the first teenager to pitch for the Timber Rattlers since Nick Bucci in 2010.  I had a few questions about his velocity today and – to tell the truth – I couldn’t get an accurate read on speed.  He was pitching to parts of the plate to which the radar gun was blocked by the hitter, the umpire, or the catcher.  I did ask if anyone saw any readings for him and they said 88.  He fooled hitters with his curve ball and mixed it up a bit today.  Five innings and two earned runs isn’t a bad debut for a kid facing a team that just last week hung nine and 11 runs on the Rattlers pitching staff
  2. Jason Rogers is locked in.  Scalded a triple and a double in his first two at bats.  Then, with the score 5-3 in the seventh inning, two outs, and a runner on first, the Cougars just refused to pitch to him.  Four pitches that were nowhere near the strike zone and Rogers took them all.  Rogers went 6-for-10 with two walks and a hit batsman in the three game series against Kane County.  Locked in.
  3. The way the wind was blowing today I didn’t think that it would be possible to hit a home run today. Happy to say that Ben McMahan proved me wrong.    McMahan was 2-for-3 with three RBI today.  He has bumped his average up to .311.  McMahan was hitting .200 when the month started.  Keep going.
  4. Yadiel Rivera had a quiet game today, but that’s okay. He singled in his first at bat to extend his hitting streak to seven games and struck out twice.  Defensively, look at the sweet double play he starts.  That was in the first inning after West walked the first batter he faced in the game.  Few things can calm a pitcher down more than a smoothly turned double play.
  5. Jacob Barnes needed no such calming down.  He went three innings, retired the first eight batters he faced, a brought it at 91-92.  This was his first game since May 11 and the most important thing about Barnes in this outing was that he did not walk anyone.  Last year, he struck out 43 and walked six in 29-2/3 innings with Helena.  Before today, he walked 11 and struck out ten in 19-2/3 innings.  Today was a good step forward for Barnes.
  6. Early runs alert.  The Rattlers scored three runs in the bottom of the first today.  They have outscored opponents 37-12 in the first inning.
  7. Walla Watch.  Max Walla had a couple of tough at bats today with two strikeouts against Aaron Brooks.  But, in the seventh with a runner at second and two outs, he got the job done with a single on an 0-1 pitch to drive home Rafael Neda from second base.  RBI number 11 for Walla.
  8. I have been looking at my media guide and my own personal notes for the last few hours and keep saying, “That can’t be right.   But, it is.  Today, the Timber Rattlers completed a three game sweep of the Kane County Cougars at home.  This was the first ever sweep of the Cougars at home in a three or four game series.  Kane County has been coming to Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium since it was just Fox Cities Stadium in 1995.  I can’t believe that it has never happened before today.  But, there it is.  History made today.
  9. Speaking of history: September 5, 2005.  The Timber Rattlers ended the 2005 season at 76-63.  That was the last time the Timber Rattlers were anywhere near eleven games above .500…From the end of the 2005 season to the start of the 2012 season, the Rattlers played 830 games.  They were a combined 346-484 or 138 games under .500.  Most of you know that I am a big history buff.  The 2012 Timber Rattlers are going a long way to erasing the last six years. Keep going, guys.  Highlights:
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