Nine after 9 for May 31, 2012

Rattlers 0
Kernels 4
Boxscore | Game Story

After a night like tonight, all you can do is be like the Kernels grounds crew and get ready for Friday’s game.

  1. Trevor Hairgrove was the first batter of the bottom of the first inning.  He lined a 3-1 pitch right at Chadwin Stang in center field.  Stang charged in then had to break back on the ball. He leapt and just missed. The ball went to the wall and Hairgrove pulled into third for a triple.  The next batter grounded out to shortstop and Hairgrove scored. 
  2. The Kernels actually hit for the cycle in the first inning.  Kaleb Cowart doubled, Frazier Hall homered for a 3-0 lead, and Gary Mitchell singled.   They also had eight left handed batters in their lineup on Thursday. Hairgrove was the only righty.  There were four lefties and four switch-hitters batting from the left side in the game.  And one point about that – consider this 2b – the Rattlers defense went with three infielders on the right side of second base for every Cedar Rapids hitter except for Hairgrove (the leadoff hitter) and Wendell Soto (the #9 hitter).  Greg Hopkins, the third baseman for the Rattlers, must have been getting lonely over on the left side of the infield and he had a lot of ground to cover.  But, you know what, the shift worked.  The only hit against the alignment was Mitchell’s single to left and that was more of a line drive that maybe could have been caught by a shortstop in a natural defense.
  3. I need to talk to David Goforth about his pickoff move.  He was called for one in his second start of the season.  Then, he went six straight starts without one.  But, both times this umpiring crew has seen his move, they have called a balk on him.  I’m pretty sure that both times it was called, it was the same umpire  – last time (May 20) he was on the bases and tonight he was behind the plate.   Both times the balk moved a runner into scoring position and that runner would come around to score a run.  I’m not sure what they are – or he is – seeing because it looks like he hasn’t done anything different from what he has been doing.  I’ll see if I can find out.
  4. John Dishon with a pair of outfield assists tonight to give him seven and the team 21.  The first was a throw to first to double Mitchell off first base after a line drive to left.  The other was to nab Cowart at second base as he tried to stretch a single into a double.
  5. Hopkins with two more hits and he’s 18-for-35 on an eight-game hitting streak.  Tonight was his 17th multi-hit game of the season.
  6. Stang also had two hits in Thursday’s game.  He hit the ball hard both times he put it in play.
  7. Chad Pierce allowed a hit and struck out four in three innings.  I saw a couple of 92s mixed in there for him tonight.
  8. Tonight was only the second time the Rattlers have been shutout this season.  That happened eight times last season – five times in the first half of the 2011 season alone.  It was nothing that the Rattlers did wrong tonight.  Tip of the cap to Eswarlin Jimenez tonight.  His team needed a good outing out of him and he delivered. It happens.
  9. Beloit won tonight.  The Rattlers division lead is two games. Kane County was rained out tonight.  The lead lead for a playoff spot is 5-1/2.  Wisconsin and Beloit have 16 games left.  Kane County has 17 left.  The road trip continues tomorrow with game ten of thirteen.

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