Nine after 9 for June 8, 2012

Clinton 4
Wisconsin 7
Boxscore | Game Story

Bring on Beloit.

  1.  I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but Matt Miller earned it tonight:

    Hail! to the victors valiant
    Hail! to the conqu’ring heroes
    Hail! Hail! to Michigan
    The leaders and best!

    Hail! to the victors valiant
    Hail! to the conqu’ring heroes
    Hail! Hail! to Michigan,
    The champions of the West!

  2. I hate that song, but I am happy for the way Matt Miller bounced back from that last start to pitch tonight.  He kept the pitch count low and had a legitimate shot at a complete game. He was at 89 pitches/58 strikes after eight innings on Friday.  To compare and contrast that to his last start, Miller had 72 pitches/54 strikes in four innings plus two batters.
  3. I doubt Miller will have to do much running tomorrow, he did plenty tonight.  He had four 1-3 putouts and a total of six assists in the game.
  4. Big sequence in the game was in the second inning.  Miller got the first two outs, but the LumberKings tied the game with a run and loaded the bases.  Miller got out of the inning with the 1-3 grounder off the bat of Nate Melendres.
  5. The defense stepped up tonight, too.  Yadiel Rivera made a really nice play to save a run in the first inning.  Right after that, Miller made a good play and Brandon Macias ran Jamal Austin before the speedy Clinton outfielder could cross the plate.  There were a couple of nice double plays in the middle portion of the game.
  6. Miller could cruise because of the job that the offense did in the bottom of the second inning.  There were a few little things early that helped that inning build to the avalanche of runs.  Ben McMahan (By the way, welcome back to the lineup Ben, 2-for-4 with a run and a stolen base on his first game back off the DL) was at third with no outs and Rivera at the plate with the infield pulled in to cut down the run at the plate.  McMahan held at third instead of being a sure out at home.  After Rafael Neda walked, Chadwin Stang was bunting for a hit.  Trevor Miller thought he had a play on McMahan coming to the plate.  Then, he thought he had a play on McMahan at third base.  Then, he had no play and the bases were loaded.  Then, the hit parade started with Macias, Max Walla, Jason Rogers, and Nick Ramirez delivering RBI hits.
  7. Just watch those hits in the highlights.  They were all hit hard and that pretty much put it away.
  8. I’m thinking of a number…Beloit and Kane County both won tonight.  The Rattlers lead in the division – over Beloit – is two games.  The lead for the Wild Card – over Kane County – is five games.  There are nine games left in the first half.  Top two teams in the division at the end of the first half qualify for the playoffs.  Feel free to check my math here – and keep in mind that the Rattlers have the tiebreaker on the Cougars by going 4-3 against Kane County in the first half, but I – after consulting several people – have the a magic number to clinch a playoff spot at 4.  We arrived at that number because: IF Kane County goes 9-0 and the Rattlers go 4-5, they teams will be tied with a record of 42-28 at the end of the first half.  Since the Rattlers have the tiebreaker, the Rattlers would get into the playoffs.  Kane County will be at Peoria while the Rattlers are playing Beloit from Saturday to Monday.
  9. The caption up top says “Bring on Beloit”.  This is the biggest regular season series for the Rattlers since…probably sometime in the first half of 2005.  Let’s just say that’s it has been a long time.  I’ll give you the pitching matchups and get out of the way to get ready for Saturday night.

    SAT: RHP Drew Gagnon (4-1, 2.92) v. RHP Tyler Jones (0-1, 1.38)
    SUN: RHP Chad Thompson (2-1, 6.16)* v. LHP David Hurlbut (2-0, 1.35)
    MON: RHP David Goforth (5-4, 5.25)** v. LHP Jason Wheeler (7-2, 3.39)

    *-Chad Pierce scheduled to come on in relief
    **-Mark Williams scheduled to come on in relief

Highlights:

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