June 2013

In the dim background – Postgame post for June 20, 2013

In the dim background of mind we know what we ought to be doing but somehow we cannot start. – William James

Byron Buxton v. Eric Semmelhack

Byron Buxton v. Eric Semmelhack

Cedar Rapids 3
Wisconsin 1
Boxscore | Game Story

Michael Reed singled in the fourth inning.  That extended his on-base streak to 37 games.  He is also hitting .301 on the season. 

While we were in the All-Star Break, Jordan Lennerton of Toledo did not reach base and his on base streak ended at 48 games.  That means Reed has the longest current on-base streak in minor league baseball.  It’s the third longest on base streak in baseball this season. 

Eric Semmelhack pitched his fourth quality start out of six starts this season.  But, the three runs he allowed on all came after there were two outs with none on base.  He struck out three, but walked four. 

He was helped out in the third inning on a double play that happened because Niko Goodrum thought there was no way that Tyrone Taylor was going to catch a pop fly into shallow left.  Come on, Niko.  I know you haven’t seen Taylor and the Rattlers since April, but…man!

Speaking of Taylor, there was a close play on a bunt in the fourth that went to the Kernels.  There was a runner at first and no outs in the bottom of the fourth.  Taylor bunted up the third base line.  Travis Harrison made a great barehand pick and throw to first to make it close and Taylor was called out.  The television replayed showed Taylor beat the play, but oh, well.  Who knows how the game goes if the call goes Wisconsin’s way.

Victor Roache hit the ball hard again on Thursday.  He was rewarded with a multi-hit game, his first since June 6.  Roache is also on a three-game hitting streak (4-for-12).

Here’s the thing.  Even down two runs in the bottom of the ninth, the Timber Rattlers managed to get the winning run to the plate against Caleb Brewer, a guy who pitched in the Carolina League for the Atlanta Braves affiliate all of last year and to start this year.  He was listed by Baseball America as a prospect in the Braves system after the 2011 season.  The Rattlers gave the Kernels a bit of a sweat in the ninth.  Some of these comebacks are due to happen at home at some point this season.

Speaking of home…the Rattlers are now 12-21 at home in 2013.

Check out the catch by Max Walla to start the highlights.

Video Highlights:

I'm telling you...stirrups are making a comeback!!

I’m telling you…stirrups are making a comeback!!

Lineup, Transactions, & Game Notes – June 20, 2013

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. – Nido Qubein

Great night to start the second half!

Great night to start the second half!

You may follow the game several ways:
Cable TV: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel
Radio: AM1280, WNAM
Internet Audio: IHeartRadio
Internet Video: MiLB.TV

First Pitch is 7:05pm.

Timber Rattlers Lineup:
Orlando Arcia – SS
Michael Reed – LF
Tyrone Taylor – CF
Victor Roache – DH
Adam Giacalone – 1B
Mike Garza – 3B
Alfredo Rodriguez – 2B
Tyler Roberts – C
Max Walla – RF

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher: Eric Semmelhack
Cedar Rapids Starting Pitcher: Christian Powell

Wisconsin Transactions:
Clint Coulter activated from DL and transferred to Helena
Brent Dean placed on DL
Tyler Roberts transferred from Extended Spring Training to Wisconsin

Updated Timber Rattlers Roster: Timber_Rattlers_Roster_062013

Timber Rattlers Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesJune202013
Cedar Rapids Game Notes: Kernels Game Notes (6-20)

A few links and a look ahead

That blur scored the tying run in the top of the ninth on Tuesday.

That blur scored the tying run in the top of the ninth on Tuesday.

I tried something different at the 2013 MWL All-Star Game.  I got quotes and wrote actual stories.  No. Seriously!

Pregame with Matt Erickson

Postgame with Matt Erickson and Damien Magnifico

Here’s the Facebook Album of pictures that turned out better than the photo of the tying run.

Click the links and gaze in wonder as I try something different.

I talked with Matt Erickson and David Chavarria about the way the rotation sets up for the second half on Monday.  Here’s what we have.

Eric Semmelhack
Tyler Wagner/Martin Vitramontes
Jorge Lopez/Taylor Mangum
Damien Magnifico/Austin Blaski
Ryan Gibbard/Preston Gainey

First four games are at home starting on Thursday at 7:05pm.  Here’s the link with the Homestand Highlights for that four game series against the Kernels.

No. Really. Joe Morgan threw out the first pitch.  Really.

No. Really. Joe Morgan threw out the first pitch. Really.

The van leaves at 9am (Eastern) on Wednesday morning and the trip back is….wow….it’s going to be awhile. So, this will need to tide you over until Thursday. I, for one, welcome our new second half overlords!

PLAY BALL!

Timber Rattlers All-Stars since 1996

The Midwest League All-Star game is tonight at Dayton.  You can follow it on MiLB.TV or the Dragons radio call on DaytonDragons.com. Game time is 6:00pm CDT.

The 2013 Timber Rattlers are sending three players and an entire coaching staff to the game.

The only season that I am missing is1995 and I hope to do that this off season.   So, for now, here is an incomplete list of Timber Rattlers All-Stars.  Starters are in bold:

1996:
David Ortiz
Jose Amado
Joel Ramire
Luis Tinoco
Scott Smith
Brent Iddon
Greg Wooten
Mike Goff – Manager of the West (Lost 10-4)

1997 (The Rattlers players were on the East team):
Dennis Stark
Joe Mays
Luis Figueroa
Jason Regan
Gary Varsho – Manager of the West (Lost 6-5)

1998:
Luis Figeuroa
- 3B

Ryan Anderson
Lesli Brea
Gil Meches
Joel Pineiro
Mike Marchiano

First Rattler to start in an All-Star Game.

First Rattler to start in an All-Star Game.

1999:
Chris Mears
Melqui Torres
Aaron Looper
Enmanuel Ulloa

2000:
Shawn McCorkle – 1B
Chris Snelling – OF
Aquilino Lopez

2001:
Jamie Bubela – OF
Mark Carroll
Pedro Liriano
Jamal Strong
Rett Johnson
Kevin Olore
Chad Wiles

2002
Shin-soo Choo – OF
Greg Dobbs – 3B
Corey Freeman
Juan Doñe
Ramon Royce

2003:
Rene Rivera – C
Bobby! Livingston – P
Corey Harrington
TJ Bohn
Matt Hagen
TA Fulmer
Ryan Rowland-Smith

2004:
Ryan Feierabend (Winning Pitcher)
Brian Stitt

2005:
Matt Tuiasosopo
Asdrubal Cabrera
Josh Womack
Yung Chi Chen
Rob Johnson
Cibney Bello
Chad Fillinger
Scott Steinmann – Manager (Lost 4-2)

2006:
Ron Garth – 3B
Casey Craig
Edgar Guaramato
Harold Williams

2007:
Andy Barb
Joe Kantakevich

2008:
Edilio Colina – 2B
Juan Diaz
Phillippe Aumont
Travis Mortimore

2009:
Corey Kemp
Brett Lawrie
Jim Henderson
Daniel Meadows
Wily Peralta

2010:
Khris Davis – OF
Scooter Gennett – 2B
Jake Odorizzi
Nick Bucci

2011:
Chris Dennis – DH
Mike Walker
Austin Ross
Tyler Thornburg

2012:
Greg Hopkins – 2B
Rafael Neda
Yadiel Rivera
Jason Rogers
Drew Gagnon
Seth Harvey
Tommy Toledo
Mark Williams

2013:
Austin Blaski
Ryan Gibbard
Damien Magnifico
Matt Erickson – Manager

While the Rattlers are away….

…9,000 people will show up to the ballpark to watch the Packers play.  And that’s an Awesome thing!

IMG_8165

That would be 9,010 fans.  Photo Credit: Ann Mollica

I have a feeling that the host – Donald Driver – had a lot to do with all of those fans turning out for the game this year.

Donald Driver at the bat.

Donald Driver at the bat. Photo Credit: Ann Mollica

It sounded like a great day at the stadium on Sunday as the Defense beat the Offense 24-20 and a lot of money was raised for charities.

That got buried at the bottom of some stories, but I wanted to put it near the top of this post.  Information is from the WFRV story:

Money raised totaled over $115,000 and will benefit the Donald Driver Foundation. His foundation then distributes to several charities, which he presented before the game.

The donations included $72,000 for Blessings in a Backpack foundation.

$15,850 for the Greater Green Bay YMCA

$10,000 for Special Olympics Wisconsin

$10,000 for Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin

$3,200 for Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin

$4,000 for Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay

Not bad.  Not bad at all.

According to the boxscore, the Defense took control of the game in the top of the fifth with nine runs and they added five more in the top of the sixth.

Rookie linebacker Nate Palmer went 4-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI to earn Game MVP honors.  He was also the Home Run Derby Champion.

Don Barclay led the offense with six RBI.

But, the day wasn’t about winning and losing.  It was about saying, “Thank you, Donald.” The fans were streaming into the game to say just that:

IMG_7536

Photo Credit: Ann Mollica

Click the links for just some of the coverage:

Post-Crescent Video: Donald Driver delights fans at Fox Cities Stadium

Journal Sentinel Story: Donald Driver showered by love from loyal supporters at softball game

FOX 11: Defense ends skid in Driver softball game

Today’s TMJ 4: Donald Driver charity softball game

The end of the beginning – Postgame post for June 16, 2013

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. – Winston Churchill

Not pictured: Third baseman Jeimar Candelario snaring the line drive off the bat of Mike Garza.

Not pictured: Third baseman Jeimar Candelario snaring the line drive off the bat of Mike Garza.

Timber Rattlers 2
Kane County 4
Boxscore | Game Story

The home run by Rock Shoulders in the fourth inning was ridiculous. At first it looked like a routine fly ball. Then, it looked like Tyrone Taylor would make the catch on the warning track. Then, it looked like Taylor might have a chance to rob Shoulders of a home run with a leaping catch at the wall.   Then, the ball banged off the message board above that BRANCH OUT sign in left-center. Ridiculous.

The next three batters had hits and the triple by Reggie Golden appeared to be a catchable ball on a high pop fly to shallow right. But, it dropped between three fielders and scored the final run of the inning for a 4-0 lead.

You want to see a shift?  Here’s Sunday’s Rademacher Shift:

Find the second baseman.

Find the second baseman.

Martin Viramontes with a pair of scoreless innings. That would run his scoreless streak to 7-1/3 innings over his last three outings.

Good to see Rodolfo Fernandez back on the hill. He pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning in his first appearance since May 31.

The usuals:

Tyrone Taylor had a 2-for-4 day with a double and a walk.  In the ninth, he looked like he thought the 2-2 pitch was outside, but got rung up for strike three to end the game with the tying runs on base.  Still…his June numbers: 27-for-56 (.482). 6 doubles, triple, homer, seven RBI, 15 runs.  Taylor played 15 games in June.  His OPS: 1.237.  Do we still consider 15 games a small sample size?

Michael Reed singled twice and walked once.  His on base streak as we head into the All-Star Break is at 36 games.  That is now the second longest on-base streak in all of minor league baseball this season.  Jordan Lennerton of Toledo (International League) moved his on base streak to 47 games with a walk and a run scored on Sunday at Syracuse.

The first half ends with the Timber Rattlers at 29-36 and in seventh place in the Western Division.  Beloit won the division and Cedar Rapids won the wild card.  There will be three days to rest and relax for most of the team.  Austin Blaski, Ryan Gibbard, and Damien Magnifico will be at the All-Star Game in Dayton along with Matt Erickson and his staff. 

Then, the Rattlers will be fighting for a playoff spot with Peoria, Quad Cities, Clinton, Kane County, and Burlington.

DaytonDragons.com should have all the details on the All-Star Game.  The game should be available on their audio channel and through MiLB.TV.  I’ll link to it when I know more.

Two things to remember:

Monday is the new deadline to register for the Timber Rattlers Charity Golf Outing for the Miracle League of the Fox Valley.  The event will be held on June 24 at Shamrock Heights Golf Course in New London.  Details here.

The auction for the 2013 Star Wars Jerseys of Jono Armold, Alfredo Rodriguez, and Tyler Wagner is still running until Thursday.  Click here to bid.

Lineup & Game Notes – June 16, 2013

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me. – Jim Valvano

Fifth Third Bank Ballpark on Father's Day!

Fifth Third Bank Ballpark on Father’s Day!

Follow today’s game:

Radio: AM1280, WNAM
Internet: I Heart Radio

First pitch is at 1:00pm

Timber Rattlers Lineup:
Alfredo Rodriguez – DH
Max Walla – RF
Tyrone Taylor – CF
Michael Reed – LF
Adam Giacalone – 1B
Mike Garza – 3B
Chris McFarland – 2B
Parker Berberet – C
Adrian Williams – SS

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher: Tyler Wagner
Kane County Starting Pitcher: Pierce Johnson

Timber Rattlers Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesJune162013

Tomorrow is another one – Postgame post for June 15, 2013

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. – Dr. Seuss

The Rattlers watch the Jesse White Tumblers after Saturday's win at Kane County.

The Rattlers watch the Jesse White Tumblers after Saturday’s win at Kane County.

Timber Rattlers 11
Kane County 5
Boxscore | Game Story

Getting up 7-0 after two innings was nice. The innings had a different feel. In the first inning, the Timber Rattlers were patient and drew four walks. They were opportunistic. Victor Roache jumped on a first pitch after the second walk of the inning loaded the bases and cracked a sharp single to left to score two runs. In the second, there were four hits with Michael Reed and Adam Giacalone providing the run scoring hits.

Speaking of Reed, that’s a 35 game on-base streak. Two hits, two walks, two stolen bases, three RBI. Updated slashline for him is .297/.378/.416

Stay HOT, Tyrone Taylor! He went 3-for-6 with his 18th double of the season on Saturday.  Slashline for the season: .294/.350/.480.  Slashline for June: .481/.556/.673.

The Rattlers got into the Kane County bullpen in the first inning as they knocked Dillon Maples out of the game with 2 outs. Maples faced nine batters. The two outs were a caught stealing and a force out at second.

The bonus of getting into the bullpen early was seeing Felix Pena and his Blue Suede Shoes out there for three innings:

You can steal a base; hit my deuce; Make me pitch before I'm loose. But stay off of my blue suede shoes.

You can steal a base; hit my deuce; Make me pitch before I’m loose. But stay off of my blue suede shoes.

Here is the shift the Rattlers had on Dan Vogelbach in the fifth inning.

The Vogelbach Shift.

The Vogelbach Shift.

In the third inning, Vogelbach was up with runners at second and third with one out.   He scalded a ball to the left of second (as you look at it from behind home plate).  Arcia, the shortstop playing to the right (as you look at it from behind home plate) of second, ranged over, made a diving stab, got to his feet, and threw out Vogelbach at first base.  The runner from third scored.  The runner from second eventually scored later in the inning.  But defensive play by Arcia got the second out of the inning.  Imagine the momentum that the Cougars would have had with a 2-run single by Vogelbachand instead of an RBI grounder.

Here’s the puzzler:  If the defense is playing straight up (aka without the shift), does Arcia make that play?

Preston Gainey went five innings, his longest outing of the season, and picked up the win.  He pitched well with the lead.  He didn’t try to be too fine with his pitches.  As a result he only walked two in five innings to earn his first win as a starting pitcher.  His fast ball was sitting 91-92 and there was some movement.

The errorless streak ended at 29-2/3 innings.  Bijan Rademacher had a bunt single in the seventh and Mike Garza tried to make a throw that he shouldn’t have and it wound up sailing to right to let Rademacher take second.  The new errorless streak ended at one inning.  Marco Hernandez had a bunt single and Brent Dean tried to make a throw that he shouldn’t have and it wound up sailing into right to let Hernandez take second base.

BUT, each time the Cougars had that runner at second with one out, Eric Semmelhack retired the next two batters to keep the Rattlers up 8-4.  The only mistake Semmelhack made in the four innings he pitched on the way to his first professional save was a ball that Rademacher lost with two outs in the ninth inning…lost as in…that ball cleared the roof of the picnic deck in right field.  The only ball that way I have seen hit farther was a ball that Adrian Gonzalez hit off Tim Burton in 2001.

Three wins in a row for the Timber Rattlers.  I almost wish that the end of the first half wasn’t after Sunday.  The team is playing very good baseball right now.  But, three days off will probably help everyone  rest, relax, and re-focus.

Oh…did I mention the Zooperstars! were at the game?

Tim Tebull.

Tim Tebull.

Dick Flytale & Yao Flamingo

Dick Flytale & Yao Flamingo

YAAAAAH! HIS HEAD! WHAT HAPPENED TO HIS HEAD???!??!

YAAAAAH! HIS HEAD! WHAT HAPPENED TO HIS HEAD???!??!

One more from the Jesse White Tumblers!

I would stick around after a game to watch this.

I would stick around after a game to watch this.

Lineup and game notes for June 15, 2013

Don’t ever try and be like anybody else and don’t be afraid to take risks. – Waylon Jennings

I think we are in Cubs Country.

I think we are in Cubs Country.

Follow tonight’s game:

Radio: AM1280, WNAM
Internet: I Heart Radio

First pitch is at 6:30pm

Tonight’s Lineup:
Alfredo Rodriguez – 2B
Orlando Arcia – SS
Tyrone Taylor – CF
Michael Reed – RF
Victor Roache – LF
Adam Giacalone – 1B
Mike Garza – 3B
Brent Dean – C
Max Walla – DH

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher: Preston Gainey
Kane County Starting Pitcher: Dillon Maples

Timber Rattlers Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesJune152013

Kneel before Zod – Postgame post for June 14, 2013

It’s not about where you were born. Or what powers you have. Or what you wear on your chest…. It’s about what you do… It’s about action.Superman, Infinite Crisis

Jorge Lopez strikes out Oliver Zapata in the third inning of Saturday's game.

Jorge Lopez strikes out Oliver Zapata in the third inning of Saturday’s game.

Timber Rattlers 5
Kane County 1
Boxscore | Game Story

I thought Jorge Lopez pitched better in this game than he did in the game with six no-hit innings earlier this season. The difference. He walked one batter on Friday at Kane County. He walked five on May 23 at Quad Cities. He remained confident in his pitches. He kept going back to the same spot – just a little off the outside corner at the knees to both lefties and righties – and proved the plate umpire that he was going to hit that spot. He did with a low 90’s fastball and there wasn’t much the Kane County hitters could do with that pitch except get more and more frustrated. It was another well-pitched game by Lopez and that guy we saw earlier in the season is quickly receding in the rearview mirror.

Look at the first inning. A walk and a single by the first two batters of the inning.  Then, a deep flyout to center allows the runner at second to tag and go to third.  In April, this inning gets out of hand.  On June 14, Lopez strikes out Jeimer Candelario on a 3-2 pitch and Brent Dean throws out the runner trying to steal second.  Lopez retired the next ten batters he faced.

Victor Roache’s hitless streak SHOULD have come to an end in his on of his first two at bats of the night. He tattooed a ball that was headed for the corner in left. But, a leaping, backhanded grab by Jeimer Candelario turned that double into an out. Then, in the fourth, Roache hit another hard shot to third, but the ball went right at Candelario, who turned it into an inning ending force out at third. The hitless streak ended at 0-for-27 when Roache lined a single to center. The ball was hit so hard, Tyrone Taylor couldn’t score from second on the single. Roache was hit by a breaking ball in the eighth inning. That’s three hard hit balls and a hit batsman with 0 strikeouts by Roache on Friday night. You can choose to look at the 0-for-27 or you can choose to look at the contact and the approach.  I know what I am looking at and when he heats up…well, I’m happy to have the opportunity to watch every Midwest League at bat by Victor Roache .

Speaking of happy to watch, Tyrone Taylor is no longer one-hit, one-hit, one-hit. He finished Friday at 4-for-5 and he is hitting .292 on the season. Taylor was hitting .240 before the game on June 1. Slashline for the month of June: .478/.561/.674.

Michael Reed now with a 34-game on base streak. He walked twice and scored once. That’s the longest streak in the Midwest League this season.  In case you were wondering…

LONGEST ON-BASE STREAKS IN MiLB FOR 2013:
Jordan Lennerton (Toledo, International League) – 45*
Jamal Austin (High Desert, California League) – 38
Mookie Betts (Greenville, South Atlantic League) – 35
Kevin Plaweck (Savanah, South Atlantic League) – 35
Reymond Fuentes (San Antonio, Texas League) – 34*
Michael Reed (Wisconsin, Midwest League) – 34*

*-Active Streak

Alfredo Rodriguez had two hits.  the double to right-center was a rope and split the outfielders.  Plus, it came with two outs and it scored two runs.  Big hit.

The Rattlers ran themselves out of the first inning.  Arcia gambled on going to third after Candelario missed the barehand pick on Taylor’s bunt single.  But, a heads-up play by the pitcher turned into an out at third base.  Michael Heesch saw Arcia running for third, picked up the ball, and just got to Arcia before Arcia could get to the base.  Then, Taylor took off early before Heesch threw to the plate and it turned into a 1-3-6 caught stealing.

Before I forget…The Shift Lives!

Rock Shoulders at the plate.  Three infielders to the right of second base.

Rock Shoulders at the plate. Three infielders to the right of second base.

Of course, Shoulders reached on a weak grounder to where Mike Garza would normally play.  But, if Rock Shoulders (12 homers, 39RBI) wants to reach that way…go right ahead!

Brent Dean! Double caps the three-run rally and called a great game for both Lopez and Ryan Gibbard.

Errorless game!  That’s 23-1/3 innings of error-free ball by the Timber Rattlers.

Handshakes all around!

A game well played!

A game well played!

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