Sudden glory – Postgame post for July 5, 2013

Sudden glory is the passion which maketh those grimaces called laughter. – Thomas Hobbes

Grand slam!

Grand slam!

Wisconsin 8
Cedar Rapids 7
Boxscore | Game Story

Well…that was fun.

The only question on the grand slam by Taylor was whether it would be fair or foul.  (I chuckled a bit later when I remembered that the umpire on the call of this home run was the same plate umpire who called his game tying homer in the ninth inning on June 27 foul only to reverse the call).  This ball was hit too hard to go foul and there wasn’t really a doubt that it was going to go out as a grand slam.

The win on Friday speaks a little bit to the character of the Timber Rattlers.  They were down 6-2 to a team that had beaten them seven games in a row.  There were a few of those things – walks, costly error, two out runs allowed – that could have made it really easy to say, “Let’s get this over with and get on the bus to Burlington.”  That didn’t happen.

A key play early in the game was this one.  The Rattlers had just scored twice in the top of the fourth to pull to within 4-2.  In the bottom of the fourth, Harvey Martin had given up a single to JD Williams that drove in a run.  Then, Jorge Polanco singled to load the bases.  Here comes Dalton Hicks with the three on base and only one out.    Even with the bases loaded the Rattlers put the shift on against the lefty and placed three infielders on the right side of the infield.  Shortstop Adrian Williams was lined up a bit to the right of second base as you look at it from behind the plate.  Hicks sends a grounder to the left of the second base bag.  Williams ranged over to get the grounder, stepped on second for the force and threw a strike to first to get a HUGE double play.  If that ball gets through, two runs score and the Kernels are still batting with one out.  If Williams is only able to get the force play, one run scores and the Kernels are batting with runners on the corners and two outs.  Without that play, the complexion of the game changes.  With that play the Rattlers Win Probability went from just over 10% to over 17%.  That’s a pretty big swing.

You know who has been doing a nice job in the leadoff spot?  Alfredo Rodriguez. That’s who.  He’s hit leadoff in the last five games for the Timber Rattlers.  He is 6-for-17 with four walks and five runs scored.  He scored twice on Friday night and without drawing a walk on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Tyrone Taylor doesn’t get to be the hero.  Tip of the cap to Alfredo Rodriguez.

Speaking of Tyrone Taylor….I don’t know…can I find any more words?  Well, his 16-game hitting streak ended on Wednesday and he was 0-for-7 with a pair of walks before his double to left in the fourth put the Rattlers on the scoreboard.  Then, speaking of big swings, he stepped up in the 7th with the bases loaded, two outs, the Rattlers down by two and…just wow!  That grand slam turned the Timber Rattlers 23.9% chance of winning into a 77.4% chance of winning!  No. Seriously.  Also, click that second link to see the leverage index on that play.

Cedar Rapids is THE place for Timber Rattlers grand slams.  Since 1999, Wisconsin has hit 30 grand slams.  Eight of those bases loaded homers have been hit in Cedar Rapids.  To tighten it up a little more, Wisconsin has hit 22 grand slams since Cedar Rapids opened their new stadium in 2002.  Wisconsin has hit six of those 22 slams at the New Vet.

Timber Rattlers Grand Slams at Cedar Rapids since 199:
Bo Robinson – July 25, 1999
Damien Alvarado – July 31, 2000
Chris Collins – May 16, 2002
Jon Nelson – July 30, 2003
Michael Cox – July 10, 2004
Denny Almonte – June 25, 2008
Chadwin Stang – July 4, 2012
Tyrone Taylore – July 5, 2013

Do you think Cedar Rapids wants the Timber Rattlers to come back to Cedar Rapids in July of 2014?

Congratulations to Harvey Martin on his first professional victory.  He worked around seven hits in three innings and allowed just two runs.  Then, the Rattlers offense worked their comeback in the top of the seventh.

I had Leonard Lorenzo for 65 pitches (37 strikes) in three innings.  Fortunately, Mike Garza snared a liner to third for the final out of the third inning.  That line drive off the bat of Adam Brett Walker came with runners at second and third ans the Kernels already up 4-0.  Fortunate indeed.

Martin Viramontes was a little shaky, but only allowed one run.  That was good enough.  Yes, he walked three in the eighth inning.  The run that scored came in on a weak grounder to short – off the bat of Walker – that Williams had to charge almost to the grass to field.  His only play was to try and turn to throw to second to get the runner on the force play.  It was close, but that runner was ruled safe and the run scored.

Jono Armold nailed it down.  The first two batters ran the count full, but a grounder to short and a strikeout brought JD Williams to the plate.  Williams, who had homered, tripled, and singled in his first three at bats stepped in and struck out.  Depicted in the middle picture below these entries.

So. The Rattlers are done with Cedar Rapids for the regular season.  The teams COULD meet in the playoffs.  If they were to meet in the first round, the Rattlers would need to win the top playoff qualifying spot in the second half.  If the Rattlers make it in with the second half wild card qualifier, both teams would need to win their first round matchup.  Long, long, long way to go.

Step one is Saturday’s game with Burlington.  Game time is 6:30pm. Can’t wait.

July 5 2013 012

Welcome home, Tyrone Taylor!

July 5 2013 015

Got. Him. Swinging!

July 5 2013 017

High fives! High Fives for EVERYONE!

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