July 2013

Nothing magical about it – Postgame post for July 20, 2013

There’s nothing magical about it. They’re made of flesh and blood. You take out their heart you bring down the beast. – Denton Van Zan

I totally see Van Zan doing this after killing his first dragon in Reign of Fire

I totally see Van Zan doing this with his troops after killing his first dragon in Reign of Fire

Wisconsin 6
Dayton 2
Game Story | Boxscore

Saturday’s game was the complete opposite of Friday’s game. The Rattlers got out of the gate fast, were good in situational hitting, cashed in their opportunities, played (mostly) clean defense, and kept the opponents in check.   Excellent win.

Victor Roache had a bad night on Friday in Bowling Green.  He was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.  But, here’s the thing. He walked on the bus after the game, said “They got me tonight.” to Dusty and went back to his seat for the ride to Dayton.  Yeah, they got him last night, but he didn’t let it bother him.  He came back on Saturday and his first at bat went to 3-2.  He lined that 3-2 pitch into left-center to drive in Tyrone Taylor and the Rattlers had a 2-0 lead.  He had two hits and hit the ball hard two other times.  The good nights are going to outweigh the bad for Roache with the way he approaches the game.

Michael Reed tripled in the first and scored on a wild pitch.  He has reached ten triples on the season.   The franchise record is 13 (Jermaine Clark, 1998).

Tyler Wagner gave up a home run.  But, it was a home run you can live with because it was a solo home run and the Rattlers still had the lead.  Later in the inning, the Dragons had runners on first and third with one out.  Wagner needed a double play ball and got a double play ball.  Arcia to McFarland to Cooper to end the inning and the Rattlers were still up 3-1.

Wagner left after five innings and 84 pitches.  It’s been a week since he blew past 100 pitches in eighth innings, so it was not a surprise to see him come out after five innings.

Here’s Chris McFarland’s double in the sixth inning:

Right-center field. No one is going to get to that on the fly.

Right-center field. No one is going to get to that on the fly.

By the way, the top three RBI guys on the Timber Rattlers after Saturday’s game:

  1. Tyrone Taylor – 45
  2. Victor Roache – 44
  3. Chris McFarland – 37

Harvey Martin came in after the Rattlers scored two runs in the top of the 6th to take a 5-1 lead.  After facing five batters in the sixth, he worked a 1-2-3 seventh, and got the first two outs of the eighth.  Then, Seth Mejias-Brean…home run…long, long home run.  But, Martin seemed to say, “So What?” and got the next batter.  Then, he struck out a pair of batters in the ninth to give him 5Ks in the game and his first professional save.  Martin was around 90-91 on the stadium gun and worked his off-speed stuff in well.

Martin has made four appearances for the Rattlers this season.  In those four starts – in order – he has a loss, a win, a hold, and a save.

Good news! Quad Cities, Peoria, Clinton, and Burlington all lost.  The Rattlers pick up ground on all of them.

Keep it going tomorrow.

Lineup and Game Notes for July 20, 2013

Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand. – Neil Armstrong

Pay no attention to the rain. I have been assured that there will be baseball tonight in Dayton,

Pay no attention to the rain. I have been assured that there will be baseball tonight in Dayton,

You may follow tonight’s game on:
Radio: AM1280, WNAM
Internet Audio: IHeartRadio
Internet Video: MiLB.TV (Dayton Announcers)

First pitch is 6:00pm CDT/7:00pm EDT

Tonight’s Lineup:
Alfredo Rodriguez – DH
Michael Reed – RF
Tyrone Taylor – CF
Victor Roache – LF
Garrett Cooper – 1B
Mike Garza – 3B
Parker Berberet – C
Orlando Arcia – SS
Chris McFarland – 2B

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher: Tyler Wagner
Dayton Dragons Starting Pitcher: Amir Garrett

Timber Rattlers Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesJuly202013

Never confuse – Postgame post for July 19, 2013

Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat. – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Early in the game

Early in the game

Wisconsin 0
Bowling Green 7
Boxscore | Game Story

I’ve… seen things you people wouldn’t believe… Rally ships on fire off the infield of Bowling Green. I watched line drives glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate before turning into rally killing double plays.

And that’s about it.  No, seriously. I have nothing to add to the game story.  It was that kind of night.

Eight hits, 0 runs. Three players (Tyrone Taylor, Michael Reed, and Tyler Roberts) had two hits.  Only one walk was drawn.

Tough game. Tough Night.  This game is just best left on the ash heap of history.

But another game tomorrow.

Highlights from the Hot Rods.

Lineup and game notes for July 19, 2013

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit. – Napoleon Hill

Victor Roache's home run on Thursday landed somewhere in this vicinity.

Victor Roache’s home run on Thursday landed somewhere in this vicinity.

You may follow tonight’s game on:
Radio: AM1280, WNAM
Internet Audio: IHeartRadio

First pitch is 7:05pm

Tonight’s Lineup:
Alfredo Rodriguez – 2B
Michael Reed – LF
Tyrone Taylor – CF
Max Walla – RF
Victor Roache – DH
Mike Garza – 3B
Garrett Cooper – 1B
Tyler Roberts – C
Adrian Williams – SS

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher: Eric Semmelhack
Bowling Green Starting Pitcher: Reinaldo Lopez

Timber Rattlers Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesJuly192013
Link to Bowling Green Game Notes on The Tune-Up Blog

Hans Moleman Productions Presents – Postgame post for July 18, 2013

Hmm…Barney’s movie had heart, but “Football in the Groin” had a football in the groin. – Homer Simpson

Wisconsin 5
Bowling Green 6
Boxscore | Game Story

I was seriously considering just leaving that clip from The Simpsons up there as the entire post for tonight.

Mike Garza rounds third and heads for home to tie the game on Garrett Cooper's double in the seventh inning.

Mike Garza rounds third and heads for home to tie the game on Garrett Cooper’s double in the seventh inning.

Victor Roache was 3-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored:

Krakadoooum!!!!!! The home run ended up in the grass seating area to the left of the batter’s eye.  Good God Almighty!  Good God Almighty! He’s killed that baseball!  As God is my witness that ball is BROKEN IN HALF!

That’s a 5-game hitting streak for Roache – 8-for-21 (.381).  He also has at least one extra base hit in each of his last five games (3 homers, 2 doubles).  That makes a slugging percentage of .905 and an OPS of 1.286.  To HECK with the small sample size.  He’s starting to heat up.

Chris McFarland made an excellent defensive play in the bottom of the fourth to get Andrew Toles for the final out and prevent a run.

Here’s the thing about Thursday’s game that felt like a football to…well, you know…  The Rattlers were outhit 14-6.  One player had half of Wisconsin’s hits….and they still had a chance to win the game.

I made this point in the game story, but to get it out here.. Toles walked to start the bottom of the ninth inning.  Leonard Reginatto failed in two bunt attempts and singled.  Tommy Coyle was next and failed in two bunt attempts.  He tripled to drive in the winning run.  Go figure.

The only team from the Western Division to win on Thursday was Cedar Rapids.  That means the Timber Rattlers didn’t lose any ground in the race to catch Quad Cities, Clinton, and Peoria.  But, they didn’t pick up any ground.  That is about the fourth time in the last ten or eleven games the Rattlers had chance to pick up ground on all three of those teams. Yeesh!

By the way, here are Wednesday’s Highlights – which do not have the catch  to rob Roache in the top of the eighth – from BGHotRodsTV.

And here are Thursday’s Highlights.

There was a happy ending on Thursday and a little something to put the game in perspective.  Matt Erickson’s wife Julie has been getting close to giving birth to their third child.  Matt came out on the road and the baby wasn’t due until Tuesday or Wednesday.  But, he was ready to head back at a moments notice.  The call came in the seventh inning that little Emma couldn’t wait anymore.  Matt showed me a picture on his cell phone as we got on the bus and he was still getting the details as we headed back to the hotel.  Matt will be heading home tomorrow morning and will rejoin the team next Wednesday when the homestand with Clinton starts.  Congratulations to the Ericksons.

Lineup and Game Notes for July 18, 2013

Not only strike while the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking. – Oliver Cromwell

Jorge Lopez tosses in the bullpen before Thursday's game in Bowling Green.

Jorge Lopez tosses in the bullpen before Thursday’s game in Bowling Green.

You may follow tonight’s game on:
Radio: AM1280, WNAM
Internet Audio: IHeartRadio

First pitch is 7:05pm

Tonight’s Lineup:
Orlando Arcia – SS
Michael Reed – DH
Tyrone Taylor -CF
Max Walla – RF
Victor Roache – LF
Mike Garza – 3B
Garrett Cooper – 1B
Tyler Roberts – C
Chris McFarland – 2B

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher: Ryan Gibbard
Bowling Green Starting Pitcher: Dylan Floro

Timber Rattlers Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesJuly182013

For the want of a nail – Postgame Post for July 17, 2013

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Victor Roache is about to be robbed.

Victor Roache is about to be robbed.

Timber Rattlers 2
Bowling Green 6
Boxscore | Game Story

Runner at first, two outs, bottom of the second, Austin Ross has a 1-2 pitch due to Joey Rickard. The runner from first goes. Ross freezes Rickard with a pitch on the outside corner at the knees…..and the pitch was called a ball and the runner at first is now on second. The next pitch goes for a single to drive in the first run of the game. The throw to the plate is just a little up the line and late and since the throw was not cut off, Rickard goes to second. The next pitch is a bloop single to left-center to drive in Rickard for a 2-0 lead.

That’s out of the way.

I thought Ross threw well. His velocity reached 90 a couple of times on the stadium gun. He threw 41 pitches/29 strikes, hit a batter, didn’t walk anyone, and struck out one in three innings.

Matt Erickson stopped me in the hallway after we got back to the hotel and said, “0-for-4″. I knew what he meant. The Timber Rattlers were 0-for-4 in situational hitting on Wednesday. Twice they had a leadoff double – Alfredo Rodriguez to start the game and Parker Berberet to start the third. Twice the hitters failed to move the runner to third. The Rattlers didn’t score in either inning. McFarland started the eighth with a walk and Rodriguez couldn’t get the bunt down, but eventually walked. Then, Reed did get the bunt down with runners on first and second with no outs in the eighth, but put it right back to the pitcher, who got the force out at third.

Chris McFarland crushed his home run in the fifth. He got a 1-0 pitch and drilled over the wall in left-center. It was his third home run of the season. He is third on the team in RBI with 35. Plus, that tied the game 2-2. AND extended his current hitting streak to eight games, the longest hitting streak of the season for McFarland. Pretty nice.

Like I said the other night, the other guys get paid to make plays, too. By my count, the Bowling Green outfield made five catches worthy of a Web Gem designation. They were:

  1. Andrew Toles makes a running catch of a sinking line drive off the bat of Michael Reed and doubles Rodriguez off second base in the first inning.
  2. Toles raced back to the gap in right-center to rob Tyrone Taylor of a two-out extra-base hit in the first inning.
  3. Rickard robbed Garrett Cooper of an RBI with a fine running catch in right-center after Roache had doubled with one out in the second.
  4. Rickard made a leaping catch on the warning track in the top of the eighth inning with two outs and the bases loaded on a drive to right by Roache.
  5. Left fielder Marty Gantt got into the act running back to the track to catch a deep fly off the bat of Orlando Arcia.  Gantt crashed into the chain-link fence and held on for the second out of the ninth inning.

Oh, and for good measure, Tyler Goedell made a good decision on a slow chopper off the bat of Mike Garza with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth.  He cut the ball off before it reached the shortstop and he fired a strike to the plate to get a force out and keep the Hot Rods in front.

Matt Erickson did say he would want one play back.  Garrett Cooper was on first with no outs in the top of the seventh.  An errant pickoff throw bounded down the right field line and he waved Cooper on to third.  But, the first baseman got to the ball and fired a strike to third from the tarp (you can see where the tarp is in the picture up top). Cooper was out and there was no argument.

That would be SEVEN plays.  If any one of those seven plays is not executed perfectly by Bowling Green, this game is either still being played or I’m writing about a Timber Rattlers win.

Tyrone Taylor hit the ball TOO hard in the top of the eighth inning.  Rodriguez was at second and Reed was at first with one out.  Taylor smoked a ball through the left side of the infield and it got out to Gantt in such a hurry there was no chance for Rodriguez to score.  That loaded the bases, but the Garza and Roache at bats would follow….and let’s not talk about those again.

Bowling Green does post highlights after their games to their YouTube Channel, but I was told that they were having some problems with getting them on line tonight.  I wanted to link to them just so you could see some of these plays.  Instead, I’ll link to the Channel and you can check later.

Get ‘em tomorrow.

Lineup and Game Notes for July 17, 2013

I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks. – Daniel Boone

Bowling Green Ballpark before Wednesday's game.

Bowling Green Ballpark before Wednesday’s game.

You may follow tonight’s game on:
Radio: AM1280, WNAM
Internet Audio: IHeartRadio

First pitch is 7:05pm

Tonight’s Lineup:
Alfredo Rodriguez – 3B
Michael Reed – RF
Tyrone Taylor – CF
Mike Garza – DH
Victor Roache – LF
Garrett Cooper – 1B
Orlando Arcia – SS
Parker Berberet – C
Chris McFarland – 2B

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher: Austin Ross
Bowling Green Starting Pitcher:
Blake Snell

Timber Rattlers Transactions:
RHP Johnny Hellweg transferred from Wisconsin to Nashville
RHP Austin Ross activated from the Brevard County DL and transferred to Wisconsin

Timber Rattlers Roster: Timber_Rattlers_Roster_071713

Timber Rattlers Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesJuly172013

2013 MLB All-stars and their best games as Timber Rattlers

There are four former Timber Rattlers on the American League roster for Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game.

They are:
David Ortiz (’96)
Felix Hernandez (’03)
Adam Jones (’04)
Chris Tillman (’07)

I thought it might be post worthy to look back at the games for these players and pick out their best game as a Wisconsin Timber Rattler:

David Ortiz:

David Ortiz in 1996

David Ortiz in 1996

In 1996, Ortiz played the entire season with the Rattlers and had a lot of really good games.  There was a two-homer game at Burlington on April 19 in a 4-2 win.  There was a walkoff homer in game two of a doubleheader against Kane County on June 8.  But, I’ll go with his game at Fort Wayne on  April 11.  This may also qualify as the best inning by a Timber Rattlers batter.

Ortiz drove in five runs in the game and all came in the first inning.  He hit a three-run home run and a two-run double as the Timber Rattlers got off to a 9-0 lead against the Wizards at old Memorial Stadium.

Ortiz also won the Midwest League Home Run Derby in 1996, the Timber Rattlers hosted the game that year.

Felix Hernandez:

Felix Hernandez pitches against the Burlington Bees on August 24, 2003.

Felix Hernandez pitches against the Burlington Bees on August 24, 2003.

He only made two starts for the Timber Rattlers at the end of the 2003 season.  His first start was against Burlington and he gave up a grand slam in the first inning before going into shutdown mode.  It was his second – and final – start as a Timber Rattler that I am going to choose for this post.

It was August 29, 2003.  Felix was 18 and he was pitching at Kane County.  This…kid…This phenomenal talent…He goes out and tosses seven shutout innings, gives up three hits, walks one, and strikes out ten.  The Rattlers didn’t score while Hernandez was on the mound and wound up losing the game, but Felix showed what he would become in that one game.

Adam Jones:

Adam Jones

Adam Jones as a Timber Rattler in 2004.

Jones was an 18-year-old shortstop with the Timber Rattlers in 2004.  It’s easy to pick out his best game with the Rattlers, but it’s hard to leave out some of the others.  May 11 @ Kane County: 3-for-6, 3B, HR, 3RBI; May 25 @ Quad Cities: Grand Slam July 23 v. BUR: 4-for-5, 3RUNS, RBI; September 2 @ Peoria 3-for-5, 2B, 3RBI.

However, the game that stands out for Jones was a game at Battle Creek on July 31, the day before he turned 19.   That was the day Jones went 2-for-5 with a pair of home runs and five RBI.  Hitting home runs at Battle Creek wasn’t easy.  And here is Jones cracking two in one game off the Battle Creek Yankees.   Maybe that prepared him for this moment against the New York Yankees last week.

Chris Tillman:

Chris Tillman was a Rattler in 2007.

Chris Tillman was a Rattler in 2007.

His time with the Timber Rattlers was way too brief.  The Mariners decided to push Tillman to the California League after just eight Midwest League starts in the 2007 season.  In two of those starts, he lasted one inning (on 5/4 at South Bend & 5/9 at Great Lakes).  That’s not to say he pitched poorly in all eight games.  In his first two starts, he struck out 15, walked one, and allowed three earned  runs over 9-2/3 innings.

Tillman was 1-4 in his eight starts for Wisconsin.  I could pick the win (4/23 at West Michigan).  But, I’m going to go with the loss against Lansing on May 20.  The Rattlers lost 2-1 as Tillman worked six innings, allowed three hits, walked four and struck out six.  The two runs he allowed were both unearned.

He had allowed one hit through the first five innings.  Then this happened:

Lugnuts 6th — Defensive Substitution: K. Lo replaces left fielder G. Dickey, batting 9th, playing left field. R. Barron pops out to C. Triunfel. T. Snider reaches on fielding error by A. Hargrove. B. Pettway singles to center field, T. Snider to 2nd. S. Shoffit struck out looking. C. Emanuele walks, T. Snider to 3rd; B. Pettway to 2nd. M. Lane singles to right-center field, T. Snider scores; B. Pettway scores; C. Emanuele to 2nd. J. Jaspe flies out to G. Halman.

That was Tillman’s last start with the Rattlers. He was on a plane to the Cal League a few days later and before the start of the 2008 he was in the Baltimore system as part of the Erik Bedard trade. By the way, Jones was also a part of that trade.

Carlos Gomez is an NL All-Star and has only played with the Timber Rattlers in a rehabilitation capacity.  But, I did want to include his best moment with the Timber Rattlers.  It happened in the bottom of the eighth inning on May 18.  The Timber Rattlers trailed the Burlington Bees 3-2 with two on and two out.  Carlos Gomez, who had been 0-for-9 in his first nine ABs of his rehab assignment, stepped up to the plate.  The result is at about 0:32 of these highlights:

Something to think about as you watch the All-Star Game tonight.

One imagines – Postgame Post for July 15, 2013

One is never fortunate or as unfortunate as one imagines. – Francois de La Rochefoucauld

July 15 2013 006

Lake County 2
Wisconsin 6
Boxscore | Game Story

I’ll have more later. Stuff to do now.

UPDATE:

Johnny Hellweg pitched six innings.  Kyle from Brew Crew Ball was at the postgame press conference and has comments from Hellweg:

He classified the outing as a game where he was “just trying to work on some stuff.”

“(I was) trying to treat some of the guys like they were different hitters, trying to put big leaguers in their shoes,” Hellweg said. “Trying to execute some pitches that I would have if they were different guys.”

Click the link for all of the comments.

It probably should have been a scoreless six innings for Hellweg.  But, Adrian Williams lost a popup in the Sun with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the sixth.  That allowed two runs to score.  It didn’t help that Hellweg walked a batter with two outs to load them up in the first place.  In the end it didn’t matter….because….

How many times this season has one Timber Rattlers error led to a big inning for the other team?  You don’t need to answer.  It’s rhetorical.  Besides it’s probably less than it seems.  It was nice to see the tables turn as Wisconsin scored four unearned runs after a dropped fly ball in right field during the bottom of the fifth.

The Rattlers started getting some hits after that dropped fly ball.   Williams lined a double to left.  Reed singled off second base.  Taylor ripped a triple. Garrett Cooper knocked in his first run as a Rattler.  That made the score 6-0.

Even after the Captains scored their two runs in the sixth, the game never felt like it was in danger.  Taylor Wall had a nice bounce back outing after taking the loss in the game to Fort Wayne on Friday.  Wall went three innings for the third time this season and picked up his fifth save of the season.

Taylor made a great catch to end the game.  See it in the highlights.  Great read.  Great speed.

Skipping back to the second inning for a second.  One of the topics covered occasionally in this series of posts is something called dirtball reads.  That would be reads by base runners on pitches in the dirt and if they think they can move up a base or not by getting a good jump.  Mike Garza had a great read on a pitch in the dirt in the second.  He took off on a pitch that didn’t get that far away from the catcher, but he just beat the throw.  He scored on a Victor Roache double to put the Rattlers up 1-0. 

The Timber Rattlers won the game by four runs.  That is the largest margin of victory for them since they won 11-5 at Kane County on June 15.

By the way, the Timber Rattlers went 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Bus leaves for Bowling Green tomorrow morning.  I’ll be on twitter and probably working on a post or two during the ride.  Next game is Wednesday. 

Monday’s Highlights:

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