August 2013

Lineup, Transactions, & Game Notes for August 21, 2013

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. – Buddha
August 21 2013 002
Good afternoon.

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

First pitch is 6:30pm

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

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher: Tyler Wagner
LumberKings Starting Pitcher: David Holman

Timber Rattlers Transactions:
RHP Eric Semmelhack placed on disabled list
LHP Alan Williams transferred from Maryvale to Wisconsin

Updated Timber Rattlers Roster: Timber_Rattlers_Roster_082113

Timber Rattlers Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesAugust212013

Focus in the brightest – Postgame post for August 20, 2013

I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe. – Dalai Lama

So...that happened again.

So…that happened again.

Wisconsin 4
Beloit 6
Boxscore | Game Story

If I had time, I would go back and look at all of the times the Timber Rattlers have been down by a bunch and fought back to put the tying run at the plate.  I’m thinking that it’s a lot.  It seems like a lot.

Parker Berberet was up with two outs and runners at the corners in the top of the first inning.  Berberet lined a pitch right at base umpire Masa Ichiki.  In the two umpire rotation, he is set up to the right of the mound on the infield grass as you look at the field from behind home plate.  Ichiki ducked out of the way and the ball went right into the waiting glove of second baseman Christopher Bostick.  Put  pin in this.  We’ll see a similar play later.

In the top of the second, Orlando Arcia bunted.  He was out on a close play.  Manager Matt Erickson went to argue the call.  It wasn’t even a particularly heated discussion.  Unlike Monday night, the helmet stayed on his head.  Matt sent me a text to say that he didn’t drop one of the magic words, but he said something that Ichiki didn’t like and got run for the second game in a row.

The Snappers took advantage of an error, two walks, a wild pitch, and a double to score three runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Before the bottom of the third inning, The Rattlers were outhitting Beloit 5-2 and were losing 3-0.  After the bottom of the third, the hit column was even at five and the Snappers were up 6-0.  There were two straight singles and a home run by Matt Olson.

Beloit won the season series from the Timber Rattlers 10-7.

Wisconsin outhit the Snappers .289-.258

Beloit outscored the Rattlers 79-72.

Beloit outhomered the Rattlers 16-6.

Tyrone Taylor had a pair of infield singles, a pair of line drive singles to left, and a line drive double inside the line in right.  That’s a five hit game, the first by a Timber Rattlers since July 5, 2011.  That was the day TJ Mittelstaedt had five hits in a game at Beloit.

Taylor scored two runs and moved his average from .278 to .286.  Also, his double was #31 on the season.  Taylor has matched five other Timber Rattlers for 11th place on the franchise list for doubles in a single season. 

Garrett Cooper with ANOTHER multi-hit game for the Timber Rattlers.  That’s ELEVEN in 25 games with Wisconsin.  Cooper also had a triple in the game to drive in Taylor.  His slashline is .337/.402/.522.

Rodolfo Fernandez.  FIVE scoreless innings out of the bullpen.  He allowed ONE hit, walked one, and struck out four.  His scoreless streak has reached 17….I’m sorry…SEVENTEEN consecutive innings.  His second half numbers: 10 games, 31.0IP, 19H, 4R, 7BB, 31K.  That makes a WHIP of 0.84, an ERA of 1.16, and opposing batters are hitting .173. 

The Rattlers were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday night.  I already mentioned one of those eleven at bats (The Berberet line out in the first inning.)  Here’s where we come back to that play to talk about another of those eleven at bats.  In the ninth, Taylor was at second base with one out.  Berberet was back at the plate as the tying run.  Berberet hits a hooking line drive towards left field.  Taylor was heading for third and was going to score….But, the shortstop made the catch and doubled Taylor off second base to end the game.


Victor Roache got the night off on Tuesday.  He didn’t take batting practice and didn’t play in the game.  It was his first time the Rattlers played a game in the second half and Roache did not play in it.  Let’s see if he bounces back in a big series at Clinton.

Speaking of Clinton.  They won at Kane County again on Tuesday.  Quad Cities beat Burlington.  Those top two teams have separated themselves from the four teams chasing them.  Clinton is three games up on Peoria and five games up on the Rattlers for the Wild Card.

Wisconsin has a three game series at Clinton.  If they want to keep their playoff chances alive, they need a sweep.  A sweep would bring them within two of Clinton with ten games left.  If they win two of three, they will be four games back.  If they drop two of three, they will be six games back.  If they get swept, they will be eight games back with ten to play.

Here we go.

Lineup and Game Notes for August 20, 2013

The secret of getting things done is to act! – Dante Alighieri

August 20 2013 005

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

First pitch is 7:00pm

Tonight’s Lineup:
Alfredo Rodriguez – 3B
Michael Reed – LF
Tyrone Taylor – CF
Garrett Cooper – DH
Parker Berberet – 1B
Max Walla – RF
Orlando Arcia – SS
Tyler Roberts – C
Adrian Williams – 2B

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher: Mike Strong
Beloit Snappers Starting Pitcher: Dylan Covey

Timber Rattlers Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesAugust202013

Strange game – Postgame post for August 19, 2013

This is a strange game. – Carl Yastrzemski

Somewhere near the pole in left, a ball went out. Was it Fair? Was it Foul? Of which it was, well, there was some doubt.

Somewhere near the pole in left, a ball went out. Was it Fair? Was it Foul? Of which it was, well, there was some doubt.

Beloit 8
Wisconsin 6
Boxscore | Game Story

Somewhere, Eddie Menchaca and the Clinton LumberKings are thinking that the scales have been balanced.  More on that in a bit.

Great start for the offense.  Garrett Cooper with a two-out, two-run home run on a fly ball that I thought was “Too High. Too High” to get out of the ballpark.  But, it got out by plenty.  Cooper with his second Midwest League home run since joining the Timber Rattlers.

Alfredo Rodriguez had a nice game in the leadoff spot.  He was on base four more times (Two singles & Twice being hit by a pitch)  His first hit was a two-out RBI single in the top of the second inning for a 3-1 lead.

Max Walla drove in a pair of runs with a two-out double in the top of the fifth.  A drive over the head of the right fielder.  Walla is now on an eight game hitting streak (15-for-35) and has bumped his average to .272 from .242 before the streak started.

But, those five runs were not enough.

Ryan Gibbard allowed eight runs on ten hits – including two home runs – in five innings.  Granted…neither home run is out of any other ballpark in the Midwest League.  Centerfield is 380′ with a 16′ high wall.  The second inning homer by Olson barely got over the wall.  Bostick’s first inning homer was hit to a bit to the right of the hitting background where it’s maybe…365’….370′?

However, both homers are probably doubles in other parks.  Who knows where  the innings go from there?

The bottom of the third inning snowballed with two outs.  There were a series of plays that led to that five-run frame for the Snappers to turn a 3-2 Wisconsin lead into a 7-3 Beloit lead.

There was a runner at third with one out.  Bostick singles to right to drive in the tying run.  Bostick takes second because the ball was booted for an error.  A ground out moves the runner to third but there are two outs.  Wooten walks on a 3-1 pitch.  Olson doubles on a 3-2 pitch to drive in one run and put runners on second and third.  Vertigan singles to center on an 0-2 pitch.  The throw home missed the cutoff man – and the catcher for that matter.  Vertigan takes second.  Next batter is Rickles and he singles to drive in Vertigan. 

There are a couple of places in that sequence where damage could have been limited.  But, the Snappers just kept hitting and kept running.

In the top of the sixth, the Rattlers got a single by Orlando Arcia and a single by Rodriguez to put two on with not out.  The next pitch was a 6-4-3 double play and two pitches later there was a fly out to center to end the threat.

Now…to The Play!

Two outs. Top of the 7th, None on. Parker Berberet hooks a line drive down the left field line.  Plate umpire Masa Ichiki calls it fair and a home run.

Unlike the situation in Clinton where Tyrone Taylor’s ball was fair and I saw it leave the yard fair only to have the plate umpire call it foul before reversing it, I did not see where the ball left the park in Beloit.  Look at the picture up top.  I do not have a great angle.  So, I immediately looked to the umpire for the call and a very definitive call of fair was made.

Berberet was around third and heading for home when Ryan Christenson came out to discuss the call.  Ichiki went to talk it over with San Allen and the call was reversed.  Now, truth be told, back in June, Taylor’s home run should not have been overturned.  The base umpire is not supposed to be looking at the ball.  It’s the plate umpires call.  There is no replay review.  There’s one call and that’s it.  But, for the second time this season, we have seen the call reversed.

Yaz is right.

And you knew this was going to happen:

The helmet came off as the argument continued...

The helmet came off as the argument continued…

Impressive follow through by Ichiki.

Impressive follow through by Ichiki.

I wish I could have got the helmet toss by Matty in a shot.  He got both height and distance on it.  Impressive.

There are a few other things you need to realize about Beloit’s Pohlman Field.  The players and coaches need to walk through the concourse to get from the dugout to the clubhouse.  MWL President George Spelius is based in Beloit and sits in the seats behind home plate for most Beloit home games.  There is a walkway in front the the seats that the league president uses.

Scene set?

Matt Erickson could have walked off the field and walked behind the bleachers, through the concourse, and to the clubhouse.  He could have walked across the field to a gate near the Beloit dugout and through a walkway between sections of the bleachers.  But, no.

He walked off the field, through the gate by the Rattlers dugout, down a walkway between the Rattlers dugout at the seats, into the section in which the league president sits, right past the league president, and back into the clubhouse.

I asked Matt what he said as he walked by the league president.  “Sorry, George. But, that had to happen.”

Preston Gainey tossed three scoreless innings and was helped out by a couple of nice double plays by the infielders.

Quad Cities and Clinton won.  Peoria lost.  The Rattlers are now 7-1/2 games behind Quad Cities and four games behind Clinton.  There are 14 games left in the season.

Get them on Tuesday.

Lineup and Game Notes for August 19, 2013

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. – Henry Ford

Fun picture from yesterday that I forgot to add to Sunday's post.

Fun picture from yesterday that I forgot to add to Sunday’s post.

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

First pitch is 7:00pm

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

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher: Ryan Gibbard
Beloit Snappers Starting Pitcher: Derek DeYoung

Timber Rattlers Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesAugust192013

Truth isn’t – Postgame post for August 18, 2013

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t. – Mark Twain

Something wonderful is about to happen.

Something wonderful is about to happen.

Wisconsin 4
Beloit 3
Boxscore | Game Story

Like Ben Crenshaw in the Saturday press conference at the 1999 Ryder Cup, I had a good feeling.  Unlike Ben Crenshaw, I did not express it as such. Enough people think that I am A.) Crazy, B.) A Homer, and/or C.) A Crazy Homer.

No, Seriously. If I said something like, “I know the Timber Rattlers have had one runner past first base in the game through the first innings and they haven’t had two base runners on at the same time tonight and they are down 3-0, but I’ve got a good feeling going into the the top of the ninth inning.”…well, you can imagine what your reaction would have been.

And yet….and yet…I did lay the groundwork for the comeback. Mentioning that Tyler Vail had allowed three of the runs in that five run bottom of the ninth on August 5.

Enough about what I thought. Now to what actually happened.

Opposing batters were hitting almost .400 against Beloit starting pitcher Deyvi Jimenez in his first eight Midwest League appearances. So, of course he allowed three hits over six scoreless innings. He used a lot of breaking balls and off-speed and stuff and the Rattlers were off balance. He only worked one perfect inning, but the Rattlers never got going offensively against him.

Austin Ross ran into some bad luck on the first two runs scored against him in the game.  A throwing error by Parker Berberet on a stolen base let a runner take third base.  Then, a grounder got the run home in the second.  In the fifth, the bases were loaded and Ross jammed Aaron Shipman, but the grounder was too slow for the Rattlers to turn two.

Plus, the Snappers helped out a bit in the sixth inning to prevent a big inning.  Daniel Robertson doubled to start the inning.   Christopher Bostick was next.  Heading into the game, Bostick was hitting .287 with 13 homers and 83RBI.  Three of his homers and 13 of his RBI came against the Timber Rattlers and he was hitting well over .300 against Wisconsin.  The Snappers had him bunt Robertson over to third.  John Wooten, the next batter, doubled to drive in the third run for a 3-0 lead.  Makes you wonder where that game would have been had Bostick, who had doubled in his previous at bat vs. Ross, swung away in the sixth.

In the end, Ross wound up with his second straight quality start, walked one, struck out six, and (unofficially) had 79 pitches/52 strikes in six innings.

Also, Berberet threw out two of Beloit’s three would-be base stealers on Sunday.  He 27-for-67 (.403) at throwing out opposing base runners.

Let’s look at the first four batters in the top of the ninth:

Victor Roache retired on a line drive that was backhanded by the shortstop.
Garrett Cooper lines a single off Tyler Vail’s body so hard the ball deflected into foul territory about halfway between third and home.
Parker Berberet lines a singled over the head of Vail into center.
Max Walla lines a single to right so hard Cooper was unable to score from second.

Orlando Arcia stepped in after the second out and he swung at the first pitch.  Another line drive to right. Shipman tried to make the diving catch, but there was no chance. Then, the ball skipped to the wall.  Three runs scored.  Tie game.

In case you were wondering…..and I know I was…. Orlando Arcia is 7-for-16 (.438) with the bases loaded this season.  Three of his hits with the bases loaded are for extra bases.  Plus, he has driven in 15 runs with the bases full.

Ryan Fasano made his Timber Rattlers debut with two scoreless innings (7th & 8th).  He was hit by a line drive for a single in the eighth.  The ball went off a leg.   He stayed in the game and got the final out of the inning.   Fasano went back out for the bottom of the ninth and threw a couple of warmup tosses.  Then,  Matt Erickson, Jeff Paxson, and David Chavarria came out of the dugout to check on Fasano.  The decided to take him out and bring in Taylor Wall.  That top of the ninth did go a long time.  I have a text in to the manager to see if that was precautionary or a Tony LaRussa Gambit to buy Wall some extra time warmup for the bottom of the inning.

Taylor Wall with two more scoreless innings.  I don’t mean to make it seem like an afterthought as in: Oh, by the way, Taylor Wall tossed two more scoreless innings.  He has a scoreless streak of 9-2/3 innings over his last five outings.  In his last ten games, Wall has given up three runs on 14 hits over 17 innings with five walks and 15 strikeouts.  Outstanding work by Wall.

Adrian Williams came into the game for Mike Garza for the bottom of the eighth. Garza fouled a few balls off his foot in the game Friday at home and sat out Saturday’s game at Beloit.  He got back in there on Sunday and went 1-for-4, but was out of the game after he grounded out to third to end the top of the eighth.

Williams started the 10th inning rally with a one out single against Chris Lamb.  Victor Roache followed Williams and ended an 0-for-12 streak with a single.  Then, Williams got a great jump on a 1-2 breaking ball with Cooper at the plate and stole third base.  Roache picked up his fourth stolen base as the trail runnner.

That double steal led to the change in the defensive alignment with the Snappers bringing the infield in to get Williams at the plate.  Cooper lined a single through that drawn in infield to get Williams home and the Rattlers were a scoreless tenth from Taylor Wall away from their second straight win.

Western Division Playoff Chase:
Clinton 4 @Kane County 2
Cedar Rapids 3 @Peoria 1
@Quad Cities 3, Burlington 2

The River Bandits had a 2-1 lead, but Burlington tied the game in the top of the ninth.  Then, Rio Ruiz hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth.

Peoria committed four errors and Cedar Rapids won its sixth straight game.

Victor Sanchez pitched seven scoreless innings for Clinton.

Up To Date Standings:
TEAM             W-L                Div. GB          WC GB
QC                  31-23                  —                    —
CLN                28-27                 3.5                   —
PEO                27-28                 4.5                 1.0
WIS                 25-30                 6.5                 3.0
BUR                23-32                 8.5                 5.0
KC                   20-34               11.0                 7.5

There are 15 games remaining and the Rattlers have three left at Clinton.

Lineup, Game Notes, and Transactions – August 18, 2013

The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react. – George Bernard Shaw

August 18 2013 002

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

First pitch is 2:00pm

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

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher: Austin Ross
Beloit Snappers Starting Pitcher: Deyvi Jimenez

Timber Rattlers Transactions:
IF Garrett Cooper activated from Disabled List
OF Lance Roenicke transferred to Brevard County

Updated Timber Rattlers Roster: Timber_Rattlers_Roster_081813

Timber Rattlers Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesAugust182013

Never give up! Never surrender! – Postgame Post for August 17, 2013

“Never give up! Never surrender!” – Galaxy Quest

And with that they were three back with 16 to play.

And with that they were three back with 16 to play.

Wisconsin 6
Beloit 4
Boxscore | Game Story

Orlando Arcia with his second three-hit game in the last three games. He is on a five game hitting streak (9-for-22, .409) with two homers, three RBI, and seven runs scored. Plus, there was a play…there’s always a defensive play. He made a sliding stop on a grounder deep in the hole, spun, and fired a strike to first to get the runner. Granted it was the catcher, but it was an important out to start the top of the fifth right after the Timber Rattlers took a 6-2 lead in the top of the inning.

Alfredo Rodriguez, by the way, was back in the leadoff spot on Saturday night. He was 0-for-2, but drew three walks, scored two runs, and stole a base. His numbers in 44 games as a leadoff hitter this season: .272/.382/.325 with 30 walks.

Jorge Lopez pitched around a couple of miscues and limited damage. Plus, he had some bad luck in the fourth inning as he broke a couple of bats that wound up as hits. He wasn’t efficient (93 pitches/51 strikes) in five innings, but he was effective…if that makes any sense. Despite four walks, he only allowed three hits. Plus, the only runs that scored against him were on a double play ball and a fielder’s choice.

The Rattlers had a pair of hit-and-run plays work out just like you draw them up…one even better…and both came in the fifth inning.

The first was Alfredo Rodriguez running with Arcia at the plate. Arcia lined a ball right through the space vacated by the second baseman. That put runners at the corners and led to the first run of the four run inning.

The second was with Victor Roache at first and Max Walla at the plate. Roache took off and Walla lined a ball right through the space vacated by the shortstop. The ball skipped to the wall for a double and Roache scored the final run of the inning for a 6-2 lead.

In the words of Hannibal Smith: I love it when a plan comes together.

Hobbs Johnson struck out three in the sixth. He walked three in the seventh. Then, he got a huge double play with to end the seventh inning to keep the Rattlers up 6-2.

Jono Armold bounced back in the ninth with a 1-2-3 inning after giving up a pair of runs in the eighth. It was good.

Playoff chase….Quad Cities, Clinton, and Peoria all lost. The Rattlers are three games behind Clinton and Peoria for the Wild Card and 6-1/2 behind Quad Cities for the division. There are 16 games remaining in the regular season.

Get ’em again tomorrow.

Lineup and Game Notes for August 17, 2013

Always do whatever’s next. – George Carlin

August 17 2013 001
You may follow tonight’s game on:
Radio: AM1280, WNAM
Internet Audio: IHeartRadio

First pitch is 7:00pm

Tonight’s Lineup:
Alfredo Rodriguez – 3B
Orlando Arcia – SS
Tyrone Taylor – CF
Victor Roache – LF
Parker Berberet – 1B
Max Walla – RF
Tyler Roberts – C
Chris McFarland – DH
Adrian Williams – 2B

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher: Jorge Lopez
Beloit Snappers Starting Pitcher:
Andres Avila

RHP Martin Viramontes activated from DL and transferred to Maryvale (Arizona League)
RHP Chris Razo transferred from Wisconsin to Helena (Pioneer League)
RHP Ryan Fasano transferred from Helena to Wisconsin

Timber Rattlers Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesAugust172013

Afraid of being happy – Postgame post for August 16, 2013

I think I’m afraid of being happy because whenever I get too happy something bad always happens. – Charlie Brown

sighPeoria 7
Wisconsin 2
Boxscore | Game Story

Tyler Roberts went to right field with his double and hit it over the head of the right fielder for a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

Mike Garza had two more hits, including an RBI double in the third inning, in the game. He has 33 multi-hit games this season.

In case you missed the tweet from earlier tonight:

That’s all I have on that right now.

The Chiefs had a runner at first with no outs in the top of the fifth inning against Tyler Wagner. Jonathan Keener sent a grounder to short and it looked like a certain 6-4-3 double play. Then, the ball took a bad hop…like a wicked and completely unfair hop…over the glove of Orlando Arcia. And his glove wasn’t at his knees. The ball bounced up about brim of the hat height on Arcia and made it through for a single and runners at first and third.

Charlie Tilson followed with a grounder to the left of the mound. The runner at third was caught in a rundown and stayed in the rundown long enough to let Keener get to third and Tilson to get to second.

I swear that Wagner broke the bats of the next two batters and the ball didn’t get off the infield grass. But, both balls made it past the mound and the Chiefs scored two runs to tie the game.

Very rough seventh inning for Harvey Martin. He made a great pitch to get a 3-6-1 double play for two outs and none on. Then, five straight hits with four extra base hits and the Chiefs were up 6-2.

Reed wasn’t the only Rattler to be hit by a pitch. Lance Roenicke got hit on the right hand. Max Walla got hit in the leg. Ouch.

Nathan Baliva, who isn’t a bad guy no matter what you may hear, popped into the radio booth after the game and mentioned that he had only seen one Victor Roache home run in 13 games against the Chiefs this season. This got me thinking:

Overall Roache: 103 games; 94-for-393 (.239), 20HR, 66RBI, 120K
Roache v. PEO: 13 games; 10-for-54 (.185), HR, 5RBI, 20K
Roache v. rest of MWL: 90 games; 84-for-339 (.247), 19HR, 61RBI, 100K

I hate the Cardinals.

In the playoff race…The loss dropped the Timber Rattlers four games behind the Chiefs AND the Clinton LumberKings. A few weeks ago, I thought that Wisconsin would need to get to 36-34 to make the playoffs. They would need to go 13-4 over the last seventeen games. For the Chiefs AND Clinton to finish 35-35, both would need to go 8-9 over the last seventeen.

The math is getting difficult. Not impossible, but difficult.

Western Division Schedule (SAT-MON):
Wisconsin at Beloit
Cedar Rapids at Peoria
Clinton at Kane County
Burlington at Quad Cities

The rest of the season starts on Saturday. Gotta get ’em.

Friday’s Highlights:

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