Timber Rattlers Training Camp Notes – Final Day

Final day for me in Arizona, that is.  The Timber Rattlers will break camp on March 31 to head to Appleton.

This day started a bit later than the others.  Monday was a “Show-n-Go”, meaning there was no practice this morning and the bus was leaving for the San Diego Padres minor league complex to get the players over to the game in time to stretch, warm up, and get ready to play.

It has been a long camp without a lot of rest.  So, the minor league staff decided to let the players take the morning off to rest up for the game.

The plan worked.  The Timber Rattlers defeated Fort Wayne 9-5 and Brevard County topped Lake Elsinore 3-1.

Zach Quintana was the starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers and had a really nice day with a line of 4IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 2K and we’ll let Matt Erickson talk about him at the end of this post.  (Spoiler: He likes him a lot).

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Quintana was a third round pick of the Brewers in 2012 out of Arbor View High School in Las Vegas Nevada.  He spent 2012 in the Arizona League and was 3-4 with a 5.82ERA in 13 games – four starts.  Last year, he was in Helena and as 4-4 with a 6.95ERA in 14 games – all starts.  Quintana has struck out 81 and walked 54 in 109-1/3 innings during his minor league career.  Again more on him later.

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Wisconsin jumped to the early lead with three runs in the top of the second.  Tucker Neuhaus reached on an error and scored on a one out double by Jose Pena.  A single by Paul Eshleman put runners on the corners.  A two-out single by Omar Garcia knocked in Pena.

Then, a play happened that will be part of discussions over the next few days.

Nathan Orf doubled to right-center.  Eshelman scored easily. Garcia was flying around the bases from first and looked like he would score on a close play.  Then, the cry went up, “Get the bat! Get the bat!”

Orf had dropped the bat in the batters box blocking home plate better than any catcher could have done it.  No one went to get the bat and it remained right in any path Garcia would need to slide into the plate.  He was out and the inning ended.

Quintana pitched a 1-2-3 2nd.

In the bottom of the third, there was a runner on first with two outs.  When I recreated the Wow! signal on my scoresheet.  If you didn’t click the link – or don’t follow SETI like I do.  The Wow! signal was heard by radio telescopes that are focused on outer space in a search for intelligent life.  The scientist on duty that day saw what would be expected in a signal from an alien civilization on the read out, circled it, and wrote Wow! on the readout.

My Wow! signal was a 6-4-3 double play that started with an amazing diving play by Angel Ortega at short, continued with a great turn by Orf at second, and concluded with a pick at first by Garrett Cooper.  Wow!

Quintana wrapped his 60-pitch appearance with a scoreless fourth inning that started with an error by Ortega (no Wow! signal here) and a single.  But, Quintana got out of the inning with a fly ball and a routine 4-6-3 double play.

Fort Wayne got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth with a run off Trevor Seidenberger (2B, SAC BUNT, SAC FLY).

Then, the Rattlers put together a big inning in the sixth.  The first five Rattlers reached base.  Neuhaus walked, Clint Coulter walked, and Pena’s sacrifice bunt wound up being thrown into left field by the catcher to let Neuhaus score.  Milan Post, a catcher from the Netherlands who signed with the organization just under a month ago, also walked to load the bases.  Steven Halcomb followed with a two-run single to score Coulter and Pena.

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Johnny Davis tried to bunt his way on with runners at second and third, but was retired on a close play at first while neither runner could advance.

Chris McFarland (RBI single) and Charlie Markson (Sacrifice Fly) wrapped up the inning and the Rattlers were up 8-1.

The score became 9-1 as Pena drove in another run with a RBI to sent Jose Sermo hom in the top of the seventh.

Estevenson Encarnacion got the first out of the bottom of the seventh, but an error seemed to rock him a bit.  The TinCaps went single, walk, RBI single, two-run single, RBI single, walk, before the second out was recorded on a strikeout by Encarnacion.  Jorge Ortega entered the game and got the final out with a fly out to left and the Rattlers lead was 9-5.
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Ortega pitched a scoreless eighth and Angel Ventura pitched a scoreless ninth and that was the way the game ended.
Then, I got some comments from Matt Erickson.  Some you can read here.  The rest are on TimberRattlers.com.

Matt Erickson on Zach Quintana: He competes in the zone. This is the second spring training in a row that I’ve seen him. He was good last Spring Training and we fought to get him on our roster last year. But it was decided that he was a little too young. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t work his way onto our roster this year and is a part of our staff.

Today he mixed well. He was down in the zone. He got ahead of people and got groundballs. And that’s what we’re looking for.

Matt Erickson on Nathan Orf: He just finds ways to get on base. He’s been hit by a pitch four days in a row. When he swings the bat, he finds the barrel. When he gets on base, he’s a heady base runner. Today he stole a base. The other day he had two dirt ball reads. The day before that he went first to third. He doesn’t have a tremendous amount of speed, but he’s got great awareness and is a good base runner.

Matt Erickson on Johnny Davis: He is lightning in a bottle. If we can find a way to get him consistent contact at the plate, he is going to be very dangerous. And that’s not to say he’s not going to make some mistakes on the bases. Because he’s still learning there. He’s still very raw and didn’t even play baseball in high school. But, he’s a guy with a great personality. He brings energy to the field and he’s really, really eager to learn. He’s fun to teach.

Matt Erickson on Angel Ortega: That 6-4-3 they made, that was a diving play to a barehand flip to a shorthop. Orf had a great turn and [Garrett] Cooper was involved with the pick. That was a collective effort on that play.

The next play was a semi-routine grounder that he doesn’t get a glove on and he misplayed it a little bit and got the in-between hop. But, he’s going to make a lot more good plays than mistakes. He’s a pretty darn good defender and we’ll throw him out there and see what happens.

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