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Postgame Post – April 3, 2014

Peoria 8
Wisconsin 4
Boxscore | Gameday

I have to tell the truth here.  I’m running on empty.  But, I wanted to try to put something together for tonight’s game.

Just before the season started.

Just before the season started.

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly isn’t the most positive way to divide this up…Three up, Three down is such a cliche…

I don’t have much to add, to my postgame interview with Matt Erickson…which I haven’t quite figured out how to post as an audio file on here yet…

So, Transcription it is.

First head over to the game story for quotes from Matt after the 8-4 loss to the Chiefs.  There are quotes about Taylor Williams (5IP, H, 0R, BB, 7K, ND), Omar Garcia (3-for-4, SB), and Clint Coulter (1-for-3, BB, HR, RBI)

In the first inning, the Timber Rattlers had Garcia at third with one out and David Denson at the plate. Wisconsin put the contact play on and Denson grounded sharply to second. Garcia was tagged out in a 4-2-5-1-6-4 rundown. Denson was out trying to advance to third and the inning ended on the 4-2-5-1-6-4-2 double play….Take it away, Matt:

“We did go contact play. It was a cold day and we were banking on them having to catch the ball, making a clean exchange, and making a good throw. Unfortunately, Denson smoked a ball right the second baseman and Garcia really had no chance.

[Garcia] did a great job of staying in the rundown. Denny got caught up a little bit watching that play and we talked about it after the game. On the back side of that play we gotta advance as many bases as we possibly can and he got caught up watching it.”

On the game in general: I thought we did some good things. Williams came out and was really good. He was just throwing strikes and we did make some defensive plays. We had the one defensive miscue, but then Williams picked the runner off. So that picked us up there. [Taylor] Brennan made a nice play on his backhand.

I thought we had some good at bats with extra base hits and found ways to score runs in four innings.

It’s just that seventh inning killed us. We throw a number of pitches, we walked eight people tonight and I know a number of them scored. We gotta throw the ball over the plate and make people use the bat or it’s going to hurt us.

On Barrett Astin, Friday’s scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers: Other than he’s an Arkansas Razorback…I’m already cheering for him…He’s kind of a two-seamer/slider guy and we’re trying to get a little more arm strength out of him. He’s been asked to use his four-seamer a little more. Hopefully, he can get the ball down in the zone, get us some ground balls, and get us off the field.

Thursday’s Highlights:

Timber Rattlers Lineup & Game Notes for April 3, 2014

LET’S PLAY BALL!

Opening_Day_2014

Oh, It might be a bit chilly. But, the tarp is off the field and the game is on as scheduled.

The playing surface is still snow-free!

The playing surface is still snow-free!

UPDATE:
BROADCAST INFORMATION:

RADIO: AM1280, WNAM
INTERNET AUDIO:  I Heart Radio
INTERNET VIDEO: MiLB.TV
CABLE TV: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel

Timber Rattlers Lineup!
April3Lineup

Timber Rattlers Starting Pitcher: Taylor Williams
Peoria Chiefs Starting Pitcher: Jimmy Reed

Timber Rattlers Game Notes: RattlersGameNotesApril32014
Peoria Chiefs Game Notes: PeoriaApril3GameNotes

Timber Rattlers Roster: 4 3 2014 Timber Rattlers Roster
Peoria Chiefs Roster: 2014 Peoria OpeningDayRoster

Jerseys of the Rattlers – 2014 Brewers Sunday & 1995 Throwbacks

Don’t let the weather outside fool you.  Today is Opening Day!

I wanted to show off the 2014 Brewers Sunday and 1995 Throwback Jerseys in the final Jerseys of the Rattlers post.

So, here they are.

First, the golden Brewers Sunday Jersey:

Front:

2014 Sunday and Throwback Jersey 001

Back:

2014 Sunday and Throwback Jersey 002

Second, the 1995 Throwback Jersey:

Front:

2014 Sunday and Throwback Jersey 003

Back:

2014 Sunday and Throwback Jersey 004

Past Posts on Jerseys:

2006 Throwbacks

2007 Throwbacks

2008 Throwbacks

BP Tops 2004-2009

Pinstripes and BP Tops of 1995-1997

Sleeveless 1998-2002

1997 Throwbacks

2012 Military Appreciation

2010 Mother’s Day

2013 Outdoors Night

2008 Stars & Stripes

2009 Star Wars

2008 Star Wars

2010 & 2011 Star Wars

2012 Star Wars

2013 Star Wars

2009 Brewers Sunday

2010 Brewers Sunday

2011 Brewers Sunday

2012 Brewers Sunday

2013 Brewers Sunday

2011 Mother’s Day

2013 Mother’s Day

2014 Specialties

Wild Card Wednesday – Milwaukee Brewers

I had wanted to do this post on Monday morning, but life got in the way.

Yep.  Tom Hausman and Bill Sharp are two of the earliest Brewers cards in my collection.

Ray Sadecki!

Ray Sadecki!

Sal Bando and Larry Hisle were two big free agent signings by the Brewers.  Bill Travers was home grown…if I remember correctly.

Bill Travers always seemed to pitch when I went to Brewers games in that era.

Bill Travers always seemed to pitch when I went to Brewers games in that era.

These are some of the guys I think of when I think Brewers baseball.

Slaton '76...mustache. Slaton '78... no mustache.

Slaton ’76…mustache. Slaton ’78… no mustache.

These guys, too.

Brouhard is smiling? Right?

Brouhard is smiling? Right?

I got the Moose Haas autograph at the Ray Fencil Chevy booth at the Racine County Fair in Union Grove.  I think that was where Charlie Moore got his Mizuno pullover.

Moose signed that 1978 card with light ink.  My mom traced over it to let 10-year-old Mehring see it.

Moose signed that 1978 card with light ink. My mom traced over it to let 10-year-old Mehring see it.

Cecil Cooper is awesome.

COOOOOOOOOOOP!

COOOOOOOOOOOP!

There was nothing like going to a Brewers game at Milwaukee County Stadium and hearing Bob Betts announce Siiiiiiixxxtooooooo LezzzzzzzzCANnnnnnnOOOOOOO!  You kids don’t realize how much fun that was.

I struggle to remember Steve Brye as a Brewer.

I struggle to remember Steve Brye as a Brewer.

Take a look at the checkered jacket on the guy in the third row of the 1976 team card.

Roy Howell will manage the Tacoma Rainiers this season.

Roy Howell will manage the Tacoma Rainiers this season.

Mike Hegan, Rick Manning, and Bill Schoeder all went on to be broadcasters after their playing days.

brewers9
Hall of Famers

I wouldn't qualify that Rollie Fingers card as "In Action".

I wouldn’t qualify that Rollie Fingers card as “In Action”.

My cousin Keith sent me some of his Brewers cards, including this Robin Yount Rookie Card:

RobinYount75
And this Don Money card may be the WORST example of airbrushing EVER:
DonMoney
Keith also sent my one of his two Topps Baseball Cards of the Milwaukee Brewers booklets that were giveaways from Surf Laundry Detergent.

I may share some of those in the future…But, the season starts tomorrow.

Thank you for indulging me on Wednesday this offseason.  As a reminder, I don’t have cards for Tampa Bay, Arizona, Miami, or Colorado in my collection since I stopped before those teams joined MLB.

Past Wild Card Wednesdays:

New York Mets

Seattle Mariners

Toronto Blue Jays

Montreal Expos

Pittsburgh Pirates

New York Yankees

Boston Red Sox

St. Louis Cardinals

Chicago White Sox

Baltimore Orioles

Kansas City Royals

Philadelphia Phillies

Atlanta Braves

Oakland A’s

Minnesota Twins

Cleveland Indians

Los Angeles Dodgers

Cincinnati Reds

Detroit Tigers

California Angels

Houston Astros

Texas Rangers

San Diego Padres

Chicago Cubs

Three Days to Opening Day

Opening Night is April 3.  This is what the field looks like as of noon on March 31.  There are also some photos of some new things around the park….

Like the new location for the Appleton Pro Baseball Hall of Fame.  The former Leinie’s Lodge could be called the Leinie’s Legends Lounge again.

March 31 2014 008

March 31 2014 006

Left Field Berm
March 31 2014 001

Behind Home Plate:

March 31 2014 002

From the Club Level

March 31 2014 004

Right Field Berm

March 31 2014 009

Camera Platform

March 31 2014 012

Oh, there’s still some work to do:

March 31 2014 003

But, we have TWO BIG chairs at the top of the berm in right field.

March 31 2014 010

How many days?

March 31 2014 013

Keep thinking warm thoughts, Timber Rattlers fans!  We’ll see you at Fan Fest on Tuesday and for the home opener on Thursday.

Wild Card Wednesday – Chicago Cubs

Two teams left…my collecting days ended before there were Diamonbacks, Marlins, Rays, and Rockies…  I’ll go with the Chicago Cubs first.  The Brewers are next week…

Cubs from Adrian Garrett to Geoff Zahn!  Garrett would manage the Appleton Foxes in 1982.

Darrold Knowles and Carmen Fanzone are basically the same person.

Darrold Knowles and Carmen Fanzone are basically the same person.

Oh, my.  They Mike Vail and Tim Blackwell cards are used to show off the powder blue, pinstriped, road jerseys of that era.  My favorite Gene Clines story comes from my independent ball days.  Jackie Hernandez, the hitting coach, and George Mitterwald, the manager, were talking about players from their era.  Jackie asked George if he knew Gene Clines.  George responded, “Do I know Gene Clines?  $%*@, Jackie…I played with him for two years in Chicago!”  Jackie had been teammates with Gene for three seasons in Pittsburgh.

A Bobby Murcer card where I didn't cross out the team name to put him on the Cubs!

A Bobby Murcer card where I didn’t cross out the team name to put him on the Cubs!

Look…the Cubs may have lost a lot of games during this era, but they had some magnificent mustaches!  Just look at the one on Scot Thompson…and Paul Rueschel!!!  Sometimes, I think that Manny Trillo was the only decent player on the Cubs at the time.

I'll take Barry Foote in the center square for the block, Peter!

I’ll take Barry Foote in the center square for the block, Peter!

You think that the airbrush artist who worked on the Dave Kingman card for the 1978 season (Middle Row, Left) looks at photoshop today and goes…”Amateurs!”  Oh, Rick Reuschel! I remember when he would run the bases as he wore one of those team jackets.  Hilarious!

Doug Capilla lost out on the role of Doc Holiday in Tombstone to Val Kilmer.

Doug Capilla lost out on the role of Doc Holiday in Tombstone to Val Kilmer.

Chicago traded Bill Madlock after the 1976 season for Bobby Murcer and Steve Ontiveros.  Madlock finished with a .354 average to win the NL batting title in 1975 and was just behind Rod Carew’s .359 for the MLB’s best batting average.  In 1976, Madlock led all of MLB in batting average at .339…and the Cubs traded him.  Hi, Bill Buckner!

Ray Burris was a Brewer in 1985 and 1987.

Ray Burris was a Brewer in 1985 and 1987.

Of all the Cubs that I grew up watching…Larry Biittner and Lynn McGlothen are the two I remember most…for some reason.  Willie Hernandez is smiling because he knew that he would be pitching for Detroit in a few years and helping them win the 1984 World Series.  The Cubs traded him to the Phillies for Bill Johnson and Dick Ruthven.

Ivan DeJesus WILL show you how to bunt and you WILL pay attention!

Ivan DeJesus WILL show you how to bunt and you WILL pay attention!

When Pete Broberg pitched for the Brewers in 1975, he led the team in wins with 14.  He was second on the Crew in losses with 16.

Mike Lum counts since he was a minor league hitting instructor for the Brewers.

Mike Lum counts as a Brewers alum since he was a minor league hitting instructor for the Brewers.

I’m all for being different, but…that 1978 team card…Seriously? That’s like the senior class picture high schools displayed at the time.  Steve Macko seems…enthused?

If only Herman Franks knew...

If only Herman Franks knew…

A pre-beard Bruce Sutter and a pre-bullpen Dennis Eckersley.  Both are in the Hall of Fame!

What? I liked Bruce Sutter!

What? I liked Bruce Sutter!

I like Bruce Sutter so much, I remember the 7*Up commercial he did with Mike Schmidt and Dave Parker:

Past Wild Card Wednesdays:

New York Mets

Seattle Mariners

Toronto Blue Jays

Montreal Expos

Pittsburgh Pirates

New York Yankees

Boston Red Sox

St. Louis Cardinals

Chicago White Sox

Baltimore Orioles

Kansas City Royals

Philadelphia Phillies

Atlanta Braves

Oakland A’s

Minnesota Twins

Cleveland Indians

Los Angeles Dodgers

Cincinnati Reds

Detroit Tigers

California Angels

Houston Astros

Texas Rangers

San Diego Padres

San Francisco Giants

 

Tater Tuesday – Victor Roache (2013)

Welcome to Tater Tuesday on the blog. Each week I’ll take a look at home runs or – as the Great George Scott called them – taters. Usually, this will be home runs by a Timber Rattlers player.

This will be the last Tater Tuesday of the offseason. I may bring it back in one form or another during the season. But, for now, I will turn the feature over to Victor Roache.

Victor Roache 2013

Roache tied the single season franchise record for home runs with 22 in 2013. Let’s walk down memory lane.

HR #1
Date: April 21
Opponent: Quad Cities River Bandits
Home or Away: Home
Opposing Pitcher: Joe Bircher
Inning: 1st
Outs: 2
Score Before Homer: Quad Cities 1, Wisconsin 0
Type: Two-run
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 2, Quad Cities 1
Note: This home run came on Roache’s first professional at bat.

HR #2
Date: May 5
Opponent: Great Lakes Loons
Home or Away: Away
Opposing Pitcher: Lyndsey Caughel
Inning: 1st
Outs: 2
Score Before Homer: Wisconsin 0, Great Lakes 0
Type: Two-run
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 2, Great Lakes 0

HR #3
Date: May 10 (Game one)
Opponent: Clinton LumberKings
Home or Away: Home
Opposing Pitcher: Matt Anderson
Inning: 6th
Outs: 0
Score Before Homer: Clinton 3, Wisconsin 1
Type: Three-run
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 4, Clinton 3

HR #4
Date: May 14
Opponent: Quad Cities River Bandits
Home or Away: Home
Opposing Pitcher: Vincent Velasquez
Inning: 7th
Outs: 2
Score Before Homer: Quad Cities 7, Wisconsin 6
Type: Two-run
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 8, Quad Cities 7

HR #5
Date: May 23
Opponent: Quad Cities River Bandits
Home or Away: Away
Opposing Pitcher: Gera Sanchez
Inning: 5th
Outs: 0
Score Before Homer: Wisconsin 6, Quad Cities 0
Type: Solo
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 7, Quad Cities 0

HR #6
Date: May 31
Opponent: Peoria Chiefs
Home or Away: Home
Opposing Pitcher: Joe Scanio
Inning: 5th
Outs: 1
Score Before Homer: Wisconsin 4, Peoria 1
Type: Solo
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 5, Peoria 1

HR #7
Date: June 23
Opponent: Cedar Rapids Kernels
Home or Away: Home
Opposing Pitcher: Caleb Brewer
Inning: 6th
Outs: 0
Score Before Homer: Cedar Rapids 12, Wisconsin 5
Type: Three-run
Score After Homer: Cedar Rapids 12, Wisconsin 8

HR #8
Date: July 8
Opponent: Burlington Bees
Home or Away: Away
Opposing Pitcher: Ryan Crowley
Inning: 5th
Outs: 1
Score Before Homer: Burlington 6, Wisconsin 4
Type: Solo
Score After Homer: Burlington 6, Wisconsin 5

HR #9
Date: July 13
Opponent: Lake County Captains
Home or Away: Home
Opposing Pitcher: Jake Sisco
Inning: 3rd
Outs: 1
Score Before Homer: Wisconsin 3, Lake County 2
Type: Solo
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 4, Lake County 2

HR #10
Date: July 14
Opponent: Lake County Captains
Home or Away: Home
Opposing Pitcher: Robbie Aviles
Inning: 5th
Outs: 1
Score Before Homer: Lake County 0, Wisconsin 0
Type: Solo
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 1, Lake County 0

HR #11
Date: July 18
Opponent: Bowling Green Hot Rods
Home or Away: Away
Opposing Pitcher: Dylan Floro
Inning: 7th
Outs: 1
Score Before Homer: Bowling Green 2, Wisconsin 1
Type: Solo
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 2, Bowling Green 2

HR #12
Date: July 21
Opponent: Dayton Dragons
Home or Away: Away
Opposing Pitcher: Drew Cisco
Inning: 1st
Outs: 2
Score Before Homer: Wisconsin 2, Dayton 0
Type: Two-run
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 4, Dayton 0

HR #13
Date: July 22
Opponent: Dayton Dragons
Home or Away: Away
Opposing Pitcher: Sal Romano
Inning: 1st
Outs: 2
Score Before Homer: Wisconsin 0, Dayton 0
Type: Three-run
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 3, Dayton 0

HR #14
Date: July 22
Opponent: Dayton Dragons
Home or Away: Away
Opposing Pitcher: Sal Romano
Inning: 2nd
Outs: 2
Score Before Homer: Wisconsin 3, Dayton 2
Type: GRAND SLAM!
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 7, Dayton 2

HR #15
Date: July 27
Opponent: Burlington Bees
Home or Away: Home
Opposing Pitcher: Nic DellaTorre
Inning: 1st
Outs: 2
Score Before Homer: Burlington 0, Wisconsin 0
Type: Two-run
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 2, Burlington 0

HR #16
Date: August 3
Opponent: Beloit Snappers
Home or Away: Home
Opposing Pitcher: Derek DeYoung
Inning: 2nd
Outs: 0
Score Before Homer: Beloit 1, Wisconsin 0
Type: Solo
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 1, Wisconsin 1

HR #17
Date: August 4
Opponent: Beloit Snappers
Home or Away: Home
Opposing Pitcher: Austin House
Inning: 7th
Outs: 1
Score Before Homer: Wisconsin 2, Beloit 1
Type: Two-run
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 4, Beloit 1

HR #18
Date: August 5
Opponent: Beloit Snappers
Home or Away: Home
Opposing Pitcher: Tyler Vail
Inning: 9th
Outs: 0
Score Before Homer: Beloit 5, Wisconsin 1
Type: Solo
Score After Homer: Beloit 5, Wisconsin 2

HR #19
Date: August 10
Opponent: Quad Cities River Bandits
Home or Away: Away
Opposing Pitcher: Joe Bircher
Inning: 1st
Outs: 1
Score Before Homer: Wisconsin 1, Quad Cities 0
Type: Two-run
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 3, Quad Cities 0

HR #20
Date: August 10
Opponent: Quad Cities River Bandits
Home or Away: Away
Opposing Pitcher: Daniel Minor
Inning: 7th
Outs: 0
Score Before Homer: Wisconsin 6, Quad Cities 0
Type: Solo
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 7, Quad Cities 0

HR #21
Date: August 22
Opponent: Clinton LumberKings
Home or Away: Away
Opposing Pitcher: Charles Kaalekahi
Inning: 3rd
Outs: 2
Score Before Homer: Clinton 2, Wisconsin 1
Type: Two-run
Score After Homer: Wisconsin 3, Clinton 2

HR #22
Date: August 31
Opponent: Burlington Bees
Home or Away: Away
Opposing Pitcher: Jake Boyd
Inning: 8th
Outs: 1
Score Before Homer: Burlington 4, Wisconsin 1
Type: Two-run
Score After Homer: Burlington 4, Wisconsin 3

Tater Tuesday Archives:
Wladimir Balentien – 2004

George Scott – 1975

Matt Hagen – 2003

Khris Davis – 2010

Ron Garth – 2006-2008

2012 Postseason Homers

David Ortiz – 1996

Mike Wilson – 2005

One Homer Rattlers – 2009-2013

One Homer Rattlers – 2000-2008

Juan Silvestre – 1999

Justin Leone – 2000

Shawn McCorkle – 2000

John Castellano – 2001

Sean Peless – 2002

Jon Nelson – 2003

Adam Jones – 2004

Hank Aaron – 1975-1976

Marshall Hubbard (2005)

Joe Dunigan (2008)

Brock Kjeldgaard (2009)

Chris Dennis (2009-2011)

Mike Walker (2011)

Nick Ramirez

 

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).

March 24 2014 Timber Rattlers Spring Training 004

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.

March 24 2014 Timber Rattlers Spring Training 007

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.

March 24 2014 Timber Rattlers Spring Training 008

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.
March 24 2014 Timber Rattlers Spring Training 012
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.

March 24 2014 Timber Rattlers Spring Training 014

Timber Rattlers Training Camp Notes – Day 3

The Timber Rattlers practiced on field #5 on Sunday.  That would be the field with this view from the right field corner:

That white block in the distance just above that green screen would be the sign for Maryvale Baseball Stadium.

That white block in the distance just above that green screen would be the sign for Maryvale Baseball Stadium.

Bullpen work.

March 23 2014 Timber Rattlers Spring Training 004

Meetings:

March 23 2014 Timber Rattlers Spring Training 006

And drills…lots of drills.

March 23 2014 Timber Rattlers Spring Training 008

March 23 2014 Timber Rattlers Spring Training 009

March 23 2014 Timber Rattlers Spring Training 011

March 23 2014 Timber Rattlers Spring Training 018

The time to break for lunch was here before I knew it. Then, it was time to play the game…against the Dayton Dragons with a special guest appearance by Brewers pitcher Will Smith:

IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K

IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K

The Timber Rattlers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first inning.  Omar Garcia doubled.  Angel Ortega had an infield single and David Denson walked.  But, a force play at the plate and a 1-2-3 double play ended the inning with no score.

Juan Santiago pitched the top of the second and it was over so quickly – K, F8, F9 – that I didn’t have time to take a picture of him.

The Rattlers got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second.  Chris McFarland reached on a bunt single, went to second on a ground out, and stole third.  He scored on a Mike Turay sacrifice fly.

Barrett Astin entered as Wisconsin’s pitcher in the top of the third and worked around a one out single.  Astin, Milwaukee’s third round pick out of the University of Wisconsin Arkansas in 2013, is rated as the #22 prospect in the organization by Baseball America.  They note that Astin, a closer for the Razorbacks in 2012, “flashed a fastball at 94-95 mph that had heavy sink and induced groundballs regularly.”  But, when he moved to the Arkansas rotation in 2013, his “fastball was less electric, setting more at 88-92 mph under the increased workload.”  More on Astin from fellow Arkansas alum Matt Erickson later in this piece.

Garcia, a 7th round pick in 2013 from Miami-Dade Junior College, picked up his second hit of the game with a leadoff single in the third.  Garcia, #26 in the organization according to Baseball America, played center and made some nice catches today as Johnny Davis got the day off.  The latest edition of the Prospect Handbook has this as an opener for him: Garcia has the one dominant tool that cannot be taught – speed.  An 80 runner, he has been timed at 6.3 in the 60-yard dash prior to the 2013 draft.  Despite batting right handed he’s a tough out even on routine grounders to the left side of the infield.

The Rattlers did not score in the third and Astin worked a 1-2-3 fourth.  That led to the bottom of the fourth and the Rattler bats coming out of their slump.

Tucker Neuhaus singled and McFarland followed with a triple to make it 2-0.

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After a pitching change, Markson walked and – after a popup for the first out – Francisco Castillo bunted.  That turned into a throwing error that allowed McFarland to score, Markson to take third and Castillo to move to second.  Garcia was next and his single, hit #3 on the day, drove in one run.  Angel Ortega’s sacrifice fly got Castillo home.  Later, Garcia scored on a wild pitch and Wisconsin’s lead was out to 6-0.

Astin went out after that big inning and tossed a 1-2-3 top of the fifth.  That was great to see.

Astin went back out for his fourth inning of work in the sixth and got two quick outs, but gave up two singles and a triple to let the Dragons get on the scoreboard.  But, what was really notable in the sixth inning was Garrett Cooper taking a spot at third base:

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Of course, the first ball put into play in the top of the sixth inning was a grounder to Cooper’s backhand.  He made a nice play and a strong throw to first.  He received a cheer from his teammates and manager for his efforts.

Preston Gainey, a 2013 Timber Rattlers pitcher, entered the game in the seventh:

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Gainey worked around a pair of singles with a strikeout and a 4-3 double play.

Ortega tacked on a run by himself in the seventh with a triple:

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And he scored on a wild pitch.

Working with a 7-2 lead, Gainey pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and went back out for the ninth. The Dragons got a pair of singles off him to start the inning. Last year, that situation seemed to snowball on Gainey. But, he got out of it with a roller up the line for a 1-3 putout and back-to-back strikeouts.

Matt Erickson’s comments on Gainey will be at the end of this post, but last night – when the band got back together – David Chavarria mentioned that Gainey’s velocity was up and he was getting some good downward movement with his pitching. He’s also pitching with a bit more of something and – like I said – Matt will cover it in his comments.

But, even with the top of the ninth over and the Rattlers up 7-2, the teams agreed to play the bottom of the ninth and the top of the tenth to get their pitchers some work.

The Rattlers tacked on a pair of runs in their extra at bat.Paul Eshelman had an RBI double and Nathan Orf followed with an RBI triple.

Josh Uhen, a Wisconsin native and a 5th round pick out of UW-Milwaukee in the 2013 draft, pitched the top of the tenth.
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He allowed a leadoff single, got a 4-6-3 double play, walked the next batter, and finished the game with a grounder to second.

RATTLERS WIN!

Meanwhile over in Brevard County’s game, they also won big with a 9-1 victory.  I didn’t see how the runs scored, but I did hear that Taylor Brennan hit an opposite field home run for the Manatees…So there’s that.

Monday will be a short day for the Rattlers. There will be no practice in the morning and they don’t need to be at the complex until just before the bus leaves for the Padres complex in Peoria, AZ at 1:00pm AZ TIME.

I’ll be at the game.

The column is up on the website, if you would like to take a look.

MATT ERICKSON:

Matt Erickson on Sunday’s Game (9-2 win): We had good tempo on the mound. Our pitchers attacked the zone and we made plays behind them. We were error free no extra bases and when you can do that, you put yourself in position to win games.

Matt Erickson on Barrett Astin (4IP, 4H, 2R, 0BB, 0K): Whooooo, Pig Sooey! He’s our Arkansas boy. I thought the first inning he got away with some mistakes…He was up in the zone and got a couple lineouts and fly ball. But, then he settled in over the next couple of innings…got down in the zone…got some ground balls…and that’s where he has to be. He’s gotta get ahead, down in the zone, and mix pitches. He’s a competitor. I’ve noticed that. I don’t get a lot of time to see these kids pitching in Spring Training, but he competes.

Matt Erickson on Chris McFarland (2-for-3, 3B, 2 RUNS, RBI): He’s moving very well and there’s a little sense of urgency to his game because we have a lot of numbers in camp, especially at that second base position. But, he’s done a nice job. He’s answered the bell. If you go just off spring training numbers, he’s probably our most consistent player.

Matt Erickson on Preston Gainey (3IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 4K): Grit! There’s a lot of good things being said about him in our meetings. This was actually the first time I’ve had a chance to see him pitch with our working group and he did a nice job. He’s pretty much what they advertised. He’s got a little more life on his fastball. He’s going after hitters. He didn’t have much control of an off speed pitch throughout last year and that was something that he was developing through the summer. He looks like he’s mixing it well through spring training to get people off his fastball.

Matt Erickson on Garrett Cooper at third base: That was something that was a buildup through last fall at instructional league. He’s a big kid. He’s athletic, he got nice feet for a guy that’s 6’-5”, and nice hands. Bob Miscik, our infield coordinator, banged him some balls at third base last fall and that’s something that were going to continue to do with him. Depending on the personnel that we get up in Wisconsin he may need to play first and third for us.

Matt Erickson on Tucker Neuhaus (1-for-3, RUN, 0Ks): Inconsistent. He’s a young guy and you can see the potential that he has. He’s another guy that the game’s real fast for him right now. He’s done a nice job in spring training of trying to slow the game down and have some pre-pitch thoughts so he knows what to do with the baseball before it is hit to him.

Yesterday (Saturday: Two errors, 0-for-4, 3Ks) was a tough one for him and he wasn’t feeling real good about it. But, that’s the game of baseball. Each day is different. He comes out today and he could do no wrong. He had a couple of really nice plays at third base and swung the bat well, too.

Timber Rattlers Training Camp Notes – Day 2

We got the band back together! I’ll explain that and have a recap of the Rattlers game against the Beloit Snappers later.  First a few pictures.

There was a drill today about throwing to players on the run and leading them.  Like throwing to a base as the other fielder was coming over to cover:

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Next

Garrett Cooper at first.

Garrett Cooper at first.

Angel Ortega at short.

Angel Ortega at short.

A little work out of the cage during batting practice:

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and in the cage:

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Saturday’s game was played over at the A’s minor league complex. Here is the starting lineup:

Taylor Williams was the starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers.

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Williams pitched three innings, allowed one hit, walked one, struck out four, and faced the minimum thanks to this guy:

The catcher.

The catcher.

Coulter threw out a pair of runners who tried to steal second in the first inning. Then, Williams went out and threw a 1-2-3 second and a 1-2-3 third with a pair of strikeouts in each inning.
David Otterman ran into some trouble in the bottom of the fourth when he came on in relief of Williams. The inning went Walk, single with E8, walk to load the bases, wild pitch to score a run, walk to reload the bases, E-5 to score a run, RBI single, RBI single…end of the inning.

Yes. The inning ended with four runs in, no outs, and the bases loaded.

In minor league spring training games, a team can ask for an inning to be ended to save on pitching. Otterman used 27 pitches to face those eight batter in the fourth inning and was expected to come back out for the 5th. To spare him the pitch count, the Rattlers tapped out of the fourth.

Otterman bounced back with a scoreless fifth inning. The leadoff hitter doubled and went to third on the third error of the game on Wisconsin. But, a shallow fly ball to left, a walk, and a 6-4-3 double play ended the inning.

Tyler Linehan pitched a pair of scoreless innings to keep the game a 4-0.

Wisconsin got on the scoreboard in the top of the eighth. Steve Halcomb reached on an error and went from first to third on a single by Johny Davis. Chris McFarland drove in Halcomb with a sacrifice fly.

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But, Tyler Spurlin allowed a two-out, three-run double in the bottom of the eighth and the Rattlers were scoreless in the 9th.

FINAL SCORE: Beloit 7, Wisconsin 1

NOTES: Wisconsin Manager Matt Erickson said that Taylor Williams, “Comes as advertised and he comes at you.”

Jim Callis in this post at MLB Pipeline advertises Williams this way:

Williams began his college career at Washington State, but he played sparingly as a freshman in 2011 before transferring to Mount Hood Community College in Oregon and then Kent State. There, he grabbed attention in February 2013 when he struck out Kris Bryant, the eventual No. 2 overall pick, three times.

Williams mixes his low- to mid-90s fastball effectively with a slider and changeup. His delivery has some effort to it, though he is athletic enough to largely compensate for it.

Sounds good to me.

Erickson noted that Coulter’s two throws to second base to throw out those would-be base stealers in the first inning were timed at :02.03 and :01.97…as in seconds….and were right on the bag. Coulter is making strides behind the plate.

Coulter also had a ringing double to left in the fifth inning. However, he was doubled off second when Angel Ortega’s line drive in the hole was caught with a diving backhander by the Beloit shortstop.

For the second day in a row, the Rattlers struggled on offense. Omar Garcia reached on a bunt single in the third, Coulter doubled in the fifth, Francisco Castillo had a infield single in the sixth, and David Denson had an infield single in the seventh. Those were the only four hits in the first seven innings. The Rattlers got two more hits in the game: the single by Davis in the eighth and a single by Charlie Markson in the ninth. Six hits in the game. Three of those hits left the infield.

The Brevard County game was going on one diamond over at the complex and I turned around to check out that action occasionally since there were several former Timber Rattlers in action over there. Of note:

  1. Chad Thompson got the start and pitched two innings on his road back.
  2. Chad Pierce pitched in relief
  3. I turned to see Victor Roache hit a long home run.
    KRRRAAAKKAHDOOOM!

    KRRRAAAKKAHDOOOM!

    Man...I am gonna miss this sight.

    Man…I am gonna miss this sight.

  4. Cameron Garfield also homered and has been hitting very well this spring.
  5. Yadiel Rivera played short and Orlando Arcia played second for BC in this game

I went out to dinner with the Rattlers staff tonight and David Chavarria joined us later. When Matt Erickson, Jeff Paxson, and Chavy get together that is called “Getting the Band Back Together.”

Chavy said that I could use one quote and it was this, “You can’t use this.”

I won’t mention anything said in the discussion. But, I just thought of my column for the website.

To close out this post, here are a few views of the minor league complex of the A’s:

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The Rattlers game wrapped early.  So, they stopped to watch the end of the Brevard County game.

The Rattlers game wrapped early. So, they stopped to watch the end of the Brevard County game.

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