If Friday's Game Were a Movie...

it would be:

The PBS version from the 1970's with Pete from MacGyver (Dana Elcar of Ferndale, Michigan) as Vladimir.

The Rattlers are waiting for some offense after another 4-1 loss to the Whitecaps.

Tonight, it was the following situations where Godot left the Rattlers waiting: Bases loaded in the top of the second with one out and they hit into a double play; two on with two out in the seventh and the Whitecaps get a great defensive play; bases loaded with two out in the eighth the Whitecap pitcher gets a strikeout.

Here is a bit of dialouge from the Beckett play to give Rattler fans something, at least:

Vladimir: What do you do when you fall far from help?
Pozzo: We wait till we can get up. Then we go on. On!

The Rattlers will try to get up tomorrow against the Whitecaps.

Complete boxscore HERE:

Trade Analysis

Some reactions around the Mariner Blogosphere to the trade that sent Asdrubal Cabrera to the Indians for Eduardo Perez are ahead, but first, the official announcements from both teams involved:

The Mariners release is HERE. The Indians release is HERE.

From the Indians:

Cabrera will report to Triple-A Buffalo, and the Indians, still sorting out their lineup in the wake of injuries to outfielders Jason Michaels and Casey Blake, have called up Buffalo first baseman Ryan Garko to fill out the active roster.

Jeff at Lookout Landing:

Cabrera is a quality prospect - John Sickels gave him a B before the year started, and young middle infielders with offensive potential are hard to come by. His current line in Tacoma isn't very encouraging, but he's still not old enough to get himself plastered (at a bar), so you can forgive him for struggling a little bit while being pushed aggressively through the system. In short, he's a valuable player to have hanging around.


So they dealt him for immediate help. The middle infield is an organizational strength, so Bavasi traded from depth to shore up a weakness on the big league roster. We've known that Cabrera, like Choo, has been an obvious trade candidate for a while now, so the fact that this went down shouldn't come as that much of a shock. What's more surprising is what they got in return - an old, albeit still productive fraction of a DH. I always assumed that Cabrera would get packaged with some lower-level arms to bring in (say) a #3 starter, a bigger deal that would give the Mariners a reasonably formidable rotation. I didn't see him going straight-up for someone like Perez, a good player who should've come cheaper. In that respect, I'm a little disappointed. Cabrera's better than this.

Dave at U.S.S. Mariner:

This probably sends Mike Morse back to the minors, and Perez will become the DH vs left handed pitchers. The team gets better, but this isn’t a huge upgrade. It’s a minor upgrade that cost them a top prospect.

The team is better, but the price to pay was too high.

J at Mariner Minors:

Reagarding the actual trade, yes, we overpaid. That's what you sometimes do when you're looking for a good commodity and there's limited quantities of it. I think the Indians probably milked that as much as they could, and probably turned down Oswaldo Navarro before this. Perez' platoon splits against lefties are absolutely monstrous, and he makes everyone around him in the lineup better.


But realistically, we probably weren't going to trade Beltre, ever, and what we had to give up in order to get him out of here would've been a lot worse. Having YuBet, a Carlos Guillen-level potential bat in AsCab, and Lopez taking up spots on the infield would've been nice, but in my opinion, you have to ride out Lopez at second as long as you conceivably can. Why? Because he's a more than premium bat for the position and his production isn't nearly as exciting when moved to a corner. Having Jose at second gives us the opportunity to add that extra kick at third, if it comes to that, and by all accounts, I think he's proven he can handle the position. Getting premium production from a defensive position makes everything else easier for the offense.

John Hickey at The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

It's a move by general manager Bill Bavasi to shore up the club against left-handed pitching. The Mariners as a team average .253 against lefties (.279 against right-handers) and average one home run every 49 at-bat against left-handers (one every 31 at-bats against right-handers).
The Mariners like Cabrera, 20, for the future, but Seattle does have a bit of a glut of shortstops, and no one is expected to dethrone the current Mariner shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt any time in the next four years.

Okay. How about from the Cleveland perspective?

Jay at Let's Go Tribe:

The Indians have been painfully bereft of solid middle-infield prospects since Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Phillips ascended to the majors. Acquiring Cabrera addresses this problem but also seems rather pointedly aimed at the Indians' infield defense issues. That said, it seems unlikely the Indians would deem Cabrera a solid contender for a starting job in 2007; he seems unfinished. That said, the Indians face several middle infield problems for 2007 -- including Ron Belliard's likely departure and Peralta's newfound defensive yips -- and Cabrera might reasonably solve any number of them. Cabrera has two option years remaining after 2006 and has yet to appear in the major leagues.

Game Notes for 6/30

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Whitecaps beat the Rattlers 4-1. Wisconsin took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning, but West Michigan tied the game in the seventh and scored three times in the eighth for the win. Orlando Perdomo pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his eighteenth save of the year.

INTO THE NIGHT: Timber Rattler starter Paul Fagan continued to be the workhorse of the Timber Rattler starting rotation. He pitched 7-1/3 innings last night and is fourth in the Midwest League in innings pitched with 91-1/3. Fagan has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last five starts.

QUICK START: The Rattlers started the game with back-to-back doubles by Luis Valbuena and Robby Hudson for a 1-0 lead. Wisconsin would get seven more hits on the night, all off Whitecaps starter Luke French, but could not score. Eddy Hernandez had three of the hits, including two doubles.

WHITECAP RALLY: West Michigan got a runner on with one out in the seventh when Michael Hollimon’s routine fly to right fell in behind Hernandez after the Wisconsin outfielder lost his footing. A two-out RBI triple by Jeramy Laster tied the game. Back-to-back RBI doubles by Matt Joyce and Cameron Maybin drove in two runs in the bottom of the eight for a 3-1 lead. The final run scored on a Rafael Mendez single off Justin Ockerman.

CLOSE PLAY: Rattler catcher Nick Prosise was called out on a play at the plate in the top of the sixth inning. Prosise tried scoring from second on a single to left by Alex Gary with two outs. The run would have put the Rattlers up 2-0 at the time.

LONG TIME COMING: Gary went 1-for-4 in his return to the Rattler lineup after last playing in a game for Wisconsin on April 24 in South Bend. His single in the sixth extended his hitting streak with the Rattlers to seven games (8-for-25).

ON PAPER: The current Timber Rattler roster has Randy Frye listed on the team’s DL. Frye has not joined the team in West Michigan. He is just on the roster. The Rattlers are still one player short of a full complement. A different pitcher will be joining the team in time for Saturday’s game with the Whitecaps.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Sendy Vasquez was signed by the Tigers as a non-drafted free agent in 2003. He went 7-0 with a 3.63ERA for the Oneonta Tigers of the New York-Penn League in 2005. This season his is 4-6 with a 3.39ERA for the Whitecaps. Vasquez won his last start. He gave up five hits and three runs (none earned) over 6-2/3 innings to beat the Burlington Bees at Community Field on June 25. The Rattlers beat Vasquez at Fox Cities Stadium on May 1 in the second game of a doubleheader. The Rattlers got to him for four runs (two earned) on five hits over four innings in the game.

This just in...

I just got a release announcing a trade between the Mariners and the Cleveland Indians.

The Mariners are getting:

Eduardo Perez, 1B.

The Indians are getting:

Asdrubal Cabrera, Infielder. Cabrera was an All-star with the Rattlers in 2005 and was holding his own in Triple-A with the Rainiers.

From the release:

Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Bill Bavasi announced today that the club has acquired infielder Eduardo Perez from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for triple-A infielder Asdrubal Cabrera.

"Eduardo is a veteran, proven right-handed bat that allows us to be stronger against left-handed pitching. We think adding him to our big league club strengthens a spot that we want to be stronger as we look to the second half of the season," Bavasi said.

Perez, 36, has played in 37 games for the Indians this year, hitting .303 (30x99) with eight home runs and 22 RBI. He is a .330 hitter (29-for-88) with eight home runs against left-handed pitchers this season. The eight home runs vs. left-handed pitching are the (tie) third-most in the American League.

Since the start of the 2002 season, Perez has hit .294 (124x422) with 31 doubles and 33 homers, against left-handed pitching, posting a .382 on-base percentage and a .602 slugging percentage.

Cabrera, 20, hit .236 (48x203) with 27 runs scored, 12 doubles, two triples, three home runs, seven stolen bases and 22 RBI in 60 games with triple-A Tacoma. He has reached base safely in 43 of the 60 games he has appeared in this season, including 14 consecutive games from April 6-May 3. Cabrera made his first error of the season on May 30 after playing 36 straight games (165 TC) at shortstop without an error. He is currently first among all shortstops in the Pacific Coast League with a .986 fielding percentage (4 E/291 TC). Cabrera was on the disabled list from April 12-25 with a sprained right ankle. He was originally signed by the Mariners as a non-drafted free agent on August 26, 2002.

BaseballAmerica.com will probably have something up on their trade central later today. I'll have a link when one is available.

Thursday in the MWL

@West Michigan 4, Wisconsin 1 -- Paul Fagan deserved a better fate. The mlive.com writer makes it sound like Michael Hollimon's double in the seventh was anything but what it actually was, a routine flyball that fell in because the right fielder slipped and lost track of where it was. AYKM*? It was a big play, but it should have been the second out and the Rattlers should have been up 1-0 going to the ninth.

@South Bend 3, Quad Cities 2 (11 inn.) -- A foul pop-up that drops in in the bottom of the eleventh is key to a Silver Hawk win.

@Lansing 3, Clinton 2 -- The Lugnuts welcome Edward Rodriguez back from his 50-game suspension. Rodriguez shows his appreciation by getting the save. How about Joey Metropolous hitting a homer a day after Superman Returns opens in a theater near you?

Fort Wayne 7, @Southwest Michigan 6 -- The Devil Rays commit seven errors; the Wizards score seven runs. Coincidence? Read the book. Why do I have the feeling most of the people were there to see Ernie Harwell?

Beloit 9, @Kane County 6 -- Cougars were down by too much.

Burlington 6, @Peoria 5 -- If the Bees are going to be in the playoffs, they need to beat the Chiefs. They won last night, with a little help from the Chiefs.

Dayton 4, @ Cedar Rapids 3 --Kernels lose 10-game winner Nick Adenhart to a promotion, and the game to the Dragons.

Complete Scoreboard HERE.

*-Are You Kidding Me

Rattler Alum of the Day

JJ Putz, Seattle. Save number 14 for the Rattler from 2000.
I'm not sure if it is just the Seattle newspapers pumping this up, but JJ is getting some talk as a potential All-Star this year. Here's to hoping that it happens.
A few things to note:
Casey Craig, Brent Johnson, and Josh Womack each had three hits in the 66ers first game back from their All-Star break.
Yung Chi Chen (WI '05) has been promoted to San Antonio and should be in the lineup tonight at Frisco. Also, Chen is profiled along with the other middle infielders for the World team that will be playing in the Furtures Game in Pittsburgh on July 9 at milb.com.

Mariner System Report (Games of 6/29)

Seattle (MAJ: 41-39; 2nd AL West): Seattle beat Arizona 3-2. The Mariners scored a pair of runs in the top of the ninth inning to rally for the win. Former Appleton Fox Raul Ibanez homered, his seventeenth of the season, to tie the game. Yuniesky Betancourt drove in the go ahead run with a single. JJ Putz (WI ’00) pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his fourteenth save. Gil Meche (WI ’98) pitched seven innings and gave up two runs (one earned) for a no decision.

Tacoma (AAA – 44-36; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma lost 8-5 at Las Vegas. The loss ended the Rainier winning streak at ten games. Rich Dorman (WI ’03) gave up seven runs on seven hits over two innings and got the loss. Adam Jones (WI ’04) scored a pair of runs for the Rainiers.

San Antonio (AA – 32-43; 5-2 second half 2nd Texas League South Division): San Antonio was off on Thursday.

Inland Empire (High-A – 44-32, 5-1 second half; 1st California League South Division): Inland Empire beat Rancho Cucamonga 14-5. Casey Craig (WI ’06), Brent Johnson (WI ’05), and Josh Womack (WI ’05) all had three hits for the 66ers. Craig knocked in three runs. Justin Thomas (WI ’06) allowed four runs over five innings and picked up his third win in the California League.

Everett (Short Season-A – 8-3; 2nd Northwest League West Division): Everett lost 3-1 to Salem-Keizer. Greg Halman hit a homer to lead off the bottom of the first for the Sox, but they would pick up only three more hits. Mike Schiling pitched seven innings and allowed three unearned runs to get the loss.

AZL M’s (Rookie – 4-3; T-2nd Arizona League): The Mariners lost 6-4 to the Athletics. Alex Liddi had three hits and two RBI for the Mariners, who have lost three straight.


Colorado (Josh Fogg 5-5) at Seattle (Jamie Moyer 5-6) 9:05pm CDT
Fresno (Brian Cooper 3-3) at Tacoma (Francisco Cruceta 6-4) 9:05pm CDT
San Antonio (Robert Rohrbaugh 1-0) at Frisco (TBA) 7:00pm CDT
Inland Empire (Shawn Nottingham 3-6) at Rancho Cucamonga (Jose Arredondo 4-6) 9:05pm CDT
Salem-Keizer (Gib Hobson 1-0) at Everett (Steve Uhlmensiek 0-0) 9:05pm CDT
AZL Angels at AZL Mariners 11:30am CDT


If Thirsday's Game Were a Movie...

...it would be:

Remember Samuel L. Jackson's character in this movie? Probably not, because you were smart and never watched this piece of crap.

Okay, look at it this way. There was one mistake in the movie -- not made by Jackson's character -- that got him eaten and that led to a series of other mistakes and the super-intelligent, genetically altered shark ate a lot of people.

Tonight, one mistake led to a series of mistakes and the Whitecaps wound up erasing a 1-0 deficit to beat the Rattlers 4-1. Fortunately, no Rattler was eaten by a super-intelligent, genetically altered shark.

Complete boxscore HERE.

Get 'em tomorrow.

Game Notes for 6/29

ABOUT WEDNESDAY: The Rattlers beat the Peoria Chiefs 5-1 on Wednesday afternoon. Marwin Vega pitched a career high 6-2/3 innings and allowed only a first inning run for his second win of the season. Curtis Ledbetter drove in a pair of runs to lead the Rattler offense. The win kept the Rattlers from being swept by the Chiefs in the three-game series. Wisconsin completed their seven game homestand to open the second half at 2-5.

BACK ON TRACK: In his last three starts for Wisconsin, Vega did not make it out of the third inning before yesterday. The start prior to the win against the Chiefs was a 2-1/3 inning performance in which Vega threw 88 pitches.

MEN OF QUALITY: Four of the last five Timber Rattler starting pitchers have all tossed a quality start. Paul Fagan allowed one run in a complete game victory over the Kane County Cougars on June 24. Ruben Flores took a loss despite giving up two runs over seven innings to the Chiefs on June 26. Jose Escalona had a no decision after tossing six shutout innings against the Chiefs on June 27. Then came Vega’s start yesterday.

STAY HOT: Johan Limonta extended his hitting streak to five games with a first inning single yesterday. Limonta had gone hitless in his first nine at bats as a Rattler before singling in his final at bat of the game on June 24. He is 6-for-18 during the streak.

WAKING UP THE BATS: Yesterday was the first time the Rattlers have scored more than four runs in a game at home this half. The last time the Rattlers tallied more than four in a game at Fox Cities Stadium was when they beat Kane County 6-2 on June 7 in the second game of a doubleheader.

K-MEN: The Rattler pitching staff racked up thirty-three strikeouts during the three-game series against Peoria.

ROSTER MOVE: Rattler reliever Rollie Gibson was sent to the Everett AquaSox, the Northwest League affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, today. There has been no corresponding move to replace Gibson yet, but that will happen tomorrow.

ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The West Michigan Whitecaps are the Midwest League affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. They were the first half eastern Division Champions with a record of 41-26. They have started their second half with a record of 5-2. IN their most recent series, the Caps dropped two out of three games to the South Bend Silver Hawks at Fifth Third Ballpark. West Michigan has the lowest team ERA in the Midwest League with a 2.71 for their itching staff. They are the only MWL team with an ERA under 3.00.

VS. WEST MICHIGAN IN ’06: The Rattlers went 1-3 in a four game series against the Whitecaps earlier this season. The Caps won a 2-0 rain-shortened game on April 29. A rainout on April 30 meant the teams played a doubleheader on May 1. Wisconsin won the opener 9-4, but lost the nightcap 4-3. West Michigan won the final game of the series 10-2 on May 2.

PROSPECTING: BASEBALL AMERICA places four current Whitecaps on their Top 30 List of Tiger Prospects. Outfielder Cameron Maybin, the tenth overall selection in the 2005 draft, is rated #3 by BA. Infielder Mike Hollimon and pitcher Sendy Rodriguez are rated at #22 & #23. Outfielder Matt Joyce is ranked #27. The Whitecaps have nine members of the Tigers 2005 draft class. Maybin was a first rounder. Pitchers Anthony Clagget (11th), Burke Badenhop (18th), Erik Averill (20th), and Loren Fraser (33rd) were all picked last June. Also in the 2005 draft for the Tigers were Joyce (12th), Hollimon (16th), Mark Haske (23rd), and William Rhymes (27th).

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Luke French was an 8th round pick of the Tigers out of Heritage High School in Littleton, Colorado in the 2004 draft. French joined the Whitecaps in early August last season and went 1-2 with a 5.45 ERA in six starts. In his last start this season, French allowed one run on seven hits over seven innings at Community Field in Burlington on June 24th. He walked one and struck out one, but the Bees eventually won 2-1 in sixteen innings. French is making his first start against the Timber Rattlers and against an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners tonight.

Roster Move

The Rattlers made another roster move this morning.

Reliever Rollie Gibson has been sent to Everett, the Northwest League affiliate of the Mariners. No word yet on which pitcher from the system will replace him. But, there is expected to be a new pitcher joining the Rattlers in Grand Rapids, Michigan in time for tomorrow's game.

Wednesday in the MWL

@Wisconsin 5, Peoria 1 -- A win for the home team! A quick write-up at RattlersReport.com.

@Beloit 11, Kane County 3 -- Good to see that the Cougars can get blown out, too.

@Burlington 3, Cedar Rapids 2 -- Why do I have the feeling that the Bees are going to win a lot of games this way in the second half?

Lansing 6, @Fort Wayne 5 -- The Wizards missed a game winning hit bythatmuch.

@Clinton 7, Quad Cities 5 -- The LumberKings became LUMBER KINGS last night! According to the Clinton Herald.

South Bend 7, @West Michigan 6 -- For the Whitecaps, it was bad news (a loss), bad news (Ramon Garcia on the DL), and maybe--just quite possibly, maybe -- good news (Tigers #1 pick Andrew Miller of UNC could join them). There is a slight catch though. Miller hasn't signed with the Tigers yet.

@Dayton 6, Southwest Michigan 4 -- I've been here. A loooooooooonnnnnnnnggggg rain delay in Dayton, but the Dragons made it worth the wait with a win. However, The Johnny Cueto Show moves on to Sarasota in the Florida State League.

Complete Scoreboard HERE.

Rattler Alum of the Day

Cesar Jimenez, Tacoma. A near no-hitter for the member of the 2003 Rattlers. Jimenez helped to pitch the Rainiers to their tenth straight win.

Mariner System Report (Games of 6/28)

Seattle (MAJ: 40-39; 3rd AL West): Seattle beat Arizona 10-3. Felix Hernandez (WI ’03) allowed two runs on seven hits over seven innings for his eighth win of the season. Richie Sexson drove in three runs for the Mariners, who are now above .500.

Tacoma (AAA – 44-35; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma won their tenth straight game with a 7-0 win at Las Vegas. Cesar Jimenez (WI ’03) took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before allowing a lead off double in ninth inning. Jimenez pitched a complete game, walked two, and struck out four. Jeff Clement (WI ’05) hit a grand slam for his first Triple-A home run for the Rainiers. Shin soo Choo (WI ’02) also homered for Tacoma.

San Antonio (AA – 32-43; 5-2 second half 2nd Texas League South Division): San Antonio lost 4-3 to Arkansas. Mark Lowe (WI ’05) allowed a pair of runs in the top of the ninth for a blown save. Matt Tuiasosopo (WI ’05) went 3-for-3 with the Missions.

Inland Empire (High-A – 43-32, 4-1 second half; T-1st California League South Division): Inland Empire was off yesterday.

Everett (Short Season-A – 8-2; 2nd Northwest League West Division): Everett lost 3-2 at Yakima. Manelik Pimentel was 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, and and RBI for the AquaSox. But, the Bears held on for the win.

AZL M’s (Rookie – 4-2; T-2nd Arizona League): The Mariners lost 8-7 to the Brewers. Wellington Dotel had a three run homer for the Mariners.


Seattle (Gil Meche 7-4) at Arizona (Enrique Gonzalez 2-1) 8:40pm CDT
Tacoma (Rich Dorman 3-2) at Las Vegas (Joel Hanrahan 0-0) 9:05pm CDT
San Antonio – Off Day
Inland Empire at Rancho Cucamonga 9:05pm CDT
Salem-Keizer at Everett 9:05pm CDT

AZL Mariners at AZL Athletics 11:30am CDT

Just got into Grand Rapids.

I'll be updating once we get to the stadium.


If Wednesday's Game Was a Movie...

...it would be:

Why would a 5-1 Rattler win over the Chiefs resemble this glorious John Carpenter mess that I happen to like a lot?

Because there is a scene in which the elderly Chinese guy leading the heroes has them drink a potion to prepare them for the final battle with the forces of darkness.

This was the scene before today's Rattler game against the forces of dark, er, the Peoria Chiefs:

Not exactly drinking a potion, but close enough.

Wednesday's boxscore is HERE.

When the team is 28-48...

They will try anything...

A little pre-game ritual to burn away the bad spirits. Each player on the team had to place one thing into the barrel. There were bats, a pine tar rag, a chicken (not a live one), and various other sundry items.

It's Game Time & to see if it worked!

Game Notes for 6/28

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Chiefs beat the Rattlers 6-4 in ten innings. Peoria scored three unearned runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game. Ryne Malone drove in two runs in the top of the tenth with a two-out double.

ESCALONA’S NO DECISION: Rattler starter Jose Escalona pitched six scoreless innings and left with a 4-0 lead. But, he received a no decision. Last night was the second time this season he has tossed six scoreless innings and received a no decision.

HEART BREAKER: The Rattlers led 4-1 with two outs in the top of the ninth inning and two runners on base. Davy Gregg sent a roller to first, but Jeff Flaig’s flip to pitcher Roman Martinez covering was too high and went for an error as both runners scored. Later in the inning, with Gregg on third, Edgar Guaramato uncorked a wild pitch and the tying run scored.

WELCOME TO THE MIDWEST LEAGUE: Malone, a 49th round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 2006 draft out of Florida State, had a pinch hit double in the top of the ninth to help set up the rally. In the tenth, Malone drove in the winning runs with his second double of the game.

EARLY LEAD: The Rattlers got out to a 4-0 lead with a run in the first off Wade Miller and three runs in the bottom of the fifth.

A RARE BLAST: Michael Saunders hit a two run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning to put the Rattlers up 3-0. The home run was the first for the Rattlers since June 12 at Lansing. Wisconsin hadn’t homered at Fox Cities Stadium since June 5 against the Clinton LumberKings.

PROMOTION DAY: After last night’s game, the Seattle Mariners promoted infielder Jeffery Dominguez to the Inland Empire 66ers of the California League. Dominguez, a Midwest League All-Star in 2006, hit .263 with no homers and sixteen RBI for the Rattlers this season.

WELCOME BACK: Outfielder Alex Gary has rejoined the Rattlers from a rehab assignment for the Arizona League Mariners. Gary hit .214 with a homer and six RBI in fifteen games for the Rattlers before getting hurt. He had a pair of homers and drove in eight runs in four games for the AZL Mariners during his stay in the desert.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Jesus Yepez was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Cubs in 2002. Last season, he was 4-2 with an ERA of 3.92 in fourteen games (thirteen starts) for the Boise Hawks of the Northwest League. Yepez got a no decision against the Rattlers back on April 9 at Fox Cities Stadium. He gave up one run on two hits over six innings as the Chiefs beat Wisconsin 2-1. In his last start for Peoria, Yepez got the win over the Swing of the Quad Cities on June 23 at O’Brien Field. He gave up two runs on four hits in 7-1/3 innings walked three and struck out one.

Roster Moves

Not a lot of time to do everything I normally do today, but I'll try to get in everything after the game today....

Two roster moves after the game last night.

Jeff Dominguez promoted to Inland Empire.

Alex Gary returns from his rehab assignment in the Arizona League.

If last night's game were a movie

(I can't tell you how many times I tried posting this last night)

It would be..

Unfortunately, it wasn't because the Rattlers escaped Indy-like in the ninth to win the game. More because it felt like Mola Ram made a visit to Fox Cities Stadium. you know, Mola Ram:


Game Notes for 6/27

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Todd Blackford pitched seven scoreless innings and the Peoria Chiefs beat the Timber Rattlers 3-1. Blackford gave up three hits, walked two, and struck out two.

BLACK WATCH: Blackford is 2-0 in two starts against the Rattlers this season. In twelve innings against Wisconsin, he has not allowed a run.

PERSONAL BEST: Rattler starter Ruben Flores struck out ten Chief batters to set a career high in strikeouts. Flores set his previous career best two years earlier – June 26, 2004 – with eight strikeouts.

TOUGH LOSS: Flores allowed two runs on seven hits to see his record fall to 1-6.

THE BATS ARE SILENT: Blackford retired fourteen of the final fifteen batters he faced last night. He did not give up a hit after the third inning. In the first five games of the second half, Wisconsin is hitting .182 and has scored eight runs.

LOST ON THE BASES: The Rattlers had four runners thrown out on the bases last night. Kevin Reynolds was caught trying to steal second in the first inning. Also in the first, Luis Valbuena was out trying to swipe the plate on the back end of a double steal. Michael Saunders got trapped off third on a groundball back to the mound in the bottom of the third. Robby Hudson was caught trying to go from first to third on a grounder toward right that Robinson Chirinos made a great stop to keep on the infield.

TRIPLE TIME: Curtis Ledbetter tripled to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning. It was his third triple in 29 games with the Rattlers.

MULTI-BALL: Hudson had the only multi-hit game for the Rattlers last night by going 2-for-4 and he drove in the only Rattler run.

MEET THE WEST: The Rattlers are 18-33 in games against teams from the Western Division. At home, Wisconsin is just 10-17 in games against their own division.

SEASON LOW: The Rattlers have reached nineteen games under .500 (28-47) for the first time this season. The last time the Rattlers were nineteen games under .500 was on August 31, 2004 after a loss to the Peoria Chiefs dropped them to 57-76. The Rattlers did not win another game that season and finished the year at 57-82.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Wade Miller makes his second rehab start for the Chiefs this season. His last time out, Miller pitched three scoreless innings against the Swing of the Quad Cities and gave up three hits with a walk and three strikeouts on June 22. Miller was originally a 20th round pick of the Houston Astros in the 1996 draft out of Alvernia (PA) college. Miller pitched for the Quad City River Bandits in 1997 and was 5-3 with a 3.36ERA. He has pitched for the Astros and Boston Red Sox compiling a 62-43 record in 139 major league starts. He signed with the Cubs organization on January 23, 2006.

Odds & Ends

The Seattle Times has their Mariner Farm Report today. The well traveled Brian Schweiger is featured.

Joe Mikulik gets to sit for seven games and his wallet is lighter by $1,000. That was the sentence handed down by the South Atlantic League for his performance in Lexington. THis should make it all better:

"I never lost control, though it looked like I did," Mikulik said. "I thought I was in total control the whole time. I was frustrated, and I went too far with it. "I apologize to the fans and to the umpires, and I apologize for some of the things I said after the game."

Monday in the MWL

Peoria 3, @Wisconsin 1 -- A 10K by Ruben Flores wasn't enough for the Rattlers.

Kane County 4, @Beloit 3 -- Kyle Waldrop was perfect for 5-1/3 innings, but that wasn't enough for the Snappers.

@Fort Wayne 10, Lansing 3 -- The Wizards zapped the Lugnuts with a five run fourth inning.

@Burlington 2, Cedar Rapids 1 -- The Bees still are having problems scoring runs. Good thing they can pitch and get a clutch hit from former Rattler Carlos Arroyo.

Quad Cities 5, @Clinton 4 -- Um, yeah. This Colby Rasmus kid in Quad Cities. He's pretty good. Not even the irony of a brief power outage at Alliant Energy Field coulsd stop him.

South Bend 6, @West Michigan 3 -- #1 pick Justin Upton topped #10 pick Cameron Maybin.

@Dayton 3, Southwest Michigan 0 -- Should the Dragon motto be Cueto, Wood, and three days of rain? Travis Wood goes seven scoreless last night to go to 6-0 this season.

Complete Scoreboard HERE.

Rattler Alum of the Day

Cha Seung Baek, Tacoma.
How 'Bout Them Rainiers?!
Baek gets the win with a strong showing over 7-1/3 innings and Tacoma has won eight straight.

Mariner System Report (For 6/26)

Seattle (MAJ: 38-39; 3rd AL West): Seattle was off on Monday.

Tacoma (AAA – 42-35; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma beat Las Vegas 6-1 for their eighth win in a row. Cha Seung Baek (WI ’00) gave up one run on seven hits over 7-1/3 innings for the win. Shin-soo Choo (WI ’02) went 4-for-5 with a pair of runs scoring. Emiliano Fruto (WI ’02) picked up the save with 1-2/3 innings of scoreless work.

San Antonio (AA – 31-42; 4-1 second half T-1st Texas League South Division): San Antonio beat Arkansas 4-3. Jesus Guzman drove in three of the Mission runs. Sebastien Boucher (WI ’05) had two hits and drove in the other run. Eric O’Flaherty (WI ’05) pitched two scoreless innings for the win and Mark Lowe (WI ’05) pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save.

Inland Empire (High-A – 43-32, 4-1 second half; T-1st California League South Division): Inland Empire was off yesterday.

Everett (Short Season-A – 7-1; T-1st Northwest League West Division): Everett beat Yakima 9-4. The Sox built a 9-0 lead before the Bears got on the board with four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Adam Moore had three more hits and knocked in a pair. Kuo-Hui Lo had a homer. Natividad Dilone pitched 4-2/3 scoreless innings, but did not qualify for the win.

AZL M’s (Rookie – 4-0; 1st Arizona League): The Mariners were off on Monday.


Seattle (Jarrod Washburn 4-8) at Arizona (Brandon Webb 8-3) 8:40pm CDT
Tacoma (Bobby Livingston 2-5) at Las Vegas (DJ Houlton 3-6) 9:05pm CDT
Arkansas (James Holcomb 0-5) at San Antonio (Ryan Feierabend 4-5) 7:05pm CDT
Inland Empire – Off until June 29
Everett at Yakima 9:05pm CDT
AZL Royals at AZL Mariners 11:30am CDT


If Monday's Game Were a Movie...

it would be:


A family gets lost. Family gets trapped by some demon type guy in a haunted lodge in the middle of nowhere. Family has a chance to get away from the demonic guy holding them. Family fails. Family is trapped for all eternity to be the guests or something of the demonic guy or something. It's a pretty bad movie. It's been a pretty bad start to the second half for the Rattlers.

A caution. The only way you should ever think about watching MANOS: The HANDS of FATE is in this version:

Complete boxscore for Monday's 3-1 loss to the Peoria Chiefs is HERE.

When Managers Attack

Been trying to play catch-up all day today and I realize that it is late in the news cycle on the story about Asheville Tourist manager Joe Mikulik's meltdown in Lexington last night.

But, I feel it necessary to point you to a few spots to find out more about it and add my own uninformed opinion.

Here is the story at
milb.com. Make sure you click the link at the top of the story for the video.

(Photo Credit: Tony Farlow/MiLB.com)

It was a close play at second on a pickoff (?) attempt on Koby Clemens that went against the Tourists that started the whole incident. Before it was over the pitcher's mound, home plate, a resin bag and two water coolers got a bit of Mikulik's rage.

By the way, those of you who had under two weeks for a manager saying something like this: "I thought the strike was over," Mikulik told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "When will the real umpires show up? That's what I want to know. Because that was an abortion. That was bad. The whole series was awful." may take your ticket stubs to the pay window now.

And when he left the field it wasn't over. He didn't stop once he got to the clubhouse, according to team officials. Mikulik pushed a couple of water coolers, a chair and a batting practice screen in front of umpires' locker room.

Deadspin.com beat me to this and gives Mikulik a 9.6 on a scale of 10.0.

The Lexington Herald-Leader has an eyewitness account and has another quote from Mikulik about if a suspension for his actions is warranted: "If it is, the two guys in the other room should be suspended for the way they carried this series," he said. "They should be suspended for abusing the game of baseball."

ESPN.com is on the case. Buster Olney has a comment or two, but it is behind the subscriber wall over there.

How long is it before the Tourists do a bobblehead of their manager?

Game Notes for 6/26

ABOUT SUNDAY: The Timber Rattlers lost to the Kane County Cougars 10-2. Vince Mazzaro gave up two runs on six hits over seven innings for the win. Jose Pineda and Steve Kleen each drove in three runs for the Cougars. Nick Allen was the tough luck loser for the Rattlers. He gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits over four innings.

MULTI-BALL: Robby Hudson and Johan Limonta each had a pair of hits for the Rattlers in Sunday’s game. Those were the only two multi-hit games of the series for the Timber Rattlers.

DAMAGE DONE: The Cougars outscored the Timber Rattlers 26-7 and won three of the four games in the series at Fox Cities Stadium. Kane County was 12-4 in the season series against the Rattlers. For the season, Kane County outscored Wisconsin 95-48.

KEEPING THE K’s COMING: Wisconsin pitchers struck out eight Cougar batters Sunday. In the four game series, Rattler pitchers recorded 38 strikeouts.

KNOCKING OFF THE WALKS: The Rattler pitchers, who continue to lead the Midwest League in walks with 329, only walked three yesterday and Paul Fagan walked only one on Saturday night. In the series, Wisconsin walked a total of twenty-two Cougars.

GOOD-BYE TO ALL THAT: The Rattlers do not play Kane County again in the 2006 regular season.

LONG, LONG WAY FROM HOME: The loss yesterday dropped Wisconsin’s home record to 14-24.

SUNDAY, NO FUN DAY: Wisconsin is just 2-9 on Sundays this season.

DOUBLE DIGITS: Yesterday was the first time in June that the Rattlers have allowed ten or more runs in a game. It was the eighth time this season the Rattler staff has allowed at least ten in a game.

IT MUST BE 103: The Rattlers committed three errors in Sunday’s game to give them 103 on the season. Quad Cities continues to lead the MWL in errors with 118. Southwest Michigan is next with 110. Then it’s the Rattlers in third. All of those errors have led to 75 unearned runs for their opponents.

POWER OUTAGE: The Rattlers have not homered in a game since June 12 at Lansing. The overall homerless streak is at ten games. Wisconsin hasn’t homered in a game at Fox Cities Stadium since June 5 against the Clinton LumberKings. The home homerless string has reached eight games.

ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The Peoria Chiefs are the Midwest League affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. They won ten of their final twelve games of the first half to clinch the Western Division Title with a record of 41-28. Peoria is 43-30 overall this season after splitting the first four games of the second half at Quad Cities. The Chiefs are managed by former major leaguer Jody Davis.

VS. PEORIA IN ’06: The Rattlers and Chiefs opened the 2006 season with a four game series at Fox Cities Stadium April 6-9. The teams split the four game set. Wisconsin won the opening game 4-2 behind the pitching of Jason Snyder and a three-run homer by Casey Craig. The Chiefs shutout the Rattlers 3-0 on April 7. Wisconsin won the third game of the series 6-3 and Peoria took the finale 2-1.

PROSPECTING: BASEBALL AMERICA’S Top 30 list of Cub prospects has just two current Chiefs on it. Catcher Mark Reed (#19) and shortstop Dylan Johnston (#27) are the only Chief players on that list. The Chiefs have eight members of the 2005 Cub draft class on their roster: Johnston (4th Round), Scott Taylor (5th), Kyle Reynolds (6th), Matt Avery (9th), Yusuf Carter (12th), Roger Evenson (15th), and Davy Gregg (12th).

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Todd Blackford was a 13th round pick of the Atlanta Braves in the 2004 draft out of Triton High School in Bourbon, Indiana. Blackford came to the Cubs organization in August of 2005 as part of the trade that sent Todd Hollandsworth to the Braves. Blackford was 6-2 with a 3.97ERA in the first half for the Chiefs and picked up a no decision in his last start. On June 18 at Kane County, he allowed two runs on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts over five innings. Blackford beat the Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium on April 7. He pitched five shutout innings, allowed five hits; walked one; and struck out six in a 3-0 Peoria win.

Sunday in the MWL

Kane County 10, @Wisconsin 2 -- Can we just get the Cougars out of town, please?

@Fort Wayne 7, Cedar Rapids 6 (13 inn.) -- Nothing like a getaway game that goes thirteen innings, eh? Will Venable hit a game tying homer in the ninth and a game winning homer in the 13th. The only thing that would have made it cooler would have been if he had done that on Father's Day with his dad Max looking on from the first base coaching box.

@Dayton 3, South Bend 1 -- Johnny Cueto gets the Dragons on track. Well, he needed some help.

Lansing 8, @Beloit 4 -- Mother Nature & the Lugnuts teamed up to beat the Snappers.

@Clinton 5, Southwest Michigan 4 -- Um, don't look now, but the LumberKings are 3-1 in the second half. I told you not to look.

West Michigan 7, @Burlington 3 -- Jackson Browne sang it best (and the headline writer for The Hawkeye puts it in print) about the Bees offense: Running on Empty.

@Quad Cities 5, Peoria 1 -- One big inning was enough for the SWING.

Complete Scoreboard HERE.

Rattler Alum of the Day

Greg Dobbs, Tacoma.
I know Balentien had another great night for the Missions, but let's recognize the red-hot Rainiers and Dobbs. Four RBI for Tacoma in a comeback victory over Portland.

Mariner System Report (Games of 6/25)

Seattle (MAJ: 38-39; 3rd AL West): Seattle beat San Diego 9-4. Richie Sexson was 5-for-5 with two homers and three RBI to lead the way for the Mariners. Rene Rivera (WI ’03) had a pair of hits and scored to runs to help out.

Tacoma (AAA – 41-35; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma beat Portland 6-5 for a 5-game sweep of the Beavers. Greg Dobbs (WI ’02) drove in four runs, including the tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Rob Johnson (WI ’05) added a pair of hits and an RBI. Tom Oldham (WI ’04) got the win for Tacoma. The Rainiers have won seven straight games.

San Antonio (AA – 30-42; 3-1 second half T-1st Texas League South Division): San Antonio beat Springfield 8-4. Wladimir Balentien (WI ’04) hit a grand slam and drove in five RBI in the win for the Missions. Travis Blackley allowed one earned run over seven innings for the win.

Inland Empire (High-A – 43-32, 4-1 second half; T-1st California League South Division): Inland Empire was off yesterday.

Everett (Short Season-A – 6-1; 2nd Northwest League West Division): Everett beat Yakima 8-5. Adam Moore and Bryan Sabatella (WI ’06) each drove in two runs for the Sox. Ari Kafka got the win with two innings of scoreless relief.

AZL M’s (Rookie – 4-0; 1st Arizona League): The Mariners beat the Brewers 15-5. Alex Gary (WI ’06) had four walks and four RBI for the M’s.


Seattle – Off DAY
Tacoma (Cha Seung Baek 6-4) at Las Vegas (Spike Lundberg 0-2) 9:05pm CDT
Arkansas (Rafael Rodriguez 2-5) at San Antonio (Yorman Bazardo 3-3) 7:05pm CDT
Inland Empire – Off until June 29
Everett (Natividad Dilone 0-0) at Yakima (Chad Beck 0-1) 9:05pm CDT
AZL Mariners – OFF DAY


The Baseball Player Wore Tennis Shoes...

On June 25, 1971 Kurt Russell made his professional baseball debut for Bend, Oregon in the Northwest League.

He already had several acting roles under his belt before taking a few years to play pro ball. I remember him playing Lt. Gerard's son, Phil Gerard, Jr. in the episode Nemesis on The Fugitive. He also played a different kid later in the run of the show. Don't get me started about Quinn Martin having the same actor play different characters on the same show.

But, if injuries hadn't cut his baseball career short, we might have been robbed of the best Elvis characterization ever; a classic post-apocolyptic movie; a cult classic; a great Western; an under-rated action, thriller in which Steven Segall dies; a really under-rated science-fiction movie with the line, "I'm going to kill them all, sir."; and a great Herb Brooks characterization.

On the other hand we would have been spared just one unfunny Robin Williams movie; a cop buddy movie with Stallone that is very popular in Europe for some reason; an unfunny Martin Short movie; a horrible sequel to a classic post-apocolypse movie; and the worst characterizations of Elvis ever.

Thank you, Kurt Russell.

Additional Sunday Reading

I know that I shouldn't laugh at this because to a baseball announcer it is blasphemous....BUT I found this piece at Lookout Landing hilarious the other day. A quick taste of A Standard Vin Scully Introduction:

So here comes Richie Sexson to the plate. Richmond Lockwood "Richie" Sexson resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, Kerry. He graduated from Prairie High School in Brush Prairie, WA, in 1993, earning All-State honors in football, basketball and baseball, and also set the school record for RBI during his scholastic career at Prairie High. Sexson enjoys golfing, fishing and attending NBA games regularly in the off-season, while his wife Kerry is an avid photographer.

The pitch on the way...no, Lowe steps off.

In 1993 Sexson broke into professional baseball by appearing in 97 games for Class-A Burlington. He only hit one home run, but he came back a year later to hit 14 Columbus of the Sally League. In 1995 he won Cleveland's Lou Boudreau Award as the top minor league position player, spending the entire season at Kinston, and he was the MVP of the Carolina League and named to the Post-Season All-Star team...

Go to the link and scoll to the shaded area.

With the Chiefs coming to town, you may feel like taking a look at some Cub blogs out there.

Try The Cub Reporter and the post there The End of an Era?.

Bleed Cubbie Blue visited a Rockford Riverhawk game and saw Bo Flowers playing for the Hawks. Flowers used to be a top prospect in the Tigers organization and the traded Kyle Farnsworth to get him. Flowers played 2005 in Peoria and now...He's in Rockford.

The Northside Lounge has to be checked out for the name. And take a look at this post and guess who is blamed for the US loss to Ghana at the World Cup.

If Sunday's game were a movie...

it would be:

Not so much for any similarities between this 10-2 loss to the Cougars and anything that happened in the Julia Roberts-Susan Sarandon movie that we had to watch on the bus one time a long time ago. I mean Ed Harris never committed three errors allowing his kids to scored a bunch of runs in that movie.

More because in this game, like in that movie, you saw the ending coming from about the halfway point and you knew it wasn't going to be a good one.

Complete Boxscore HERE.

Sunday Reading

A bit behind today. If I have time after the game, I'll update with a few other links.

Brett catches up with 2005 Timber Rattler manager Scott Steinman over a RattlersReport.com.

Tom Hardricourt uses the "No if, but when" lede into the Ozzie Guillen situation at jsonline.com. Other topics include the humidor at Coors Field, Mark Mulder, and Kerry Wood.

Larry Stone is the first out of the gate (that I have seen) with A-L RULES! A-L RULES! No denying it. He also looks at how he would pick the All-Star Teams and gets an obligatory crack in about the Royals and Pirates.

Now for an obligatory crack about the French. This is what they won't give up on? Let it go. Lance was clean. (tip of the cap to deadspin.com)

Apparently, the US didn't play very well in this big soccer tournament going on in Germany. This is the best write up I've seen. Short. Too the point. Funny. Also at deadspin.com.

Game Notes for 6/25

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Paul Fagan pitched his first 9-inning complete game and the Timber Rattlers beat the Cougars 2-1. Fagan walked one, struck out four, and gave up six hits. The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Rattlers.

FAGAN SHOWS HIS QUALITY: The Rattler lefty made his second consecutive quality start (at least six innings with three or fewer earned runs) last night. Fagan has five of the eighteen quality starts by Timber Rattler pitchers this season. In his last three starts, Fagan has walked only two batters over 23-2/3 innings.

RETIRING TYPE: The Cougars scored their lone run on an infield groundout in the top of the sixth. Including that out, Fagan retired the final twelve batters he face.

SQUEAKING OUT SOME RUNS: The Rattlers trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. Wisconsin loaded the bases on an infield single, a double that got lost in the lights, a sacrifice bunt, and a walk. Eddy Hernandez drove in the tying run by grounding into a force play at second, but beating the relay to first. The winning run scored on a wild pitch.

PROSISELY PLACED: Nick Prosise dropped the sacrifice bunt in the seventh. It was his first sacrifice of the season and the twelfth of the year by the Wisconsin. Robby Hudson leads the team with two sac bunts.

IT’S A FIRST! Johan Limonta had the infield single in the seventh inning to start the Rattler rally. That was his first professional hit.

IN A PINCH: Kevin Reynolds pinch ran for Limonta in the seventh and scored on the fielder’s choice to tie the game.

GETTING DOUBLED: The Rattlers hit into two more double plays last night. Kane County has turned six twin killings in the first three games of this series.

WINNING WITH LESS THAN FOUR: The Rattlers won for the tenth time this season when they have scored four or fewer runs. Wisconsin is 10-38 in that situation. When the Rattlers allow fewer than four runs, they are 22-13.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Vince Mazzaro was a 3rd round pick of the Athletics in the 2005 draft out of Rutherford (NJ) High School. He did not pitch professionally in 2005. Mazzaro has faced the Timber Rattlers once this season and beat them on May 26 at Elfstrom Stadium. In that game, Mazzaro allowed two runs on three hits over seven innings with a pair of walks and three strikeouts. The Peoria Chiefs beat Mazzaro in his last start. On June 16 at Elfstrom Stadium the Chiefs knocked him out of the game after just 4-1/3 innings with four runs on ten hits.

Saturday Night in the MWL

@Wisconsin 2, Kane County 1 -- Heck of a game by Fagan. At least he gets a picture and a few words in the local paper.

Cedar Rapids 7, @Fort Wayne 2 -- Such a small thing leads to a seven run third inning for the Kernels.

@Beloit 4, Lansing 3 (10 inn.) -- SNAPPERS WIN!! SNAPPERS WIN!! THEEEEEEE SNAPPERS WIN!!

Peoria 9, @Quad Cities 7 -- The SWING missed with their gloves a lot last night and it cost them.

South Bend 9, @Dayton 0 -- That six-game winning streak for Dayton to end the first half seems like a long time ago.

@Clinton 6, Southwest Michigan 2 -- John Whittleman draws a bases loaded game winning walk on Friday and celebrates with a three-run homer on Saturday for the Juggernauts, er, L-Kings.

West Michigan 5, @Burlington 1 (16 inn.) -- What's worse? Losing in sixteen innings? Giving up four runs in the top of the sixteenth to lose? Or, just being unable to score runs?

Complete scoreboard HERE.

Rattler Alum of the Day

I'm supposed to pick just one or two today?

The list of candidates:

Chris Snelling, Tacoma -- Three hits (all doubles) & four RBI

Rich Dorman, Tacoma -- Seven strong innings for a win

Robert Rohrbaugh, San Antonio -- Wins Double-A debut

Marshall Hubbard, San Antonio -- First Double-A home run

Sebastien Boucher, San Antonio -- Three stolen bases & three runs scored

Chad Fillinger, Inland Empire -- Six shutout innings as a starter

David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox -- Another game winning home run

Matt Thornton, Chicago White Sox -- 2-1/3 scoreless innings with three K's & the win.

A part of me says, "They're all winners." But, the Highlander fan in me says that "There can be only one."

So, Congratulations David Ortiz for the game winning home run at Fenway on your bobblehead night at Fox Cities Stadium.

Mariner System Report (Games of 6/24)

Seattle (MAJ: 37-39; 3rd AL West): Seattle beat San Diego 9-5. Former Appleton Fox Raul Ibanez homered twice in the game for the Mariners and he has sixteen on the season. Jamie Moyer allowed two runs on four hits over seven innings for the win.

Tacoma (AAA – 40-35; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma beat Portland 12-2. Chris Snelling (WI ’00) had three doubles, three runs scored, and four RBI for the Rainiers. Rich Dorman (WI ’03) pitched seven innings and walked only one while striking out seven.

San Antonio (AA – 29-42; 2-1 second half T-2nd Texas League South Division): San Antonio beat Springfield 8-2. Robert Rohrbaugh (WI ’05) won his Double-A debut for the Missions with a six inning outing. Sebatien Boucher (WI '05) stole three bases and scored three runs to ignite the San Antonio offense. Rohrbaugh gave up two runs on eight hits and struck out five. Marshall Hubbard (WI ’05) hit his first Texas League homer for San Antonio.

Inland Empire (High-A – 43-32, 4-1 second half; T-1st California League South Division): Inland Empire beat Modesto 1-0 to head into their All-Star break on a winning note. Chad Fillinger (WI ’05) pitched six shutout innings, gave up three hits, and struck out four and got the victory. The lone 66er run of the game scored on a double play.

Everett (Short Season-A – 5-1; 2nd Northwest League West Division): Everett beat Yakima 4-2. Joe White hit his second homer of the year for the AquaSox. Mike Schilling was the starter for the Sox and got his second win of the season by allowing two runs over six innings.

AZL M’s (Rookie – 2-0; T-1st Arizona League): The AZL Mariners game with the AZL Rangers was reported as in progress with no final score.


Seattle (Joel Pineiro 6-7) at San Diego (Mike Thompson 3-2) 3:05pm CDT
Portland (Roger Deago 0-0) at Tacoma (Francisco Cruceta 6-4) 3:35pm CDT
Springfield (Mike Parisi 3-3) at San Antonio (Travis Blackley 5-5) 6:05pm CDT
Inland Empire – Off until June 29
Everett (Steve Ulhmansiek 0-0) at Yakima (Eric Butler 0-0) 3:05pm CDT
AZL Brewers at AZL Mariners 11:30am CDT


If Saturday's Game Were a Movie...

...it would be:

Paul Fagan (Charlton Heston) is the last pitcher left after the Apocolypse (the first two games of the second half). He alone must face The Family (the Kane County Cougars) until help arrives in the a small band of non-Family humans (the Rattler offense). Fagan and non-family humans manage to defeat The Family.

I'll note here that this analogy is imperfect as Chuck Heston dies after killing off The Family and Fagan just needed to ice his arm after striking out four and walking one for the first 9-inning complete game of his career.

The Omega Man was one of those post-apocolyptic movies churned out by Hollywood in the 70's. Heston as Neville and Anthony Zerbe as Matthias make it a fun movie to watch. This game was a lot of fun to watch as the Rattlers beat Kane County.

Click HERE for a complete box score of Saturday's Game.

EDIT: Link added to The Omega Man imdb.com page

Pitching Matchups for Peoria Series

Here are the matchups for the series Monday through Wednesday at Fox Cities Stadium:

Mon -- RHP Ruben Flores (1-5, 6.18) vs. RHP Todd Blackford (6-2, 3.97)
Tue -- LHP Jose Escalona (4-7, 4.59) vs. RHP Wade Miller (0-0, 0.00)
Wed -- RHP Marwin Vega (1-5, 7.28) vs. LHP Jesus Yepez (3-3, 3.39)

I believe that Miller, who is on a rehab assignment for the Cubs, will be on about a 60-70 pitch count in Tuesday's game.

Come on out Cub fans.

Game Notes for 6/24

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Kane County beat the Rattlers 8-0. Joe Piekarz struck out eleven over eight innings, allowed just three hits, and faced just two batters over the minimum. Isaac Omura had four hits, drove in three runs, and scored two others to pace the Cougar offense. Neither Piekarz nor reliever Joe Newby walked a batter.

SHUTDOWN: The Rattlers have been shutout in two of their last three games. Quad Cities shutout the Rattlers 6-0 in the final game of the first half. Wisconsin has been shutout seven times this season. Last night was the second time this season the Cougars have shutout the Rattlers.

HEAVY WORKLOAD: Rattler starting pitcher Marwin Vega threw 88 pitches in just 2-2/3 innings. He walked four, allowed five hits, and five runs. Three of the runs he allowed were unearned, but those three unearned runs scored on a throwing error by Vega.

DEEP SIX: The Rattlers have lost six straight games. This is their longest losing streak of the season.

OF WALKS AND K’s: Five Rattler pitchers set a new season high for walks in a game by issuing eleven free passes. Only Roman Martinez did not walk a batter. Harold Williams (2), Edgar Guaramato (2), and Rollie Gibson (3) joined Vega’s four. The Rattlers also matched a season high for strikeouts in a game last night with fourteen: Vega (3), Williams (3), Martinez (4), Guaramato (2), and Gibson (2).

ON PACE? Wisconsin pitchers have walked nineteen Kane County batters in the first two games of this series. Rattler hurlers have walked 325 batters in 72 games this season. The Midwest League record of most walks in a season is 788 and was set in just 126 games by Paris in 1958. The Timber Rattler record for most walks in a season is 673 and was set by the 1996 Rattler pitching staff.

END OF THE LINE: Luis Valbuena was 0-for-3 and had his hitting streak end at eleven games.

FOR THE WANT OF A LONG BALL: The Rattlers have not homered since Valbuena went deep at Lansing on June 13. That is a seven game homerless streak for the team. The homer drought at home for the Rattlers is six games. Wisconsin hasn’t homered at Fox Cities Stadium since a Nick Prosise blast against the Clinton LumberKings on June 5.

VS. KANE COUNTY IN ’06: The Rattlers are just 3-11 against the Cougars in 2006. The Cougars took three out of four games in each of the three series played in the first half. Most recently, the Cougars went 3-1 against the Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium June 7-9. The teams split a doubleheader on the 7th and Kane County won the final two games. The Cougars have outscored Wisconsin 84-44 this season.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Trey Shields, a 9th round pick of the Athletics in 2005, played his college baseball at the University of Alabama. He lost his last start of the first half. On June 13 at Burlington, Shields gave up five runs (four earned) on ten hits over 5-2/3 innings with two walks and a strikeout. He is 1-0 in two starts against the Rattlers this season. Shields beat Wisconsin at Fox Cities Stadium on June 8. He gave up one run on seven hits over seven innings with a walk and six strikeouts.

Last Night in the MWL

It was shutout night in the Midwest League last night. Six of the seven games ended with one of the teams not scoring.

Kane County 8, @Wisconsin 0 -- Starting close to home.

Cedar Rapids 1, @Fort Wayne 0 (6 inn.)-- Stephen outpitched Stevie in a rain-shortened game.

South Bend 1, @Dayton 0 -- The Hawks score a run in the top of the ninth inning and win despite being outhit 7-4 by the Dragons. I thought the arguments would be over when the regular umpires came back to work. Apparently not:

With special wide-angle vision by home-plate umpire Jason Alper, Bobby Mosby was called out on strikes on a low-and-away pitch to end the game with the tying run on third base, a game the Dragons lost to South Bend 1-0 Friday night.

It was the second time in two weeks Mosby was called out on a pitch he wouldn't have been able to reach had he swung, and he slammed his helmet to the ground, earning the Dragons' second ejection of the game — even though the game was over.

Lansing 5, @Beloit 0 -- Kristian Bell gave up one hit over seven innings. Another home team shut out? Couldn't happen again, right?

West Michigan 2, @Burlington 0 -- Wrong. Whitecaps score twice in the ninth to shutout the Bees.

@Clinton 1, Southwest Michigan 0 -- Ah! The LumberKings weren't shutout at home. The win in the bottom of the ninth on a, um, walk-off walk.

@Peoria 6, Quad Cities 5 -- It might have been seven shutouts in the MWL last night, but the Swing went and scored five in the eighth after being down 6-0. Good thing the Chiefs scored five in the first.

Complete Scoreboard HERE.

Rattler Alum of the Day

Aaron Jensen, Inland Empire

It took awhile, but Jensen recorded his first California League win with a good performance last night. He allowed one hit and one run over six innings with five strikeouts.

Mariner System Report (Games of 6/23)

Seattle (MAJ: 36-39; 3rd AL West): Seattle lost 2-1 in ten innings at San Diego. The Mariners had eight hits, but managed one run three Padre pitchers. Former Appleton Fox Raul Ibanez drove in the lone Seattle run. Gil Meche (WI ’98) pitched 5-2/3 innings, allowed one run on four hits, and struck out six for a no decision. Julio Mateo (WI ’00) took the loss by allowing a run in the bottom of the tenth.

Tacoma (AAA – 39-35; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma beat Portland 5-4 in eleven innings. Portland had a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the eleventh. Adam Jones (WI ’04) singled in the tying run. Guillermo Quiroz knocked in the winning run. Scott Atchison (WI ’99) blew a save, but got the win. Cesar Jimenez I(WI ’03) allowed one run over five innings with six walks for a no decision.

San Antonio (AA – 28-42; 1-1 second half T-2nd Texas League South Division): San Antonio lost 11-7 to Springfield. The Cardinals scored nine runs in the third inning to pull away from the Missions. Mike Wilson (WI ’05) was 2-for-3 with a homer, three RBI, and two runs scored for San Antonio. Marshall Hubbard (WI ’05) made his Double-A debut and was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Inland Empire (High-A – 42-32, 3-1 second half; T-1st California League South Division): Inland Empire beat Modesto 6-1. Aaron Jensen (WI ’05) pitched six innings and gave up one run on one hit with five strikeouts for the win. Yung Chi Chen (WI ’05) had three hits and drove in three runs. Jack Arroyo (WI ’05) also drove in three runs for the 66ers.

Everett (Short Season-A – 4-1; T-2nd Northwest League West Division): Everett beat Tri-City 8-2. Greg Nesbit was the starting pitcher and allowed one run and struck out six over five innings for the win. Adam Moore was 3-for-4 with three doubles for Everett.

AZL M’s (Rookie – 2-0; T-1st Arizona League): The AZL Mariners beat the Angels 7-5. Alex Gary (WI ’06) homered for the second game in a row. Carlos Puguero drove in three and also homered for the M’s. Aric van Gaalen allowed four runs (none earned) for the win.


Seattle (Jamey Moyer 4-6) at San Diego (Chan Ho Park 5-3) 9:05pm CDT
Portland (Jack Cassel 3-4) at Tacoma (Rich Dorman 2-2) 9:05pm CDT
Springfield (Stuart Pomeranz 7-2) at San Antonio (Robert Rohrbaugh 0-0) 7:05pm CDT
Modesto (Humberto Cardenas 4-6) at Inland Empire (Chad Fillinger 0-0) 9:11pm CDT
Everett (Mike Schilling 1-0) at Yakima (TBA) 9:05pm CDT
AZL Mariners at AZL Rangers 11:30am CDT


If Friday's Game Were a Movie...

Instead of Tonight's game in a word, I'm going to try something a little different for the second half. I'll pick a movie that best fits that night's game and try to explain it.

Here we go:

If Friday's game was a movie it would be:

Groundhog Day

Tonight's game was the 1993 Bill Murray classic. All it was missing was the clock radio playing I've Got You, Babe to start the game.

Joe Piekarz was Ned! Ned Ryerson! Needlenose Ned! Ned the Head! You can never have too much insurance! He struck out 11 tonight!

The Cougar Offense was the big party around Gobbler's Knob that just keeps on going. They are 11-3 against the Rattlers this season.

The Rattlers are either Phil Connor while he is still trying to figure out just what exactly is happening to him or the two easily distracted armored car guards.

I don't really see the Andie MacDowell character in this game tonight, but if this is Groundhog Day, the Rattlers will eventually get the girl and win over the entire town.

Click HERE for a complete box score of Friday's game.

A Few Pitching Notes

The Rattler starting rotation has been juggled a bit.

Harold Williams has gone back into the bullpen, where he gained his All-Star status.

Nick Allen is back in the rotation and will start on Sunday against the Cougars. Ruben Flores has been bumped back from Sunday against the Cougars to Monday against the Chiefs.

In a non-Rattler pitching note, it appears almost certain that Wade Miller of the Chicago Cubs will get a rehab start against the Rattlers on the Tuesday of the Peoria series at Fox Cities Stadium. The story that was linked to this morning had Miller hoping to get 15 pitches in the start against the Rattlers. It sounds more like 65-75 pitches instead.

Gotta run. Time for the game.

Added link to Miller's Cub page.

Game Notes for 6/23

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Kane County spoiled the Rattlers second half opener with a 7-3 win at Fox Cities Stadium. Jared Lansford beat the Rattlers for the fourth time in four starts this season and Frank Martinez hit a grand slam home run off losing pitcher Jose Escalona in the third inning to put the Cougars up 6-0. The loss, Wisconsin’s fifth in a row, matched the longest losing streak of the year for the Rattlers and sent them to a season low seventeen games under .500 at 27-44.

STREAKY: Escalona owns both the longest winning streak and the longest losing streak by a Timber Rattler starting pitcher. He won three straight decisions early in the season, but has lost six straight decisions, including last night. Escalona walked five, hit a batter, and tossed ninety pitches in just three innings last night.

ON PACE? Wisconsin pitchers combined to walk eight Kane County batters last night. Rattler hurlers have walked 314 batters in 71 games this season. The Midwest League record of most walks in a season is 788 and was set in just 126 games by Paris in 1958. The Timber Rattler record for most walks in a season is 673 and was set by the 1996 Rattler pitching staff.

WHO IS HOT: Luis Valbuena extended his hitting streak to eleven games with a fourth inning RBI single last night. He is 17-for-41 (.415) during his longest hitting streak of the season.

OFF THE SCHNEID: Michael Saunders ended his 0-for-12 streak with a fifth inning double last night.

FOR THE WANT OF A LONG BALL: The Rattlers have not homered since Valbuena went deep at Lansing on June 13. That is a six game homerless streak for the team. The homer drought at home for the Rattlers is five games. Wisconsin hasn’t homered since a Nick Prosise blast against the Clinton LumberKings on June 5.

RALLY KILLERS: Wisconsin hit into three double plays last night. During the five game losing streak, the Rattlers have hit into ten double plays.

GOTCHA: Rattler catcher Travis Scott threw out Nick Blasi at third as the Cougar outfielder tried to swipe the bag in the first inning last night. It was the first time in fifteen attempts this season that Blasi had been caught stealing.

FOUR! Lansford beat the Rattlers for the fourth time in four starts this season with his victory last night. He is 4-0 with a 1.13ERA against the Rattlers. Lansford is 2-4 with a 5.40ERA in six starts against the rest of the Midwest League.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Joe Piekarz was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Athletics in June of 2004 out of Northern Illinois University. Piekarz made 19 of his first 20 appearances this season out of the Cougar bullpen. His lone start of 2006 was in the second game of a doubleheader against Clinton at Elfstrom Stadium on May 2 and he gave up one run on three hits over four innings. His last appearance was a four inning relief stint against Peoria on June 17. He allowed one run on five hits over four innings. Piekarz has faced the Rattlers three times as a reliever this season. In 7-2/3 innings against Wisconsin, he has given up one run on five hits with six strikeouts.
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