Pitching probables for Kane County series (9/1-9/3)

If you looked at the game notes below, you will have noticed that there is a possibility of a double header on Sunday in the series between the Rattlers and the Cougars.

Here is the pitching matchup for the three games that are scheduled to be played.

SAT: RHP Matthew Renfree (AZL M’s: 3-1, 2.57) vs. RHP Henry Rodriguez (5-8, 3.21)
SUN: RHP Steve Richard (6-4, 3.57) vs. RHP Travis Banwart (2-1, 2.25)
MON: LHP Fabian Williamson (AZL M’s: 6-2, 3.43) vs. LHP James Heuser (11-8, 4.35)

If there is doubleheader on Sunday, it will be

RHP John DuRocher (AZL M's 3-2, 5.03) vs. TBA

Game Notes -- 8/31

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Timber Rattlers beat Clinton 5-4. Wisconsin scored four runs in the top of the third inning to snap a 1-1 tie. The Rattlers held on for the win.

GOING CYCLING: The Timber Rattlers hit for the cycle as a team in the third inning. Ron Garth singled and Reed Eastley followed with a home run. Later in the inning, Kuo Hui Lo doubled. Leury Bonilla completed the cycle with a triple.

PITCHING RELAY: Harold Williams was the starting pitcher for the Rattlers last night and he worked three innings and allowed one run. Kyle Parker came on in relief and pitched 3-2/3 innings. He retired the first ten batters he faced before allowing back-to-back singles. He retired one more batters before turning the game over to Mike Wagner. Wagner allowed two hits and both of Parker’s runs to score to let the L-Kings to get to within 5-3. Wagner pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Andrew Barb entered in the ninth and allowed a one-out, pinch-hit home run to Chris Kemp that pulled Clinton to within 5-4. Barb struck out the next two batters to close out the LumberKings.

SAVING THE DAY: Barb is 10-for-10 in save opportunities this season.

ROAD WARRIORS: Wisconsin is 4-3 in the first seven games of their last road trip of the season. Wisconsin is 26-43 on the road this season. The Rattlers were 25-46 in 2006.

MAKE A NOTE: Back on July 9, the Timber Rattlers had a game at Kane County rained out. At the time, it was decided that the game would only be made up if it would have an effect on the playoff standings. The Cougars currently trail Cedar Rapids by 1-1/2 games for the second half Western Division wild card. Here are the current playoff standings in the West.


Tonight’s schedule is Beloit at Kane County; Peoria at Quad Cities; and Cedar Rapids at Burlington. If the game from July 9 needs to be made up, it will be part of a double header on Sunday at Time Warner.

MATCHING UP WITH THE PAST: The Rattlers are 50-83 (.376) this season. The worst record in team history was 53-86 (.381) by the 2002 squad. Last year’s Rattlers went 54-86 (.386).

CLINTON STARTER: Zach Phillips was a 23rd round pick of the Rangers in the 2004 draft out of Sacramento City College. This is his third tour of duty with the LumberKings. Phillips made a pair of regular season relief appearances at the end of the 2005 season without a decision. Phillips went 5-12 with a 5.96ERA in 28 starts in 2006. In his last start for the LumberKings in 2007, Phillips allowed one run on five hits with 12 strikeouts over seven innings, but took a loss at Kane County on August 28. Phillips has faced the Rattlers three times. In the 2005 playoffs, Phillips allowed three runs on three hits in 1/3 of an inning as a reliever on September 10. In his lone start against the Rattlers in 2006, Phillips took the loss as he gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits over five innings on August 26 at Grand Chute. Wisconsin beat Phillips on August 16 at Time Warner Cable Field. The Rattlers got to him for six runs (two earned) on eight hits over 5-2/3 innings.

Rattler Roster moves (8/31)

Lots of them....

RHP Ricky Orta & Joe Kantakevich placed on the DL
RHP Anthony Varvaro transferred to the AZL Mariners from Wisconsin
RHP Matthew Renfree transferred to Wisconsin from the AZL Mariners
RHP John DuRocher transferred to Wisconsin from the AZL Mariners
LHP Fabian Williamson transferred to Wisconsin from the AZL Mariners

Midwest League Action -- 8/30

Complete 8/30 scoreboard HERE.

Rattlers 5, @Clinton 4: Wisconsin untied the game in the top of the third and hit for the cycle as a team for good measure.

@Kane County 6, Beloit 3; @Kane County 4, Beloit 1: One hundred thirty-two games into a grueling Midwest League season, the Cougars were faced Thursday with the prospect of a virtual must-have doubleheader sweep of the Beloit Snappers in order to stay in the thick of the Western Division wild card race.

@South Bend 9, Fort Wayne 6: Collect at least one hit in every inning -- 14 in all -- mix in nine walks and you should have a pretty good offensive game.But it wasn't all that easy for the South Bend Silver Hawks Thursday night

Lansing 4, @Dayton 3: (F/10): Two days ago, the job [winning the MWL Playoffs] was made tougher as the parent Cincinnati Reds plucked All-Star second baseman Justin Turner from the roster, promoting him to Sarasota.

@West Michigan 4, Great Lakes 2: With four runs in their final three offensive innings, the Whitecaps rallied past Great Lakes for a fifth consecutive victory

@Cedar Rapids 10, Burlington 3: The Cedar Rapids Kernels reduced their ‘Magic Number’ to four and moved closer to clinching a playoff spot

Peoria 3, @Quad Cities 1: For a second straight game, the Swing could have clinched a berth in the upcoming Midwest League playoffs. But like Wednesday when Burlington dealt Q-C a 1-0 loss, a lack of hitting cost the Swing again.

Mariner System Report (Games of 8/30)

SEATTLE (MAJ: 73-59; 2nd AL West): The Mariners lost 6-5 at Cleveland. Adam Jones (’04) homered and drove in a pair of runs for Seattle. The Mariners tied the game 5-5 with a run in the top of the ninth. But, Rick White walked Kenny Lofton with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to force in the winning run.

TACOMA (AAA: 66-74; 3rd Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers lost 10-9 in ten innings at Las Vegas. Kevin Reynolds (’07) had two hits and two RBI for Tacoma. The Rainiers led 9-6, but the 51s scored three times in the ninth to tie the game and once in the tenth for the win.

WEST TENNESSEE (AA: 60-75 overall; 29-36 second half; 5th second half Southern League North Division): The Diamond Jaxx lost 2-1 to Chattanooga. Joe Woerman (’06) allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings and took the loss. Jon Nelson (’03) homered for the only Diamond Jaxx run.

HIGH DESERT (High-A: 53-83 overall; 22-44 second half; 5th second half California League South Division): The Mavericks lost 8-7 to Rancho Cucamonga. Travis Scott (’06) homered and drove in three runs for High Desert. The Mavs scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning, but could not hold the lead.

EVERETT (Short Season-A: 32-38; T-3rd Northwest League West Division): The AquaSox beat Eugene 4-1. Kalian Sams (’07) had two hits, scored a run, and drove in a run for Everett. Alfredo Venegas pitched six shutout innings for the win.

AZL Mariners (Rookie: 38-19 Arizona League Champions): The AZL M’s beat the Giants 8-5 to win the Arizona League Championship. Jake Wild struck out fourteen and allowed one run over eight innings for the win.

Mariner system schedule 8/31:
Seattle (Jarrod Washburn 9-11) at Toronto (Shaun Marcum 11-5) 6:07pm CDT
Colorado Springs at Tacoma 9:05pm CDT
Chattanooga (Carlos Fisher 5-9) at West Tennessee (Andy Baldwin 5-12) 7:05pm CDT
Lancaster (Kris Johnson 8-7) at High Desert (Jose Escalona 4-9) 9:05pm CDT
Vancouver at Everett 9:05pm CDT
AZL Mariners – Season over

Baseball History -- August 31

Complete entry for August 31 is HERE.

Highlighted entry:
Gary Gaetti of the Royals hits the 239th HR of his career in KC's 6-5 win over Milwaukee. By doing so‚ he becomes the all-time HR leader for players who homered in their 1st big league at bat‚ moving past Hall of Famer Earl Averill.
They do keep stats on everything.


Thursday Motivation (8/30)

I tried my hand at the Do It Yourself Motivator at despair.com. The result is both hilarious and depressing. Maybe one day I'll share it in this space...but, not today.

So to successories.com we go:

"Be unafraid to fail and you will undoubtedly succeed."

Once and Future Rattlers?

The Northwest League announced their post-season all-star team the other day.

Greg Halman ('07) and left-handed starter Edward Paredes made the squad.
The Everett AquaSox also boast two All-Stars. Outfielder Gregory Halman spent time earlier in the season with Class A Wisconsin and has shown impressive speed and power with the AquaSox. The 6-foot-4, 192-pounder has 14 roundtrippers and 15 steals with a .289 batting average, 33 RBIs and 35 runs scored in 59 games. Edward Paredes, Everett's only starter with a winning record, is the All-Star left-hander. He's 7-5 with a 3.64 ERA over a league-leading 76 2/3 innings in 14 games, including 13 starts.
That release was written before Halman had two homers in one game to put himself into a tie for the Northwest League lead with 16.

Balentien: Top PCL Rookie

Wladimir Balentien ('04) was voted as the top rookie in the Pacific Coast League. Rainier radio broadcaster Mike Curto has the writeup in the Tacoma News Tribune.

Balentien voted PCL’s top rookie

LAS VEGAS – In a gesture that shows just how far he has come this season, Tacoma Rainiers outfielder Wladimir Balentien was voted the Pacific Coast League’s Rookie of the Year.

Balentien won the vote of the league’s managers and media members, it was announced Tuesday. The 23-year-old outfielder from Cura[c]ao is batting .295 with 24 home runs and 80 RBI this season.

“It’s an honor that shows that you put in the hard work all year,” Balentien said.

The list of past winners includes Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who won it in 2005, Houston Astros infielder Chris Burke (New Orleans, 2004) and Oakland Athletics shortstop Bobby Crosby (Sacramento, 2003). Last year’s winner was Salt Lake’s Howie Kendrick, now the Los Angeles Angels’ starting second baseman.

“I’ve seen the names of the players who won it before, and anytime you are mentioned with the people on that list, it’s a big honor,” Tacoma manager Daren Brown said.

Balentien’s progress from all-or-nothing slugger to disciplined hitter has garnered attention from scouts throughout baseball. Where he fits in with the Mariners, though, remains to be seen.

Playoff Preview

Some potential future Rattlers are getting ready for the one game playoff for the Arizona League Championship tonight.

MiLB.com has the preview HERE. A preview of the, um, preview.

It has been a tale of two seasons for one club and a season that defines consistency for the other. The Giants, after an even keel, 14-14, in the AZL's first half, exploded down the stretch to steal the second-half honors from the Mariners, who were looking to run away with both regular-season titles. The Mariners dominated the league from start to finish, posting the best overall record at 37-19, but the Giants were red hot in August, including taking all three games against the Mariners. Now, the Giants look to steal a championship that the Mariners no doubt feel is rightfully theirs in a winner-take-all meeting between the AZL's hottest teams.

The Mariners won the season series four games to three, but that stat hardly tells the whole story. The Giants rebounded from four losses to the Mariners in July by taking all three of their August games against the first-half division winners, outscoring the Mariners, 19-6, in doing so.

There was no room for error down the stretch for the Giants, who warded off the Mariners -- winners of seven of their last 10 games -- by ending the regular season with 10 straight victories. The batch of victories allowed the Giants to clinch the second-half division title and force a championship game with the Mariners, who would have won the AZL outright had they won both halves of the season.

Plenty more at the link. Game time is 9:00pm CDT tonight.

Midwest League Action -- 8/29

Complete 8/29 scoreboard HERE.

@ Clinton 6, Rattlers 3: After Marcus Lemon started the LumberKings' third with a double and Jose Vallejo singled, Rattlers reliever Justin Souza got Chad Tracy to send a tailor-made double play ball to short, but it was bobbled and Lemon scored.

@West Michigan 6, Fort Wayne 1: "As long as I'm pitching well, I won't shave it off. I decided to grow a mustache four starts ago to switch up things a bit and see what could happen," Below said. "I did well in the first start after and I was going to shave it off the next day, but the guys said I had to keep it."

@Great Lakes 7, South Bend 5: "It doesn't matter what point in the season it is -- when you win, it's fun," Loons' manager Lance Parrish said. "It's encouraging to everybody and they're excited that they're playing pretty well and winning a few games. Hopefully we can finish up the season well."

@Lansing 4, Dayton 1: The Dragons and Lugnuts stayed scoreless through five innings before Lansing finally broke the tie in the sixth when Matt Lane blasted a solo homer to right field that gave the Lugnuts a 1-0 lead.

@Peoria 5, Kane County 0: With the victory, the Chiefs put a game between themselves and Kane County in the wild-card race. However, both teams still trail Cedar Rapids in the wild-card race, the Chiefs by one game and the Cougars by two games.

Cedar Rapids 8, @Beloit 4: The game remained a 4-3 Snappers’ advantage until the top of the seventh inning. Cedar Rapids got to Beloit reliever Jose Lugo with two runs off a home run from Mark Trumbo. Trumbo’s blast scored P.J. Phillips and pushed the Kernels ahead 5-4.

@Burlington 1, Quad Cities 0 (F/10): "I guess that's the best way to go out, right?" said [Michael] Thompson as he and [Jesus] Soto, along with the rest of the team, signed autographs and thanked fans as they left the ballpark. "That's the way you want to end it for the fans and us. It's a great win. That's what baseball's all about, the 1-0 victories in the bottom of the 10th."

Mariner System Report (Games of 8/29)

SEATTLE (MAJ: 73-58; 2nd AL West): The Mariners lost 8-2 to the Angels. Felix Hernandez (’03) allowed six runs on thirteen hits over seven innings for the loss. The Angels swept the three game series at Safeco Field.

TACOMA (AAA: 66-73; T-3rd Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers lost 6-3 at Las Vegas. Wladimir Balentien (’04) and Bryan LaHair (’04) each had three hits and an RBI for Tacoma. The Rainiers had 17 hits in the game, but managed three runs.

WEST TENNESSEE (AA: 60-74 overall; 29-35 second half; 5th second half Southern League North Division): The Diamond Jaxx were rained out at Huntsville. The game will not be made up.

HIGH DESERT (High-A: 53-82 overall; 22-43 second half; 5th second half California League South Division): The Mavericks beat Rancho Cucamonga 2-1. Chris Tillman (’07) struck out thirteen over six scoreless innings for the win.

EVERETT (Short Season-A: 31-38; 4th Northwest League West Division): The AquaSox lost 10-2 to Eugene. Everett batters struck out 17 times in the game.

AZL Mariners (Rookie: 37-19 overall; 17-11 second half 2nd Arizona League): The AZL M’s beat the Royals 3-1 to end the regular season in the AZL.

Mariner system schedule 8/30:
Seattle (Horacio Ramirez 8-4) at Cleveland (Aaron Laffey 2-1) 6:05pm CDT
Tacoma (Jorge Campillo 9-6) at Las Vegas (D.J. Houlton 3.68) 9:11pm CDT
Chattanooga at West Tennessee 7:05pm CDT
Rancho Cucamonga (Tim Schoeninger 6-3) at High Desert (Juan Zapata 1-4) 9:05pm CDT
Eugene at Everett 9:05pm CDT
AZL Giants at AZL Mariners (Arizona League Championship game) 9:00pm CDT

Baseball History -- August 30

Complete entry for August 30 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entry
In an effort to bolster its pitching staff for the pennant race‚ Milwaukee trades minor leaguers Kevin BassFrank DiPino‚ and Mike Madden to the Astros for veteran starter Don Sutton. Sutton has won 13 games for Houston this year. The Brewers are 4 1/2 games ahead of the Red Sox.

Of the four players listed, whose autograph did I get as a youngster along the rail near the tarp at County Stadium?

If you guessed Frank DiPino, you would be correct!


Game Notes -- 8/29

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Timber Rattlers defeated the LumberKings 4-2. Calvin Beamon had three hits, stole three bases, and scored twice for the Rattlers. Starting pitcher Steve Richard worked five shutout innings and Mike Wagner pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the save.

STEALING IT: Beamon’s three stolen bases were the most in a game by an individual Rattler this season. The Rattlers swiped six bases as a team last night – Kuo Hui Lo, Ron Garth, and Guy Welsh had one each – to set a new team high in a game this season.

WALKING THE LINE: Lo coaxed three walks last night. Rattler hitters drew a total of nine walks last night, one off their season high.

SCORELESS STRING: Richard pitched five scoreless innings for the second consecutive game. His scoreless string has reached 11-1/3 straight innings.

SPLIT: Richard is 6-1 with a 3.28ERA in 15 starts this season. In eight games a reliever, he is 1-2 with a save and an ERA of 3.78.

OUT OF THE GATE: Beamon singled to start the game and stole second. Lo followed with an RBI single and the Rattlers were up 1-0 two batters into the game. Wisconsin is 35-31 when they score first.

CLOSING THE DOOR: Wagner entered in the bottom of the ninth with the Rattlers leading 4-2. Wagner recorded a pair of strikeouts in setting the LumberKings down in order. Wagner is 2-for-3 in save opportunities.

THREE IN A ROW: The Rattlers have won three straight games. A win tonight would match their longest winning streak of the season. Wisconsin has won four straight two times this season.

AN UNCRUEL MONTH: Wisconsin is 15-12 in August. There are three games remaining this month. The Rattlers have already clinched their first month (not including September) with at least a .500 record for the first time since August of 2005. The Rattlers were 3-1 in September of 2006.

MATCHING UP WITH THE PAST: The Rattlers are 49-82 (.374). The worst record in team history was 53-86 (.381) by the 2002 squad. Last year’s Rattlers went 54-86 (.386).

OUT OF THE DRAFT: The LumberKings have four members of the 2007 Texas draft class on their active roster. Pitchers Evan Reed (3rd round), Jared Hyatt (33rd round), and Josh Lueke (16th round) are both on the roster. Infielder Kenny Smith (20th round) joined the LumberKings on Tuesday.

CLINTON STARTER: Beau Jones originally in the Atlanta Braves organization as a supplemental first round pick in the 2005 draft out of Destrehan (LA) High School. Jones was the 10th rated prospect in Atlanta’s organization by Baseball America before the season. He joined the Ranger organization in the trade that sent Mark Texeira and Ron Mahay to Atlanta for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and three others on July 31. Jones started the season with Myrtle Beach (Carolina League), but struggled to no record and an ERA of 15.26. He was 5-0 with three saves and a 2.96ERA in Rome (South Atlantic League) before the trade. In his last start for the LumberKings he gave up four runs (three earned over 4-1/3 innings to Kane County on August 24. This is his first appearance against the Ratters and against an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

Slight adjustment to the rotation

Harold Williams is getting the start on Thursday against the LumberKings. Kyle Parker, the orginally scheduled starter, should be the first out of the bullpen in relief of Williams.

Wednesday Movie Quote (8/29)

Big Horse Borelli: You know, a lot of people said that Stan only looked out for himself, that he wasn't a team player. But I'm here to tell you, if you get 3000 hits, you don't have to be a team player. If you have a lifetime .314 average, you don't have to be a good guy. If you lead the league in batting for three years, you can be the biggest jerk in the world!

Best individual season in Rattler history

#1: Bo Robinson - 1999

.329 batting average, 101 runs, 164 hits, 50 doubles, 3 triples, 13 home runs, 102 rbi, 4 stolen bases

When he wasn't hitting, he was walking. His 108 walks are 21 more than any other Timber Rattler, which led to an on base percentage of .446, which is 29 points better than second place Shin Soo Choo in '02.
His 50 doubles are the best in team history by 12. He is one of only two Rattlers to crack 100 RBI in a season and is the only one to score 100 runs. His 259 total bases and 164 hits are also team records, and his slugging percentage (.519) and batting average are both second all time.

MWL Post Season All-Stars

The Midwest League website has announced the Post-Season All-Star team. The Whitecaps took away a few individual honors. Gorkys Hernandez of West Michigan was named the MVP. Tom Brookens of West Michigan was named Manager of the Year.

About that Post Season All-Star team

Dayton Dragons infielders Chris Valaika, Justin Turner and Juan Francisco were among 13 players named Tuesday to the Midwest League postseason All-Star Team.

The trio, which helped the Dragons capture the first-half Eastern Division title, are joined by two members each of the West Michigan Whitecaps, South Bend Silver Hawks and Beloit Snappers. The Great Lakes Loons, Lansing Lugnuts, Burlington Bees and Cedar Rapids Kernels all have one player on the team.

The Post-season All-stars are:

C: James Skelton, West Michigan
1B: Brad Miller, South Bend
2B: Justin Turner, Dayton
SS: Chris Valaika, Dayton
3B: Juan Francisco, Dayton
OF: Gorkys Hernandez, West Michigan
OF: Gerardo Parra, South Bend
OF: Travis Snider, Lansing
DH: Michael Thompson, Burlington
RH Starter: Jeff Manship, Beloit
LH Starter: Clayton Kershaw, Great Lakes
RH Reliever: Rob Delaney, Beloit
LH Reliever: Barrett Browning, Cedar Rapids

Midwest League Action -- 8/28

Complete 8/28 scoreboard HERE.

Rattlers 4, @Clinton 2: Calvin Beamon stole three bases and scored two runs to lead the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers over the Clinton LumberKings in a Midwest League baseball game in Clinton, Iowa, on Tuesday night.

@West Michigan 7, Fort Wayne 6; @West Michigan 4, Fort Wayne 1: Beating Fort Wayne in the opener meant the Whitecaps' past four wins had come on a hit batsman that drove in the winning run, a game-winning sacrifice fly, a bloop single, and in the case of Tuesday's 7-6 win, a two-run, walk-off, bases-loaded double in the bottom of the seventh by Jordan Newton won the game.

@Great Lakes 2, South Bend 1: "I've been struggling a little bit with the command on my fastball," [Tim] Sexton said. "(Pitching coach Glen Dishman) Dish helped me out a little bit and I felt great coming out here."

@Lansing 10, Dayton 5: Lansing won its sixth straight contest by thumping the Dayton Dragons 10-5 at Oldsmobile Park Tuesday night. It also marks the ninth consecutive victory at home for the Lugnuts.

Kane County 10, @Peoria 9: The Chiefs trailed 9-0 after seven innings but scored five in the seventh and four more in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game. Three of those runs came on wild pitches by Kane County closer Andrew Carignan.

Cedar Rapids 5, @Beloit 4: Tyler Johnson scored the game winning run in the top of the eighth inning on a throwing error by Beloit catcher Danny Berg...

Quad Cities 4, @Burlington 3 (F/10): With Burlington trailing 3-0 and Kurt Mertins on first base, Brady Everett smashed the ball over the left-field foul pole. Everett began a home-run trot and Mertins jogged around the bases as the Community Field fans began celebrating the home run. Home plate umpire Travis Hatch squashed the cheers, ruling the ball foul to the heated protests of the Bees' bullpen and Gabella.

Mariner System Report (Games of 8/28)

SEATTLE (MAJ: 73-57; 2nd AL West): The Mariners lost 10-6 to the Angels. Seattle scored five times in the first inning, but the Angels took a 6-5 lead. The Mariners tied the game at six, but Los Angeles scored four times in the eighth inning for the winning margin.

TACOMA (AAA: 66-72; T-3rd Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers beat Las Vegas 8-5 in eleven innings. Oswaldo Navarro (’05) had a pair of hits and a pair of RBI for Tacoma. Rob Johnson ('05) scored the go ahead run on a wild pitch.

WEST TENNESSEE (AA: 60-74 overall; 29-35 second half; 5th second half Southern League North Division): The Diamond Jaxx beat Huntsville 9-6. Matt Tuiasosopo (’05) homered. Mike Hrynio (’04) pitched 2-1/3 innings of scoreless relief for the win in an 'entertaining game' in Huntsville.

HIGH DESERT (High-A: 52-82 overall; 21-43 second half; 5th second half California League South Division): The Mavericks lost 9-4 to Rancho Cucamonga. Jeff Dominguez (’05) homered and drove in two runs for High Desert, but it was the fourth loss in a row for the Mavs.

EVERETT (Short Season-A: 31-37; 4th Northwest League West Division): The AquaSox beat Eugene 9-4. Greg Halman (’07) had four hits – including a pair of homers – and four RBI for Everett.

AZL Mariners (Rookie: 36-19 overall; 16-11 second half T-2nd Arizona League): The AZL M’s lost 9-3 to the Giants.

Mariner system schedule 8/29:
Los Angeles (Jered Weaver 9-6) at Seattle (Felix Hernandez 10-6) 3:35pm CDT
Tacoma (Cha Seung Baek 1-0) at Las Vegas (Phillip Pinango 8-7) 9:11pm CDT
West Tennessee (Joe Woerman 7-6) at Huntsville (Sam Narron 7-8) 7:05pm CDT
Rancho Cucamonga (Steve Marek 8-9) at High Desert (Chris Tillman 5-6) 9:05pm CDT
Eugene at Everett 9:05pm CDT
AZL Royals at AZL Mariners 9:00pm CDT

Baseball History -- August 29

Complete entry for August 29 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entry:
After striking out his 1‚000th career batter in Atlanta's 7-6 win over Philadelphia‚ Braves P Charlie Leibrandt rolls the ball into the Atlanta dugout to keep as a souvenir. Unfortunately‚ he forgets to call time‚ and the runner Ricky Jordan on base is allowed to advance on the error.

Milestones. They can help ya. They can hurt ya.


Game Notes -- 8/28

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Timber Rattlers defeated the Burlington Bees 6-4. Juan Beltran belted a two-out, two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning to break a 4-4 tie. Andrew Barb pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

BELTRAN’S BLAST: The Rattler catcher hit his first home run of the season last night to cap a 3-for-3 night. The homer for Beltran was his first since July 23, 2006 when he hit one for the Arizona League affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. Beltran reached base four times last night. He singled, doubled, and was hit by a pitch in his other three plate appearances.

HOT AND COLD: Tom Ellis made his first start as a Timber Rattler last night. He worked three innings. Ellis did not allow a run in his first two innings, but in the third, he gave up three runs on four hits. Brady Everett hit a two-run homer in the third to put the Bees in front 3-0. Ellis has given up one home run in each of his last four appearances with Wisconsin. Ellis allowed six hits and struck out three in his start.

ADVENTURES IN BASE RUNNING: Five Burlington Bees were thrown out on the bases last night. In the second inning, Kurt Mertins was thrown out at the plate trying to score from third on a grounder to third for the first out and Jeff Howell was picked off first by Beltran for the second out. In the third inning, Jesus Soto was thrown out by Leury Bonilla trying to stretch a single into a double. In the fourth, Jamar Walton tried to score from third on a pitch that got away from Beltran, but Walton was tagged out by pitcher Rollie Gibson. Beltran threw out Luis Castillo trying to steal in the eighth inning.

DECISION DAY: Barb picked up his first win since the second game of a double header on May 13 with his performance last night. Barb made his second appearance since coming off the disabled list last night.

SPLITSVILLE: The Timber Rattlers earned a split in their four game series with the Bees by winning the final two games of the series at Community Field.

TWENTY: In their last 20 games, Wisconsin is 11-9.

ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The Clinton LumberKings are the Midwest League affiliate of the Texas Rangers. They are 26-37 in the second half of the season, but are in the Midwest League playoffs as the first wild card in the Western Division. The LumberKings are 67-63 overall. Clinton is coming off a four game series at Kane County in which they were 1-3. The manager of the LumberKings is Mike Micucci.

THE SEASON SERIES: The Rattlers are 2-2 against the Clinton LumberKings this season. All four games were played at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. This is the first time Wisconsin is at Alliant Energy Field this season.

COMPARE & CONTRAST: The Timber Rattlers are hitting .246 as a team (T-11th in the Midwest League). The LumberKings are hitting .248 (10th) as team. Wisconsin has scored 519 runs (12th) and Clinton has tallied 567 runs (7th). The Rattlers have 65 homers (13th) while Clinton has hit 73 (10th). Wisconsin’s team ERA is 4.08 (10th). Clinton’s pitchers have an ERA of 3.56 (6th).

PROSPECTING: BASEBALL AMERICA places three members of the current Clinton roster on their list of top thirty prospects in the Ranger organization. Pitcher Kasey Kiker, the first round pick of Texas in 2006, is rated seventh. Shortstop Marcus Lemon, the son of former major leaguer Chet Lemon, is ranked twelfth. Second baseman Jose Vallejo is rated 29th.

OUT OF THE DRAFT: The LumberKings have two members of the 2007 Texas draft class on their active roster. Pitchers Evan Reed (3rd round) and Josh Lueke (16th round) are both on the roster.

CLINTON STARTER: Evan Reed was the 3rd round pick of the Texas Rangers in the 2007 draft out of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California. He was 4-3 with 11 saves in 32 appearances (all in relief) for the Mustangs before signing with the Rangers. Reed started his professional career with Spokane in the Northwest League and appeared in seven games (four starts) with no record, one save, and an ERA of 2.04. Reed is making his first appearance against the Rattlers, but he made his first pro start against Everett, Seattle’s Northwest League affiliate, on July 25 with six strikeouts over three hitless, scoreless innings. In his last start for the LumberKings, Reed went five innings against Quad Cities on August 22 for a no decision. He allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeout.

A little Swing music

Actually, SWING news...I was watching the noon news on KWQC. There was a promo about the Your Team...Your Name contest that the SWING are running to replace the SWING nickname.

Some of the names that fans were using on the promo spot were River Bandits, Harvesters, and Quads...Quad Cities Quads? That's different. Think about the mascot they could have for that.

It sounds like the decision will be coming soon.

Also, last week there was a meet the new owners article at qctimes.net

Facing the music: Swing owner-to-be hopes to connect with fans

As fans enter John O’Donnell Stadium for a Swing of the Quad-Cities game these days, they are greeted on the concourse by a tall, slender man wearing a broad smile.

He says “hello,” then listens intently to what the fan has to say after he tells him that he is the prospective owner of the Quad-Cities’ Midwest League franchise.

Dave Heller has spent much of the summer with his ears and eyes open as he gets to know the Quad-Cities and as the Quad-Cities gets to know one of the two impending owners of a franchise in its 48th year of operation.
In its history, the Quad-Cities franchise has operated under the umbrella of four different ownership groups.

The local Quad-City Baseball Fans Association ran the club as a non-profit corporation from 1960 until 1986. It sold the club to Chicago businessman Harry Semrow, who owned it for one year before it was sold to another Chicago businessman, Richard Holtzman.

Kevin Krause, the head of Seventh Inning Stretch, finalized his purchase of the club from Holtzman nine years ago and unlike Semrow and Holtzman, Krause relocated to the Quad-Cities to take an active role in operating the team.

Heller said that while ownership can set a tone for the way a franchise conducts itself, he also thinks a team approach is necessary.

“The idea of having one or two people run a club isn’t practical in this size of a market. It takes a team approach and we expect our team to be actively involved in the community,” he said.

“Everybody on our staff will be active and we’ll be involved in charitable activities from both a sponsorship aspect and from the aspect of hosting events at our facility to assist others in their efforts.

Check out the whole article

Midwest League Notebook

The Midwest League Notebook is up at the league website.

Here's the latest on the LumberKings

SO FAR THIS SEASON: The LumberKings are 25-36 in the second half and are in seventh place in the Western Division.

WHO'S HOT: 3B Mauro Gomez is batting .303 (10-for-33) with six runs scored over his last 10 games. ... SS Jay Hafner is hitting .348 (8-for-23) over his last seven games with four RBIs and three runs scored.

WHO'S NOT: C Chad Tracy is hitting just .182 (6-for-33) with two RBIs over his last 10 games. ... SS Jose Vallejo is batting a mere .088 (3-for-34) over his last nine games.

DID YOU KNOW: 2B Jose Vallejo is second in the league with 39 stolen bases. ... LHP Zach Phillips also ranks second with 140 strikeouts.

Hotel Room Art (Clinton edition)

I was looking for the picture in my hotel room on-line so that I could get something on here without the reflection of the flashbulb. Here it is...

Whoops. That was Monet's Poppy Field. This painting below is the one in the hotel room.

You can see where I would be confused.

Hotel Windows (Clinton Edition)

Three things to take away from this picture.

1.) The screen in my hotel window looks particularly sturdy
2.) Lassiter's either got a paint job or new siding
3.) Lassiter's knew I was coming into town

The other AFL

The Arizona Fall League rosters (most of them) have been announced. The Mariners send their players to the Peoria Javelinas.

That second link is to a .PDF of a roster for the Javelinas. There are some ex-Rattlers on the roster.

Pitchers Stephen Kahn and Joe Woerman. Note that there is also another spot open for another Seattle pitcher.

Catcher Jeff Clement and infielder Yung Chi Chen are also on the roster.

I have not seen anything about Hawaii Winter Baseball yet. That may be a few days away.

Anothe view on Tony Butler

I saw this note out there at Lookout Landing and Mariner Minors, but thought it might be worth it to post here.

John Sickles of Minorleagueball.com...among other things...was at Sunday's game in Burlington. He has a few pictures and a brief write-up of Tony Butler.

Midwest League Action -- 8/27 (Updated)

Complete 8/27 scoreboard is HERE.

Rattlers 6, @Burlington 4: Beltran hit the first pitch from Morales to deep left for his first home run since last July and put the Rattlers up 6-4. (ADDED: Link to The Hawkeye story) "I think a lot of times with young players late in the season when they're out of the playoffs, it's easy for them to start looking forward to going home," Gabella said. "You can't do that. They're being paid to play the game and we need to play the game the way it's supposed to be played.

Clinton 9, @Kane County 0: A day after pulling within a game of the West Division wild card, Cougars pitchers allowed two big innings Monday while the offense never got going in a 9-0 loss to Clinton. The Cougars are now a game behind both Cedar Rapids and Peoria for the wild card with seven games to go.

@West Michigan 5, Dayton 4: "A different guy has come through and everytime we knew we were going to win, you kind of feel it, especially coming off the two wins like that," [Joe] Tucker said, who went 2-for-5. "It's exciting to be in games like this, especially going into playoff time where games will probably be close like this."

@Fort Wayne 6, South Bend 3: "It was a nice win for the last game of the season at home,” manager Doug Dascenzo said. “It wasn’t the prettiest game of all, but we came out on top.”

@Lansing 7, Great Lakes 4: Kyle Ginley struck out eight over seven innings Monday to lead the Lansing Lugnuts...

@Peoria 4, Beloit 2: "I got a few good swings on the ball," [Marquez] Smith said. "My teammates put me in a few good situations to get some RBIs, so I was able to get them in."

@Quad Cities 6, Cedar Rapids 3: Cedar Rapids arrived late after its team bus broke down shortly after the Kernels left their home stadium for the 85-mile commute to the Quad-Cities.

Mariner System Report (Games of 8/27)

SEATTLE (MAJ: 73-56; 2nd AL West): The Mariners lost 6-0 to the Angels. Raul Ibanez (Foxes ’94) had two hits, but Seattle lost their third in a row.

TACOMA (AAA: 65-72; 3rd Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers won 7-6 at Las Vegas. Jeff Clement (’05) had three hits and a homer -- one of five in the game for Tacoma. Cesar Jimenez (’03) allowed a run in the ninth, but got the save.

WEST TENNESSEE (AA: 59-74 overall; 28-35 second half; 5th second half Southern League North Division): The Diamond Jaxx beat Huntsville 5-3. Mike Wilson (’05) homered and Mumba Rivera (’05) got the save for West Tennessee.

HIGH DESERT (High-A: 52-81 overall; 21-42 second half; 5th second half California League South Division): The Mavericks were off on Monday.

EVERETT (Short Season-A: 30-37; 4th Northwest League West Division): The AquaSox beat Salem-Keizer 7-3. Joe Dunigan had three hits, hit a home run, drove in two runs, and scored three for Everett.

AZL Mariners (Rookie: 36-18 overall; 16-10 second half 2nd Arizona League): The AZL M’s beat the Athletics 5-2.

Mariner system schedule 8/28:
Los Angeles (Ervin Santana 5-12) at Seattle (Jeff Weaver 6-10) 9:05pm CDT
Tacoma (Ryan Feierabend 6-4) at Las Vegas (Dwayne Pollok 1-2) 9:11pm CDT
West Tennessee (Justin Thomas 4-8) at Huntsville (Steve Hammond 7-8) 7:05pm CDT
Rancho Cucamonga (Steve Marek 8-9) at High Desert (Cibney Bello 5-9) 9:05pm CDT
Eugene at Everett 9:05pm CDT
AZL Mariners at AZL Giants 9:00pm CDT

Baseball History -- August 28

Complete entry for August 28 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entry
In a Midwest League game‚ the Mattoon Phillies score 19 runs in the first inning against Michigan City. Bill Jonletz and Charlie Randall each score 3 runs in the frame.

Head to MWLGuide.com for a brief look at the 1956 Midwest League season, the history of the Mattoon franchise, and the history of the Michigan City franchise. There is a name at the Michigan City page that may surprise you.


Game Notes -- 8/27

ABOUT SUNDAY: The Timber Rattlers beat the Bees 7-0. Tony Butler tossed a four-hit complete game shutout with eight strikeouts for his third straight win. Jamie McOwen had a pair of doubles and an RBI for Wisconsin. Joe White added three hits and an RBI while Calvin Beamon added a pair of RBI.

BUTLER DID IT: The lefty out of Oak Creek, Wisconsin pitched his first professional complete game shutout yesterday. He walked two and used just over 100 pitches to finish off the Bees. Burlington got a runner to third base only twice in the game – both times with two outs. The Bees had two runners on base only once.

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING ERA: Butler is 3-0 with a no decision and an ERA of 1.84 in his last four starts. His overall ERA has dropped from 6.84 to 4.99 in those last four starts. Butler has walked seven and struck out 22 over his last 29-1/3 innings pitched during the four starts.

THE LAST TIME(S): The last 9-inning complete game shutout by a Rattler pitcher was on April 30, 2005. Aaron Jensen shutout the South Bend Silver Hawks at Coveleski Regional Stadium on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in a 4-0 Rattler win on that day. The last 9-inning complete game by a Rattler was by Paul Fagan on June 24, 2006 against Kane County in a 2-1 win.

THIRD TIME: Sunday was the third time the Rattlers have held an opponent scoreless this season. Wisconsin shutout Kane County 1-0 on May 21. Ricky Orta tossed a 7-inning complete game shutout against Cedar Rapids in game two of a double header on July 4.

CAN’T DO IT WITHOUT A LITTLE OFFENSE: McOwen’s first double of the day was a two-out RBI double in the second inning to put the Rattlers up 1-0. The Rattlers tacked on single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Wisconsin added a pair of runs in the seventh and eighth.

NEW FACES CONTRIBUTE: The latest additions to the Rattler roster helped out in the win yesterday. Third baseman Guy Welsh singled, doubled, drove in a run, and scored two runs. Catcher Julian Henson singled and threw out a would-be base stealer in the third inning.

IN THE HIVE: On Sunday, the Rattlers beat the Bees at Community Field for the first time this season. Wisconsin was 0-4 this season and had lost five straight in Burlington. The last Rattler win in Burlington was on July 22, 2006.

BURLINGTON STARTER: Edward Cegarra was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Royals out of the Dominican Republic in 2005. Last season, Cegarra was 3-1 with a 1.39 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) for Kansas City’s team in the Dominican Summer League. Cegarra joined the Bees in early June of this season. He is making his first appearance against the Timber Rattlers. In his last start, Cegarra pitched three innings and allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits against the Beloit Snappers on August 17 at Pohlman Field. Cegarra allowed two homers, hit a batter, and struck out one in that game. He has lost his last five decisions.

Pitching probables for Clinton series (8/28-31)

TUE: RHP Steve Richard (6-4, 3.57) vs. RHP Evan Reed (1-0, 1.64)
WED: RHP Ricky Orta (4-6, 4.78) vs. LHP Beau Jones (3-1, 2.25)
THU: RHP Kyle Parker (4-10, 3.41) vs. RHP Jeremiah Haar (6-4, 3.82)
FRI: LHP Tony Butler (3-7, 4.99) vs. LHP Zach Phillips (11-6, 2.78)

Midwest League Action -- 8/26

Complete 8/26 scoreboard HERE.

Rattlers 7, @Burlington 0: "You have to give [Butler] credit because he did a good job changing speeds and throwing strikes," [Bee manager Jim] Gabella said. "He's the kind of pitcher you can't pull. You have to go the other way against him. But we just never got rolling today on offense; we never got the baserunners on."

@Quad Cities 1, Cedar Rapids 0 (F/11): “We needed this one any way we could get it,” Daryl Jones said after scoring the only run in the pitchers duel. “Not just for the race, but to get some confidence back, we needed to come out of here with a win after losing the last couple of games.”

Dayton 9, @West Michigan 3: "Does it mean a lot? No," [Tom] Brookens said. "We'd like to be playing well and clicking on all cylinders down the stretch. But we've played tough all year. This wasn't that important, but having said that, you don't take anything for granted."

@Fort Wayne 5, South Bend 1: “I started out real bad this year, but lately I’ve been pitching well,” [Aaron] Breit said. “It helps me with my confidence pitching like this in front of the home crowd one more time.”

@Lansing 8, Great Lakes 7: The Lansing Lugnuts scored eight runs in the first four innings Sunday and held on to defeat the Great Lakes Loons 8-7 at Oldsmobile Park. Despite being outhit 17-8, the Lugnuts were able to strand 11 Loons baserunners, including leaving the tying run at second in the ninth inning.

Beloit 2, @Peoria 1: Joe Benson 2-for-4, run scored.

@Kane County 2, Clinton 0: “We’re just playing loose and having fun,” [Scott] Deal said. “Early on, it was like who’s going to make the error and make us lose. Now everyone’s just having fun and it’s a lot looser in the clubhouse.”

Mariner System Report (Games of 8/26)

SEATTLE (MAJ: 73-55; 2nd AL West): The Mariners lost 5-3 at Texas. Former UW-Oshkosh Titan Jarrod Washburn allowed three runs over six innings and took the loss, the second straight to the Rangers.

TACOMA (AAA: 64-72; 3rd Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers lost 5-3 to Portland. Robert Rohrbaugh (’05) allowed two runs over six innings, but took the loss. Bryan LaHair (’04) had three hits and Rob Johnson (’05) drove in a run for the Rainiers, but a late rally fell short.

WEST TENNESSEE (AA: 58-74 overall; 27-35 second half; 5th second half Southern League North Division): The Diamond Jaxx split a doubleheader at Huntsville. The Diamond Jaxx won game one 2-1 with Luis Oliveros (’02) collecting two hits and driving in one run. Huntsville won game two 4-0 as West Tennessee had four hits.

HIGH DESERT (High-A: 52-81 overall; 21-42 second half; 5th second half California League South Division): The Mavericks lost 3-2 at Modesto. Marwin Vega (’06) allowed three runs (one earned) over seven innings, but took the loss as Brandon Hynick won his 16th game of the season for the Nuts...with a little help from the bullpen.

EVERETT (Short Season-A: 29-37; 4th Northwest League West Division): The AquaSox lost 15-1 at Salem-Keizer. The win was the 51st of the season for the Volcanoes.

AZL Mariners (Rookie: 35-18 overall; 15-10 second half T-2nd Arizona League): The AZL M’s beat the Cubs 11-4.

Mariner system schedule 8/27:
Los Angeles (John Lackey 15-8) at Seattle (Miguel Batista 13-9) 9:05pm CDT
Tacoma (Sean White 0-1) at Las Vegas (Spike Lundberg 7-5) 7:11pm CDT
West Tennessee (Doug Fister 6-8) at Huntsville (Lindsay Gullin 11-5) 7:05pm CDT
High Desert – OFF DAY
Everett (Juan Ramirez 2-6) at Salem-Keizer (Ryan McGrath 1-4) 8:35pm CDT
AZL Athletics at AZL Mariners 9:00pm

Baseball History -- August 27

Complete entry for August 27 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entry
Phillies Steve Carlton (20-7) becomes the first NL pitcher to win 20 games this season‚ combining with Tug McGraw to beat the Dodgers‚ 4-3. Carlton will win an NL-high 24 games‚ while pitching 304 innings‚ the last ML pitcher to throw more than 300 innings in a season.

It's been 27 years since a pitcher has tossed 300 innings in a season...interesting.


Game Notes -- 8/26

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Bees beat the Timber Rattlers 4-1. Three Burlington pitchers combined to hold the Rattlers to two hits. Jason Godin went five innings as the starter and got the win. Kurt Mertins broke a 1-1 tie with a two-out, RBI single in the third inning. Michael Thompson hit a two run homer in the fourth for the final runs of the game.

THE LAST HIT: Juan Beltran’s two-out RBI single in the top of the second inning tied the game 1-1. It was also the second and final hit for the Rattlers. Wisconsin’s only other hit last night was a two-out double by Reed Eastley in the first inning.

TOUGH LOSS: Rattler starting pitcher Kyle Parker allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits over four innings. The Bees scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning. The other three runs were scored by Burlington after there were two outs.

HUMAN STOP SIGN: Burlington catcher Jeff Howell threw out three runners at second base last night. He caught Kuo Hui Lo and Calvin Beamon attempting to steal second in the fourth and sixth innings. Joe White attempted to get to second on a ball that got away from Howell in the seventh inning and was out, too.

THE LONG BALL: The home run by Thompson was his nineteenth of the season. He is fourth in the Midwest League in homers.

ONE IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER: The Rattlers have scored one run in a game twenty times this season. They are 1-19 in those games.

OUT OF CONTENTION: The Wisconsin loss coupled with a Cedar Rapids win officially eliminated the Timber Rattlers from playoff contention. The Kernels currently hold the Western Division second half wild card spot and Wisconsin is 10-1/2 games behind Cedar Rapids.

YEAR TWO: This is the first time in Timber Rattler history that the team has missed the playoffs two consecutive seasons. The seasons that the Rattlers have missed the playoffs are: 1995, 2002, 2004, and 2006.

TROUBLE AT THE HIVE: The Rattlers are 0-4 at Community Field this season.

BURLINGTON STARTER: Mario Santiago was signed as a non-drafted free agent in June of 2005 by the Royals after attending Laredo Community College and Baton Rouge Community College. In 2006, Santiago made twelve appearances (eight starts) for the Bees and went 3-6 with a 5.37ERA. Santiago is 5-9 with a save in 24 appearances (18 starts) for the Bees in 2007. In his last start, Santiago lost at Cedar Rapids as he allowed five runs on nine hits over 5-2/3 innings on August 21. Santiago has lost his last two starts. This is his first appearance against the Timber Rattlers. Santiago did face Seattle’s Arizona League affiliate in 2005. He was 0-1 and allowed four runs on six hits over two innings in two relief appearances.

Pitching change for Monday...

Tom Ellis will make the start for the Timber Rattlers Monday at Community Field. Anthony Varvaro's turn in the rotation is being skipped.

Midwest League Action -- 8/25

Complete 8/25 scoreboard is HERE.

@Burlington 4, Rattlers 1: "We might be out of the playoff hunt, but we try to tell the guys to play the game the right way, not matter if it's a game like tonight or the seventh game of the World Series," Bees manager Jim Gabella said. "We want them to go out and play hard. This was a game that showed what we're capable of."

@Fort Wayne 5, South Bend 4; South Bend 4, @Fort Wayne 1: “Right now, it’s just nice to get the win,” [Jeremy Hunt] said, laughing. “We always try to stay positive, though it is very difficult at times when we’re getting down like that. We still have our heads above water and just are trying to finish out the season on a strong note.”

@Kane County 5, Clinton 1: Trevor Cahill contributed his 10th quality start in 13 outings to become a 10-game winner...

@West Michigan 5, Dayton 4: "I can't recall winning a game on a hit batter," Whitecaps manager Tom Brookens said. "It's a crazy game and you take it ... you take it any way you can.

@Lansing 6, Great Lakes 2: Lansing took the lead quickly by scoring twice in the first inning.

@Peoria 6, Beloit 0: It wasn't until Jose Ceda, the fourth Peoria Chiefs' reliever in the game, struck out Garrett Olson to end the sixth no-hitter in franchise history that anxiety left.

Cedar Rapids 4, @Quad Cities 1: “We can talk to them, hold closed-door meetings, work with them day after day, but in the end, the players are the ones who have to get it done. They have to want it and go out and get it and right now, I don’t see enough fight,’’ [Keith] Mitchell said.

Mariner System Report (Games of 8/25)

SEATTLE (MAJ: 73-54; 2nd AL West): The Mariners lost 5-3 at Texas. The Rangers scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie.

TACOMA (AAA: 64-71; 3rd Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers beat Portland 6-0. Jorge Campillo got the win with seven scoreless innings. Rob Johnson (’05) drove in a pair of runs and Bryan LaHair (’04) homered for Tacoma.

WEST TENNESSEE (AA: 57-73 overall; 26-34 second half; 5th second half Southern League North Division): The Diamond Jaxx were rained out in Huntsville.

HIGH DESERT (High-A: 52-80 overall; 21-41 second half; 5th second half California League South Division): The Mavericks lost 4-0 at Modesto. It was the second game in a row in which the Mavericks were shutout on three hits.

EVERETT (Short Season-A: 29-36; 4th Northwest League West Division): The AquaSox lost 5-3 at Salem-Keizer. Jim Davenport drove in all three Everett runs, but Everett hitters struck out seventeen times.

AZL Mariners (Rookie: 34-18 overall; 14-10 second half 3rd Arizona League): The AZL M’s were off on Saturday.

Mariner system schedule 8/26:
Seattle (Jarrod Washburn 9-10) at Texas (Vicente Padilla 3-9) 7:35pm CDT
Portland (Richie Daigle 0-0) at Tacoma (Robert Rohrbaugh 6-2) 3:35pm CDT
West Tennessee (Travis Chick 5-6) at Huntsville (Corey Thurman 4-7) 5:05pm CDT
West Tennessee (Chris Jakubauskas 0-2) at Huntsville (Derek Miller 5-2) – GAME TWO
High Desert (Marwin Vega 5-8) at Modesto (Brandon Hynick 15-4) 8:05pm CDT
Everett at Salem-Keizer 7:05pm CDT
AZL Mariners at AZL Cubs 9:00pm

Baseball History -- August 26

Complete entry for August 26 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entry
In the 8th inning of a 5-5 game at Wrigley Field‚ Cubs 3B Norm McMillan hits a line drive down the LF line with the bases loaded. Reds LF Evar Swanson‚ shaded toward center‚ can't find the ball‚ which he sees bounce off a gutter in foul territory. McMillan circles the bases and 4 runs score. Later‚ Cubs relief P Ken Penner picks up his jacket in the bullpen and discovers the ball in his right sleeve. It is Chicago's 8th grand slam of the year.

Who says that the Cibs don't get the breaks?


Game Notes -- 8/25

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Burlington Bees beat the Timber Rattlers 4-3. Blake Wood pitched five scoreless innings for the win. Rattler starting pitcher Ricky Orta allowed three runs over six innings and took the loss.

A LATE START: Friday’s game, which was scheduled for a 7:00pm start, did not begin until 8:11pm. There was threatening weather in the area that postponed the start of the game,

ONE BAD INNING: The Bees scored three times with two outs in the bottom of the third inning to take the early lead. A two-out, infield single by Jeff Bianchi drove in the first run of the game. Luis Castillo knocked in the final two runs of the inning with a single. Those were the only three runs allowed by Orta on the night.

SCATTERING: The Timber Rattlers collected six hits and drew two walks against Wood last night, but failed to score against him. Wood induced a pair of double play balls and stranded six runners on bases.

NEEDED A HIT: The Rattlers went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position against Wood. This season, the Rattlers are hitting .250 as a team with runners in scoring position in 2007. They are hitting .245 with runners in scoring position and two outs this season.

GET CLOSER; FALL BEHIND: The Rattlers got a run against Burlington reliever Henry Barrera in the top of the sixth. Gavin Dickey scored from second on a throwing error by Bianchi. The Bees went back up by three runs when Jesus Soto hit a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh.

LATE RALLY: Wisconsin staged an attempted comeback in the top of the ninth inning. Bonilla doubled to start the inning against Angelo Morales. Juan Beltran doubled with one out to drive in Bonilla. Juan Diaz singled to get Beltran to third. Ron Garth came up with a two-out RBI single to drive in Beltran and get Diaz to second with the tying run. But, Morales got the final out for the save.

HOW CLOSE? In the month of August, the Rattlers have a record of 12-11. Of the eleven losses this month, five have been by one run and two others have been by two runs.

IN ADDITION: In five of those close losses, the Rattlers have had the go ahead run at the plate or on base in their final at bat.

BURLINGTON STARTER: Jason Godin was the 5th round pick of the Royals in the 2006 draft out of Old Dominion University. Godin was 8-3 with a 4.06ERA in 15 starts (six complete games) in his final season with the Monarchs. He was 0-1 with a 2.49ERA in six games (four starts) with Idaho Falls in the Pioneer League after signing with Kansas City. Godin started the season with the Bees, but moved up to Wilmington in the Carolina League in late May and made five appearances (four starts) for the Blue Rocks. In that brief time in High-A, Godin was 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA. In his last start for the Bees, Godin allowed one run on three hits over five innings against Cedar Rapids. However, despite striking out four, Godin took the loss at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Tonight is Godin’s first appearance against the Timber Rattlers. It is also his first appearance against an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. Godin is rated as the 29th best prospect in the Kansas City organization.

Hotel Windows & Hotel Art (Burlington 2.0)

Same room and same view as last time the team was here. Recycling the pictures from back in May....

First, the pastoral themed art..

The view in May...

and the view in August...

The screen couldn't be removed...without too much effort...is the reason I'm using for why it's more blurry in August than it was in May.

Actually, judging from the angle, I am one room to the left of the one I was in back in May. Still the same pictures on the wall, though.

Midwest League Action -- 8/24

Complete 8/24 MWL Scoreboard HERE.

@Burlington 4, Rattlers 3: [Blake] Wood hasn't allowed a run in 17 innings over his last three starts and the Bees are now 4-1 against Wisconsin this year.

@West Michigan 5, Dayton 4: "This was a great win, that's all I can tell you," Brookens said. "I just like the way the guys battled. And when you see them battle like they did and pull a game out, that gives the manager a great feeling of satisfaction.

@Lansing 4, Great Lakes 1: With runners at first and second, Jonathan Diaz laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over. However Loons hurler Chris Malone threw the ball away, which allowed Sean Shoffit to score and make it a 1-0 game.

@Peoria 4, Beloit 2: "(I) wanted to do my job and go six or seven innings," [Robert] Hernandez said through Chiefs hitting coach Julio Garcia as translator. "That was my mind-set from the get-go."

@Kane County 5, Clinton 0: Jason Fernandez and Nick Walters combined on a four-hitter as Kane County blanked visiting Clinton, 5-0, on Friday.

Cedar Rapids 9, @Quad Cities 0: Footsteps from surging Cedar Rapids weren’t the only thing the Swing of the Quad-Cities heard Friday night. The team also heard an earful of advice and reassurance from manager Keith Mitchell during a 15-minute, closed-door meeting that followed a 9-0 flop of a loss to the Kernels at John O’Donnell Stadium.

South Bend @ Fort Wayne (PPD): For the third time in six days, the Wizards had a game postponed by rain. Fort Wayne is trying to weather the storms, both literally and figuratively, as the season nears a close.

Mariner System Report (Games of 8/24)

SEATTLE (MAJ: 73-53; 2nd AL West): The Mariners beat Texas 4-2. Carlos Guillen homered and drove in a pair of runs. Felix Hernandez (’03) allowd two runs on three hits over six innings for his tenth win. JJ Putz (’00) pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 37th save and to get Seattle to twenty games over .500.

TACOMA (AAA: 63-71; 3rd Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers beat Portland 5-2. Wladimir Balentien (’04) and Jeff Clement (’05) each drove in a run for Tacoma. Nick Green hit a key two-run homer for the Rainiers.

WEST TENNESSEE (AA: 57-73 overall; 26-34 second half; 5th second half Southern League North Division): The Diamond Jaxx beat Chattanooga 5-2. Marshal Hubbard (’05) had a pair of RBI to pace the offense. Andy Baldwin pitched a complete game for the win.

HIGH DESERT (High-A: 52-79 overall; 21-40 second half; 5th second half California League South Division): The Mavericks lost 9-0 at Modesto. High Desert had three hits in the loss.

EVERETT (Short Season-A: 29-35; 4th Northwest League West Division): The AquaSox beat Spokane 1-0. Blake Ochoa (’07) had two hits and drove in the only run of the game. Doug Salinas and Nick Hill combined on a four hit shutout for Everett's fourth straight win.

AZL Mariners (Rookie: 34-18 overall; 14-10 second half 3rd Arizona League): The AZL M’s beat the Brewers 8-6.

Mariner system schedule 8/25:
Seattle (Horacio Ramirez 8-4) at Texas (Jamey Wright 3-5) 7:35pm CDT
Portland (Mike Thompson 4-9) at Tacoma (Jorge Campillo 8-6) 9:05pm CDT
West Tennessee (Travis Chick 5-6) at Chattanooga (Corey Thurman 4-7) 6:15pm CDT
High Desert (Nathan Adcock 1-3) at Modesto (Alan Johnson 12-7) 9:05pm CDT
Everett at Salem-Keizer 9:05pm CDT
AZL Mariners – OFF DAY

Baseball History -- August 25

Complete entry for August 25 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entry
Moonlight Graham dies in Chisholm‚ MN. Graham played in one ML game‚ for the 1905 Giants‚ and did not get to bat. His character in W.P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe‚ later played by Burt Lancaster in the movie Field of Dreams made him a baseball household name.

You know where this is going...

Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham: You know we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, well, there'll be other days. I didn't realize that that was the only day.
Ray Kinsella: Fifty years ago, for five minutes you came within... y-you came this close. It would KILL some men to get so close to their dream and not touch it. God, they'd consider it a tragedy.

Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham: Son, if I'd only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes... now that would have been a tragedy.


Game Notes -- 8/24

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Wisconsin capped off a 16-game home stand with a 9-4 win over the Peoria Chiefs. Alex Liddi had two hits and three RBI to lead the Rattler offense. Steve Richard pitched five hitless innings for his sixth win of the season.

TOSSING ZEROS: Richard made his first start since July 23 a good one. He walked three and struck out five over the five scoreless innings. Richard’s win was his sixth of the season. He leads the Timber Rattlers in that category.

BUONA SERRA: Liddi had his second three RBI game of the season last night. It was his eleventh multi-RBI night of the season. Liddi has 52 RBI and took over the team lead from Carlos Peguero last night.

CIAO: The Seattle Mariners have allowed Liddi to participate in an international tournament of Italy. Thursday night was his last game with the Rattlers this season.

LO DOWN: Kuo Hui Lo lined a second inning homer off Arik Hempy to put the Rattlers up 1-0. The homer was Lo’s fourth of the season.

BIG INNING: Wisconsin scored five runs in the bottom of the third inning to go up 6-0. Three of those runs scored without a hit. Jamie McOwen and Juan Beltran drew bases loaded walks to force in runs and another run scored on a wild pitch.

END OF THE STAND: The Rattlers went 9-7 on the just completed 16-game home stand.

MEET THE NEW GUYS: Julian Henson and Guy Welsh are the two new players on the Rattler roster. Henson, a 33rd round pick of the Mariners in 2005, is a catcher and replaced Jair Fernandez on the roster. Fernandez went on the disabled list before Thursday’s game. Henson spent three games with the Rattlers in 2006, but spent the majority of his time with Seattle’s Arizona League affiliate where he hit .203 with no homers and 5 RBI. Welsh replaces Liddi on the roster. He was the 18th round pick of the Mariners out of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in the 2007 draft. Welsh hit .345 with five homers and 49 RBI in 57 games in his final season at UNCG. After signing with the Mariners, he went to play for the Arizona League Mariners and hit .228 with no homers and seven RBI.

ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The Burlington Bees are the Midwest League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. They are 27-31 in the second half of the season. The Bees are 10 games out of first and 5-1/2 games out of the wild card spot in the second half standings of the Western Division. Overall, Burlington is 57-70. The Bees are managed by Jim Gabella.

THE SEASON SERIES: The Rattlers are 1-3 against the Bees in 2007. Burlington beat the Rattlers twice at Community Field over May 29 and 30. Burlington won on May 31 on Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium before the Rattlers beat the Bees 2-1 in 13 innings on June 1.

COMPARE & CONTRAST: The Rattlers and Bees are tied for 11th in the Midwest League team batting average category at .246. The Rattlers are 12th in the league in runs scored (502), while Burlington is 14th in the league (481). Wisconsin has 64 home runs (13th) while the Bees have 72 (T-9th). Wisconsin’s pitching staff has an ERA of 4.11 (10th). Burlington pitchers have an ERA of 4.16 (11th).

PROSPECTING: BASEBALL AMERICA placed six members of the current Burlington Bee roster on their list of Top 30 Royal Prospects before the 2007 season began. Shortstop Jeff Bianchi (#11) is the highest rated player. Pitcher Blake Wood (#14) is the only other player in the top 20. The other Bees on the list are: outfielder Derrick Robinson (#21), infielder Kurt Mertins (#26), outfielder Joe Dickerson (#28), and pitcher Jason Godin (#29).

OUT OF THE DRAFT: There are no members of the 2007 Kansas City draft class on the current Burlington roster.

BURLINGTON STARTER: Blake Wood was selected by Kansas City in the 3rd round of the 2006 draft out of Georgia Tech. Wood was 11-4 with a 4.79ERA in his junior season with the Yellowjackets. He spent 2006 with Idaho Falls in the Pioneer League and was 3-1 with a 4.50 ERA in twelve starts. Wood started 2007 on the injury list and got into action with four starts for Kansas City’s Arizona League affiliate. He had no decisions in those starts, but allowed just two unearned runs on nine hits with no walks and 15 strikeouts over 9-2/3 innings. Wood is the reigning Midwest League Pitcher of the Week after his last start. He did not allow a hit or run walked two and struck out five through eight innings against Quad Cities on August 19. Wood got a no decision in the game as the Swing scored two in the top of the ninth inning for a 2-1 win. Tonight is the first time Wood will face the Timber Rattlers and an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

Rattler Roster move (8/24)

Alex Liddi has been moved off the Timber Rattler roster to play for the Italian National team in a tournament.

Joining the Timber Rattlers today from the AZL Mariners is Guy Welsh, an 18th round pick of the Mariners in the 2007 draft out of UNC-Greensboro.

Rattler Alumni Report

Over at the Rattler website, Jay has the latest Alumni Report. Find out about Emiliano Fruto, Chao Kuan Wu, and Tim Harikkala. Plus, Who's Hot & Who's Not. Hint: Eddy Hernandez is one; Peanut Williams is the other.

Midwest League Action -- 8/23

Complete 8/23 scoreboard HERE.

@Rattlers 9, Peoria 4: Aug. 23: Timber Rattlers 9, Peoria 4

Kane County 2, @Beloit 0; Kane County 6, @Beloit 2: Robertson, Snappers Drop Game One...Cougars Claim Game Two

@Cedar Rapids 7, Burlington 1; @Cedar Rapids 2, Burlington 1 (F/8): Kernels win seventh in a row, 7-1, over Burlington...Eight in a row! Smith’s walk-off HR gives Kernels 2-1 win

Quad Cities 3, @Clinton 2 (F/8); Quad Cities 7, Clinton 3: Swing rally for sweep

@Dayton 10, Fort Wayne 0: Four-game series showed Kainer at his very best

Lansing 8, @South Bend 1 (F/6): Rain mercifully ends night for Hawks

West Michigan 4, @Great Lakes 0: Loons, Coleman come up on short end of pitchers' duel

Mariner System Report (Games of 8/23)

SEATTLE (MAJ: 72-53; 2nd AL West): The Mariners beat Texas 9-4. Seattle trailed 3-1 before scoring seven times in the top of the sixth inning. Ichiro had three hits and three RBI in the game. Jeff Weaver allowed three runs over six innings for the win.

TACOMA (AAA: 62-71; 3rd Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers beat Portland 8-4. Nick Green was 4-for-4 with two homers and 5 RBI for Tacoma.

WEST TENNESSEE (AA: 56-73 overall; 25-34 second half; 5th second half Southern League North Division): The Diamond Jaxx beat Chattanooga 4-2. Joe Woerman (’06) allowed one run on five hits over eight innings for his seventh win of the season. Matt Tuiasosopo (’05) homered for West Tennessee.

HIGH DESERT (High-A: 52-78 overall; 21-39 second half; 5th second half California League South Division): The Mavericks beat Inland Empire 13-8. Andy Hargrove (’07) hit a pair of homers and Jeff Dominguez (’06) hit one home run for High Desert. Chris Tillman (’07) gave up six runs (two earned) on five hits with six walks and five strikeouts over five innings for the win.

EVERETT (Short Season-A: 28-35; 4th Northwest League West Division): The AquaSox beat Spokane 5-4. Greg Halman (’07) hit his fourteenth homer of the season for Everett. Rob Harmon (’07) pitched seven innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits with a walk and six strikeouts.

AZL Mariners (Rookie: 33-18 overall; 13-10 second half 3rd Arizona League): The AZL M’s beat the Rangers 8-6. Luis Nunez (’07) had three hits and four RBI in the win.

Mariner system schedule 8/24:
Seattle (Felix Hernandez 9-6) at Texas (Kevin Millwood 8-10) 7:35pm CDT
Portland (Jack Cassel 7-13) at Tacoma (Cha Seung Baek 1-0) 9:05pm CDT
West Tennessee (Andy Baldwin 4-12) at Chattanooga (Johnny Cueto 4-2) 6:15pm CDT
High Desert (Juan Zapata 1-3) vs. Modesto (Xavier Cedeno 5-7) 9:05pm CDT
Spokane at Everett 9:05pm CDT
AZL Brewers at AZL Mariners 9:00pm CDT
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