A little Steve Earle tonight:
I been down this road just searching' for the end
It don't go nowhere, it just brings you back again
Leaves you lonely and cold, standin' on the shoulder
But you've come too far to go back home
So you're walkin' on a nowhere road
SUN: RHP Kyle Parker (3-4, 2.45) vs. LHP Brad Furnish (1-3, 2.78)
MON: RHP Nathan Adcock (1-8, 3.82) vs. RHP Shaun Garceau (5-5, 3.82)
BAD HABIT: Wisconsin has been shutout six times this season. Swing pitchers are responsible for three of those shutouts.
THE HITS KEEP COMING: One of the four hits for the Rattlers last night was a third inning single from Juan Diaz. He extended his current hitting streak to nine games with that single. This is the second nine-game hitting streak for Diaz since joining the Rattlers.
CHANCES WERE: The game was scoreless in the top of the second inning and the Rattlers had runners at first and second against Hernandez. The Swing starter got out of the jam with a pair of grounders.
SECOND ACT: Orta walked the first two batters of the second inning. Both walks came on full counts. Donovan Solano singled in the first run of the game. Lopez followed with the three-run homer to right.
PUTTING IT AWAY: Quad Cities scored four more times in the fourth inning. Christian Reyes greeted Rattler reliever Brian Kappel with a run scoring sacrifice fly. Tim Dorn tripled in two runs and scored later in the inning on a single by Jaime Landin.
SOUNDS FAMILIAR: The Seattle Mariners selected Tim Dorn as a pitcher out of East Los Angeles Junior College in 14th round of the 2003 draft. He spent two seasons pitching for the AZL Mariners before being released in April of 2005. Dorn started the 2007 season with the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League and had 12 home runs in 34 games for the Miners before being signed by the Cardinals and assigned to the Swing.
SOMETHING TO WATCH FOR: The previous two times Quad Cities shutout the Rattlers, Wisconsin beat the Swing the next day.
OUT OF THE DRAFT: Steven Hill, the 13th round pick of the Cardinals in the 2007 draft, joined the Swing yesterday. Hill was selected out of Stephen F. Austin University where he hit 38 homers (including 24 in his last season there) over two seasons.
OPPOSING STARTER: Tyler Herron was the 46th player picked in the 2005 draft. The supplemental first round selection out of Wellington (FL) High School was 5-10 with a 4.67 in 27 starts over two seasons as a professional. He started the 2007 season 0-4 in his first seven appearances. Since then he is 7-0 with a save over eleven appearances (six starts). He has faced the Timber Rattlers three times (one start) and is 1-0 with a save. Herron has pitched 10-2/3 innings against the Rattlers and has allowed seven runs (six earned) on thirteen hits with no walks and fifteen strikeouts. In his last start, Herron picked up a win at Clinton. On June 26, he pitched four shutout innings in relief and gave up three hits with a walk and a strikeout.
While the 3-1/2 mile run to the cell phone store, the bulky replacement charger, and the 3-1/2 mile run-walk back to the hotel may have been needed (and truth be told -- the exercise part actually healthy for you), if you did not lose the charger in the first place, they would not have been necessary.
Not like I need a charger with the number of calls I get on the phone, but you just never know.
The sixth-inning brawl between the West Michigan Whitecaps and Lansing Lugnuts at Fifth Third Ballpark has resulted in a pair of significant casualties.
Whitecaps hitting instructor Benny Distefano suffered multiple fractures to the orbital bone in the right side of his face that'll require plastic surgery and catcher Louis Ott sustained a broken right ankle, manager Tom Brookens said.
Ott was the player for the Whitecaps who was hit in retaliation for Matt Lane being hit earlier in the game. Ott charged the mound after being hit and that was when the benches cleared.
Distefano was blindsided by a forearm by Lane.
There is video HERE and HERE (click on the Base-Brawl at Fifth Third Ballpark headline)
The ABC Station in Midland (where the Lugnuts played last night) had THIS story. Not to make fun of the brawl, but this story isn't afraid to ask the question, "What about the children?" Also, this story may read a bit choppy because it was written for a television newscast. Pictures are supposed to go with it.
Friday night, Lansing was in Midland taking on the Loons in a four-game series. While the organizations say fights are rare in the minors, parents are concerned over what their kids may see.
The Loons general manager says he's seen 500 minor league games and not one fight.
Thursday night's brawl may not be a typical day at the park, especially when it's all about the family fun entertainment. Parents say they don't want their kids to see it.
"Incidents like this are very rare in minor league baseball," said general manager Paul Barbeau.
Lugnuts play-by-play announcer says the incident is long forgotten.
"It's done," said announcer Brad Tillery. "The GMs talked, coaches talked. It's water under the bridge."
Lansing is in Midland for the next few days. Minor league baseball prides itself on family fun entertainment.
"The success of minor league baseball is that it focuses around the family," Barbeau said.
Parents say they expect that when they come to a game.
"It brings out bad sportsmanship," said parent Kim Crowl. "This is our first game and I hope nothing like that happens."
@Quad Cities 8, Rattlers 0: Shutout by the SWING. That whole tandem starter thing for Quad Cities is history, too.
@Fort Wayne 5, Dayton 1: Nathan Culp gets the win, then gets promoted.
Lansing 15, @Great Lakes 7: Maybe being down 15-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth wasn't such a good idea for the Loooooooooooooooons.
@Beloit 3, Clinton 0: D-! B-loit! D-!
West Michigan 1, South Bend 0: A first inning run was enough for the Whitecaps.
@Peoria 7, Burlington 1: Chiefs put out the Bees' fire.
@Cedar Rapids 3, Kane County 1: Kernels tree Cougars.
TACOMA (AAA: 34-48; 4th Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers beat Portland 5-2. Adam Jones (WI ’04) and Sebastian Boucher (WI ’05) both had three hits and an RBI for Tacoma.
WEST TENNESSEE (AA: 34-48 overall; 3-9 5th second half Southern League North Division): The Diamond Jaxx lost 4-2 at Mobile. Justin Thomas (WI ’06) allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits over 5-1/3 innings and took the loss.
HIGH DESERT (High-A: 34-45 overall; 3-6 T-4th second half California League South Division): The Mavericks lost 10-0 to Lancaster. Michael Saunders (WI ’06) had two of the four hits for High Desert.
EVERETT (Short Season-A: 7-4, T-3rd Northwest League West Division): The AquaSox beat Eugene 3-2 in eleven innings. Greg Halman (WI ’07) homered in the first inning for the Sox. Everett won the game on an RBI single by Edilio Colina that drove in Jairo Hernandez (WI ’06).
AZL Mariners (Rookie: 6-1; 1st Arizona League): The AZL M’s beat the Athletics 7-1. Ivan Blanco (WI ’05) pitched two scoreless innings in another rehab start for the M’s.
Mariner system shcedule 6/30:
Toronto (Roy Halladay 9-2) at Seattle (Miguel Batista 7-6) 9:05pm CDT
Salt Lake (Henry Bonilla 6-5) at Tacoma (Horacio Ramirez) 9:05pm CDT
Huntsville at West Tennessee 7:05pm CDT
Lancaster (Kris Johnson 4-3) at High Desert (Marwin Vega 3-4) 9:05pm CDT
Eugene (John Hussey 1-0) at Everett (Juan Ramirez 0-1) 9:05pm CDT
AZL Angels at AZL Mariners 12:30pm CDT
As noted by historian Doug Lyons‚ Dale Holman‚ a career minor leaguer‚ hits a double for the Syracuse Chiefs (AAA International League) against Richmond in the game then suspended by rain. By the time the game is resumed on August 16‚ Holman is traded to Richmond and ends up playing for both teams in the same game.
This is the kind of stuff that happens in suspended games.
A deep track of Bob Seger tonight, I think.
But sanctuary never comes
Without some kind of risk
Illusions without freedom
Never quite add up to bliss
The haunting and the haunted
Play a game no one can win
The spirits come at midnight
And by dawn they're gone again
ROCKET RICHARD: The Rattler starter matched his season high for innings pitched with seven innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits with six strikeouts. The Chiefs scored a run in the first and had the bases loaded with no outs in the second. A sacrifice fly drove in the second run of the game. After that, Richard allowed only two more base runners for his second straight win.
MAKE THAT TWO STRAIGHT: Richard has won two straight starts. He is the first Rattler starting pitcher to win two consecutive starts
WALK THE LINE: The ten walks drawn by the Rattler hitters was a season high. Their previous high was six in a game at Great Lakes on May 9. Alex Liddi and Carlos Peguero both drew bases loaded walks to force in runs.
GET ON, GET IN: Rattler leadoff hitter Calvin Beamon reached base five times in five plate appearances last night. He singled, walked three times, and reached on a fielder’s choice. Beamon scored three runs.
AFTER TWO THEY GO: All eight of the runs scored by the Rattlers crossed the plate after two outs.
ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL: The win last night was the ninth time this season Wisconsin picked up a victory when the opponent scored first. It was their tenth come-from-behind win overall.
PLUS/MINUS/PLUS/PLUS: Rattler catcher Juan Beltran threw out a would be base-stealer last night. He thrown out 20 of 47(.426) attempted base thieves this season. Beltran was also charged with his team-leading 16th passed ball last night. The Rattlers are 13-20 when Beltran is the catcher.
SPLITSVILLE: The win last night gave the Rattlers a split in the four game series at Peoria. Wisconsin is now 16-24 on the road this season.
ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The Swing of the Quad Cities are the Midwest League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. They are currently 3-4 and in sixth place in the Western Division. The Swing are 41-35 overall. In their most recent series, the Swing dropped two out of three games at Clinton. Quad Cities is managed by Keith Mitchell.
THE SEASON SERIES: The Rattlers and Swing have met twelve times this season. The Rattlers are 4-8 against Quad Cities. They are 2-2 at John O’Donnell Stadium. In the last series between Wisconsin and the Swing, the Rattlers split four games at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Quad Cities won the first two games of the series 7-6 and 3-0. Wisconsin took the final two games of the series 5-2 and 6-5.
PROSPECTING: BASEBALL AMERICA has placed three members of the current Quad Cities roster on their list of top 30 St. Louis Cardinal prospects. Outfielder Daryl Jones, the third round pick in the 2005 draft out of Spring (TX) High School, is the highest ranked Swing at #10. Pitcher Tyler Herron, a supplemental first round pick in 2005, checks in at #18. The final Quad Cities player on BA’s list is pitcher Brad Furnish, a second round pick out of TCU in 2006, at #23.
FROM THE DRAFT: Quad Cities just received the 13th round pick of the Cardinals from the 2007 draft. Steven Hill was picked by the Cards out of Stephen F. Austin.
OPPOSING STARTER: Kyle Mura is making his first professional start tonight. Mura, a 42nd round pick of the Cardinals in the 2006 draft out of Loyola Marymount University, made 20 relief appearances for State College in the New York-Penn League last season. So far in 2007, Mura has made 18 relief appearances and is 2-0 with a 2.08ERA. He has made three relief appearances against the Rattlers this season. In five innings, Mura has allowed two runs on five hits with three strikeouts. In his last outing, Mura allowed one run on three hits over three innings at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium on June 24.
QUAD CITIES SECOND PITCHER: Elvis Hernandez is the scheduled second pitcher in the tandem rotation employed by the Swing. Hernandez was signed by the Cardinals as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2005. He pitched in Johnson City of the Appalachian League in 2006 and was 3-3 with a 3.48ERA in 13 starts. Hernandez has faced the Rattlers three times as a starter this season. He is 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA. He got a no decision on Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium on June 5, but gave up one run on two hits over four innings with five strikeouts. The Rattlers beat him at John O’Donnell Stadium on June 13. Wisconsin got to Hernandez for three runs on two hits and three walks in three innings. The Rattlers also beat Hernandez in Grand Chute in his last outing. On June 24, Hernandez gave up four unearned runs over 3-2/3 innings with three walks and three strikeouts.
That's where you can find out who is hot and who is not.
Hot: 3B/1B/OF Greg Dobbs ('02) Philadelphia Phillies
Dobbs got some extra playing time earlier in the season when Ryan Howard was out with an injury and made the most of it. The Phillies are finding was to get him in the lineup, with Dobbs not only playing his natural position of 3B, but seeing time at 2B and in the OF. Greg is hitting .296 this month with 5 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs, and 11 RBI.
Not: C Ryan Christianson ('00) Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals)
Seattle's 1st round pick (11th overall) in 1999 has yet to appear in a Major League game, and if he keeps hitting .118 like he is this month, he may never.
Reliever Lowe ready for another chance
The news delivered to Mark Lowe as he lay groggy in a hospital bed last October could hardly have been worse.
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum told the Mariners relief pitcher that the elbow he'd operated on the day before was in bad shape. There was bone rubbing on bone and not nearly the amount of cartilage Yocum had hoped to find when he'd agreed to attempt a surgery rarely performed on pitchers.
Yocum had used an arthroscopic procedure to help grow back missing cartilage in Lowe's right elbow by poking tiny holes in the bone to create blood flow. It was already a crapshoot that the so-called "microfracture surgery" would work even before Lowe went under, so Yocum had braced the pitcher not to get his hopes up.
"He just said, 'You might not pitch again,' " Lowe said. "That was hard to swallow, but that was reality. That was one of the things I needed to hear, because my whole baseball career has been spent proving people wrong."
About the rehab:
There were tough times during his rehab as well. Lowe was banned from throwing, so all he could do from November through January was have team trainers work at loosening the arm.
"For the longest time, I'd go in and they'd stretch it, which hurt really, really bad," Lowe said. "I'd sit there and they'd try to stretch it out. They'd pump it to get the swelling out. Ice it, stimulate it. Over and over and over for the entire offseason, three times a day."
Lowe dubbed the experience "Groundhog Day," and those closest to him marveled at how he stayed sane. When spring training arrived in February, Lowe underwent a second arthroscopic surgery to clean out scar tissue and increase the arm's mobility.
Mariners closer J.J. Putz, recovering from an elbow problem of his own, looked at Lowe in the training room and asked: "How are you standing this? I've only had this a few days and I'm going crazy."
About where he is right now:
Lowe reached a point of no return a few weeks ago. He'd been playing catch but his shoulder felt lousy and his mechanics were off. He figured he was compensating, fearful of reinjuring the elbow.
"I finally got to the point where I figured I wasn't getting anything from this," he said. "I was going to have to put some stress on the elbow. If it was going to get hurt again, I had to let it happen."
Lowe opened up more on his throws and the elbow felt better. His velocity still is about 10 mph off last year's peak, though his coaches hope it gradually returns. No one can guarantee him any of this will last. And Lowe isn't seeking guarantees, only another chance.
For now, he has one.
Go read the whole thing.
If you did not click on the link to the story about the brawl in West Michigan last night in the post below, here is the 'more later':
An hour after the West Michigan Whitecaps completed a 4-2 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts on Thursday night at Fifth Third Ballpark, first-base coach and hitting instructor Benny Distefano finally got to see a blow-by-blow replay of the sixth-inning brawl between the teams.
One image shocked him.
It showed Lugnuts designated hitter Matt Lane rushing out to the middle of the field and using his forearm to deliver a crushing blind-side impact to the right side of his head while he tried to be a peacemaker in the melee.
Then, there's this:
The fisticuffs, sparked by an exchange of beanballs, involved numerous players trading punches, including Lugnuts right fielder Travis Snider smacking Whitecaps relief pitcher Dan Fyvie in the lower lip and Fyvie responding with several haymakers before being pulled from the pile.
But, what led to this
It began when Whitecaps catcher Louis Ott charged the mound following what he felt was an intentional beanball from Lugnuts relief pitcher Edward Rodriguez.
It appeared to be retaliation from a prior incident.
Lane, who had homered off Whitecaps reliever Casey Fien in his previous at-bat in the fourth inning, stepped up to the plate with two outs and the bases empty in the top of the sixth. Fien promptly hit him in the back with the first pitch.
"It's an acceptable part of baseball," Whitecaps manager Tom Brookens said of the exchange. "In my mind, (the Lugnuts) did what was acceptable. Then Louis charged the mound. I never have a problem with a player going to the mound if he feels he's been intentionally hit, but that's the way I played the game.
"It's the way the game has always been played."
Ott, who whipped his batting helmet at Rodriguez and missed, and Rodriguez, who hit Ott flush in the face with his glove, both got ejected from the contest. The two-man umpiring crew, however, failed to catch Lane in the act.
The helmet throwing on the way to the mound is part of the game? Really? I hope that I'm misinterpreting that.
Brian VanOchten's blog has an extended post about the incident and goes into a bit more detail:
A little background: Lugnuts designated hitter Matt Lane, who tore up Whitecaps pitching in the four-game series between the Midwest League Eastern Division rivals Monday through Thursday, slugged a two-run homer in the fourth inning off West Michigan relief pitcher Casey Fien. He didn't do anything to show up Fien, so far as I could tell, but the pitcher definitely took offense.
In Lane's next at-bat, in the top of the sixth, Fien planted a fastball in the middle of his back on the first pitch. Two outs. No one on base. First pitch. Yep. It was intentional. Yet, it's not like Fien went head-hunting or anything ridiculous like that. In fact, no one but the two teams in the dugouts seemed to notice. There was no buzz in the crowd that usually precipitates a retaliation.
In the bottom of the sixth, Lugnuts reliever Edward Rodriguez decided to even the score. He reared back and fired a 1-1 pitch at Whitecaps catcher Louis Ott. It was thrown at Ott with malice, striking him in the butt, which was the proper way to police things on the field.
The problem is Ott lost his cool and charged the mound. He took the brunt of the confrontation, though, getting drilled in the face by Edwards' glove after he'd first whipped his helmet at the pitcher and missed. And then Ott suffered a sprained ankle -- and perhaps worse.
Here is Brian's description of the hit on Distefano
Lugnuts designated hitter Matt Lane sprinted from the visiting dugout and hit Distefano full-force with a forearm to the side of the head. Distefano never saw him coming. It snapped his head back, and he crumpled to the turf. It was an ugly, nasty, dirty hit that should be severely punished. He could've seriously hurt Distefano, who seemed all right afterward. The stunned coach finished the game.
This part of the entry still has me more dumbfounded than usual:
Lane, who swore to me afterward that he didn't recall steamrolling Distefano, should get a minimum five-game suspension. I don't doubt that in the heat of the moment, Lane might not realize precisely what he did, but he needs to be held accountable for his actions.
Can't wait to see what the MWL hands down for fines and suspensions.
Rattlers 8, @Peoria 3: Ten walks, eight runs, back to .500.
Dayton 6, @South Bend 1; Dayton 2, @South Bend 1 (F/8): Dragons get first two wins of the half.
Burlington 4, @Kane County 3: That's the first place Bees, if you don't mind.
@West Michigan 4, Lansing 2: Fight night in West Michigan. More later.
@Cedar Rapids 5, Beloit 4 (F/10): Kernels were ready and Abel in the tenth.
@Clinton 5, Quad Cities 2: The sweet life of Zach Phillips.
Great Lakes @ Fort Wayne: Suspended.
TACOMA (AAA: 33-48; 4th Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers lost 7-2 to Portland in a rain-shortened game. Ryan Ketchner (WI ’02) pitched seven innings for the Beavers and got the win. Jeff Clement (WI ’05) hit a two-run home run for Tacoma’s only runs.
WEST TENNESSEE (AA: 34-47 overall; 3-8 T-4th second half Southern League North Division): The Diamond Jaxx lost 4-1 at Mobile. Prentice Redman drove in the only run as West Tennessee collected seven hits.
HIGH DESERT (High-A: 34-44 overall; 3-5 T-4th second half California League South Division): The Mavericks lost 7-4 to Lancaster. Johan Limonta (WI ’06) had a pair of hits for High Desert.
EVERETT (Short Season-A: 6-4, T-3rd Northwest League West Division): The AquaSox lost 2-1 in eleven innings at Tri-City. Greg Halman (WI ’07) hit a first inning home run for Everett. The Dust Devils scored the winning run on a suicide squeeze.
AZL Mariners (Rookie: 5-1; T-1st Arizona League): The AZL M’s beat the Brewers 21-8.
Mariner system schedule 6/29:
Toronto (Dustin McGowan 4-3) at Seattle (Jarrod Washburn 6-6) 9:05pm CDT
Portland (Tim Stauffer 3-2) at Tacoma (Brad Thomas 1-5) 9:05pm CDT
West Tennessee at Mobile 7:05pm CDT
Lancaster (Justin Masterson 6-5) at High Desert (Cibney Bello 4-3) 9:05pm CDT
Eugene at Everett 9:05pm CDT
AZL Mariners at AZL Athletics 12:30pm CDT
The visiting Yankees score 3 in the 9th off Dan Plesac to beat Milwaukee‚ 9-8. Kevin Maas and Jess Barfield homer for the Bombers. Teddy Higuera (3-2)‚ in the first year of a $13 million‚ 4-year contract pitches 7 innings‚ allowing 3 runs. Higuera‚ who started the year on the DL‚ will go on the DL again when a significant tear to his rotary cuff is discovered. This is his last ML appearance.
I was in the County Stadium bleachers for this game. It was a lot of fun...until that whole three in the top of the ninth thing. The way that Higuera pitched that day, no one thought it would be his last outing. Here's to Teddy.
It looks like Jones will be one of the starters:
The outfield consists of a trio of fast-rising prospects. Adam Jones has slugged 17 homers and driven in 58 runs for the Tacoma Rainiers, amply demonstrating why he is considered to be one of the top farmhands in the Mariners' system at just 21 years old. He will be flanked by Salt Lake's Terry Evans (the only 30-30 player in the Minors last season) and Tucson's Alex Romero, who became the first player in the league to reach the 100-hit mark on Wednesday. Backing up this highly skilled triumvirate will be Las Vegas' Delwyn Young and Sean Barker of Colorado Springs.
OUT AT HOME: Wisconsin had two runners thrown out at the plate in the first inning. Kuo Hui Lo tried to score from second on a single by Trevor Lawhorn, but was thrown out by Alfred Joseph. One batter later, Reed Eastley tried to score from second on a single to center by Carlos Peguero, but was thrown out by Matt Camp.
RETURNING THE FAVOR: Lo threw out Lansford at second base when Lansford tried to stretch his first inning single into a double. The assist was Lo’s third of the series in Peoria. He now has nine assists this season. Lo is tied with Gerardo Parra of the South Bend Silver Hawks for second in the Midwest League in that category. Travis Snider of Lansing leads the league with eleven outfield assists.
A SMALL VILLAGE: The Rattlers stranded twelve runners in the game yesterday and matched their season high in that category. Wisconsin left the bases loaded in the second and fifth innings.
A LITTLE HELP HERE: Rattler starter Nathan Adcock lost his fourth straight start yesterday. He gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits over five innings. In 23-1/3 innings during those starts, Adcock has allowed 11 earned runs. Wisconsin’s offense has scored three runs. Only one of those three runs was scored while Adcock was still in the game.
3-for-3: Renshaw is 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA in three starts against the Rattlers. He has struck out eight Rattlers in a game twice this season.
WHITE KNIGHT: Joe White hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning. It was his first Midwest League home run.
EVEN STEVEN: The Rattlers have hit 34 homers this season. They have 17 home runs on the road and 17 at home.
OPPOSING STARTER: Juan Mateo was signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in 2001 out of the Dominican Republic. Mateo is making his fourth rehab start for the Chiefs this season. Mateo pitched for the Cubs in 11 games (10 starts) in 2006. He was 1-3 with an ERA of 5.32 in the big leagues. In his last start for the Chiefs, Mateo pitched three innings at Beloit and allowed one unearned run on three hits with one strikeout. Mateo pitched for the Lansing Lugnuts in 2004 when that team was the Midwest League affiliate of the Cubs. He faced Wisconsin twice in relief during that season. Mateo was 1-0 against the Rattlers that season. He pitched 3-1/3 innings and allowed two runs on three hits.
He would open the season in Wisconsin however, but he wouldn't be there for very long. Jamal earns the number 10 spot on this list despite only appearing in 51 games as a Rattler. But anyone who saw him play, remembers how he could change a game. Pitchers got very nervous anytime he got on base, as he was always a threat to steal. And he was on base a lot, hitting .353 with 40 walks for an on base percentage of .478. Even with only playing a little over a third of the season, his 35 stolen bases are the 7th most in Timber Rattler history. His impact was felt by opposing coaches as well, as Strong made the Post Season Midwest League All Star Team even with his limited time in the league. Strong also got to represent the US in the All Star Futures Game held in Seattle.
Strong is no longer with the Mariners. He is currently with the Yankees organization and playing for Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Strong is hitting .275 in 35 games at Triple-A with three stolen bases in four attempts.
Released: OF Chris Colton
Colton was with the Rattlers in 2004 and the last part of 2005. He hit a game-tying home run at Clinton in Game One of the Western Division Championship Series to lead-off the top of the ninth inning. The Rattlers went on to win that game in extra-innings.
Good luck, Colt.
SAT: LHP Eddy Fernandez (0-0, 4.76) vs. RHP Tyler Herron (7-4, 3.19)
SUN: RHP Kyle Parker (3-4, 2.45) vs. RHP Eddie Degerman (1-1, 2.66)
MON: TBA vs. RHP Blake King (2-3, 5.50)
First a little on the LumberKings:
When Clinton unveiled its renovated Alliant Energy Field one year ago, one thing was missing — a competitive team.
The LumberKings endured a 45-94 record in 2006, something that made success in 2007 that much sweeter for the club’s local staff.
“It’s been a 180-degree turnaround, but the guys I’m the happiest for are the guys who were here last year and lived through the struggles,’’ Clinton general manager Ted Tornow said. “Especially guys like K.C. Herren, John Whittleman, some pitchers. They went through the type of season that you wouldn’t wish on anybody. For all of the guys who are back, I’m happy.’’
The multimillion dollar facelift at the Clinton ballpark helped attract 108,301 fans last season.
The numbers have been better in 2007.
Clinton has attracted 65,017 fans through 37 home games this year, an average of 1,757 fans per game.Last season, the LumberKings averaged 1,570 fans per game in the smallest full-season market in the nation to have a professional baseball team.
“A year ago, the draw was the renovation. This year, we’re seeing the people who had fun last year come back three, four five times, and the combination of that experience with a good product on the field is good for everybody,’’ Tornow said.
Next, news on the Kernels tough opening week and why Hank Conger joined two teammated on the DL:
The Kernels placed three players — catcher Jon Hodach, infielder Ryan Mount and pitcher Aaron Cook — on the disabled list Tuesday.
Hodach, who had been receiving additional time as first-round pick Hank Conger deals with a back injury, was knocked unconscious on a play at the plate during Cedar Rapids’ win over Beloit on Monday.
I heard about this collision third hand. It was something else.
Also, the Midwest League Notebook (Can someone come up with a better title, please?) is up at MidwestLeague.com. Since the Swing are the next opponents of the Rattlers, let's see what is going on with them. It feels like forever since the Rattlers played them:
WHO'S HOT: C Christian Reyes led the league last week with five RBIs to raise his season total to 28. In 36 games this season, he is batting .289 (37-for-128) with six doubles and six home runs.
WHO'S NOT: 3B William Sandoval is batting .174 (26-for-149) in 49 games with 28 strikeouts.
ALL-STAR NEWS: RHP Kenny Maiques struck out the only batter he faced in [Tuesday's] All-Star Game. The 21-year-old closer also earned a pair of saves on the week to give him 16 on the season.
DID YOU KNOW: Three Swing pitchers combined on a shutout Friday in holding Wisconsin to just five hits in a 3-0 win. The shutout was the eighth of the year for the Swing staff, as only the Burlington Bees have recorded more (9) in the league this year.
That’s all that separated Stevie Delabar from etching his name in the Wizards’ history book.
The right-handed pitcher stood one strike away from becoming the first pitcher in the team’s 15-year history to throw a no-hitter.
But Eduardo Perez had other ideas.
Perez dumped a single just in front of center fielder Cedric Hunter, ending Delabar’s seven-inning no-hit bid.
The Wizards had to settle for a one-hitter and a 1-0 victory over Great Lakes in the opener of a doubleheader Wednesday at Memorial Stadium. Fort Wayne completed the sweep with a 6-0 victory in the nightcap in front of 1,578 fans.
Stephen Faris retired the first 11 batters on the way to throwing a two-hitter in Game 2, helping the Wizards extend their winning streak to a season-high five games.
“Pitching was the whole story today,” manager Doug Dascenzo said. "Delabar was just about perfect. … Faris did an outstanding job as well.”
Delabar struck out six and didn’t walk a batter in 6 2/3 innings to improve to 2-0. It was the fifth time this season the Wizards flirted with a no-hitter.
LaMond Pope is the Wizard beat writer and here is the link to his blog post on the near no-no. He recaps the other four near misses and there was this little thing at the end of the post:
For the record, I think the official scorer ruled correctly in the fifth inning when Josh Bell’s grounder to second –initially ruled a hit – was changed to an error. Tom King had to go to the outfield grass to field the ball, but he had plenty of time to get in front of it, which he did before booting it.
Feierabend grounds Ortiz
It wasn't until his final pitch of the day that Mariners starter Ryan Feierabend finally recorded a ground-ball out.
But what a moment he picked, getting David Ortiz to bounce out to second with the bases loaded and two out in the fifth inning. The crowd at Safeco Field was on its feet and cheering in anticipation as Feierabend let fly with a full-count fastball up in the zone that Ortiz couldn't get enough of.
Although the 1-0 lead he handed the bullpen didn't hold up, the 21-year-old emerged with some renewed confidence, if not the victory.
"Once I got through that first inning, it was definitely a confidence builder for me," said Feierabend, shelled over 2-2/3 innings of a 16-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds in his previous outing last Friday.
"The last time out against Cincinnati, I ended up giving up four in the first. So, coming out and throwing up a zero in that first was definitely huge."
Also, if you keep scrolling down at the link above, you will find this entry:
Lowe throws short simulated game
All that lost sleep just for a few minutes of fun was still worth it.
That's what sidelined Mariners reliever Mark Lowe was saying after his long-awaited simulated game Wednesday morning. Lowe threw just 15 pitches over one inning, fastballs in the 88-89 mph range, but the moment was important in that he was facing hitters for the first time since last August.
"When I got done I was like, 'That's it? I couldn't sleep all night for that?' " Lowe said with a laugh. "Five minutes of glory, but it was worth it. It was great to get back out there.
"I just sat there in bed last night because I couldn't wait for today to come. I also woke up yesterday thinking it was today. So, I've obviously been looking forward to it."
This ex-Rattler has another simulated game scheduled for Saturday before heading out for a rehab assignment.
@Peoria 5, Rattlers 2: Nuts.
@Fort Wayne 1, Great Lakes 0; @Fort Wayne 6, Great Lakes 0: The Loons managed one hit in game one and two hits in game two. Great Lakes avoided the no-hitter in game one with a two-out, two-strike single in the top of the 7th off starter Stevie Delabar.
@West Michigan 4, Lansing 1: Mlive.com has the lede to the Cap game story in the blog now? To push circulation of the paper? Really?
Burlington 9, @Kane County 3: Bees maul Cougars!
Beloit 3, @Cedar Rapids 0: Burnett with a complete game shutout for the Snappers.
@Clinton 4, Quad Cities 1: Homer happy! Either The Simpsons movie is really good or there were a lot of round-trippers at Alliant Energy Field.
Dayton @ South Bend: Suspended! After 1-1/2 innings and 1:43 minutes of rain...Suspended!
TACOMA (AAA: 33-47; 4th Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers lost 7-3 to Portland. Wladimir Balentien (WI ’04) hit two home runs and drove in all three of Tacoma’s runs. But, the Beavers scored seven runs in the third inning to put Tacoma in a hole out of which they couldn’t dig.
WEST TENNESSEE (AA: 33-46 overall; 3-7 T-3rd second half Southern League North Division): The Diamond Jaxx lost 4-0 at Mobile. Brent Johnson (WI ’05) had two of West Tennessee’s four hits.
HIGH DESERT (High-A: 34-43 overall; 3-4 T-3rd second half California League South Division): The Mavericks beat Lake Elsinore 10-7. Travis Scott (WI ’06) had four hits, drove in two runs, and scored two runs for High Desert.
EVERETT (Short Season-A: 6-3, T-3rd Northwest League West Division): The AquaSox lost 5-1 at Tri-City. Julian Henson (WI ’06) doubled for one of Everett’s five hits.
AZL Mariners (Rookie: 4-1; T-1st Arizona League): The AZL M’s beat the Royals 3-2. Cesar Jimenez (WI ’03) pitched three scoreless innings and struck out three in a rehab start.
Mariner system schecule 6/28:
Seattle – OFF DAY
Portland (Ryan Ketchner 0-8) at Tacoma (Juan Doñe 1-3) 9:05pm CDT
West Tennessee (Doug Fister 2-6) at Mobile (Brooks Brown 1-0) 7:05pm CDT
Lancaster (Matt Goodson 2-4) at High Desert (Jose Escalona 2-5) 9:05pm CDT
Everett at Tri-City 9:15pm CDT
AZL Mariners at AZL Brewers 12:30pm CDT
At Los Angeles‚ the Braves Warren Spahn beats Don Drysdale‚ three-hitting the Dodgers‚ 1-0. It was the first time Spahn had beaten the Dodgers on their home grounds since Aug. 21‚ 1948 (15 years). He'd lost 14 straight: 9 at Ebbets; 4 at Memorial Coliseum; and one at Chavez Ravine.
Just keep trying -- no matter how long it takes -- and eventually it works out.
So, on a day with twelve runners stranded on base in a loss...Stevie Ray, what say you?
Day by day, night after night
Blinded by the neon light
Hurry here, hustling there
No one's got the time to spare
Money's tight, nothing free
Won't somebody come and rescue me
I am stranded, caught in the crossfire
Stranded, caught in the crossfire
EARLY LEAD: For the second game in a row, the Timber Rattlers scored a run in the first inning. Gavin Dickey, who homered to start Monday’s game, doubled to start last night’s game. A one out single by Reed Eastley gave the Rattlers a 1-0 lead.
NEWS ON LO: Kuo Hui Lo went 0-for-4 and saw his 7-game hitting streak come to an end. The Rattler outfielder had two assists last night and he now leads Wisconsin outfielders in assists with eight. Lo also committed two errors, but neither error led to a Peoria run.
CHANCES: The Rattlers only went down in order twice last night. Hernandez struck out the side in the second and Maestri worked a 1-2-3 seventh. The Rattlers had nine hits and left eight runners on base in the game.
FERNANDEZ GOES FOR FIVE: Rattler catcher Jair Fernandez went 2-for-four with a pair of singles and a stolen base last night. He set a new season high for his hitting streak at five games. Fernandez is 7-for-18 during the current streak.
KEEPING IT UNDER CONTROL: Wisconsin pitchers walked two batters last night. When Nate Samson drew a two out walk in the bottom of the second inning, it was the first walk by a Rattler pitcher in 21 innings.
MISSED ON FOUR: The Rattlers had their three-game winning streak snapped last night. It was the third time this season the Rattlers lost when they were going for a fourth straight win.
HISTORIC AT BAT: Last night, two native Italians faced each other for the first time as professionals in a North American baseball game. In the top of the ninth inning, Rattler third baseman Alex Liddi faced Maestri. The Chief reliever, who is from Visbera, got the better of Liddi, who is from San Remo, with a strikeout.
OPPOSING STARTER: Jake Renshaw was the 10th round pick of the Cubs in the 2006 draft out of Ventura (CA) Junior College. Last season, Renshaw split time between Mesa (Arizona League) and Boise (Northwest League). He went 1-4 in 12 games (11 starts) with an ERA of 4.87. On June 22 of this season, Renshaw pitched 6-1/3 scoreless innings and beat the Beloit Snappers at Pohlman Field. He gave up three hits, walked one, and struck out eight in that game. He is 2-0 in two starts against the Rattlers this season. Renshaw pitched the first game of a double header on May 13 and the first game of a double header on May 28. Renshaw has given up five runs on nine hits over 11-2/3 innings with four walks and eleven strikeouts in his two starts against the Rattlers.
@Peoria 5, Rattlers 2: Winning streak snapped.
Lansing 16, @ West Michigan 9: Lugnuts take it out on the Whitecaps.
@Cedar Rapids 8, Beloit 4: Kernels lead, fall behind, rally, and hold off the Snappers. All in one game!
@South Bend 13, Dayton 5: Happy birthday, Hawk manager Mark Haley!
Burlington 2, @Kane County 1 (F/10): A wild pitch gets in the winning run in a duel.
Quad Cities 5, @Clinton 4: Big inning lifts SWING.
Great Lakes @ Fort Wayne PPD: Rain last night. Double header today.
TACOMA (AAA: 33-46; 4th Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers beat Tucson 12-5. Robert Rohrbaugh (WI ’05) gave up one run on seven hits over six innings for a win in his Triple-A debut. Rob Johnson (WI ’05) had three doubles, scored three runs, and had two RBI for Tacoma. Jason Mackintosh got the final out of the eighth inning to keep the Rainiers in front 7-5. Tacoma put the game away with five runs in the top of the ninth. Then, Mackintosh pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.
WEST TENNESSEE (AA: 33-45 overall; 3-6 T-3rd second half Southern League North Division): The Diamond Jaxx lost 5-2 at Mobile. Brent Johnson (WI ’05) and Luis Valbuena (WI ’06) both had an RBI for West Tennessee to help them build a 2-0 lead. The Diamond Jaxx led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, but Mobile scored four runs, including a game-ending home run by Caesar Nicolas in their last at bat.
HIGH DESERT (High-A: 33-44 overall; 2-5 5th second half California League South Division): The Mavericks lost 8-3 at Lake Elsinore. Kevin Reynolds (WI ’07) went 3-for-3 with an RBI for High Desert. Chris Tillman (WI ’07) walked six over 1-2/3 innings and allowed two runs to take the loss.
EVERETT (Short Season-A: 6-2, T-2nd Northwest League West Division): The AquaSox beat Tri-City 5-3. Everett scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to rally from a 3-1 deficit. After the Sox tied the game, Greg Halman’s two-out, two-run double capped the rally.
AZL Mariners (Rookie: 3-1; T-1st Arizona League): The AZL M’s were off on Tuesday.
Mariner system schedule 6/27:
Boston (Daisuke Matsuzaka 9-5) at Seattle (Ryan Feierabend 1-2) 3:35pm CDT
Portland at Tacoma 9:05pm CDT
West Tennessee (Travis Chick 2-1) at Mobile (Max Scherzer 0-0) 7:05pm CDT
High Desert (Aaron Jensen 2-1) at Lake Elsinore (Brent Carter 7-4) 8:07pm CDT
Everett (Doug Salinas 0-0) at Tri-City (Drew Coffey 0-1) 9:15pm CDT
AZL Royals at AZL Mariners 12:30pm CDT
David Clyde‚ 18 and fresh out of Houston's Westchester High School‚ makes his eagerly awaited debut with the Rangers‚ before 35‚698‚ the largest Rangers' crowd of the year. Clyde‚ the number one pick in the draft‚ walks the first 2 Twins he faces‚ then gets Bob Darwin‚ George Mitterwald‚ and Joe Lis on swinging 3rd strikes. Clyde goes 5 innings and gives up only one hit-a 2-run HR-walks 7 and strikes out 8. He is the winner 4-3.
And unfortunately for Clyde, this was about his only career highlight. Mike Shropshire's Seasons in Hell. Covers this event hilariously, but also manages to capture the sports tragedy of rushing a kid to the majors that quickly.
This song seems to be popular with the kids these days. I think it fits tonight:
Sometimes the system goes on the blink
And the whole thing turns out wrong
You might not make it back and you know
That you could be well oh that strong
And I'm not wrong
STREAKS: The Rattlers have matched their season high winning streak a three. Wisconsin has won three straight games two other times this season. Another streak that is happening is that Wisconsin has won four consecutive road games.
FOUR MORE AND FOUR MORE: Lo has two other 4-hit games this season. Last night was the second time this season he has scored four runs in a game. Lo is currently on a 7-game hitting streak. He is 16-for-30 (.533) during this streak.
ALL BUT TWO: The Rattlers scored in every inning except the fourth and the ninth. The fourth inning was the only frame in which Wisconsin went down 1-2-3.
QUICK START: Dickey hit the fourth pitch of the game out of the park for his first home run of the season. Dickey also had a triple and a single, only missing a double for what would have been the first cycle in Rattler history.
NEW SEASON HIGHS: The 15 runs and the 18 hits set new team highs for the 2007 Rattlers.
STRIKING UP THE BAND: Justin Souza worked four innings for the Rattlers in an emergency start last night. He allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits. The Rattlers led 7-3 after the fourth, but Souza left the game after reaching his pitch limit.
WELCOME TO THE CLUB: Shawn Kelley and Keith Renaud got into the game last night on their first day with the Rattlers. Kelley, a 13th round pick in the 2007 draft, worked two scoreless innings for his first professional victory. Renaud, 10th round pick in the 2007 draft, retired all six batters he faced over the seventh and eighth innings.
WELCOME BACK: Rollie Gibson first action since returning to the team was a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the Chiefs. Gibson got a strikeout to end the game.
WHO WAS THAT MASKED MAN: Reed Eastley got into the game in the bottom of the ninth inning as a defensive replacement for catcher Jair Fernandez.
ABOVE .500: The Rattlers are 3-2 in the second half. This is the first time they have been above .500 in a half since they were 4-3 seven games into the first half of 2006.
OPPOSING STARTER: Robert Hernandez was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela by the Cubs in 2005. Last season, Hernandez went 5-2 with an ERA of 3.20 in 14 appearances (five starts) for the Arizona League affiliate of the Cubs. Over 39-1/3 innings he walked 16 and struck out 18 for the Mesa Cubs. Hernandez took a loss in his last appearance, a start at Beloit on June 21. He allowed two runs on three hits over five innings. This is his first appearance against the Timber Rattlers and his first appearance against a farm team of the Seattle Mariners. Last season, Hernandez did not face Seattle’s Arizona League affiliate.
Third baseman Matt Tuiasosopo headlines the bunch from West Tenn. Tuiasosopo leads the Diamond Jaxx in runs (43), hits (70) and doubles (18), while accumulating a .390 on-base percentage. Along with right fielder Prentice Redman, the Diamond Jaxx will also send a trio of pitchers, including starters Robert Rohrbaugh and Joe Woerman, as well as closer Craig James. Rohrbaugh has accumulated a team-best seven wins this year and Woerman has a 3.32 ERA in 15 appearances.
Actually, it looks like Rohrbaugh will not be participating since he was called up to Tacoma and will be making a start for the Rainiers tonight. Congratulations to the ex-Rattlers.
O'Flaherty gets best of his childhood idol
Eric O'Flaherty's favorite player while growing up in Walla Walla was Ken Griffey Jr.
As an 8-year-old, he traveled with his family in 1993 to see Griffey tie a major-league record by homering for the eighth straight game.
"My dad still has the ticket stub," O'Flaherty said.
On Sunday, in the seventh inning of Seattle's 3-2 win over Cincinnati, he stood on the mound with his idol at the plate, a moment that caused a brief pause.
"I usually don't look at the hitter when they come in the box," O'Flaherty said. "But I got a good look at him."
Then, in the kind of sequence he surely dreamed about during those years in Walla Walla, he struck out Griffey on three straight pitches — all called strikes — to end the inning and keep the score tied at 2. As the final strike was called, O'Flaherty jumped off the mound and pumped his fist.
From the Times today:
Feierabend keeping good grip on pickoff
Also, later on in that same notebook:
Getting booed by his own fans isn't about to stop Ryan Feierabend from using a pickoff move that's now a prime weapon in his arsenal.
The left-hander heard the jeers during the first inning Friday as fans anxious to see a Ken Griffey Jr. at-bat protested all the throws Feierabend made to first base.
Feierabend said on Monday that the hostile reaction didn't bother him in the least. He added that his deceptive pickoff move to first is something he's worked on since he was a child.
Reliever Mark Lowe is anxiously awaiting a simulated game that he'll pitch Wednesday as he works his way back from offseason arm surgery.
It will be the first time Lowe has faced live hitters. If all goes well in that outing and another on Sunday, he expects to head off on a minor-league rehab assignment next week.
"With a bullpen [session] you're just hitting spots, there's no hitters in there," Lowe said. "It's really hard to get excited for a
bullpen. A simulated game is different because there's a hitter in there, you're getting to see if you're effective. You can focus with a hitter in the box, try to get a feel for the strike zone."
Rattlers 15, @Peoria 3: Getting to Peoria was the toughest part about yesterday for Wisconsin.
@South Bend 7; Dayton 3: Dragons 0-5 to start the half?
@West Michigan 5, Lansing 4: Whitecaps still unbeaten in this half?
@Fort Wayne 3, Great Lakes 2: Wizards storm back with help from a King?
@Kane County 11, Burlington 2: Cougars maul Bees?
@Cedar Rapids 9, Beloit 5: Snappers couldn't hold a 5-0 lead?
TACOMA (AAA: 32-46; 4th Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers beat Tucson 5-4 in ten innings. Wladimir Balentien (WI ’04) hit a solo home run in the top of the tenth for the go ahead run.
WEST TENNESSEE (AA: 33-44 overall; 3-5 T-3rd second half Southern League North Division): The Diamond Jaxx lost 5-4 at Mobile. Mike Wilson (WI ’05) hit a three run homer in the top of the ninth inning to pull West Tennessee to within 5-4, but they could get no closer.
HIGH DESERT (High-A: 33-42 overall; 2-3 T-4th second half California League South Division): The Mavericks beat Lake Elsinore 4-2. Jeff Dominguez (WI ’06) had three hits and scored a run for High Desert.
EVERETT (Short Season-A: 5-2, T-3rd Northwest League West Division): The AquaSox beat Tri-City 6-3. Greg Halman (WI ’07) went 4-for-4 for Everett.
AZL Mariners (Rookie: 3-1; 1st Arizona League): The AZL M’s beat the Brewers 11-3. Ivan Blanco (WI ’05) worked a scoreless first inning for the Mariners.
Mariner system scheudle 6/26:
Boston (Kason Gabbard 1-0) at Seattle (Felix Hernandez 4-4) 9:05pm CDT
Tacoma (Robert Rohrbaugh 0-0) at Tucson (DJ Carrasco 3-5) 9:00pm CDT
West Tennessee (TBA) at Mobile (Matt Green 7-3) 7:05pm CDT
High Desert (Chris Tillman 1-4) at Lake Elsinore (Matt Buschmann 5-4) 1:07pm CDT
Everett (Rob Harmon 1-0) at Tri-City (Marco Duarte 0-0) 9:15pm CDT
AZL Mariners – OFF DAY
The "Emperor's game‚" the greatest in Japanese baseball history‚ is played by the Yomiuri Giants and the Hanshin Tigers‚ with Emperor Hirohito and his wife attending at Tokyo's Korakuen Stadium. The game is tied 4-4 in the 7th on Giants rookie Sadaharu Oh's 2-run HR‚ then won 5-4 in the last of the 9th on a HR by the Giant's Shigeo Nagashima. This starts the famed "O-N cannon‚" the hitting combination of Oh and Nagashima‚ that will bring the Giants 9 pennants between 1965 and 1973. In all‚ the O-N cannon hits dual HRs in 106 games.
Just thought this O-Ne was neat.
Cangelosi played for the Midwest League champion Appleton Foxes in 1983, leading the team in hits, runs scored and stolen bases. His 87 steals remains an Appleton baseball record.
Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the fourth round in 1982, Cangelosi went on to play for seven teams as part of a 13-year big league career, finishing with a .250 career batting average, 12 homers, 134 RBI and 154 steals.
Should be a fun night. See you at the Stadium.
Offensive Player of the Week -- Juan Diaz, Wisconsin
.500 (7-14), 1 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 0 SO, 0 SB, .786 SLG
Diaz started the season's second half on a hot streak, as the 18-year-old shortstop went 7-for-14 and knocked in five runs over a four-game set against the Swing of the Quad Cities. On Sunday, Diaz went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs as the Timber Rattlers eked out a 6-5 victory.
The Traveling Wilburys
Now I see the hole I was in
My shoes are wearing out from walking down this same highway
I don't see nothing new but I feel a lot of change
And I get the strangest feeling, as I'm
Heading for the light
ORTA SHOWS HIS QUALITY: Orta allowed three runs (two earned) over six innings for his second win and a quality start. The win was the second consecutive decision the ended with a victory for Orta. His previous win was in his second start of the season when he won at Cedar Rapids on April 14.
SWINGING AWAY: Juan Diaz had a pair of doubles in his three hits. He drove in a pair of runs with a second inning single. An eighth inning single knocked in a run to give the Rattlers a 6-3 lead.
PERFECT IN RELIEF: Eddy Fernandez relieved Orta and retired all six batters he faced as he worked a scoreless seventh and eighth.
NERVOUS NINTH: Joe Kantakevich got the first out of the top of the ninth, but allowed a single, a double, a wild pitch, and an RBI groundout to let the Swing get back to within 6-5. Kantakevich struck out Wilmer Alvarado for the final out of the game and his second save.
FIVE IS NOT A PROBLEM: Yesterday was the second time Wisconsin has won a game in which they have allowed five or more runs in a game. Wisconsin is now 2-32 when that happens.
TWO IN A ROW AT HOME: By winning the final two games of the series against the Swing on Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium, the Rattlers matched their season high for a home win streak. The last time they won two in a row at home was May 21-22.
MORE ROSTER MOVES: Andrew Barb, Wisconsin’s All-Star closer, and Drew Fiorenza, a fellow member of the Rattler bullpen, have been placed on the disabled list. Two members of the Seattle Mariner 2007 draft class have joined the team today. Pitchers Steve Kelley and Keith Renaud were promoted to the Rattlers from Everett of the Northwest League. Kelley was a 13th round pick out of Austin Peay State University. Renaud was the 10th round pick from Franklin Pierce College. Kelley had appeared in three games and Renaud in one game for the AquaSox before coming to Wisconsin.
ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The Peoria Chiefs are the Midwest League affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. They finished the first half of the season at 32-38. The Chiefs split a four game series in Beloit to start the second half of the season. Peoria is 16-19 at home this season. They are managed by baseball Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg.
THE SEASON SERIES: The Rattlers and Chiefs have met nine times this season. Wisconsin is 4-5 in the 2007 season series. The Rattlers are 2-3 at O’Brien Field.
PROSPECTING: BASEBALL AMERICA puts one member of the current Peoria Chief roster on their list of top 30 prospects in the Cub organization. That player is infielder Josh Lansford and he is ranked at #20. At one point this season there were three other members of the Top 30 list on the Chief roster, but Rocky Roquet, Mark Pawelek, and Dylan Johnston have all moved on to other places in the organization.
LOOK WHO’S BACK: First baseman Ryan Norwood rejoined the Chiefs since the last time the Rattlers saw them. Norwood hit .307 with 15 home runs and 69 RBI for the Chiefs in 2006. He was hitting .215 with no home runs for Daytona of the Florida State League before returning to Peoria. Last season, Norwood hit .394 (28-for-71) with no homers and eight RBI in 18 games against the Rattlers.
OPPOSING STARTER: Marco Carillo was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Mexico in 2005. He made his Midwest League debut against the Timber Rattlers on August 30, 2006. The Rattlers got to him for six runs (five earned) on seven hits in three innings. Carrillo has faced Wisconsin three times (two starts) this season. He is 1-0 with a 3.09ERA. He won game two of the double header here at O’Brien Field on May 28 with five shutout innings. Carrillo allowed four hits and struck out six for that win. In his last appearance, Carrillo pitched one inning of relief on June 21 at Beloit. The Snappers got one run on one hit with one walk and one strikeout in that inning. Carrillo’s last start was on June 15 against Clinton. In that game, Carrillo gave up six runs (four earned) on five hits with two hit batters, three walks, and two strikeouts. But, he picked up a no decision.
Frankly, it's a miracle I made the bus this morning. I fell asleep in the recliner and did not set an alarm...WHOOPS!
Fortunately, I had packed most of my stuff last night while watching The Blitz on NBC 26. So when I woke with a start at 4:30, I didn't have to do much rushing around.
Game notes are next...with more Rattler transactions included in the notes. Will have the song lyric post, a story about Eric O'Flaherty (WI '05) striking out Ken Griffey in the Seattle game yesterday, and probably a few other things when we get back to the hotel.
We thought, "Boy, that smells bad. Good thing we'll be on the way out of town soon."
As we departed 30 minutes later, the smell became worse. Then, we saw the smoke pouring out of the left side of the bus.
Not a fire, just a problem with the brake pad on the left front tire...Those are words that I never want to see together in a sentence again, by the way.
So, the bus pulled over and we waited for a replcement bus
That's why we are just now getting to the hotel in Peoria. Repeat after me: This is not an omen. This is not an omen. This is not an omen.
It is odd, though, that I decided to write Mehring Monday about bus travel.
That's when I thought, "Oh, no." Then, I just thought what is up in the title of the post.
SFGate.com has this
An ode to Shooter: Rod Beck (1968-2007)
Indeed, the hardcore dirtball Giants fans -- including this Fool -- who went to the Stick for baseball church services in the Beck Years (1993-'97), will always remember "Shooter" as the ballsy pitcher who looked decorum and tradition in the face and -- hawked a 98 mph loogie.
In 1993, during perhaps the best Giant pennant race ever, Beck (48 saves, 2.16 ERA) was a rock down the stretch. He pitched in almost every game down the stretch. Toward the end, he had nothing. He dared batters to hit whatever he threw and it was mostly slow and not very straight.
And they still couldn't it very hard.
That brutal chunk of games might have cost him his fastball, which he never seemed to regain. He saved between 28 and 37 games the next four seasons, but it was more on guile and splitters than pure heat.
I can't find it on-line, but I'm pretty sure that Beck said something like the following in response to a reporter asking him if he neeeded a day off since he had been pitching so much during the pennant race: I'll just pitch 'til it falls off.
Rod Beck, one of the fun ones to watch.