May 29, 2009: Game Notes

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Dayton Dragons shutout the Timber Rattlers 5-0. Matt Fairel, Mark James, and Aguido Gonzalez combined on the six-hit shutout. Fairel pitched six innings, allowed four hits, and struck out five for his third win of the season.

THAT’S A LOTTA BASE RUNNERS: The Timber Rattlers only went down in order one time in nine innings last night. Fairel retired the Rattlers in order in the second inning. Aside from the six hits, there were four walks, an error, and a dropped third strike that allowed Wisconsin runners to reach base. The Rattlers left 10 runners on base in the game.

NOT SO FAST: Of the 13 total runners to get on base for Wisconsin, only three reached third base. Erik Miller singled, moved to second on a bunt, and third on a grounder in the first inning. Miller also tripled with two outs in the third. Jose Duran reached third base in the top of the ninth inning with two outs.

HOUDINI WOULD HAVE BEEN PROUD: Rattler starting pitcher Trey Watten walked Dave Sappelt to start the bottom of the first inning. Next, Sappelt stole second base and third base on consecutive pitches to Miguel Rojas. Then, Watten walked Rojas. Watten proceeded to pick Rojas off first and strikeout the next two batters to escape the inning without a run scoring.

SCORELESS NO MORE: Watten retired the first two batters of the fourth inning. Then, former Brewer farmhand Stephen Chapman singled on a two-strike pitch. Carlos Mendez launched a 2-2 pitch from Watten over the left field fence for a two-run homer.

NO, WE WON’T BE BACK: Mendez was 6-for-13 with a homer and six RBI in the series against the Rattlers. Chapman had two hits, but scored five runs in the series.

MILLER TIME: Miller went 2-for-5 in last night’s game for the Rattlers. He is currently 12-for-35 with an eight game hitting streak. Miller’s career high for a hitting streak is 9-games and he set that earlier this year.

THE ROAD: Chris Dennis is 14-for-33 (.424), Miller is 12-for-40 (.300), and Corey Kemp is 10-for-30 (.300) on this current Rattler road trip.

ROAD TRIP! The Rattlers began a 12-game, 12-day, 4-city road trip last Wednesday. Wisconsin is 4-5 so far with only this series at West Michigan left. The Rattlers return home on June 2 and begin a 12-game homestand against Cedar Rapids, Beloit, and Kane County.

A LITTLE HISTORY: The Timber Rattlers are 13-15 in the month of May with three games remaining. The team needs to sweep this series with West Michigan to give them their first winning month (in a month with more than 10 games) since the 2007 Rattlers went 17-12 in August of that season.

TOSSING THIS IN TO SEE IF YOU MADE IT THIS FAR: In the first three series of this road trip, the Rattlers have won game one all three times.

ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The West Michigan Whitecaps are the Midwest League affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. They currently hold the best record in the Midwest League with a 31-15 mark. The Whitecaps lead the Midwest League Eastern Division by 2-1/2 games over the Fort Wayne TinCaps. In their most recent series, West Michigan swept a three-game set from the Quad Cities River Bandits here at Fifth Third Ballpark.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST: The Timber Rattlers are hitting .253 as a team. They have scored 209 runs (4.4/game) and hit 29 home runs. The Whitecaps are hitting .270 as a team. They have scored 234 runs (5.1/game) and hit 25 homers. Wisconsin pitchers have a team ERA of 4.38 while allowing a total of 240 runs (5.1/game). West Michigan pitchers have a team ERA of 3.07 while allowing 159 runs (3.5/game). The Timber Rattler defense has committed 69 errors. The Whitecap defense has committed 33 errors. Wisconsin is 6-17 on the road this season. West Michigan is 14-6 at home this season.

PROSPECTING: Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook listed four current Whitecaps in their list of Top 30 Tiger Prospects before the season started. Pitcher Casey Crosby is the only one of the four in the top ten and he checks in at #4. Shortstop Brandon Douglas (#23), pitcher Mauricio Robles (#24), and pitcher Brandon Hamilton (#25) are also on the list.

OUT OF THE DRAFT 2008: The Whitecaps have 11 members of the 2008 Detroit draft class on their current roster. Pitchers Tyler Stohr (6th round) and Anthony Shawler (9th) were both picked in the top 10 rounds. Infielder Brandon Douglas (11th), pitchers Jared Gayhart (13th) and Tyler Conn (14th); outfielder Ben Guez (19th); catcher Billy Nowlin (25th), infielder Brent Wyatt (26th); pitcher Mark Sorenson (32nd); and infielders Jordan Lennerton (33rd) and Bryan Pounds (34th) were also Tiger draft picks in 2008.

RETURNING ALUMNI: There are six members of the current West Michigan team that played for the Whitecaps in 2008. Hamilton and Robles; catchers Joe Bowen and Angel Flores; and infielders Ronnie Bourquin and Douglas all played at least part of the season for West Michigan last year.

WEST MICHIGAN STARTING PITCHER: RHP Mark Sorenson was the 32nd round pick of the Tigers out of Michigan State University. He is the son of former Milwaukee Brewer pitcher Lary Sorenson. Mark Sorenson was 3-6 in 12 games with a 3.95 ERA and was named Third-Team All-Big Ten in his final season with the Spartans. He pitched for Oneonta in the New York-Penn League last season and was 3-3 in 13 games (12 starts) with a 3.66ERA. So far in 2009, Sorenson is 0-1 in a pair of starts with a 2.25ERA. In his start prior to this evening, Sorenson faced Kane County on May 24. He allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings with a pair of walks and six strikeouts for a no decision. Tonight is his first appearance against the Timber Rattlers and against an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

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