July 19, 2009: Game Notes

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Rattlers lot 5-1 to the Lugnuts. Lansing scored four times in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie. Dan Merklinger struck out seven and allowed one run over seven innings, but got a no decision. The Rattlers have lost four straight and have fallen back below the .500 mark in their overall record.

MERK’S LAW: Merklinger has made five appearances (four starts) in the second half of the season. He is 2-0 with a save and a 1.63ERA. In 27-2/3 innings pitched since the Midwest League All-Star Break, Merklinger has allowed five runs and struck out 28. The Rattlers offense has scored one run in each of his two no decisions.

IT WAS A LITTLE FRUSTRATING: The Rattlers were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. After Brett Lawrie’s ground rule double tied with game with one out in the top of the fourth, Wisconsin went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The Rattlers had at least a runner at second with one out in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. In the fifth and sixth innings, Wisconsin had runners at second and third with one out.

AND CONFUSING: See this post from last night to see why some stats may be off a bit more that usual today. As of this posting, the boxscore and play-by-play from last night had still not been fixed.

1-1: The Lugnuts scored a run in the first inning against Merklinger. Tyler Pastornicky drew a one out walk and stole second. He would score on a single to center by Brian Van Kirk. Lawrie doubled in Pete Fatse from second base in the top of the fourth to tie the game.

A HARD EIGHTH: The Lugnuts broke the tie in the bottom of the eighth inning against Rattlers reliever Nick Tyson. After a single, a sacrifice bunt, and another single put runners at first and third, Kenny Wilson’s RBI fielder’s choice knocked in the go ahead run. An error on the play put runners at second and third. A walk followed to load the bases. Then, Van Kirk singled to drive in two runs. Another run would score when Pastornicky stole third and scored on a throwing error.

THIS FAR AND NO FARTHER: Juan Sanchez went 0-for-5 last night to see his hitting streak come to an end at nine games. This is the second time Sanchez has had a hitting streak stop at nine games.

ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The Lansing Lugnuts are the Midwest League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. They missed the playoffs in the first half of the season with a 26-43 record. So far in the second half, the Lugnuts are 7-14. Lansing is 3.5 games behind the Great Lakes Loons and the South Bend Silver Hawks for the two second half playoff spots in the Eastern Division. Their overall record of 33-57 is the worst in the Midwest League.

SEASON SERIES: The Lugnuts lead the season series 4-0. They swept a three-game series at Time Warner Cable Field in the first half. Lansing beat the Rattlers 11-3, 8-6, and 6-4 from May 2 through May 4 in Grand Chute. Johermyn Chavez was 5-for-13 in the series with a pair of walks, a double, a triple, a homer, four RBI, and five runs scored. The Lugnuts stole nine bases in 11 attempts in the series. Wisconsin did outhit the Lugnuts .314 to .272. The Rattlers also held leads after five innings in game one and game three, but they could not hold them.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST: The Timber Rattlers are hitting .242 as a team. They have scored 374 runs (4.1/game) and hit 44 home runs. The Lugnuts are hitting .243 as a team. They have scored 364 runs (4.0/game) and hit 60 homers. Wisconsin pitchers have a team ERA of 3.98 while allowing a total of 425 runs (4.6/game). Lansing pitchers have a team ERA of 4.75 while allowing 460 runs (5.1/game). The Timber Rattler defense has committed 110 errors. The Lugnuts defense has committed 114 errors. Wisconsin is 15-26 on the road this season. Lansing is 16-31 at Oldsmobile Park this season.

LANSING STARTING PITCHER: RHP Chris Holguin as a 14th round selection of the Blue Jays in the 2008 draft out of Lubbock Christian University. He was 4-1 with a 3.43 ERA in 10 games (eight starts) for the Gulf Coast League affiliate of the Blue Jays in 2008. He walked 11 and struck out 31 in 42 innings in the GCL. Holguin started his 2009 season back in the GCL and made two appearances (one start) for Toronto’s affiliate. In those two games, he gave up on unearned run on six hits over 11 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts for a 1-0 record. Holguin made his Midwest League debut in his appearance prior to this afternoon. He allowed three runs on five hits over five innings with three walks, three strikeouts, and three wild pitches at Community Field against the Burlington Bees. Holguin was not involved in the decision. Today is the first time he will face the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. This is also his first appearance against an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

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