ABOUT SUNDAY: The Timber Rattlers broke a four game losing streak by defeating the LumberKings 6-1. Nick Bucci pitched six shutout innings and struck out eight. D’Vontrey Richardson had three hits – including a home run, drove in three runs, and scored three runs. Richardson also picked up an outfield assist, too.
BUONO BUCCI! The Rattlers right-hander evened his season record at 5-5 with his win on Sunday. Bucci allowed three hits and did not allow a LumberKing runner past second base. Sunday was the third time this season he has struck out eight in a game.
PATH OF DESTRUCTION: Richardson started the Rattlers half of the first inning with a double. He scored on a single by Hunter Morris. In the second inning, Richardson launched a three-run homer to put the Rattlers up 4-0. The home run was the first for Richardson since May 24 against Burlington. In his next plate appearance on Sunday, Richardson drew a walk and scored on a double by Scooter Gennett. Richardson added a single in the sixth inning for his fifth three-hit game of the season.
SCOOTER: Gennett’s double was his 35th of the season. He leads the Midwest League in that category.
SPEAKING OF LEADERS: Richardson leads the Midwest League in outfield assists with 14. He picked up Sunday’s assist by throwing out Matt Cerione at second base as Cerione tried to stretch a single into a double.
A REASON: One of the main reasons for the hot start to Sunday’s game was Wisconsin went 3-for-5 in their first five at bats with runners in scoring position.
CALL ME THE BREEZE: Bucci, Matt Costello, and Jon Pokorny combined to strikeout 12 Clinton batters in the game. That matched the single game season high for a nine inning game by Wisconsin pitchers. Wisconsin pitchers have struck out 12 opposing hitters in a 9-inning game four times this season.
WHO’S NEXT? The Peoria Chiefs are in town for a four game series that begins on Tuesday evening. The Chiefs just swept a three game set from Wisconsin at Peoria July 28-30.
ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The Clinton LumberKings are the Midwest League affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. They finished the first half with a record of 38-32 and missed out on one of the two first half playoff spots in the Western Division. Clinton is currently 16-18 in the second half of the season. They trail Kane County by 4-1/2 games for the top playoff spot in the second half. They are 1-½ games behind Peoria for the second half wild card spot.
FAMILIAR FACES: There are five former Timber Rattlers players and one former Timber Rattlers manager on the current Clinton roster. Pitcher Jose Jimenez, catcher Blake Ochoa, infielder Luis Nunez, and outfielders Daniel Carroll and Kalian Sams are the players. Terry Pollreisz, who managed the Rattlers in 2008, is the hitting coach for Clinton
2010 SEASON SERIES: The Rattlers and LumberKings played eight games this season and the series is tied at four wins each. Clinton went 2-1 at Time Warner Cable Field in a set from April 11-13. The Timber Rattlers went 2-1 at Alliant Energy Field in a series from June 15-17. The teams play four games in Clinton from August 7-10 to wrap up the regular season series.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST: The Timber Rattlers are hitting .254 as a team. They have scored 482 runs (4.7/game) and hit 60 home runs. The LumberKings are hitting .248 as a team. They have scored 485 runs (4.7/game) and hit 93 homers. Wisconsin pitchers have a team ERA of 4.46 while allowing a total of 517 runs (5.0/game) this season. Clinton pitchers have a team ERA of 3.46 while allowing a total of 422 runs (4.1/game). The Timber Rattler defense has committed 144 errors. The LumberKings defense has committed 118 errors. Wisconsin is 23-29 in home games this season. Clinton is 22-27 on the road in 2010.
CLINTON STARTING PITCHER: RHP Tom Wilhelmsen was signed by the Seattle Mariners as a minor league free agent before the 2010 season. Wilhelmsen was originally a draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers (7th round of 2002 out of Tucson Magnet High School). He went 5-5 with a 2.76 ERA in 15 starts for the Beloit Snappers in 2003, including a start against the Timber Rattlers on April 15 in the first game of a doubleheader at Time Warner Cable Field. He went 6-2/3 innings and gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts. Wilhelmsen was suspended twice by the Brewers for failing drug tests and retired from baseball before the 2005 season. Wilhelmsen pitched for the Tucson Toros of the Golden Baseball League in 2009 and signed with Seattle during Spring Training, 2010. He has pitched eight times (five starts) for the AZL Mariners and the Everett Aquasox before joining the LumberKings for this series. He struck out 22 and walked two in 15 innings in the Arizona League and went 1-0 with 17 strikeouts and two walks in 14-2/3 innings for Everett. Tonight is his first MWL start since June 27, 2002.