ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Timber Rattlers lost 10-3 at Burlington. Burlington scored in each of the first five innings and collected 12 hits in the game. Hilton Richardson drove in four runs and Burlington starting pitcher Keaton Hayenga snapped a personal 12-game losing streak in the win.
QUICK START: Hunter Morris gave the Rattlers an early 1-0 lead with a two-out homer in the top of the first inning. The home run was the ninth for Morris and gave him 39 RBI in 60 games since joining the Timber Rattlers.
MAVERICK TAMED: Rattlers starting pitcher Maverick Lasker allowed a two-run homer to Alex McClure, the second batter of the bottom of the first inning, and the Bees took a 2-1 lead. Lasker allowed eight runs on 11 hits over four innings. He walked one batter and threw three wild pitches in the game.
DRIP…DRIP…DRIP…The Bees added to their lead with two runs in the second, three in the third, and one in the fourth.
THREE x THREE: The Timber Rattlers matched their season high for triples in a game when they picked up three triples last night. Scooter Gennett, Chris Dennis, and D’Vontrey Richardson all had three-baggers last night. Wisconsin also had three triples in a game at Peoria on April 29.
BATTING TITLE NEWS: Scooter Gennett went 1-for-4 with a triple last night. His batting average dropped a point to .320. Mike Trout, who was promoted of the Cedar Rapids Kernels in July, has the highest average in the Midwest League at .362, but he may not qualify for the batting title (minimum 2.7 plate appearances per team game). If the Kernels play all of their remaining games, Cedar Rapids will play 138 games meaning Trout would need 373 plate appearances to qualify. Trout was promoted with 365 plate appearances. Also, Brian Cavazos-Galvez of Great Lakes (.319) and Sean Ochinko of Lansing (.318) are within striking distance of catching Gennett. Wisconsin has never had a batting champion. The last time a player for an Appleton Professional Baseball team won a Midwest League Batting title was 1966 when Grover Jones hit .364 for the Fox Cities Foxes.
HOWEVER, KEEP THIS IN MIND: Rule 10.22 (a) allows for Trout to be charged with the number of hitless at bats he needs to qualify for the Midwest League batting title. If eight hitless at bats are added to Trout’s numbers for 2010, he will be hitting .353 and could be declared this year’s batting champion.
ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The Burlington Bees are the Midwest League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. They are the two-time defending Midwest League Western Division Champions. The Bees are 20-36 in the second half of the season. They are 42-83 overall this season.
2010 SEASON SERIES: The Rattlers and Bees have played eighteen games this season. Wisconsin leads the season series 11-7. The Rattlers went 9-1 against the Bees at Time Warner Cable Field. However, Wisconsin is just 2-6 in eight games against Burlington at Community Field. The Bees took two out of three from Wisconsin in Burlington in a first half series from April 14-16. The Bees swept a three game set from Wisconsin at Community Field July 1-3.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST: The Timber Rattlers are hitting .254 as a team. They have scored 604 runs (4.8/game) and hit 72 home runs. The Bees are hitting .236 as a team. They have scored 525 runs (4.2/game) and hit 59 homers. Wisconsin pitchers have a team ERA of 4.79 while allowing a total of 674 runs (5.3/game) this season. Burlington pitchers have a team ERA of 5.30 while allowing a total of 732 runs (5.9/game). The Timber Rattler defense has committed 166 errors. The Bees defense has committed 154 errors. Wisconsin is 26-38 on the road this season. Burlington is 24-40 at home in 2010.
BURLINGTON STARTING PITCHER: RHP Matt Mitchell was the 14th round pick of the Royals in the 2007 draft out of Barstow (CA) High School. He missed all of the 2009 season with Tommy John surgery. In 2008, Mitchell went 8-8 with a 3.47ERA in 25 games (21 starts) for the Bees. He is 1-7 in 24 games (16 starts) for Burlington in 2010. His last start was on August 15 against Quad Cities. He allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts over 4-2/3 innings for a no decision. Since that start, Mitchell has made a pair of relief appearances (August 21 and August 24) against the Beloit Snappers. In those two games, he allowed two runs on four hits over two innings. Mitchell has faced the Timber Rattlers twice this season. He was the starting pitcher at Community Field on April 16 and took the loss when he allowed four runs on seven hits over four innings. Mitchell walked four, hit a batter, and struck out two in that game. Mitchell pitched in relief against Wisconsin on July 12 at Time Warner Cable Field. Mitchell gave up a run on a hit with a walk and a strikeout.