ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Timber Rattlers won 7-3 at Burlington. Chris Dennis homered and drove in four runs for Wisconsin. Efrain Nieves picked up the win and Jon Pokorny got the final four outs for his seventeenth save of the season. The Rattlers wrapped up their seven game road trip with a 4-3 record.
DENNIS THE MENACE: The Rattlers trailed 1-0 heading into the top of the third inning. Dennis started the inning with a strikeout, but reached on a wild pitch. He scored on a two-out RBI single by Cutter Dykstra. D’Vontrey Richardson put the Rattlers in front 2-1 with an RBI double in the fourth inning. Then, Dennis followed with a three-run homer. In the sixth inning, Dennis tripled in a run for his fourth RBI. Dennis has three games with four RBI and 21 multi-RBI games this season.
WELCOME BACK: Dykstra was activated off the disabled list before Friday’s game. He went 2-for-5 in his first game since Monday, August 16 and extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
SAVINGS PLAN: The Rattlers were up 7-3 with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Bees had the bases loaded and the tying run was at the plate. Pokorny entered the game from the bullpen and struck out Gerard Hall looking to end the threat. Pokorny pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his seventeenth save of the year. Pokorny has stranded 29 of 32 inherited base runners this season. He is two saves shy of tying the Timber Rattlers single season franchise record held by John Thompson since 1995.
ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The Kane County Cougars are the Midwest League affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. Kane County is 32-27 in the second half. They currently hold the Second Half Western Division Wild Card spot. Kane County is 64-64 overall. They are coming into the series with the Rattlers after taking two out of three games at Beloit August 25-27.
2010 SEASON SERIES: The Rattlers and Cougars have met eight times this season. Wisconsin is 6-2 against Kane County in 2010. Wisconsin took two of three from the Cougars at Time Warner Cable Field April 9-10. In a three game series at Kane County May 25-27, the Rattlers won two of three. Wisconsin also swept an abbreviated two game series at Elfstrom Stadium June 19-20. Wisconsin and Kane County play seven of the last ten games of the 2010 season against each other.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST: The Timber Rattlers are hitting .254 as a team. They have scored 611 runs (4.8/game) and hit 73 home runs. The Cougars are hitting .253 as a team. They have scored 612 runs (4.8/game) and hit 59 homers. Wisconsin pitchers have a team ERA of 4.78 while allowing a total of 678 runs (5.3/game) this season. Kane County pitchers have a team ERA of 3.87 while allowing a total of 566 runs (4.4/game). The Timber Rattler defense has committed 166 errors. The Cougars defense has committed 150 errors. Wisconsin is 28-35 at home this season. Kane County is 29-36 at home in 2010.
PROSPECTING: Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook placed five members of the current Kane County roster on their top 30 list of Athletics prospects. Catcher Max Stassi (#4) is the highest rated Cougar. Pitchers Connor Hoehn (#22), Jonathan Joseph (#23) and Justin Marks (#27) are joined by outfielder Tyreace House (#28) on the list.
KANE COUNTY STARTING PITCHER: RHP Jonathan Joseph was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2006 by the A’s. He was 0-2 in 18 games (six starts) for the Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League in 2009. In his minor league career, Joseph was 8-8 with six saves and a 4.96ERA in 64 games (20 starts) heading into the 2010 season. In 178 career innings, he has struck out 164 hitters and walked 74. Joseph started this season with the Cougars and was 0-3 in seven games (two starts). Joseph was sent down to Vancouver and went 1-1 with a 2.68ERA in eight starts for the Canadians before being sent back to Kane County in early August. Since coming back to the Cougars, Joseph is 1-2 with a 2.45ERA and 27 strikeouts in 25-2/3 innings over five starts. Joseph was the starting pitcher on Opening Night at Time Warner Cable Field against the Rattlers. He allowed one run on three hits over three innings with a walks and four strikeouts. Joseph has also faced the Rattlers as a reliever. On May 26 at Kane County, he allowed a run on a hit over three innings and was charged with the loss. In his start prior to this evening, Joseph allowed an unearned run on three hits over five innings against Quad Cities on August 23. He struck out six, walked four, and was not involved in the decision.