ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The River Bandits beat the Timber Rattlers 7-4 in 11 innings. Ross Smith broke a 4-4 tie with an RBI double in the top of the eleventh and Michael Swinson followed with a two-run single. Wisconsin sent the game to extra innings on a two-out, two-run double by pinch hitter Joey Paciorek. Four of the seven runs scored by the River Bandits last night were unearned.
ON THE WRONG FOOT: The Timber Rattlers committed errors on the first two balls put into play last night and the River Bandits scored a run. Later in the first a passed ball let another run in for the River Bandits. In the second inning, Wisconsin committed another error to let in a third unearned run.
D’VO! Rattlers outfielder D’Vontrey Richardson homered in the bottom of the third inning. It was his seventh homer and fiftieth RBI of the season. In his last 31 games (29 in August and two in September), Richardson is 36-for-113 (.319) and has raised his season batting average from .224 to .245.
HALF CENTURY: Richardson became the fourth Rattlers to reach 50 RBI for this season. Wisconsin had four players reach 50 RBI in a season in 2008 and five players make the 50 RBI mark in 2005.
NEW LEADER: Cutter Dykstra went 2-for-5 to move his season batting average to .316 to take over the team lead in batting average. Scooter Gennett saw his batting average drop to .309. Dykstra is third in the Midwest League batting race. Gennett has dropped to a tie for eighth in the category.
BIG HIT! Paciorek’s pinch hit double in the eighth inning was the first for the Timber Rattlers this season. Wisconsin pinch hitters are 1-for-7 with a sacrifice bunt, a sacrifice fly, and three RBI in 2010.
QUALITY START: The definition of a quality start is six or more innings with three or fewer earned runs by a starting pitcher. Rattlers starting pitcher Del Howell pitched six innings and allowed three unearned runs on three hits with five strikeouts. But, Howell walked six in the game, too.
ON THE CUSP: Khris Davis has 21 home runs this season. He is tied for the Timber Rattlers franchise record with Juan Silvestre (1999) and Matt Hagen (2003). Davis has three homers in 15 games against the River Bandits this season. He has hit homers off Eric Fornataro, Michael Blazek, and Dan Calhoun. Two of the three homers against the Bandits have been at Time Warner Cable Field.
ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The Quad Cities River Bandits are the Midwest League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. They qualified for the Midwest League playoffs as the Western Division Wild Card in the first half. They are 81-53 overall and 41-24 in the second half. The River Bandits are coming into this series against the Rattlers after winning three out of four games in a series with Cedar Rapids.
2010 SEASON SERIES: The Rattlers and River Bandits have met 16 times this season. Wisconsin is 6-10 against Quad Cities this season. The Rattlers are 2-6 in eight games against the Bandits at Time Warner Cable Field in 2010. Quad Cities took two of three from the Rattlers in Grand Chute during a series May 4-6. The River Bandits also took two of three from the Rattlers June 28-30. Three of the six Quad Cities wins over the Timber Rattlers in Grand Chute have been in extra innings.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST: The Timber Rattlers are hitting .256 as a team. They have scored 650 runs (4.9/game) and hit 77 home runs. The River Bandits are hitting .257 as a team. They have scored 718 runs (5.4/game) and hit 112 homers. Wisconsin pitchers have a team ERA of 4.79 while allowing a total of 717 runs (5.4/game) this season. Quad Cities pitchers have a team ERA of 3.93 while allowing a total of 625 runs (4.7/game). The Timber Rattler defense has committed 180 errors. The Bandits defense has committed 174 errors. Wisconsin is 30-39 at home this season. Quad Cities is 44-27 on the road in 2010.
QUAD CITIES STARTING PITCHER: RHP Michael Blazek was selected by the Cardinals in the 35th round of the 2007 draft out of Arbor View High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. Blazek has pitched at every level below the Midwest League in the Cardinals system since 2007. He has pitched for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals (’07); Johnson City in the Appalachian League (’08), and Batavia in the New York-Penn League (’09) prior to this season and has compiled a record of 8-16 with a 4.22ERA in 38 games (24 starts) with 151 strikeouts and 53 walks in 145 innings. In his start prior to this evening, Blazek lost at Cedar Rapids on August 29. He allowed an unearned run on four hits with four strikeouts over five innings. Blazek is 0-1 with a save in four appearances (one start) against the Rattlers in 2010. He has allowed 11 runs (seven earned) on 11 hits over 11-2/3 innings with six walks and 12 strikeouts.