ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Rattlers lost 9-4 to Kane County. Wisconsin could not hold 1-0 and 4-2 leads. The Cougars scored four times in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 6-4 lead. They added three more in the sixth inning to account for the final score. The Cougars clinched the top second half playoff spot in the Western Division with their win last night.
OVER THE TOP: Khris Davis set a new franchise record for home runs in a season by a Timber Rattler last night. He hit his 22nd homer of the season with a third inning blast off Aaron Larsen. Before that round tripper, he had been tied for the franchise record with Juan Silvestre (1999) and Matt Hagen (2003). The home run, a two-out, two-run shot, put the Timber Rattlers up 3-2 at the time.
DYNAMIC DUO: Davis and Chris Dennis have combined for 39 home runs this season. That is a new standard for most home runs by Timber Rattlers teammates in a single season. Davis and Dennis were tied with 2003 Timber Rattlers Matt Hagen (21) and Jon Nelson (16) for the record before Dennis homered on Saturday night.
QUICK STARTS: The Rattlers had a 1-0 lead two batters into the game last night. Cutter Dykstra walked, went to second on an errant pickoff throw, and scored on a Kentrail Davis RBI single.
BUT…: Starting pitcher Efrain allowed a two-run double in the bottom of the second and the Cougars were in front 2-1. After the Rattlers retook the lead, Nieves did not retire a batter in the bottom of the fourth inning and all four batters that reached scored.
DON’T MEAN NOTHING: The Rattlers have scored first in both games of this series and have dropped both decisions. Wisconisn is 37-32 when scoring first in 2010.
LOW WATERMARK: Wisconsin’s current five-game losing streak has knocked them to a season-low 23 games under .500. Last night’s loss also gave the Rattlers their fifth straight season with 80 or more losses. The Rattlers have also missed out on the Midwest League playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.
ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The Kane County Cougars are the Midwest League affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. They missed the playoffs in the first half, but qualified for the postseason with the top spot in the second half Western Division Playoff Standings by a half game over Clinton. The Cougars are 40-29 in the second half and are coming into this series after sweeping a three-game set from Peoria at home. They open the playoffs on Wednesday night at Elfstrom Stadium against the Quad Cities River Bandits.
2010 SEASON SERIES: The Rattlers and Cougars have met 14 times this season. Wisconsin is 8-6 against Kane County in 2010. That includes a 4-3 record at Elfstrom Stadium. Wisconsin took two of three from Kane County in Geneva May 25-27. The Rattlers also swept an abbreviated two game series June 19-20. In the most recent series, Wisconsin and Kane County split four games at Time Warner Cable Field August 28-31.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST: The Timber Rattlers are hitting .255 as a team. They have scored 656 runs (4.8/game) and hit 80 home runs. The Cougars are hitting .255 as a team. They have scored 669 runs (4.9/game) and hit 66 homers. Wisconsin pitchers have a team ERA of 4.81 while allowing a total of 735 runs (5.4/game) this season. Kane County pitchers have a team ERA of 3.87 while allowing a total of 611 runs (4.5/game). The Timber Rattler defense has committed 183 errors. The Cougars defense has committed 164 errors. Wisconsin is 27-40 on the road this season. Kane County is 40-28 at home in 2010.
KANE COUNTY STARTING PITCHER: RHP Kenny Smalley was a 24th round pick of Oakland in the 2008 draft out of Delta State University. Smalley has pitched for Vancouver, Stockton, and Kane County in the Oakland system. He is 0-1 with a 6.14ERA in 12 appearances (two starts) for Kane County this season. His last appearance before today was as a reliever on September 4 against the Rattlers. He gave up a run on three hits and struck out the side in the ninth inning of the Cougars 6-2 victory. Smalley has pitched thee times against Wisconsin this season and has allowed three runs on six hits with five strikeouts over five innings. Today is his first start since July 22 when he lost at Lansing. Smalley is not expected to go to deep into the game as the Cougars are expected to use most of their bullpen on the final day of the season.