Sunday Reading

For your rainy day amusement:

Brett Christopherson reports on the minor league rovers who were in town before that road trip at RattlersReport.com.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes about how it is almost time for the Washington Nationals to be free from the yoke of oppression that is ownership by Major League Baseball.

There was a draft yesterday? It's still going on? Now, I have to cheer for a guy from THE Ohio State University? Do you think he will be playing softball at Fox Cities Stadium in June?

From packers.com

Tom Hardricourt does a little alternate reality investigation...What if? the Devil Rays took Rickie Weeks with the first pick of the 2003 draft? Also, the umps are back and everybody loves them...until they blow a couple of calls. The mysterious case of Brad Lidge seems to be a popular topic in baseball columns this week. And Greg Maddux is in the best shape of his life!

The Bucks? Beat the Pistons? Come on? Do they think this is 1974?

From jsonline.com

Hey! The MLB ALL-STAR ballot is on-line.

I didn't get to do baseball history for yesterday or today. Did you know that on April 30, 2002 Jerry Royster was named the Brewers permanent manager?

Rattlers-Whitecaps 4/30 -- PPD

Where is everybody?

It is still raining from last night. No chance to play today.

Playing two tomorrow. Game one starts at 5:05pm CDT. Game two starts thirty minutes after the completion of game one.

The teams will stay on their pitching rotations:

Game one: Marwin Vega vs. Erik Averill
Game two: Jose Escalona vs. Sendy Vasquez

Right now, I wish I had one of those old World Series Highlight films narrated by Curt Gowdy WGN used to run during Cub rain delays. It would be neat to watch Roberto Clemente in that 1971 Series against the Orioles. If I was a subscriber on mlb.com, I could. Instead, I'll just read about it at Baseball's Best.

Enjoy the unscheduled off day everyone.

Last night in the Midwest League

It was a quiet, too quiet.

West Michigan 2, @Wisconsin 0 -- Short & not very sweet for the Rattlers. Apparently, 15 wins in April is a pretty big deal in Grand Rapids.

@Cedar Rapids 4, South Bend 2 -- Nothing from the hometown paper put on the website, Cedar Rapids?

Fort Wayne @ Beloit -- Suspended Top of 2nd. No Score. Beloit starter Eddie Morlan already had a busy day in 1-1/3 inning with a hit, two walks, and two strikeouts. Not a busy night in the newspaper world, nothing in either paper. Go to the Snapper website for all your suspended game needs.

Clinton @ Kane County (PPD) -- Short but informative.

Dayton @ Burlington (PPD) -- Nothing says welcome to Iowa after a 500 mile bus trip through the night quite like a rainout the first game of a road trip.

Lansing @ Quad Cities (PPD) -- The Swing may have been rained out, but that isn't going to stop the Cardinals from making another roster move. (4th in 5 days in case you are counting).

Southwest Michigan @ Peoria (PPD) -- This is how you write a rain out story for the paper. Oh, and Tim Layden got promoted. This is going to happen to the Chief bullpen as the season continues.

Complete Scoreboard (what there is of it) HERE.

Rattler Alum of the Day

Bryan LaHair, San Antonio Missions

After further review, his on-base streak ended a few days ago, but his two-homer day in another San Antonio win gives LaHair the nod today.

Mariner System Report (Games of 4/29)

Seattle (MAJ: 10-15; 4th AL West): The Mariners got home runs from Adrian Beltre and Carl Everett and five innings from Felix Hernandez (WI ’03) to beat Baltimore 8-6. Hernandez allowed four runs on ten hits and Seattle trailed 4-1 after five innings, but the Mariners rallied for six runs in the top of the sixth and Hernandez got his first win of the year. Eddie Guardado gave up two hits and a walk, but pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.

Tacoma (AAA – 12-8; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): The game between the Rainiers and Salt Lake was suspended in the top of the second inning with no score. It will be picked up as part of a doubleheader today in Tacoma.

San Antonio (AA – 9-13; 4th Texas League South Division): The Missions won their third straight game with a 9-7 victory over Arkansas. Bryan LaHair (WI ’04) hammered two home runs. Justin Ruchti (WI ’04) and Jeff Clement (WI ’05) also homered for San Antonio. Chad Fillinger (WI ’05) pitched four innings of scoreless relief and gave up just one hit for the win. Craig James (WI ’05) got the final out for his first Texas League save.

Inland Empire (High-A – 13-9; 1st California League South Division): The 66ers beat Visalia 9-3. Ivan Blanco (WI ’05) got the win with five innings of solid work as the starter. Marshall Hubbard (WI ’05) drove in three runs and Matt Tuiasosopo (WI ’05) added three hits and two runs scored to help Inland Empire take over first place in the South Division.

Seattle (Jamie Moyer 0-2) at Baltimore (Rodrigo Lopez 1-2) 12:35pm CDT
Salt Lake at Tacoma (completion of suspended game) 2:35pm CDT
Salt Lake (Jered Weaver 2-1) at Tacoma (Cesar Jimenez 0-1) – Game Two
Springfield (Mike Parisi 2-0) at San Antonio (Brandon Moorhead 1-2) 4:05pm CDT
Visalia (Brandon Mann 0-1) at Inland Empire (Shawn Nottingham 0-2) 4:11pm CDT


Saturday's Game in a Word


I was thinking about putting up a picture of some soaked kittens, but that didn't seem right for the overall motif of this blog.

Rain-shortened game tonight. It was played in a steady drizzle and it finally got to be too much after the Rattlers batted in the bottom of the fifth. West Michigan got a run in the first and a run in the second and the game only lasted five innings.

Ramon Garcia gave up one hit in five innings for the win. Tough loss for Paul Fagan and the Rattlers tonight.

Tonight's box score is HERE.

Get 'em tomorrow.

Today's pre-game show guest

Yesterday's Timber Rattler starting (and winning) pitcher Justin Thomas.

Pre-game starts at 6:15pm CDT.

Click on the link on the left to tune into the broadcast.

Last Night in the Midwest League

Wisconsin 6, @ Fort Wayne 3 -- Rattlers take three straight from Wizards. Apparently, things just kind of snowballed on Fort Wayne.

Beloit 11, @ Quad Cities 6 -- Four more errors for the SWING makes 55 in 22 games for the season. Oh, and they lost, too.

@Southwest Michigan 3, Burlington 1 -- Jake McGee pitches a gem and gets a face full of shaving cream for his trouble.

@Lansing 9, Cedar Rapids 7 -- It's a week of wins for the "Cardiac Kids". At least the writer acknowledges the cliche. The Butler did it again.

@South Bend 4, Clinton 3 -- Hawks WIN! The Thon family gets a story in the TRIBUNE.

@West Michigan 5, Kane County 2 -- Whitecaps stay WHITE HOT!

Peoria 8, @Dayton 6 -- Dragons lose, get ready for a long bus ride, and make more roster moves.

Click HERE for complete scoreboard

Game Notes for 4/29

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Rattlers completed their 8-game road trip with a 6-3 win over the Fort Wayne Wizards. Justin Thomas pitched seven strong innings and Ron Garth had four hits to give Wisconsin their third straight win.

NO DOUBTING THOMAS: The Rattler lefty allowed just one run, did not walk a batter, and struck out five as he matched his career high for inning pitched with seven. In his five starts this season, Thomas has given up only one run in four of those games.

FOUR! Garth’s 4-hit game last night was the second time this season he has collected four hits in one game. Garth also had four hits in the game at Beloit on April 11.

BIG LEAD: Wisconsin grabbed a 6-1 lead with a 5-run fourth inning last night. A sacrifice fly by Jeff Dominguez snapped a 1-1 tie. Garth and JB Tucker had back-to-back RBI singles and an error on Tucker’s single allowed Garth to score. Later in the inning, Tucker stole home as part of a double steal to cap off the inning.

LATE EXCITEMENT: Rattler reliever Harold Williams entered the game in the bottom of the eighth inning and walked the first three batters to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed one run to score. A dropped pop up reloaded the bases. Williams struck out the next two batters, but walked a fourth batter in the inning to force in a run and make the score 6-3. Williams struck out Kyle Blanks looking to end the inning and the last gasp rally by the Wizards.

ROAD WARRIORS: The Rattlers are 7-4 in eleven road games this season. On the just concluded road trip, Wisconsin had the lead in all eight games.

HOME COOKIN’: Wisconsin won the final two games of their last home series and are 4-7 at Fox Cities Stadium this season.

STREAKIN’: Robby Hudson extended his hitting streak to eight games with a pair of singles last night. Dominguez has a seven game streak going after his first inning single against the Wizards last night.

ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The West Michigan Whitecaps are the Midwest League affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. They are 14-7 and currently in second place in the Eastern Division. The Whitecaps finished last season with a record of 73-67 and made the playoffs as the second half division champions. They swept Fort Wayne out of the first round, but were swept in the Eastern Division finals by South Bend.

VS. WHITECAPS IN ’05: The Rattlers and Whitecaps split their eight games against each other last season. Wisconsin went 2-2 against the Caps in early May at Fox Cities Stadium. Then, the Rattlers split a four game set at Fifth Third Ballpark in Mid-August

PROSPECTING: BASEBALL AMERICA places four current Whitecaps on their top thirty list of Tiger Prospects. Outfielder Cameron Maybin, the tenth overall selection in the 2005 draft, is rated #3 by BA. Infielder Mike Hollimon and pitcher Sendy Rodriguez are rated at #22 & #23. Outfielder Matt Joyce is ranked #27. The Whitecaps have eleven members of the Tigers 2005 draft class. Maybin was a first rounder. Pitchers Anthony Clagget (11th), Burke Badenhop (18th), Erik Averill (20th), and Gibbs Wilson (36th) were all pick last June. Also in the 2005 draft for the Tigers were Joyce (12th), Hollimon (16th), Mark Haske (23rd), William Rhymes (27th), and Ryan Roberson (30th).

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Ramon Garcia was signed by the Tigers as a non-drafted free agent in 2004 out of the Dominican Republic. Last season, Garcia was 5-3 with a 3.65 ERA for the Gulf Coast League Tigers. So far this season, Garcia has made four starts and gone at least five innings while not allowing more than two runs in any of those starts. Garcia won his last start by giving up two runs on four hits over eight innings against the Clinton LumberKings on April 24. He struck out five and walked none in that game. Garcia has walked only two batters and struck out twenty in 26 innings pitched this season.

Rattler Alum of the Day

Michael Garciaparra, San Antonio Missions.

Two hits and two RBI in a one-run win over Arkansas and the Missions have a winning streak.

Mariner System Report (Games of 4/28)

Seattle (MAJ: 9-15; 4th AL West): The Mariners lost 5-2 at Baltimore. Gil Meche (WI '98) pitched five innings and gave up four runs (two earned) on eight hits to take the loss. Seattle managed just five hits in the loss.

Tacoma (AAA – 12-8; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma beat Salt Lake 1-0. Shin-soo Choo (WI '02) drove in the winning run with a single in the bottom of the ninth inning. Kevin Appier, Emiliano Fruto (WI '02) and Sean Green combined to one-hit the Bees.

San Antonio (AA – 8-13; 4th Texas League South Division): San Antonio won their second straight game with a 3-2 win over Arkansas. Michael Garciaparra went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI. Jesus Guzman drove in the winning with a double in the bottom of the eighth. Bryan LaHair (WI '04) doubled and has reached base in all 21 games he has played this season.

Inland Empire (High-A – 12-9; T-2nd California League South Division): Visalia beat the 66ers 8-4. Matt Tuiasosopo had a pair of hits and a pair of RBI for Inland Empire. The Oaks used a six run top of the third inning. Justin Jordan (WI '05) gave up all six of those runs, but only one was earned.

Seattle (Felix Hernandez 0-3) at Baltimore (Bruce Chen 0-3) 3:35pm CDT
Salt Lake (Dustin Moesley 3-1) at Tacoma (Clint Nageotte 2-1) 3:35pm CDT
Arkansas (Rafael Rodriguez 0-0) at San Antonio (Jason Mackintosh 1-0) 7:05pm CDT
Visalia (Jino Gonzalez 0-2) at Inland Empire (Ivan Blanco 1-0) 9:11pm CDT


Friday's Game in a Word


Justin Thomas cruised. Ron Garth had four hits and an RBI. It got interesting late, but the Rattlers have won three straight. They finish the road trip 5-3, and they are coming back to Fox Cities Stadium at .500.

Here is the the box score. Check it out. I have a bus to catch.

Postcard from Memorial Stadium

RattlersReport.com has posted the latest Postcard.

Tonight's Pre-game Guest

Rattler outfielder Mike Saunders.

We catch him on an off-day and talk about yesterday's win among other things.

Click on the link at the left to listen to the whole broadcast.

MiLB.com story on Harold Williams

Rattler reliever Harold Williams is the subject of this story on MinorLeagueBaseball.com

Good stuff.

Pitching Matchups for West Michigan Series

Sat: LHP Paul Fagan vs. LHP Ramon Garcia
Sun: RHP Marwin Vega vs. LHP Erick Averill
Mon: LHP Jose Escalona vs. Sendy Vasquez
Tue: RHP Jason Snyder vs. RHP Burke Badenhop

The latest on the Delmon Young Story

The Herald-Sun in Durham has reaction from the Bulls General Manager, former Timber Rattler GM, Mike Birling.

"Delmon is not just a Devil Rays prospect; he's also a Durham Bull," said Mike Birling, the Bulls' general manager. "We hold our team to a high standard of conduct and this was just unacceptable. I'm confident the International League and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays will deal with Delmon appropriately."

ESPN.com has a statement from Young, released through his agent.

"I sincerely regret my actions in the game yesterday," Young said in a statement released by the office of his agent, Arn Tellem. "Regrettably, in the heat of the competition my emotions got the better of me.

"My behavior was completely unacceptable. I want everyone to know that I recognize that it is never right to throw a bat and I certainly never intended for the bat to make contact with the umpire. Nevertheless, I owe an apology to my team, the fans and most importantly to the umpire, for the incident. I am sorry."

Over at Baseball America, where Young is rated as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, has a story for subscribers only titled, Young Still Needs Work on Maturity. An excerpt:

"Delmon is an amazing talent as a baseball player," one Devil Rays official said. "But he just doesn't know how to deal with people very well. He's young, yes, but he's very arrogant and tends to really come across the wrong way in conversations sometimes."

So the last thing Young needs to get ready for the big leagues probably is not a physical skill, but rather maturity. After his Minor League Player of the Year performance last year, for example, Young focused not on the success of his season but on the Devil Rays' decision not to give him a September callup, calling the organization cheap.

"I don't think anybody in this locker room is feeling sorry for him," Devil Rays outfielder Aubrey Huff said at the time. "A lot of guys worked hard to get here. He rubbed a lot of people in here the wrong way. It was the wrong thing to say. He showed a little immaturity and that's why he's not here. It takes a lot of nerve to say the organization is cheap when you got $5.8 million (to sign)."

And there were plenty of Delmon Young questions on today's chat with Chris Kline.

Including this one right out of the box:

Q: Scott from Henderson, NV asks: Is it conceivable that the DRays could call Delmon Young up thereby foregoing his International League Suspension?

A:...Chris Kline: Scott, that was the initial question I received yesterday, but Rays' GM Andrew Friedman seems to agree with whatever the suspension ends up being in the IL, they'll honor that. And after seeing that "flip," by Delmon, he deserves whatever he gets. When you think of minor league suspensions in the past, regardless of the offense, you think '10 games.' But Delmon might fall victim of more time, simply because the league wants to send a message--not because of the offense, but because of the situation with minor league umpires. What is the severity of his offense? Is it worse than last season, when Esix Snead, then with Richmond, jumped David Bush (Syracuse) on the mound, beating him with his batting helmet? I guess that's something only IL president Randy Mobley can decide. But I think it'll be more than 10 games (which is what Snead ended up getting last season), simply based on the fact that replacement umpires were officiating the game and the league doesn't want to acknowledge that wasn't a factor in what Delmon did. It certainly was, but at the same time, he needs to learn to respect the game . . . and he'll have a long time to think about that, and those thoughts will come in Triple-A, not the big leagues.

Game Notes for 4/28

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Timber Rattlers jumped out to an 8-0 lead and went on to beat the Wizards 11-6. Casey Craig and JB Tucker both homered for Wisconsin and Mike Saunders added a three-run double. Jason Snyder won his second game of the season as the Rattlers moved to 4-3 on their current 8-game road trip.

OFF THE SCHNEID: Last night was the first time this season Wisconsin won a game in which they allowed five or more runs. The Rattlers are 1-6 in that scenario now.

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: Four Timber Rattler pitchers combined to walk ten Wizard batters last night. There were also two hit batsmen, six wild pitches, and one error by the Rattler pitchers. Snyder walked three and hit two in 5-1/3 innings. Rollie Gibson walked three batters in an inning. Ruben Flores walked a pair. Edgar Guaramato threw his first two pitches of the night to the backstop for wild pitches and walked a pair.

THE WILD BUNCH: In their last ten games, the entire Rattler pitching staff has combined for 60 walks. In their last five games, the Rattler pitchers have walked 35 opposing batters.

LONG GONE: The home runs hit by the Rattlers last night were their first of the road trip. Craig launched his third home run of the season in the second inning and it was the first Rattler home run since Alex Gary’s homer in the sixth inning of a game at Fox Cities Stadium on April 20, a homerless streak of 58 innings. Tucker blasted his third of the year in the seventh to give the Rattlers an 11-5 lead and tie Craig for the team lead on the season. Craig leads the Rattlers in RBI with 15.

PARTY’S OVER, GARTH: Ron Garth went 0-for-4 last night and had his hitting streak end at ten games.

NEW HIGH: Robby Hudson had an eighth inning single to extend his hitting streak to seven games for the longest current streak on the team.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Stevie Delabar was a 29th round pick of the Padres in the 2003 draft out of Volunteer State (TN) JC as a draft-and-follow. Last season with Eugene, Delabar was 4-6 with a 4.76ERA in 16 starts. He faced Everett three times last season and was 0-2 with a no decision and an ERA of 1.56. In his last start for the Wizards, Delabar went five innings, allowed five runs on eight hits, and took a no decision against the Swing of the Quad Cities on April 23.

Umpires End Strike

I saw that the lawsuit between the minor league umpires and Minor Leage Baseball was settled late last night. That probably opened the door to a settlement.

MILB.com has the story here.

Financial terms of the deal were as of yet unknown, but a source close to the AMLU believed there would be a bump in salary as well as the per diem for all Minor League umpires, two of the key issues that led to the strike. The union will vote on the deal on Sunday, and the source was confident it would pass.

The regular umpires should be back on the field by May 8th.

This part of a Dragons Notebook "Replacement umps not making the right calls" in the Dayton Daily News was filed before the agreement was reached. It focuses on two bad calls by the base umpire in last night's game between Dayton and Peoria.

Can I let you in on a little something? The regular umpires will make some bad calls this season, too. Managers will get tossed because of them. Writers will write about those calls. Broadcasters will talk (or, rave depending) about those calls.

Cycle of life, folks. Cycle of life.

I can almost guarantee that during an argument this season between a manager and one of the regular umpires, that manager is going say at some point, "You know what? Those replacement umps did a hell of a lot better job than you did!!" There may be a bit more profanity involved and it may not be fair, but it will be interesting to see how the first few games with the regular umpires play out.

Last night in the Midwest League

Wisconsin 11, @ Fort Wayne 6 -- Henny Youngman writes for the Journal Gazette today: Take Thursday night, for example. Please.

@Lansing 5, Cedar Rapids 2 -- Cheng was shaky. BUT he has four wins this season.

Clinton 5, @South Bend 1 --South Bend gets two hits in a loss leading to the Always Alliterate! rule in the headline.

@Southwest Michigan 4, Burlington 2 -- I'll put as much effort into this as the headline writer at the Battle Creek Enquirer.

@West Michigan 8, Kane County 4 -- Why do I get the feeling that the Whitecaps are pretty good this year?

Peoria 6, @Dayton 2 -- Um, yeah. About that Dragons being on FIRE, not even a reahbbing Paul Wilson could help tonight.

@Quad Cities 6, Beloit 4 (15 innings) -- Which team do you think committed seven errors? If you guessed the same team that got a game winning homer in the bottom of the 15th, you'd be right. It was only right that Randy Roth hit the game winner. His error in the top of the ninth allowed the Snappers to tie the game.

Full Scoreboard HERE.

Rattler Alum of the Day

From ie66ers.com

Marshall Hubbard, Inland Empire. A pair of homers, three RBI and another Inland Empire win.
Additional recognition goes to Matt Tuiasosopo of the 66ers, who went 4-for-4 with an RBI and Brian Fuentes, who picked up a save for the first place Colorado Rockies.

Mariner System Report (Games of 4/27)

Seattle (MAJ: 9-14; 4th AL West): The Mariners were off on Thursday. The Seattle Times has a story about the early season performance of the pitching staff. A few quotes from M's pitching coach (and former Rattler pitching) coach Rafael Chaves are included.

Tacoma (AAA – 11-8; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma managed just two hits in a 3-0 loss to Salt Lake. Shin-soo Choo (WI ’02) and Asdrubal Cabrera (WI ’05) each had singles for the Rainiers.

San Antonio (AA – 7-13; 4th Texas League South Division): The Missions beat Arkansas 4-3. Gary Harris (WI ’03) had a pair of hits, a run scored, and an RBI for San Antonio. Travis Blackley gave up two runs in six innings for the win.

Inland Empire (High-A – 12-8; T-2nd California League South Division): Marshall Hubbard (WI ’05) homered twice and drove in three runs and Inland Empire beat Bakersfield 8-2. Matt Tuiasosopo (WI ’05) had four hits and an RBI for the 66ers. Julio Santiago (WI ’05) struck out seven in five innings and won his third game of the season.

Seattle (Gil Meche 1-1) at Baltimore (Daniel Cabrera 1-2) 6:05pm CDT
Salt Lake (Alex Serrano 0-0) at Tacoma (Kevin Appier 0-0) 8:05pm CDT
Arkansas (James Holcomb 0-2) at San Antonio (Yorman Bazardo 1-1) 7:05pm CDT
Visalia at Inland Empire 9:11pm CDT


It was as if a million voices cried out "WHOA, NELLIE" at once

Keith Jackson has officially hung up his headset.

The long-time voice of College Football on ABC is going to be the "Shop steward of the International Porch-sitters Union" if I recall the quote from his statement on ESPN.

My earliest memories of Keith Jackson are of him as more of a baseball announcer. ABC and NBC used to switch the LCS and World Series every year and he would work I seem to remember him doing the final game of the 1982 season between the Brewers and the Orioles. I think I may have a tape of him doing Game 5 of the '82 ALCS, too.

College football wasn't as big on Saturdays. A great Saturday afternoon in the fall used to be MLB Game of the Week on NBC and the PBA on ABC. The football game wouldn't take center stage until after 4:15 Mass.

But, as college football grew, Jackson became the lead guy who got all the big games. Florida State-Miami, Ohio State-Michigan, name it and he did it.

It was a big deal when Keith Jackson showed up in Madison for the first time in the Barry Alvarez era.

Everybody has a Keith Jackson impression. Mine used to be somewhat passable, plus I had a buddy in college who did a perfect Frank Broyles impression. Good times...Good times.

Enjoy sitting on that porch, sir.

Delmon Young Incident

Okay, this has been out there for a while.

Delmon Young, the top prospect in minor league baseball and an outfielder for the Durham Bulls, struck out in the first inning of an International League game at Pawtucket.

He did not leave the batter's box right away. The replacement umpire did not like it. Young walked away and got thrown out. ESPN has the video HERE of what happened next.

The bat comes flipping through the air (from out of the frame) and hits the umpire. Young has been suspended indefinitely by the International League.

It sounds worse than it looks.

The guys at deadspin.com have a post that links to an eyewitness account and a few Devil Ray

Here is the story from the Pawtucket Times with the very fascinating statement by the anonymous umpire. What makes the statement fascinating isn't the words in the statement, but the fact that the umpire is not named.

Afterwards, the umpire released the following statement. "It was an unfortunate incident and there should be no place for actions like that in the game of baseball. Any official should not be treated like that. He embarrassed himself and his teammates."

I think this incident falls somewhere between Robby Alomar spitting on the umpire (worse) and Inland Empire 66er Evel Bastida-Martinez taking a bat out to the mound in a California League game and hitting the pitcher in 2003 (not as bad).

Alomar got five games. Bastida-Martinez (a former Rattler from 2002 & 2004) got banned from the California League for life and if memory serves me, the Mariners suspended him before the California League acted.

How long will this suspension be for Delmon Young? I would guess about a month. Maybe two.

Thursday's Game in a Word

Ugly. Again. Different graphic though, because it was a win. Ten walks, six wild pitches, three hit batsmen. An 8-0 lead cut to 8-5. But, it was a win. So in honor of "Winning Ugly" a 1983 Chicago White Sox Jersey!

The entire box score is HERE

Tonight's Pre-game show guest...

Rattler Manager Jim Horner.

We talk about the current injuries and how a manager deals with it, Escalona leaving with a no-hitter, and yesterday's five run rally in the top of the fifth.

Click on the link at the left to listen. Pre-game starts at 4:40pm CDT.

Roster Moves

Nick Prosise and Alex Gary have been placed on the disabled list.

The two players joining the Rattlers in Fort Wayne tonight are: Outfielder Jairo Hernandez and catcher Brian Schweiger.

Hernandez, a non-drafted free agent from the Dominican Republic, hit .333 in seven games with the AZL Mariners in 2005.

Schweiger, a 16th round pick in 2003 out of Cal State San Bernardino, hit .316 in six games with the Rattlers early last season before joining Everett where he his .136 in twenty games for the AquaSox.

Game Notes for 4/27

ABOUT YESTERDAY: The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers beat the Fort Wayne Wizards 7-3 yesterday afternoon. Jose Escalona tossed five innings of no-hit ball and won his second straight decision. The Rattlers put up five runs in the top of the fifth and added two insurance runs in the ninth for their third win in six games on the current road trip.

NO GO ON THE NO-NO: Escalona walked two batters in the first four innings, but ran into trouble in the bottom of the fifth. He walked the lead-off batter, but got the next two on routine flyouts. Then, with a 1-2 count to the ninth hitter in the Wizard order Abraham Aguilar, Escalona hit him to extend the inning. Back-to-back walks forced home a run. Escalona got out of the frame by striking out Seth Johnston. Escalona did not return to the mound was that he had reached his pitch limit. He went from just over fifty pitches through four innings to just over eighty pitches after throwing 29 pitches in the fifth.

BROKEN UP: The Wizards broke up the no-hitter with a lead off single by Nic Crosta in the bottom of the sixth off Jeff Gilmore. The last Timber Rattler no-hitter was thrown by Derrick Van Dusen at Cedar Rapids on August 27, 2001.

DRIVE FOR FIVE: The Rattlers scored all five runs in the top of the fifth inning after there were two outs and nobody on base. Ron Garth drew a walk, JB Tucker singled, and Mike Saunders followed with an RBI single. A walk to Nick Prosise loaded the bases. Then, Eddy Hernandez drew a walk to force home a run. A wild pitch scored Saunders and Bryan Sabatella capped the inning with a two-run single.

IT WAS BOUND TO HAPPEN: The walk drawn by Hernandez was just the second pass he had taken in 68 plate appearances this season.

AGAIN WITH THE HITS: Jeffery Dominguez had two more hits yesterday. He has collected at least two hits in a game in all five games he has played on this road trip.

PARTY ON GARTH: Ron Garth extended his hitting streak to ten games with a ninth inning RBI single yesterday. The ten-game hitting streak is the longest on the Rattlers this season. Garth is 14-for-43 (.326) during the streak.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Ben Krosschell was a 16th round pick of the Padres in 2004 out of Highlands Ranch (CO) High School. In his first two seasons, he was 3-10 with a 3.82ERA for the AZL Padres and the Eugene Emeralds. He won his last start for the Wizards by going five innings shutout innings against Quad Cities and allowing only three hits.

Wednesday in the Midwest League

Wisconsin 7, @ Fort Wayne 3 -- Escalona gives up a run without allowing a hit over five innings. A five run deficit was too much for even Superman, I mean the Wizards to overcome.

Burlington 8, @ Southwest Michigan 1 -- It was a bad day in Battle Creek to be a Devil Ray fan. So many jokes here. Make your own. It'll be a lot of fun.

@Lansing 4, Cedar Rapids 2 (13 innings) -- With the exchange rate, 13 innings in the US gets you 18 in Canada. It also gets to be too late for the Lansing State Journal to get it into the paper. Never too late for lansinglugnuts.com

@South Bend 11, Clinton 5 -- No John Mayberry homer for Clinton. A couple of big innings for the mentally tough Silver Hawks.

Kane County 4, @West Michigan 3 -- All is right with the world. Or at least all is right in the world of the Cougars.

Beloit 7, @ Quad Cities 3 -- Just when you think Steve Batterson of the QC Times can't top a lede, he goes out and grabs the word Thud. No exclamation point necessary.

Peoria 6, @Dayton 4 -- The Dragons "Reaching .500" party has been delayed for a few more days.

Wednesday's Full Scoreboard HERE

Rattler Alum of the Day

From ie66ers.com

Brent Johnson, Inland Empire 66ers.

Johnson was 2-for-3 with a couple of RBI and run scored to help the 66ers to a come-from-behind win over Bakersfield.
Seattle (MAJ: 9-14; 4th AL West): Former Appleton Fox Raul Ibanez went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs and an RBI in a 5-1 Mariner win over the White Sox. Rafael Soriano (WI ’00) and JJ Putz (WI ’00) each did scoreless work out of the bullpen to preserve the win for Jarrod Washburn.

Tacoma (AAA – 11-7; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers were off yesterday.

San Antonio (AA – 6-13; 4th Texas League South Division): San Antonio started a homestand with a 2-1 loss to Arkansas. Ryan Feierabend (WI ’04) went six innings allowed three hits and struck out six, but took the loss because of a pair of unearned runs scoring on a Brandon Wood home run. The San Antonio News-Express has a notes section today about a flu bug going through the Missions, Jason Mackintosh becoming a starter, and Bryan LaHair keeping a streak alive.

Inland Empire (High-A – 11-8; T-2nd California League South Division): Brent Johnson (WI ’05) drew a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 5-5 tie and the 66ers held on for the 6-5 win over Bakersfield. Johnson was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI. Josh Womack (WI ’05) also had a pair of RBI for the 66ers. Inland Empire rallied from a 5-0 deficit for the win.

Seattle – OFF DAY
Salt Lake (Joe Saunders 1-1) at Tacoma (Francisco Cruceta 1-0) 8:05pm CDT
Arkansas (Dan Davidson 0-1) at San Antonio (Travis Blackley 1-2) 7:05pm CDT

Bakersfield at Inland Empire 9:11pm CDT


Today's Game in a Word


as in effectively wild. Five walks, a hit batsman, four strikeouts, one run and no hits over five innings for Jose Escalona...Oh, and the win, too.

Rattlers with five in the fifth and two in the ninth. Garth, Sabatella, and Dominguez all kept hitting streaks going.

Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday morning.

Game time change

The Wizard staff has just informed me that the game time for today has been pushed back to 11:10am. I apologize to those of you who woke up at 7:30am PDT to tune into the pre-game show at 7:40am PDT. We will have a pre-game show in about a half an hour from right now.

Click on the link at the left to listen.

So, is there something going on back in Wisconsin?

Sources: Favre to Play '06 Season for Packers (ESPN)

Mike Woods: Favre's Answer Leads to Questions (Post-Crescent)

Fans React to Favre's Return (Post-Crescent)

ESPN: Brett Favre Will Play (CBS 5 play video at link)

Favre Tells Packers He'll Be Back (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Game notes for 4/26

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Wizards beat upon the Timber Rattlers 13-4. Wisconsin took an early 2-0 lead, but Fort Wayne scored four runs in the bottom of the second. Wisconsin tied the game with two in the top of the third. The Wizards went ahead 6-4 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. A three-run home run by Kyle Banks in the bottom of the fifth inning made it 9-4 Fort Wayne.

ROUGH START: Timber Rattler starting pitcher Marwin Vega gave up nine runs on six hits, three walks, a hit batsman, and three wild pitches. His earned run average has jumped from 1.56 to 4.84 last night.

A NEW SEASON HIGH: Three Rattler pitchers combined to walk eight Wizard batters to set a new single game high this season. Vega had three walks, Ruben Flores walked four batters in just 1/3 of an inning, and Nick Allen walked one over his final 2-2/3 innings.

STILL A RARE EVENT: The home run by Banks was only the fourth given up by the Timber Rattler pitching staff this season. In 99 innings, Timber Rattler starting pitchers have given up three long balls. Relievers have only been hit for one homer in 72 innings.

0-for-6: In nineteen games this season, the Timber Rattlers have given up five or more runs six times. They have lost all six times they have done that.

PARTY ON GARTH: Ron Garth extended his hitting streak to nine games with a second inning single. The nine-game hitting streak is the longest on the Rattlers this season. Garth added an RBI double in the third inning and is 13-for-40 (.325) during the streak.

FAMILY AFFAIR: Fort Wayne outfielder Will Venable is the son of Wizard hitting coach Max Venable. Will Venable was the 7th round pick out of Princeton by the Padres in 2005. Max Venable played twelve seasons in the Major Leagues between San Francisco, Montreal, Cincinnati, and California.

SPORTS CONNECTION: Wizard catcher Nick Hundley is the son of Tim Hundley, the defensive coordinator for the Texas-El Paso football team.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Fabian Jimenez was 4-11 with a 7.03ERA for the Wizards last season before being sent down to Eugene in the Northwest League where he went 1-3 with a 2.22ERA. On July 2 of last season, Jimenez lasted just 3-2/3 innings against the Rattlers and gave up five runs on nine hits to take the loss. Everett beat him in the Northwest League on August 6, 2005. He went six innings and gave up just two runs on two hits with five strikeouts. On April 21 of this season, Jimenez got a no decision against the Swing of the Quad Cities. He gave up four hits and a run over six innings with two walks and five strikeouts.

Tuesday in the MWL

@Fort Wayne 13, Wisconsin 4 -- It didn't get any better reading about it in the paper this morning. At least the web sites of both Fort Wayne papers are down this morning. Plus, here's the reason there were only 1,003 fans here last night, but the parking lot was full. Komet Hockey, Baby!!! 5,486 saw a 5-4 win over the Rockford IceHogs in the arena in the same complex as Memorial Stadium.

@Lansing 4, Cedar Rapids 0 -- Why do I have the feeling the Lugnuts are pretty good this year?

Clinton 14, @South Bend 3 -- Another day, another home run for John Mayberry, another LumberKing loss...er, wait. Nevermind.

Burlington 2, @Southwest Michigan 0 (10 innings) -- Scoreless? Into extra-innings? Between a team that is hitting .222 (D-Rays) and a team that is hitting .214 (Bees)? Shocked! I say, shocked!

@West Michigan 3, Kane County 2 (12 innings) -- Dusty Ryan extends his hitting streak and helps the Whitecaps win with that rarest of feats...A walk-off, extra-inning triple.

@Dayton 4, Peoria 1 -- No, seriously. The Dragons are on FIRE

Beloit 6, @Quad Cities 5 -- Nothing like a good lede from Steve Batterson of the Quad Cities Times after a five error game by the home team to start your morning:

The Swing of the Quad-Cities didn’t actually leave their gloves behind when the team bus pulled out of Fort Wayne late Monday night.

It just looked that way at times Tuesday as the Swing opened a 12-game homestand by suffering through another error-filled effort in a 6-5 Midwest League loss to Beloit at John O’Donnell Stadium

Full Scoreboard from yesterday HERE.

Rattler Alum of the Day

From Tacoma Rainiers

Asdrubal Cabrera, Tacoma Rainiers.

Three-for-four, three RBI, big part in the game winning rally in the bottom of the ninth. All part of his first day back of the DL? You bet he is the alum of the day.

Mariner System Report (Games of April 25)

Seattle (MAJ: 8-14; 4th AL West): The Mariners lost 13-3 to the White Sox. Joel Pineiro (WI ’98) took the loss by giving up five runs on six hits over four innings. Bobby Livingston (WI ’03) made his major league debut and was hit for four runs on five hits over 1-2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out one.

Tacoma (AAA – 11-7; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): The Tacoma Rainiers shook off a blown save and scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Fresno 5-4. Asdrubal Cabrera (WI ’05) doubled in the tying run and scored the winning run on a single by Scott Youngbauer. Cabrera went 3-for-4 with three RBI and Shin-soo Choo (WI ’02) homered. Cha Seung Baek (WI ’00) gave up two runs over six innings with four strikeouts and no walks, but got a no decision.

San Antonio (AA – 6-12; 4th Texas League South Division): The Missions lost 9-8 at Midland on a run in the bottom of the ninth. The Missions tied the game with two runs in the top of the ninth. Wladimir Balentien (WI ’04) had a two out home run and Jon Nelson had a two-out RBI triple to tie the game 8-8. Brandon Moorhead (WI ’04) gave up two runs on three hits over five innings and left with a 2-1 lead. Midland scored three times in the sixth for a 4-2 lead. San Antonio had five runs in the top of the sixth for a 6-4 lead. But, the RockHounds scored three times in the bottom of the eighth.

Inland Empire (High-A – 10-8; T-3rd California League South Division): Inland Empire beat Bakersfield 5-4 in 12 innings. Matt Tuiasosopo (WI ’05) tied the game 4-4 with a single in the bottom of the tenth after the Blaze had taken a 4-3 lead in the top of the inning. A throwing error with the bases loaded in the bottom of the twelfth allowed the winning run to score. Tuiasosopo drove in three runs. Chris Colton (WI ’05) had three hits for Inland Empire.

Mariner System Schedule for April 26
Chicago (Mark Buehrle 3-0) at Seattle (Jarrod Washburn 1-3) 9:05pm CDT
Tacoma – OFF DAY
Arkansas (Jesse Smith 0-1) at San Antonio (Ryan Feierabend 0-1) 7:05pm CDT

Bakersfield at Inland Empire 1:00pm CDT


Tonight's Game in a word

Ugly as in:


Box score is here if you care to take a look.

There are going to be games like this from time to time. Speaking of time. There isn't a lot of time to worry about this one. Rattlers and Wizards play again at 11:00am EDT/10:00am CDT on Wednesday.

Today's Pre-game show guest

Lance Painter.

We talk about Paul Fagan, Harold Williams, Jeff Gilmore, and a quick scouting report on the Wizards.

Pre-game at 4:40pm CDT. Click on the link at the left to listen.

Monday in the MWL

Wisconsin 8, @South Bend 4 -- Maybe you will have better luck finding the write up of last night's game in the South Bend Tribune.

@Lansing 3, Beloit 2 -- The Lugnuts broke the Snappers hearts again. One day after a 17 inning win over Beloit, the Lugnuts scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth on a two-out double by Jake Butler. The Lansing State Journal headline spared us (and himself) by not writing "The Butler Did It!"

@Peoria 3, Burlington 2 -- Scott Taylor was perfect through four innings, but didn't get out of the fifth. Mike Billek got the win for the Chiefs.

@Southwest Michigan 4, Cedar Rapids 2 -- Wade Davis didn't feel well before his start for the Devil Rays. After five scoreless innings, the Kernels wish he had stayed home.

@West Michigan 8, Clinton 2 -- John Mayberry homers for Clinton again. Clinton loses to West Michigan again.

@Dayton 7, Kane County 4 -- Remember that line in Happy Gilmore? "Uh-oh, looks like someone learned to putt?" Looks like the Dragons have learned to pitch.

Quad Cities 6, @ Fort Wayne 5 (11 innings) -- Wizards couldn't hold a 4-1 lead. Randy Roth homers in the top of the eleventh. SWING get the win.

Complete Scoreboard

New Postcard is Available

RattlersReport.com has posted the Postcard from Coveleski Stadium.

A little bit of the baseball, some Notre Dame football, tips in hotel bar decorating, and where would that column have been written if things had gone differently during the last off-season.

Timber Rattler Game Notes for 4/25

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Jeff Dominguez had three hits, scored two runs, and drove in one run as the Rattlers defeated the South Bend Silver Hawks at Coveleski Regional Stadium 8-4. Paul Fagan got his first Midwest League win as he went five innings and gave up three runs on eight hits.

SPLITSVILLE: The Rattlers split their four game series with the Silver Hawks. Wisconsin won games one and four with South Bend winning the middle two games.

WAD OF SINGLES: Of the eleven hits by the Rattlers last night, ten were singles. The only extra base hit was a double by Dominguez to start the game.

ANYWAY YOU CAN GET THEM: The Rattlers scored their eight runs on a Silver Hawk error, a balk, a bases loaded walk, a wild pitch, a pair of sacrifice flies, and RBI singles by Bryan Sabatella and Ron Garth.

PARTY ON GARTH: Garth’s RBI single in the second inning extended his hitting streak to eight games. He is 11-for-36 (.306) during the streak and has tied Eddy Hernandez for the longest streak on the team.

THERE’S SOMETHING YOU DON’T SEE EVERYDAY: The Hawks had the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the fourth inning. Leyson Septimo lined a single to center and two runs appeared to have scored. However, Rattler centerfielder Mike Saunders threw out Steve Mena at third base for the final out of the inning before Richard Mercado crossed home plate. Instead of being down 6-3, the Hawks were down 6-2.

THE K’s JUST KEEP ON COMING: Rattler reliever Harold Williams struck out five batters, including the side in order in the seventh, over 2-2/3 innings. Williams has struck out 23 opposing batters in 11-2/3 innings this season.

ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The Fort Wayne Wizards are the Midwest League affiliate of the San Diego Padres. They are 10-7 and currently in third place in the Eastern Division. The Wizards finished last season with a record of 65-75, but made the playoffs as the first half wild card. West Michigan swept the Wizards out of the first round of the post-season. Fort Wayne is managed by former Milwaukee Brewer Randy Ready.

VS. WIZARDS IN ’05: The Rattlers were 6-2 against Fort Wayne in 2005. Wisconsin went 3-1 against the Wizards at Memorial Stadium in a series from June 30 to July 3. The Rattlers went 3-1 at Fox Cities Stadium against Fort Wayne from August 25-28.

PROSPECTING: BASEBALL AMERICA puts six current Wizards on their Top Thirty Prospect list for the Padres. Catcher Nick Hundley is rated #9. Pitcher Ben Krosschell, infielder Kyle Banks, and pitcher Joel Santo are ranked 14-16. Pitcher Josh Geer checks in at number 18. Pitcher Fabian Jimenez is the number 29 prospect on the list. The Wizards have twelve members of the 2005 San Diego draft class on their current roster. Geer was a 3rd round pick. Other pitchers drafted last season include John Madden (8th), Grant Varnell (25th), Jon Link (26th), and Brandon Higelin (28th). Hundley was a second round pick in ’05, Mike Baxter (4th), Seth Johnson (5th), Will Venable (7th), Josh Alley (10th), Mike Sansoe (18th), and Chad Steiner (20th) are also on the Wizards roster.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Josh Geer was a third round pick of the Padres out of Rice University in 2005. He was 12-4 and had an ERA of 3.32 in his final season with the Owls. His twelve wins led the Western Athletic Conference. Geer was 3-1 with an ERA of 3.69 in seven appearances (six starts) for Eugene in the Northwest League before making five regular season starts for the Wizards at the end of the 2005 season. He was 1-1 with a 4.25ERA. Geer beat Everett in the Northwest League on July 24, 2005 by allowing two runs on six hits over six innings. He faced the Timber Rattlers on August 27, 2005 and got a no decision in a 7-5 win for the Wizards. He gave up five runs on six hits in just four innings. In his last start, Geer beat Burlington. On April 20 at Burlington, Geer pitched six shutout innings allowing four hits and striking out four.

Rattler Alum of the Day

Chad Fillinger, San Antonio Missions. If I could find a picture of him on the Mission's Web site It would be here, but there isn't one.

He pitched three scoreless innings against a pretty darn good Midland lineup, got the win, and most importantly, helped the Missions break a nine game losing streak.

Mariner System Report (Games of 4/24)

Seattle (MAJ: 8-13; 4th AL West): Former Appleton Fox Raul Ibanez had three hits, including a home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the Mariners in front of the White Sox 3-2. But, Eddie Guardado gave up a game-tying homer in the top of the ninth. Yuniesky Betancourt came through with the game winning hit in the bottom of the eleventh inning in the 4-3 win for the M’s. Julio Mateo (WI ’00) got the win by pitching a scoreless top of the eleventh.

Tacoma (AAA – 10-7; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Cesar Jimenez (WI ’03) made his Triple-A debut for the Rainiers and got knocked around in Tacoma’s 10-8 loss to Fresno. Jimenez allowed seven runs on four hits and five walks over 4-2/3 innings. Hunter Brown (WI ’02) and Shin-soo Choo (WI ’02) both homered for the Rainiers.

San Antonio (AA – 6-11; 4th Texas League South Division): The Missions snapped their nine-game losing streak with a 7-5 win at Midland. Jason Mackintosh (WI ’04) got the emergency start in place of Jimenez and gave up ten hits and four runs over three innings. Chad Fillinger (WI ’05) pitched three scoreless innings in relief and got the win. Jeff Clement (WI ’05) homered and Michael Garciaparra (WI ’03) had a two-run triple during a three-run sixth inning to help the Missions take the lead.

Inland Empire (High-A – 9-8; T-3rd California League South Division): Inland Empire was off yesterday.

Chicago (Javier Vazquez 1-1) at Seattle (Joel Pineiro 2-1) 9:05pm CDT
Fresno (Alfredo Simon 0-1) at Tacoma (Cha Seung Baek) 8:05pm CDT
San Antonio (Brandon Moorhead 1-2) at Midland (Brad Ziegler 2-0) 6:30pm CDTBakersfield at Inland Empire 9:11pm CDT

Give me about an hour

Apologies are in order.

There were a few things I had to write for the next homestand's issue of PLAYBALL! Plus, there were a few other things to take care of -- okay, I had to go to have the Pizza buffet for lunch. I should have fresh posts up in about an hour.

The bus leaves for the stadium in about fiteen minutes. I'll be working on the game notes and Mariner report and Monday in the Midwest League and all the other fun stuff.

Game time today is 5:00pm CDT. You will have plenty to take a look at during the game today.


Monday's Game in a Word

Outlast...as in:

I'll try to update later. But, I have to catch the bus to Fort Wayne.

Sunday in the Midwest League

A quick look at the games from yesterday with links to the game stories in the local papers. For the entire scoreboad, the link is at the bottom of the post.

@Lansing 4, Beloit 3 in 17 innings -- This was a 1-1 game after eleven innings. Both teams scored runs in the twelfth and thirteenth innings. Lansing finally won it they way you would want to win an extra inning game. On a fielding error by the right fielder. Unless my computer is continuing to act up, this is the shortest story on a game that took almost five hours to play.

@Peoria 13, Burlington 11 -- Slugfest at O'Brien Field...at least for the first four innings. The Bees scored five runs in the top of the fourth for a 10-3 lead. The Chiefs scored seven in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game. Two in the bottom of the fifth were enough. The Peoria Journal-Star didn't have the game story, but there is something about Ryan Norwood. Norwood was supposed to be in Peoria last season, but broke an ankle during an exhibition game with Bradley University before the season started and missed all of 2--5.

Cedar Rapids 6, Southwest Michigan 1 -- The Kernels put the game away with three in the eighth inning. Nick Adenahrdt, one of the top prospects in the Angel system is 3-0 after giving up one run on five hits with five strikeouts over six innings. The Devil Rays pitchers issued thirteen walks. Remember in the Rattlers 14-3 win over the D-Rays on April 21, Wisconsin drew twelve walks.

@Fort Wayne 8, Quad Cities 6 -- The SWING got out to a 5-0 lead, but couldn't hold it. The Wizards got three in the fourth, two in the fifth, and three in the sixth for the win.

@Dayton 2, Kane County 1 -- The Dragons got a great outing from their starter. Carlos Fisher went 6-1/3 shutout innings allowed three hits and struck out nine. The Dragon bullpen held the lead to the end. Also, while you are at the Dayton Daily News site, please read this story from just before the season started about Josh Holden. Dragon outfielder, Army running back, West Point Grad, and Iraq War Veteran.

@West Michigan 6, Clinton 4 -- Clinton got three homers, including one by former Mariner #1 pick John Mayberry, but the Whitecaps held on for the win.

The complete scoreboard for yesterday is here.

Game Notes for 4/24

ABOUT SUNDAY: Manuel Ferrer’s two-out, two-run triple in the bottom of the eighth inning gave the South Bend Silver Hawks a 5-4 win over the Timber Rattlers.

OVERLOOKED? Ferrer joined the Silver Hawks on Friday along with the 2005 number one overall pick in the draft Justin Upton. In the small sample size of three games, Upton is 3-for-12 with an RBI. Ferrer is 3-for-10 with three RBI.
EARLY LEAD: Wisconsin scored three runs in the top of the third inning to build a 4-1 advantage.

LATE LOSS: South Bend’s two run rally in the eighth was the third time a Rattler opponent has won a game in their final at bat.

CLOSE: The Rattlers have played five games in their first sixteen that have been decided by one run. Wisconsin is 1-4 in that situation.

MULTIBALL: Robby Hudson had his third multi-hit game of the series yesterday by going 3-for-4. Hudson is 8-for-12 (.667) with four runs scored and four RBI in the series.

DOUBLING UP: Wisconsin had three doubles in their three run third yesterday. Chao Kuan Wu doubled to start the inning. Alex Gary followed with an RBI double. Jeff Dominguez had an RBI double later in the inning.

STARTING: Rattler starter Justin Thomas gave up one run in the first five innings of work with three hits and four strikeouts. The Silver Hawks loaded the bases on three straight singles – the final two were infield hits – in the sixth. Thomas struck out Trey Hendricks looking to record the first out of the inning and turned the game over to the Rattler bullpen with a 4-1 lead.

RELIEF: Rollie Gibson entered and walked Steve Mena to force in a run. Ferrer drove in his first run of the game with a single and the Rattler lead was cut to 4-3. Gibson got out of the inning with a double play.

ANATOMY OF A GAME WINNING RALLY: Joe Woerman hit the first batter of the bottom of the eighth and walked the next batter. Edgar Guaramato entered the game and got Trey Hendricks to popup a bunt attempt and Mena to strikeout. Guaramato fell behind Ferrer 2-0 before giving up the triple to right-center that drove in the winning runs.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Ramon Sanchez was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2003. Last season, Sanchez went 2-2 in nine appearances (six starts) for the Missoula Osprey of the Pioneer League. He struck out 37 in 34-2/3 innings for Missoula. In his last start this season, Sanchez lost at Kane County on April 19. In four innings he walked five, gave up seven runs, and allowed six runs for his third loss in three starts.

WHAT'S AHEAD: The Rattlers continue their eight game road trip with a four game series in Fort Wayne April 25-28. Wisconsin returns home for a four game homestand against the West Michigan Whitecaps April 29-May 2.

Probable Pitching Matchups in Fort Wayne

4/25 RHP Marwin Vega (1-1, 1.56) vs. RHP Josh Geer (2-0, 2.25)
4/26 LHP Jose Escalona (2-1, 3.07) vs. LHP Fabian Jimenez (0-1, 4.20)
4/27 RHP Jason Snyder (1-1, 3.66) vs. RHP Ben Krosschell (1-2, 7.11)
4/28 LHP Justin Thomas (1-2, 1.93) vs. RHP Stevie Delabar (0-0, 4.00)

Remember, the game on April 26 is an 11:00am EDT start. That's 10:00am CDT, 9:00am for our reader in Missoula, and 8:00am PDT for our friends on the west coast.

TBA's explained...

Down in the Mariner System Report, you may notice that both the Tacoma and San Antonio scheduled starting pitchers are TBA.

ProspectInsider.com is reporting that Bobby Livingston (WI '03), Tacoma's scheduled starter for tonight, has gotten the call to head to Seattle. Cesar Jimenez (WI '03), San Antonio's scheduled starter for tonight, is getting called up to Tacoma.

More on these developments as I find them on the web.

Blogger was down for a bit.

Couldn't get the updates out when I wanted. The bus leaves in just over a half hour. Enough with the excuses. Fresh posts, hot off the the grill, in a moment.


Rattler Alum of the Day

Justin Leone. Portland Beavers.

The former Rattler hit his eighth home run of the season, a three run shot, in Portland's 7-4 win over Salt Lake.

That home run doesn't just lead the PCL, it also leads all of minor league baseball.

Also of note from that game, is another former Timber Rattler, Termel Sledge playing for Portland. He had a single, two walks, and a pair of runs scored.

Mariner System Report (Games of 4/23)

Seattle (MAJ: 7-13; 4th AL West): Detroit defeated the Mariners 6-4 for a three game sweep at Safeco. Felix Hernandez (WI ’03) gave up three runs (one earned), struck out nine over seven innings, and got the loss. Clint Nageotte (WI ’01), who was supposed to start the game in Tacoma on Sunday, was called up prior to the Mariner game and pitched the eighth inning and gave up a three run home run. Nageotte was sent back to Tacoma after Sunday's game.

Tacoma (AAA – 10-6; 1st PCL Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers lost 7-2 to Fresno. Tacoma had just five hits in the loss. Rich Dorman (WI ’03) got the start in place of Nageotte and gave up one run on three hits and three walks in four innings for a no decision.

San Antonio (AA – 5-11; 4th Texas League South Division): The Missions lost 2-1 at Midland on a home run in the bottom of the ninth by Jason Perry. San Antonio had a 1-0 lead after a solo homer by Bryan LaHair (WI ’04) in the top of the fourth. But, the RockHounds scored a run off Yorman Bazardo in the seventh to tie the game. The Missions losing streak is up to nine games.

Inland Empire (High-A – 9-7; T-1st California League South Division):The Blaze defeated the 66ers 9-2 in the completion of the suspended game from Friday. Then, Bakersfield hammered Inland Empire 15-4. Justin Jordan (WI ’05) took the loss. Yung Chi Chen (WI ’05) homered and scored two runs for the 66ers.

Chicago (Jon Garland 2-1) at Seattle (Jamie Moyer 0-2) 9:05pm CDT
Fresno (James Garcia 1-0) at Tacoma (TBA) 8:05pm CDT
San Antonio (Ray Aguilar 1-1) at Midland (TBA) 6:30pm CDT
Inland Empire – OFF DAY

Sunday's game in a word


How did that line go from Glengary Glen Ross: A-B-C! A-Always! B-Be! C-Closing! Always be closing, always be closing.

South Bend got a two-out, two-run triple from Manuel Ferrer in the bottom of the eighth inning to turn a 4-3 Rattler advantage into a 5-4 South Bend lead.

By my count the Rattler bullpen is 3-for-6 in save opportunities this season. Remember, there were two blown saves in the Beloit game on April 11.

Jonathan Valverde closed out the Rattlers in the ninth for the second game in a row and now the Rattlers need to win tomorrow for a split in the four game series.

By the way, Valverde is the brother of Diamondbacks pitcher Jose Valverde:

Manuel Ferrer is not the brother of Miguel Ferrer:

Pre-game guest

Mike Lockert of the South Bend Silver Hawks. (Just scroll down if you click the link. Mike is a true renaissance man)

How close were the Hawks to moving to Marion, Illinois after last season?

What was it like to deal with the media attention for the team when Justin Upton got to town?

I did not have the heart to ask him why the one highlight of Saturday's game on one of the sportscasts last night was Upton drawing a walk.

Click on the link at the left for today's broadcast. 12:10pm CDT start time.

Sunday Reading

Here are a few things of note around the web worth checking out today during the Rattler game.

Rattler Notebook Brett Christopherson talks with Rattler President Rob Zerjav about the incident in West Michigan. Also a couple of brief notes about the umpires and the totally AWESOME weather in April.

Tom Hardricourt's Sunday column from the Journal-Sentinel. Derek Lee's injury, Cecil Cooper's thought on Prince Fielder, Andy Pafko, Greg Maddux, and Moneyball are all in there. Plus, his Major League Power Rankings for each league. Mariners 12th in the AL. Brewers 9th in the NL.

Bucks in Playoffs? Apparently the Milwaukee Bucks have made it to the NBA playoffs. Here is a preview article for their series with the...the... the Detroit Pistons?

Cheerleaders in Baseball? From the Dayton Daily News. The Reds are trying to do some non-traditional things to bring the fans to Great American Ballpark. The always quotable (and non-traditional) Mike Veeck is quoted reacting to those who don't do non-traditional:

"I've been hearing this garbage since I was a little boy, all the charges they
leveled at my father about these things not fitting in baseball," said Mike
Veeck, a minor-league baseball team owner whose father, Bill, gained a
reputation for creative and sometimes wild entertainment ideas as a major-league
owner for close to 30 years. "They say it's a traditional game, it should be
this, it should be that.

"Well guess what? That doesn't work for everyone."

Thank the Lord for Mike Veeck.

JO-DY, JO-DY DA-VIS! That works better if you sing it after a few Budweisers. Ryan Ori of the Peoria Journal-Star talks catching with one of my childhood idols and also gives a look at how the Chicago Cub minor league system is affected by the Lee injury.

Game Notes for 4/23

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Silver Hawks scored seven times in the bottom of the third inning and held on to beat the Rattlers 9-7. Six of the seven runs scored off Wisconsin starter Jason Snyder in the inning were unearned.

BIG SHOT: Orlando Mercado’s three run homer to left field finished off the Silver Hawk rally in the third.

POWER SUPPLY: The home run by Mercado was his first of the season. South Bend has hit a total of five home runs this season. Wisconsin has hit six homers this season.

A RARE OCCASION: The entire Rattler pitching staff has only allowed three home runs this season.

IT WAS A FIRST: Justin Upton’s first professional hit was an RBI double during the third inning. The run scoring extra base hit broke a 3-2 tie.

EARLY LEAD: The Rattlers had 2-0 lead after the top of the second inning. An RBI groundout by Mike Saunders in the first and an RBI single by Robby Hudson in the second gave the Rattlers the early advantage. But, Wisconsin did not have another hit off South Bend starting pitcher Eduardo Baeza.

LATE RALLY: The Rattlers scored four times in the top of the seventh to pull to within 7-6. Ron Garth had a two run single and Saunders drove in a run with a double.

BACK-AND-FORTH: After Wisconsin got the deficit to one, South Bend added a run in the bottom of the seventh on a wild pitch. The Rattlers made it 8-7 with a run in the top of the eighth on an RBI grounder by Hudson. However, the Hawks got another insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on a two-out RBI single by Greg Thomson.

CLOSE OUT: Jonathon Valverde retired the Rattlers in order in the ninth for his fourth save.

ON BASE: Rattler DH Luis Valbuena drew three walks last night. It was his second three walk game of the week. Valbuena has drawn a team high thirteen walks this season and has an on base percentage of .379 despite an average of .231.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Anthony Cupps was a 7th round pick in last year’s draft out of Mississippi. Cupps was 9-3 with a 5.05ERA for Ole Miss in 2005. In his first pro season, he pitched fifteen games (twelve starts) for Missoula in the Pioneer League with a record of 4-6 and an ERA of 5.05. In his last start, Cupps gave up nine runs (six earned) on twelve hits in just 3-2/3 innings at Kane County on April 18.

Rattler Alum of the Day

Hunter Brown, Tacoma Rainiers.

Three hits, two runs, and an RBI in the Rainiers come-from-behind win over Fresno.

There weren't a lot of highlights for the Timber Rattlers during a very long 2002 season. Dobbs and Choo had very good seasons (as was expected).

Brown was a surprise at the end of the year as a 22nd round pick out of Rice. He helped out quite a bit after joining the team with about six weeks to go in the season and has gone on to do some pretty good things in the system.

Mariner System Report (Games of (4/22)

Seattle (MAJ: 7-12; 4th AL West): The Mariners were shutout 2-0 by Detroit on just two hits. Nate Robertson allowed both hits and struck out four over seven innings.

Tacoma (AAA – 10-5; 1st PCL Pacific Northern Division): The Rainiers rallied for six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to erase an 8-4 deficit and defeat Fresno 10-8. Adam Jones (WI ’04) homered and Hunter Brown (WI ’02) had three hits, scored twice, and knocked in one run.

San Antonio (AA – 5-10; 4th Texas League South Division): The losing streak is up to eight games after the Missions lost 7-2 at Midland. Michael Garciaparra (WI ’03) had a pair of hits and drove in one of the San Antonio runs.

Inland Empire (High-A – 9-6; T-1st California League South Division): The 66ers plated six runs in the first inning and beat Bakersfield 7-4. Luis Oliveros (WI, ’02) had three hits and two RBI to help with the offense. Julio Santiago (WI ’05) gave up an unearned run and struck out six over five innings for his second win of the season.

Detroit (Justin Verlander 1-2) at Seattle (Felix Hernandez 0-1) 3:05pm CDT
Fresno (Matt Kinney 0-2) at Tacoma (Clint Nageotte 2-1) 3:35pm CDT
San Antonio (Yorman Bazardo 1-1) at Midland (Ben Fritz 0-2) 4:00pm CDT

Inland Empire at Bakersfield 3:15pm CDT


Saturday's Game in a Word


as in:

Everytime the Rattlers got close, South Bend added a run. Just like whenever Charlie Brown got close, Lucy would pull the football away.

The seven run bottom of the third inning was big -- obviously. There were six unearned runs. I talked to Casey Craig after the game and he said the home run by Orlando Mercado that put the cap on the inning for South Bend just made it over the wall. He was all set to catch the ball on the warning track, but the ball barely carried over the sixteen foot high wall, 336' from home plate for a homer and a 7-2 Silver Hawk lead.

Tonight's Pre-game show guest

Rattler infielder Robby Hudson.

A little bit about last night's three hit game and a little bit about Texas Longhorn baseball.

Pre-game show starts at 5:10pm CDT. Click the link to the left to listen in to the game.

Rattler Game Notes for 4/22

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Rattlers beat the Silver hawks 6-3. Luis Valbuena drove in three runs and scored another. Robby Hudson had three hits, including two doubles, drove in a run, and scored two. Jose Escalona allowed one run on three hits over five innings for his second win of the season.

CALIENTE: Valbuena had a two-out triple that drove in a pair of runs in the top of the third. Valbuena is 4-for-4 with a walk, a sacrifice fly, and seven RBI in his last six plate appearances with runners in scoring position.

IT GOT INTERESTING: The Rattlers led 6-1 after scoring a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning. Rattler reliever Joe Woerman, who had pitched a scoreless eighth inning, came out for the ninth. With runners at first and third and one out, Pedro Ciriaco sent a line drive to rightcenter. Alex Gary appeared to have made the catch for the second out and threw the ball to the infield to double that runner off for the final out of the game – appeared to being the key words. Ciriaco wound up with an RBI double and the Hawks had runners on second and third after the play was ruled a trap. Rattler manager Jim Horner garnered his first ejection of the season in arguing the call. On the very next pitch, Greg Thomson rapped a single through the right side of the infield for an RBI single and suddenly, South Bend had the tying run coming to the plate.

SAVINGS PLAN: Edgar Guaramato entered the game at that point and struck out the final two batters for his second save of the season.

INTRODUCING: Justin Upton, the number one overall pick of the 2005 draft, made his professional debut last night. Upton went 0-for-5 and struck out twice for the Silver Hawks.

TRIFECTA: The Rattlers are currently on their longest winning streak of the year with three straight wins.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Eduardo Baeza was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 47th round of the 2004 draft out of Mission Junior College in California as a draft-and-follow. The Dodgers selected him in the 33rd round of the 2002 draft, but he chose Mission. Last season with Missoula in the Pioneer League, Baeza was 1-2 and three saves with a 2.25 ERA in 25 relief appearances. Baeza lost his last start for South Bend. He struck out nine in six innings at Kane County allowing three runs on four hits on April 17. This is Baeza’s first career appearance against an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. Baeza is tied for the Midwest League lead in the strikeout category with 22 K’s this season.

Rattler Alum of the Day

Photo from Tacoma Rainiers
T.J. Bohn, Tacoma Rainiers. Two homers and five RBI in a Tacoma victory make it difficult not to pick hom for the second time this week.

Mariner System Report (Games of 4/21)

Seattle (MAJ: 7-11; 4th AL West): The Mariners lost 2-1 to the Tigers. Jarrod Washburn gave up two runs in 8-2/3 innings on five hits and got the loss.

Tacoma (AAA – 9-5; 1st PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma beat Sacramento 8-5. TJ Bohn (WI ’03) homered twice and drove in five runs. Greg Dobbs (WI ’02) also homered and Renee Cortez (WI ’03) worked 2-2/3 innings scoreless out of the Rainier bullpen for the win.

San Antonio (AA – 5-9; 4th Texas League South Division): San Antonio jumped to a 5-2 lead, but could not hold it and lost 7-6 at Midland. Wladimir Balentien (WI ’04) drove in three runs for the Missions, but it was the seventh loss in a row for San Antonio.

Inland Empire (High-A – 8-6; T-2nd California League South Division): The 66ers trailed 3-0 in the top of the fourth inning at Bakersfield, when lightning halted, then suspended the game. The suspended game will be picked up on Sunday afternoon with the regularly scheduled game to follow. Story here (registration required).

Detroit (Nate Robertson 1-2) at Seattle (Gil Meche 1-0) 8:05pm CDT
Fresno (Brian Cooper 0-3) at Tacoma (Kevin Appier 0-0) 8:05pm CDT
San Antonio (Travis Blackley 1-1) at Midland (Jason Windsor 1-1) 6:30pm CDT
Inland Empire at Bakersfield 9:15pm CDT
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