Loons pound Cubs for 15 runs in shutout at South Bend

Two rain delays didn’t slow the Great Lakes offense Saturday as the Loons scored 15 times in their shutout of the South Bend Cubs at Four Winds Field.

Rain delayed the start of the game by 90 minutes, but the Loons were ready to pounce once play began. They scored five runs in the first two innings and were up 9-0 when the rain returned in the top of the 5th inning. After a 42-minute rain delay, Great Lakes picked up where it left off, and by the end scored 15 runs on 20 hits, five walks, and three South Bend errors.

The Loons scored their first 10 runs off Cubs SP Zach Hedges and their last four off infielder David Bote, who pitched the last two innings of the game.

All nine Loons starters collected hits in the game. Third baseman Matt Beaty went 5-for-6 with a double and two RBI. Designated hitter Justin Chigbogu went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a walk, and 3 RBI. First baseman Brian Wolfe went 3-for-6 with two doubles and two RBI, and extended his hitting streak to 17 games (longest in the Midwest League this year).

Loons SP Michael Boyle picked up his first Midwest League win, giving up only two hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked none.

Posted in Great Lakes Loons, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

TinCaps’ home winning streak ends at 17 games

The Fort Wayne TinCaps’ winning streak at Parkview Field came to an end as the Lake County Captains blanked the home team 1-0 Friday night.

Captains starting pitcher Justus Sheffield improved to 9-4 with a 3.47 ERA after holding the TinCaps to two hits and two walks in 6.1 innings. He struck out eight batters and threw a wild pitch. Relievers Cameron Hill and Caleb Hamrick pitched 2.2 perfect innings to finish the shutout.

Fort Wayne’s 17-game home winning streak set a new franchise record. The Midwest League record for consecutive home wins during the regular season is held by the Cedar Rapids Kernels, who won 19 in a row at Veterans Memorial Stadium in 2010.

The TinCaps need one win to clinch a postseason berth. They lead the Eastern Division by four games over the West Michigan Whitecaps, with 10 games left in the regular season.

Posted in 2015 Playoffs, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Lake County Captains, Midwest League, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Chiefs clinch first postseason berth since 2009

The Peoria Chiefs celebrate clinching a playoff berth Thursday. (Sean Flynn Photography)

The Peoria Chiefs celebrate clinching a playoff berth Thursday. (Sean Flynn Photography)

The Peoria Chiefs lost their game at Quad Cities on Thursday, but still clinched their first postseason berth since 2009 thanks to a Beloit Snappers loss at Wisconsin.

Peoria entered the day needing only a win or a Beloit loss to get in the playoffs, and the Snappers dropped both of their games against the Timber Rattlers. The first Snappers loss — completion of a postponed game from July 13 — happened early during the Chiefs game, so Peoria no longer needed a win to clinch.

Despite scoring first, the Chiefs trailed the River Bandits 8-1 after six innings. Peoria attempted a late rally, scoring five runs in the 8th inning, but fell 8-6 to Quad Cities.

The Chiefs celebrated their postseason berth in the visitors locker room at Modern Woodmen Park. When they face the Kane County Cougars in the first round of the playoffs, they will end what currently is the longest postseason drought in the Midwest League.

Now affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chiefs were a Chicago Cubs farm team the last time they reached the playoffs. The 2009 team included a few future MLB All-Star players: Chris Archer (6-4, 2.81 ERA, 119 Ks in 109 IP), Josh Harrison (.337 BA, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 16 SB in 79 games), and D.J. LeMahieu (.316 BA, 30 RBI in 38 games).

The River Bandits also will be in the playoffs after winning the Western Division in the first half of the season. They will face the Cedar Rapids Kernels in the first round.

TinCaps win 17th in a row at home

The Fort Wayne TinCaps continued their second-half dominance at Parkview Field, winning their 17th consecutive home game Thursday. (Their 16th win broke the old franchise record for consecutive home wins.)

The TinCaps are one win away from clinching a playoff berth. They lead the Eastern Division by four games over the West Michigan Whitecaps, who also are in good shape to reach the postseason with the Lake County Captains and the South Bend Cubs trailing them by seven games with 11 games left in the regular season.

The Lansing Lugnuts and the Great Lakes Loons won Eastern Division playoff berths in the first half. They will face each other in the first round.

Posted in 2015 Playoffs, Beloit Snappers, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Great Lakes Loons, Kane County Cougars, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment

Cubs acquire ex-Whitecaps pitcher Fernando Rodney

The Chicago Cubs acquired former West Michigan Whitecaps RHP Fernando Rodney from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named or cash.

Rodney pitched for the Whitecaps in 2000, when he was a Detroit Tigers prospect. He went 6-4 with a 2.94 ERA, 56 strikeouts and 35 walks in 82.2 IP. He started 10 of the 22 games he appeared in.

This season, Rodney was 5-5 with a 5.68 ERA, 43 strikeouts and 25 walks in 50.2 innings with the Mariners. He collected 16 saves in the 28 games he finished.

Fernando Rodney pitched for West Michigan in 2000. (Photo courtesy of the Whitecaps)

Fernando Rodney pitched for West Michigan in 2000. (Photo courtesy of the Whitecaps)

Posted in Midwest League, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

TinCaps set new franchise record for consecutive home wins

The Fort Wayne TinCaps beat the Lansing Lugnuts 3-2 Wednesday to win their 16th consecutive home game, a new franchise record.

The previous record was set by the 2009 TinCaps, who won 15 straight home games from June 6 to July 15 that year. The 2009 team went on to win the Midwest League championship title.

The TinCaps lead the Eastern Division by four games over the second-place West Michigan Whitecaps. The Lake County Captains and the South Bend Cubs are tied for third place, 10 games back. With only 12 games left in the regular season, the TinCaps have a magic number of three to clinch a second-half playoff berth.

Posted in 2015 Playoffs, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Timber Rattlers even series with 6-3 win over Bees

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 3B Sthervin Matos went 3-for-3 with a double and a RBI sac fly in his team's 6-3 win Tuesday.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 3B Sthervin Matos went 3-for-3 with a double and a RBI sac fly in his team’s 6-3 win.

Sthervin Matos had three hits and Luis Aviles drove in three runs to lead the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers to a 6-3 win over the Burlington Bees on Tuesday afternoon.

The T-Rats victory evened the series at a win apiece. (Read my post about the first game here.)

After failing to capitalize on a leadoff triple by Tucker Neuhaus in the bottom of the 1st inning, the Timber Rattlers scored first with a pair of runs in the 2nd inning. Matos singled home a run and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Mitch Meyer.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers LF Mitch Meyer swings at a pitch during Tuesday's game.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers LF Mitch Meyer swings at a pitch during Tuesday’s game.

The Bees gained a 3-2 advantage by scoring once in the 3rd and twice in the 4th, but the Timber Rattlers took back the lead for good on a two-run double by Luis Aviles in the bottom of the 4th.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers CF Luis Aviles breaks for third base.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers CF Luis Aviles heads to third base on a groundout by DH Tucker Neuhaus in the 4th inning of Tuesday’s game.

David Denson doubled home a run in the 6th before Aviles drove in the game’s final run in the 8th.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 1B David Denson rejoined the team from the rookie-level Helena Brewers on Monday.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 1B David Denson rejoined the team from the rookie-level Helena Brewers on Monday.

***

The lighting at Fox Cities Stadium during Tuesday’s game was great for shooting photos, so I took a lot of them. Well, I actually take a lot of photos at most Midwest League games I attend, but I shot even more than usual this time.

Here are some Timber Rattlers playing pepper before the game.

T-Rats playing pepper

Tim Arakawa had two hits for the Bees. Here he is heading to the plate in the top of the 1st inning.

Tim Arakawa on deck

Here is a close-up of Bees third baseman Zach Houchins exchanging pleasantries with Timber Rattlers manager Matt Erickson before the bottom half of the 1st inning.

Zach Houchins

Here is Wisconsin’s Elvis Rubio looking up after sliding safely into third base.

Elvis Rubio safe at 3rd base

One of the between-innings promotions at Fox Cities Stadium involves BubbleBalls, as seen here.

BubbleBalls

Trevor Gretzky, son of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, plays left field for the Bees this year. He also played 50 games with the Bees last year and 14 games with the Kane County Cougars in 2013.

Trevor Gretzky

Gretzky was picked off first base in the top of the 4th inning, but it didn’t count because Timber Rattlers pitcher Eric Hanhold committed a balk when he threw to first base. Denson is applying the tag.

Trevor Gretzky picked off

Speaking of Timber Rattlers pitchers, here is a photo of reliever Gian Rizzo, who has his name tattooed on his left forearm.

Gian Rizzo

Greg McCall was Wisconsin’s catcher Tuesday.

Greg McCall

Finally, here is a warning for all who enter Fox Cities Stadium.

Bratzooka sign

I hope you enjoyed these photos. Let me know if you want to see more photo-heavy posts like this in the future — you just might get your wish!

*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler

Posted in Burlington Bees, Helena Brewers, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Pioneer League, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment

Kernels pop Peoria for 23 runs

T.J. White drove in five of the 23 runs scored by the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Monday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

T.J. White drove in five of the 23 runs scored by the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Monday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

The Cedar Rapids Kernels scored 11 times in the 4th inning as part of a 23-run explosion off the Peoria Chiefs’ pitching staff.

Peoria managed only three runs, making the Monday night game the worst loss in Chiefs history. The previous franchise record was a 19-run difference in Peoria’s 21-2 loss to the Kane County Cougars on July 4, 2005.

Every Kernels batters collected at least one hit, and seven of them had three or more. All but Pat Kelly drove in at least one run.

Two Kernels — leadoff batter Sean Miller and No. 9 hitter Austin Diemer — reached base six times. T.J. White went 4-for-7 with a double, a triple and 5 RBI. Edgar Corcino went 3-for-7 with a double, a solo homer and 5 RBI. Nick Gordon and Max Murphy each had three hits and 2 RBI.

Despite the lopsided loss, Peoria still had a couple offensive highlights. Jake Gronsky went 4-for-4 with two doubles, and Harrison Bader hit a two-run homer.

Click here to see the game’s box score.

Earlier Monday, Kernels RHP Sam Gibbons and Chiefs outfielder Nick Thompson respectively were named the Midwest League pitcher and offensive player of the week for the period of August 17-23.

Posted in Cedar Rapids Kernels, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs | Leave a comment