With the final home stand of the season beginning tonight, the Bees have moved around their starting rotation. RHP Jose Macias will get the start for Burlington tonight after his start was rained out in Quad Cities on Tuesday. The Bees will be sending RHP Jonathan Joseph to the hill on Thursday and RHP Blake Hassebrock will get the start on Friday. RHP Josh Bowman will take the hill for Burlington on Saturday and RHP Nate Long pitches on Sunday.
Josh Whitaker continued his amazing 2011 season by becoming the lone Bee selected as a 2011 Midwest League Post Season All-Star. A 25th round pick of the Athletics in 2010 that didn’t even break camp with the Bees out of spring training, Whitaker is currently leading the Midwest League with a .332 batting average. He’s hit for power, adding 17 home runs and 68 RBIs in his first full season out of Kennesaw State University.
With both Jose Crisotomo and Tony Thompson on the Disabled List, the Bees are counting on Whitaker to produce in the MWL Playoffs next week. All indications are that he’s up to the task.
The 2011 Burlington Bees season has been full of memories filled with the typical highs and lows of a long season. As the Bees get set to start the final full week of the 2011 season here in Quad Cities today, it’s worthwhile to point out what last night’s game can show us. The offense can pick up the pitching when it struggles. The Bees are going to need that flexibility in the playoffs.
I know the playoffs are right around the corner and many of you are looking forward the start next Wednesday. If sport has shown us anything over the last 10 years or so, it’s not necessarily the best team that wins the championship but the team that is hot at the right time. Today in my weekly visit with Aaron Nieckula on Newsradio 1490 KBUR, he talked about his hope that the Bees are beginning to “peek” at the right time. I sure hope he’s right.
With such a pleasant break in our weather here in the Midwest, it’s been an ideal August to finish the regular season with spectacular late summer weather. It’s easy to forget the massive weather problems the eastern seaboard is facing. From North Carolina all the way through New England, the heavily populated eastern sea board is dealing with a hurricane that many folks that have not seen before.
With so many of the Bees players and coaches from or closely connected to people that live directly within the path of their hurricane, please keep everyone that lives on the east coast in your thoughts over the next 48-72 hours.
With last night’s 4-0 win over Beloit, the Burlington Bees recorded their 11th shut out of the 2011 season. The Bees have shut out Beloit in five of those 11 games. Burlington picked up shut outs here in Beloit on May 24 and 26, August 14 and last night. Burlington’s only shut out at home against Beloit came on July 27. The Bees are 10-7 against Beloit in 2011 and wrap up the season series tonight.
Last night’s 6-1 win in Beloit featured 23 strikeouts (11 recorded by Burlington, 12 by Beloit pitching). The Bees committed six errors Tuesday leading to three unearned runs by Wisconsin in its 8-4 victory. On Monday the Bees had more runs (5) than hits (4) by taking advantage of eight walks in a 5-3 win.
It’s nights like these that make coming to the ballpark exciting and make the “dog days” here at the end of the season interesting.
Including tonight, there are 13 games left in the season as the Bees begin their final road trip of the regular season here in Beloit. It’s worthwhile to pinpoint some Bees players that are starting to heat up. Beau Taylor is hitting .355 over his last 10 games and CF Tyreace House is batting .350 over his last 10 games. RF Jose Crisotomo is hitting .343 over his last 9 games (12-35).
On the pitching side of things, RHP Jose Macias has struck out 11 over his last 13 innings pitched. He’ll get the start tomorrow for the Bees here in Beloit.
In baseball the name of the game is to win series. If you can win the series whether it’s a three-game or four-game set, then your club will end up with a winning record. In the month of August, the Bees have played six series, including the current one against Wisconsin.
The Bees lost three out of four games in Peoria from August 2-5 but since then Burlington has not lost a series.
Burlington split a four-game series against Clinton here at Community Field from August 6-9. The Bees won two out of three games at Quad Cities from August 10-12 and won two of the three contests in Beloit from August 13-15. The Bees also won two of the three-game series against Cedar Rapids from August 17-19.
With Burlington winning two of the first three games of this four-game series, the Bees look for the series win tonight in a game that wraps up the home stand here in Burlington.
Bees 2B Nino Leyja was drafted in the 15th round in 2008 out of high school in Houston, Texas. He hit five home runs over his first three minor league seasons. With his two-run home run in the third inning on Sunday afternoon, Leyja now has as many home runs this season (5) as he had over his first three years in pro ball. He also homered at the 2011 Midwest League All-Star Game in Quad Cities back in June.
Leyja has also been a staple in the Bees lineup, playing in 102 games and logging a .245 batting average and 31 RBIs to go along with his five home runs. He’ll get the night off as the Bees take on Wisconsin in game three of their series tonight.
It was great to see the Burlington Bees take advantage of the opportunities last night when they scored four runs in the sixth inning to secure a 9-1 win over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The Bees earned two walks in the sixth inning and drove both of those runs in. Burlington received seven extra base runners on Saturday night (5 walks and 2 Hit Batters), the Bees converted three of those into runs.