It all boils down to tonight and the odds are stacked against the defending Midwest League Champion Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
With Wild Card leader Clinton needing either a win versus Peoria or a Rattler loss, Wisconsin will be knocked out of the playoffs. The LumberKings’ magic number is at two with four games remaining – and own the tie breaker against the Brewers’ Single A affiliate.
But the Rattlers embarked on quite the journey after a dismal first half of the season and rebounded with a solid second half thanks to contributions from multiple players.
Wisconsin did not have one particular player carrying the load down the stretch which included a couple walk-off wins courtesy of catalyst Michael Reed (third in Midwest League with 11 triples) and a 19-game hitting streak from catcher Parker Berberet.
After a slow start to the season, infielder Alfredo Rodriguez has caught fire with a 16-game hitting streak from July 24-August 14 batting .328 with an On Base Percentage of .380.
Rodriguez later started a nine-game hitting streak three games later where he drove in seven runs and struck out four times through the life of the streak.
In addition, Rodriguez is batting .322 in the month of August and accrued a .390 On Base Percentage.
Right-hander Rodolfo Fernandez, 23, spent the entire season pitching out of the bullpen until he was given his first career start August 25 and responded with a six inning gem striking out five and allowing one earned run.
Prior to Fernandez’s start, he produced five straight scoreless outings spanning 16 innings along with 14 strikeouts and a mere two walks.
Fernandez is pitching his first season in the United States after defecting from his native Cuba in June 2012.
Starters Tyler Wagner and Preston Gainey have emerged as pitchers worth a look following strings of productive outings down the stretch.
Wagner, 22, captured his team-leading tenth victory August 26 where he struck out seven and allowed two earned runs through seven innings of work.
D’Vontrey Richardson blasted his first home run of the season August 28 and snaps a string of more than two years without a home run.
Richardson’s last home run was May 21, 2011. The outfielder sat out the entire 2012 season deciding whether to utilize his degree at Florida State University and quit baseball altogether but eventually had a change of heart.
The Florida State League team reassigned Tyler Cravy to Arizona League Brewers to squeeze out another outing from former top 20 prospect Cody Scarpetta.
Since Brevard County’s season concludes Sunday – and the team out of playoff contention – Brewers’ officials might be taking one last look at him before deciding his long-term future with the organization.
Scarpetta, 25, has been hampered with injuries including a lost 2012 season and multiple roadblocks on the road to recovery. He has been part of the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization since 2007.
Closer Tommy Toledo successfully converted his last four save opportunities for the Manatees and has allowed two earned runs in the stretch of ten appearances (14 innings).
Toledo’s 19 total saves ties him for second in the Florida State League with St. Lucie’s T.J. Chism.
It has been a frustrating journey for Milwaukee’s 2009 first-round selection Eric Arnett after struggling through his entire minor league career.
But following his reassignment to Brevard County he has produced five productive relief appearances allowing one earned run through 8.2 innings.