Homestand Preview: August 15-17

Team News: Entering play on Monday, Wednesday, the Cougars (26-23) trail first place Clinton by 4 games in the Western Division race, and are tied with Burlington for the second half wild card spot. Of their 21 remaining games, the Cougars play Burlington 8 more times and face Clinton 3 more times before the end of the regular season. The Cougars’ overall record is 60-59; the club has had a .500 or better 2nd half record for 12 of the past 13 seasons and has made the league playoffs 13 times in 21 seasons. Infielder Danny Mateo recently took the team hits lead away from outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, who was placed on the disabled list over the weekend. Mateo’s 121 base hits lead the team and he has an outside shot of placing in the franchise’s Top 10 list for most hits in a single season.  Pitcher Aaron Brooks is one win away from becoming the 28th pitcher in franchise history to win 10 or more games in a single season. No Cougars pitcher reached the mark last season and the most recent was Dan Straily (’10), who made his major league debut with Oakland earlier this month. No pitcher has won 12 or more games since Ryan Ford went 14-7 in 2005.  Infielder Justin Trapp is 11 RBI away from reaching 50 RBI for the season. Bonifacio, Mateo and Michael Antonio have all reached the 50 RBI mark this season. Two Cougars reached the mark last season (Cheslor Cuthbert, Brian Fletcher). Pitcher Kyle Zimmer struck out 10 batters in Friday night’s win over Clinton. Infielder Dean Espy has hit safely in 4 straight games and has seen his average climb nearly 30 points in the last 10 days.

Alumni News:  Detroit infielder Miguel Cabrera (’01) has 98 RBI, good for 2nd in the major leagues behind the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton. Cabrera’s .324 batting average is 8th-best in the majors and 2nd best in the A.L. behind the Angels’ Mike Trout; Cabrera’s 29 home runs are tied for 6th in the majors and are 3 behind A.L. Leader Josh Hamilton. Cabrera is on the doorstep of reaching 100 RBI for the 9th straight season. Minnesota outfielder Josh Willingham (’00-’01) is one homer away from the 30-home run mark; which would be a single-season career best. Oakland infielder Jemile Weeks (’08) shares the A.L. triples lead with 8. Pittsburgh pitcher A.J. Burnett (’98) has 14 wins, the most in a single season for the right-hander since 18 wins with the New York Yankees in 2008.  Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Blanton (’03) has made 2 starts for his new team after being dealt to the Dodgers from Philadelphia, while Texas pitcher Ryan Dempster (’96) has made 2 starts with the Rangers since being dealt from the Cubs. Boston infielder Adrian Gonzalez (’01) is batting .385 in his last 10 games. San Diego closer Huston Street (’04) was recently placed on the disabled list. Street is 21-for-21 in save situations this season and sports a 0.75 ERA. Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz (’03) is 2 home runs away from belting 20 home runs for the fourth straight season. Oakland pitcher Dan Straily (’10) has 2 no-decisions since making his big league debut on August 3. Houston pitcher Mickey Storey (’09) has made 6 appearances out of the Houston bullpen since making his big league debut on August 3.  Miami pitcher Ryan Webb (’05) has made 43 appearances in relief this season, trailing only closer Heath Bell in that category among Marlins pitchers. San Francisco closer Santiago Casilla (’03-04) has 24 saves for the Giants.

Boston first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (’01) is having a torrid second half of the season.

Outfielder Brian Fletcher (’11), who was named Cougars Player of the Year last season, has 9 home runs at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.  Pitcher Yordano Ventura (’11) has made 4 starts for Northwest Arkansas (0-2, 5.68 ERA). Pitcher Matt Ridings (’12) has won his last 3 outings at Class-A Advanced Wilmington, including a 7-inning, 3-hit effort on August 12. Ridings is currently 5-1 with a 2.63 ERA for Wilmington. Outfielder Jermaine Mitchell (’07) is batting .248 with 5 home runs and 36 RBI at Triple-A Sacramento (Oakland). Pitcher Travis Banwart (’07-08) is 8-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 28 appearances at Sacramento; his ERA is 10th-best in the Pacific Coast League. Infielder Anthony Aliotti (’10) is 9th among Texas League hitters with a .291 average at Double-A Midland (Oakland). Outfielder Corey Brown (’08) has 22 home runs and 63 RBI for Triple-A Syracuse (Washington). Pitcher Sam Demel (’07) has made 48 relief appearances for Triple-A Reno (Arizona). (statistics through games played on 8/12)

Homestand Notes

Man’s best friend invited: The Cougars’ popular Bark in the Park Night is set for Wednesday, August 15. The 6:30 p.m. game allows fans to bring their four-legged friend to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, as dogs are admitted for free onto the stadium’s lawn seating area. A pre-game parade takes place that evening as fans can walk their dogs around the field and be recognized. In-game contests will revolve around the dog-themed evening, and following the game, fans and their dogs are allowed to run the bases together.

Music theme nights on tap: The Cougars welcome Windy City Elvis for a pre-game concert on Rock and Roll Night on Thursday, August 16. The evening culminates with a post-game Elvis-themed fireworks show. The following evening on Friday, August 17th, the Cougars will celebrate Country Music Night with a pre-game concert by Haymarket Country. A post-game fireworks show will be set to country music.

This Friday’s Country Music Night features a pre-game concert by Haymarket Country. No confirmation on whether Ozzie will be playing tambourine again this year.

Spend a little, save a lot: Wednesday’s 6:30 p.m. game is the final Winning Wednesday of the season. The first 1,500 adults age 21 and older will receive a scratch-off card at the gate, that is good for a variety of prizes, including a ceremonial first pitch, a souvenir shop discount, and $500 cash.

Wednesday 8/15    Clinton LumberKings (Seattle Mariners farm team)        6:30 p.m. (gates open at 5:30 p.m.)            WBIG 1280 AM (6:15 p.m.)

Weeknight Special – Winning Wednesday Scratch Cards for the first 1,500 adults 21 and over
Bark in the Park – dogs admitted for free onto the lawn area
Pre-game dog parade on the field
Fans can run the bases after the game

Thursday 8/16       Clinton LumberKings
6:30 p.m. (gates open at 5:30 p.m.)            WBIG 1280 AM (6:15 p.m.)

Cougars cinch sacks for the first 1,500 fans, courtesy of Country Financial
Rock and Roll Theme Night
Pre-game concert by Windy City Elvis
National Anthem – Carole Burton
Color Guard – Cub Scout Pack 103
Post-game fireworks show (Elvis theme)
Fans can run the bases after the game

Friday 8/17             Clinton LumberKings
6:30 p.m. (gates open at 5:15 p.m.)       WBIG 1280 AM (6:15 p.m.)

Country Music theme night
Pre-game concert by Haymarket Country
Zoo passes for the first 1,500 fans, courtesy of Brookfield Zoo
National Anthem – Josh Huppert
Color Guard – Cub Scout Pack 202
Take Me Out to the Ballgame – led by CTI Technology
Post-game fireworks show (Country Music theme)
Fans can run the bases after the game

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About Kane County Cougars

The Kane County Cougars are the Class-A Affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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