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Top Five Jim Henderson Saves

January 21, 2014

For the next few weeks, Top Five Tuesday is going to take a look at the best games of Timber Rattlers players who are going to be bobbleheads for the 2014 season. 

Milwaukee Brewers closer Jim Henderson is not part of the 2014 Bobblehead Series. But he will be immortalized as a Rattlers bobblehead on July 20. 

Henderson went 17-for-17 in save opportunities for the Timber Rattlers in the first half of the 2009 season. In 26 appearances, he allowed four runs - three earned - over 25-1/3 innings with eight walks and 26 strikeouts. 

This week we take a look at the Top Five saves of Jim Henderson as a Rattler.

Not included, but receiving really strong consideration were a save against the Peoria Chiefs on April 28 and a save at South Bend on May 10. The first was a scoreless seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader with a pair of strikeouts to protect a one run lead. The second was a four out save in which he entered with two runners on base and 4-1 advantage over the Silver Hawks. This one missed out due to a pair of hits in the ninth inning.

5.) May 29 at West Michigan: 1.1IP, H, 0R, BB, K

Gustavo Nunez just singled to drive in a run that made the score 5-3. Wisconsin had led 5-0 heading into the eighth inning. Wily Peralta, who was on in the tandem part of the piggyback with starting pitcher Evan Frederickson, gave up a leadoff double. Then, he struck out the next two batters of the frame. Then, the Whitecaps recorded three straight RBI hits off Brandon Ritchie. Henderson came in and gave up a hit that put runners on first and third. He got the final out of the eighth on a flyout to stop the West Michigan rally. In the ninth, Henderson got the first two outs on a strikeout and a grounder to third. From there, it got interesting. A walk to Billy Nowlin kept the inning alive…then,

Henderson got ahead of Ben Guez 1-2, but left a pitch just a bit too far out over the plate. Guez hit a high, deep drive down the left field line that was hooking to the corner.

The home plate umpire initially called the ball fair for a game tying home run. The Rattlers disagreed...vehemently. The umpires conferred and after explaining the call to Whitecaps manager Joe DePastino, ruled the ball foul.

Guez returned to the batter's box and flew out to left to end the game.

That ending moves this save into the Top Five.

4.) June 13 vs. Kane County: IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 3K

The Timber Rattlers broke a 1-1 tie with a run in the seventh and padded the lead with a run in the eighth. Henderson relieved Ritchie, who had pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Trey Watten. Henderson struck out the first two batters he faced in the ninth, but allowed a double to the number nine batter in the Cougars order. Henderson finished the game by striking out Jason Christian, who had doubled, homered, and singled in his previous three at bats.

3.) June 7 vs. Beloit (Game One of doubleheader): IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 0K

Daniel Meadows was 8-1 heading into this game against the Snappers. He turned a 2-1 lead over to the bullpen for the top of the sixth. Ritchie worked a scoreless sixth. Henderson came on for the seventh and gave up a leadoff single. The Snappers decided to sacrifice that runner to second with the tying run. Henderson got back to back infield grounders to end the game. Meadows moved to 9-1 and Henderson was a 14-for-14 in save opportunities.

2.) April 24 vs. Peoria at Miller Park: IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K

Brock Kjeldgaard hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning at Miller Park to give the Rattlers a 4-3 lead. Cody Adams was in and out of trouble for three innings after taking over for Ritchie to start the sixth. Kjeldgaard drew a bases loaded walk to force in a run in the bottom of the eighth and Henderson had a 5-3 lead when he came on in the ninth to face 3-4-5 in the Peoria order in front of 17,880.

Rebel Ridling was retired on a fly ball to right. Josh Vitters struck out looking. Ryan Flaherty walked. Then, foreshadowing, Henderson struck out the final batter - in this case, Michael Brenly - to nail down a save at the home of the Brewers.

1.) June 16 at Burlington: IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K

By this time, Henderson had to know that he was on the way up the farm system. He had been named to the All-Star team. He was 16-for-16 on saves, allowed two of seven inherited runners to score, and had not walked a batter since the game on May 29 - a streak of 8-1/3 innings and 30 batters.

His final save as a Rattler was his penultimate appearance with the team and was his most dominant. That is why it is at #1 on the list.

Wisconsin had an 8-6 lead as the offense overcame some struggles by Adams, Meadows, and Rigoberto Almonte in the first eight innings at Community Field. 

Nick Van Stratten, Eric Hosmer and Nick Francis were due up for the Bees. Henderson struck out Van Stratten looking at a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Hosmer went down swinging at a 3-2 pitch. Henderson closed the book on this game - and allowed Meadows to move his record to 11-1 - by getting Francis looking at strike three on a 2-2 offering. It was something else.