I spent last week going through the major league rosters to track Timber Rattlers alumni who played in the major leagues during the 2015 season. There were a lot of them and the results are at Rattler Radio. The big takeaway from the lists was that there were eighteen former Timber Rattlers who also played for the Milwaukee Brewers this past season.
Six of those eighteen players to play for the Brewers made their Major League debuts. This week's column is going to focus on the debuts of those six Timber Rattlers.
David Goforth (2012): Goforth was the first Timber Rattler to make his MLB debut in 2015. He got into the game against the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants on May 26. The Brewers trailed 6-3 in the top of the ninth inning when Goforth got the call. There was one out and Nori Aoki was on first base with Hunter Pence at the plate. Goforth needed just two pitches to get out of the inning. Aoki was caught trying to steal second on the first pitch. Pence flew out to left on the second pitch.
Tyler Wagner (2013): Wagner was called up from Biloxi, Milwaukee's Southern League affiliate, to start against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Miller Park on May 31. The Brewers would win the game 7-6 in 17 innings on a home run by Martin Maldonado, a former Rattler, so Wagner did not figure into the decision. There were some good things in Wagner's debut - retiring the first two batters he faced, pitching out of a bases loaded jam in the third. There were also some struggles - giving up a two-out, solo homer to Paul Goldschmidt, allowing three runs on four hits in a tough second inning. In all, Wagner allowed five runs in 3-2/3 innings with two strikeouts and a walk.
Tyler Cravy (2012): Cravy made his debut in hostile territory when he was the starting pitcher at St. Louis against the Cardinals on June 2. Cravy gave up a run in the second inning on a two-out single by Mark Reynolds. That was pretty much it. He went seven innings, allowed four hits, walked two, and struck out six. Unfortunately, the Brewers offense was shutout in the game and Cravy was tagged with a loss in a 1-0 decision.
Yadiel Rivera (2012): Rivera was promoted to the big leagues from Biloxi after the Shuckers playoff run ended with a loss in Game Five of the Southern League Championship Series. Rivera made his MLB debut at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs on September 22. Cravy would be the starting pitcher in a game and Rivera entered the game as part of a double switch before the bottom of the fifth inning that put Rivera at third base and into Cravy's spot in the order. The first batter in the bottom of the fifth was Javier Baez and he hit a line drive to third that was caught. In the top of the sixth, Rivera was the leadoff batter and got to face Jake Arrieta. He grounded out to third. In the eighth, Rivera faced Arrieta again and grounded into a force play.
Michael Reed (2013): Reed got to make his MLB debut at St. Louis on September 26 as a pinch-hitter for Cesar Jimenez - another former Timber Rattler - in the top of the sixth. The Brewers were down 5-0 and Reed led off the inning with a double on a 2-1 pitch against Jaime Garcia. Reed scored on a single by Jonathan Lucroy.
Jorge Lopez (2013): Lopez, the Milwaukee Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year, was the final Timber Rattler to make his MLB debut in 2015. He was the starting pitcher for the Brewers in a game at San Diego on September 29. At one point in the game, Lopez and the Brewers were down 3-2. Lopez had given up three runs on eight hits and seven strikeouts over five innings to put himself in line for a loss. But, in the top of the sixth, Khris Davis singled and Jean Segura hit a home run to give Milwaukee a 4-3 lead. The Brewers bullpen pitched four scoreless innings to preserve the lead and close out the game to give Lopez the win in his MLB debut.