It has been 11 days since the Mallards have played a game at the Duck Pond, but all of that will change Friday, as the Mallards and the Wisconsin Woodchucks will kick off a two-game weekend series at Warner Park, and it will be first time the two teams have met since June 10.
The Woodchucks have won all four games against the Mallards this season, and Madison could not have picked a worse time to face Wisconsin, as they have won four straight to open up the second half. Madison was swept by Eau Claire going into the All-Star Break having lost six of their last 10.
The Mallards have not won more than two straight since June 6-9 and have not won back-to-back games since July 3 against Waterloo and July 4 against Thunder Bay. Many changes have been made by the Mallards since the early portion of 2007, and the Woodchucks could be seeing a completely different ball club than what they saw the first week of June.
Much of the reasons for the Woodchucks’ success against the Mallards would be their offense. Wisconsin is batting .338 with 22 runs batted in and two home runs against Madison. All-Star outfielder Brandon Frazier has gone 10-for-17 (.588) in four games against Madison with four runs batted in and four stolen bases.
All-Star Darian Ruff is second in the Northwoods League batting .379 with a .484 on-base percentage, 19 runs scored and four home runs. Shortstop Vincente Cafaro has had success against Madison as well hitting .438 (7-for-16) with one double, one triple and five runs scored. Fellow infielder Steve Gerstenberger is also batting .500 (6-for-12) against the Mallards with two runs batted in entering Friday.
However, the Mallards have three players who are hitting over .300 against the Woodchucks, including infielder Neil Medchill, who along with his .270 overall average is hitting .364 (4-11) with a double and a RBI against Wisconsin. All-Star catcher Eric Nielsen hopes to continue his first half success into Friday as he enters hitting .333 (3-9) with a double versus the Woodchucks.
Before his injury, designated hitter Daniel Webb collected two doubles and drove in a run against Wisconsin; he is hitting .333 (4-12) against the Wisconsin pitching staff.
The Mallards will have to improve on their earlier efforts pitching wise to overtake Wisconsin. Mallards pitching holds a 5.50 ERA against the Woodchucks bats and Mallards starters average just over a 6.00 ERA going into Friday.
Of the four games played between both squads, three of the meetings have been decided by just one run. This will make for a fun in-state rivalry to watch this weekend and if the Mallards are to make a push for the playoffs, now is the time, especially versus the Woodchucks, as they trail Wisconsin by three games in the South Division.
Mallards fans Friday, July 13th @ 7:05 pm is Short Person Appreciation Night at Warner Park featuring Emmannuel Lewis (A.K.A. Webster) and ticket prices will be based on height! There will be a special appearance from Jimmy Winn and all fans on the Great Dane Duck Blind will receive a Mallards T-shirt courtesy of Covance.
Saturday, July 14th @ 6:05 pm is Goodman’s Jewelers Diamond Night. The first 1,000 ladies will receive a gemstone and one will be a real diamond! Bring your gemstone back to Goodman’s to find out if you have won the Diamond! The Gomers play Neil Diamond covers on the Duck Blind including Post-Game Fireworks! presented by Life Style Staffing.