10-0 Win, Hensley Promoted

A big win for the Kings last night, 10-0 over the East Division-leading Fort Wayne TinCaps.  While the news for the offense and right-hander Adam Harben were good, the Clinton rotation received some bittersweet news after the game.  Right-hander Steven Hensley, the league’s ERA (0.00) and wins (4-0) leader is rightfully being promoted to double-A West Tennessee.  With the way he dominated this league, I’m not surprised.  We wish him luck with the Diamond Jaxx.

On to tonight’s notes:

Almonte, Mendez Power 10-0 Win:  The LumberKings handed the East Division-leading Fort Wayne TinCaps their most lopsided loss this season thanks to three-RBI performances by Denny Almonte and Maximo Mendez, winning 10-0 at Alliant Energy Field last night.  The Kings scored four times against TinCaps’ starter Stiven Osuna in the fourth inning…Nate Tenbrink doubled home Scott Savastano with a ball to the left-center gap and Travis Howell followed with another double, scoring Tenbrink.  Almonte got his night started with a triple to right-center, plating Howell…Ogui Diaz capped the frame with an RBI single to center.  Clinton struck again with six runs in the fifth, chasing Osuna (L, 1-2) from the game.  Howell put down a squeeze bunt to score Savastano, and Almonte followed with a towering drive to right-center for his second home run of the season.  Five batters later, Mendez tripled into the left-field corner, scoring Terry Serrano, Diaz and Daniel Carroll for a 10-0 lead.  Starter Adam Harben (W, 1-0) limited Fort Wayne to two hits and two walks while striking out four over 5.0 innings.  Left-handers Bobby LaFromboise and Jose Jimenez continued the shutout for the final 4.0 innings.  Tenbrink, Howell, Almonte and Diaz all had two-hit nights for the LumberKings.


Feast or Famine:  Last night’s 10 runs tied a season-high for the Clinton offense, set just three days prior in a 10-2 win over Burlington on 4/26.  In the two games between double-digit totals, the Kings scored just four runs, winning 1-0 against Burlington on 4/27 and losing to Fort Wayne, 6-3 on 4/28.  For the season, Clinton‘s .246 team average is sixth-best in the Midwest League…their nine home runs are tied for fourth-most.


Bat Men:  Four Kings are hitting over .300 over the team’s last 10 games, lead by Nate Tenbrink (.389, 14-for-36)…his 2-for-5 performance last night was his third multi-hit game on this homestand, included along with 3-for-3 and 3-for-4 games on 4/26 and 4/27 against Burlington.  His .313 average is tied for 16th best in the Midwest League.  Terry Serrano is hitting .318 (7-for-22) over his last seven games (see more on Serrano in “Great in the Eight”).  Denny Almonte’s 2-for-4, three RBI night gives him a .308 average (12-for-39) over his last 10…he’s homered twice and driven in six during that span, giving him a team-high 10 RBI.  Travis Howell is hitting .304 (7-for-23) with a homer and four RBI over the last 10 games…his three home runs are tied with 12 others for second in the MWL.  Tenbrink, Serrano and Howell are hitting over .400 in their last five games.


Been a While:  Last night’s win for 25-year-old right-hander Adam Harben was his first in the Midwest League since 8/29/04 in game two of a double-header against Peoria.  He was a member of the Swing of the Quad Cities at the time…Harben gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits, walked five and struck out three over 5.0 innings.  The 15th round pick by Minnesota way back in 2002, Harben is 1-0 with a 1.02 ERA (2 ER / 17.0 IP) so far in his third stint in the league.  He was acquired by the Mariners in February of 2009.


Hensley Heads to West Tenn:  The LumberKings have officially lost a member of the “big three”.  Right-hander Steven Hensley, currently the Midwest League leader in ERA (0.00) and wins (4-0) has been promoted to double-A West Tennessee.  The fourth-round pick by the Mariners in 2008, Hensley did not walk a single batter while striking out 16 over 19.2 innings, four outings (three starts) with the Kings.  Right-hander Chris Kirkland takes his place on the roster…Kirkland was the 36th round pick by the Mariners in 2008 and went 1-1 with a 2.47 ERA in 15 outings (18.2 innings) between Peoria (AZL), High Desert and Everett last year.


Rotation Domination:  The LumberKings boast the league’s best team ERA at 2.40 thanks to stellar starting pitching.  Even with Hensley moving up, the Kings still have the #2 and #3 pitchers in ERA.  Right-hander Brett Lorin is second with a 0.75 ERA over 24.0 innings and is 2-0 on the season…his 24 strikeouts are tied for fourth-most in the league.  Right-hander Aaron Pribanic dropped out of the top three after allowing four earned runs on 4/29, but right-hander Adam Harben has taken over his #3 spot…his 1.06 ERA is third-best.


Great in the Eight:  Eight hole hitter Terry Serrano was at it again last night, extending his hitting streak to four games with a 1-for-3 game.  He’s hitting .461 (6-for-13) with a triple, home run, four runs scored and three RBI on the streak.  Serrano has also been clutch during the span…he fisted a two-run homer over the wood wall in left-center for his first homer of the year as part of Tuesday’s 10-2 win, and added a walk-off RBI double the next night in a 1-0 win.  Serrano’s eight RBI are tied for third-most on the club.


Triple Trouble:  Triples by Denny Almonte and Maximo Mendez last night give the LumberKings 12 total as a team, the most in the Midwest League.  The next closest club is Great Lakes with 10 triples.  Mendez leads the way with three triples, tied for the league lead with three others.


Right-hander Kenn Kasparek (0-2, 7.71) throws tonight, he’s still looking for his first win after coming off a solid 5.1-inning no-decision his last time out.  Listen in on www.kcln.com.



I am very happy for Hensley, his performance so far has been exceptional and he deserves the chance (although jumping all the way up to AA seems kinda weird).

I am also a bit saddened because I love what these M’s farmhands have been doing for Clinton. Hopefully Kirkland does the organization proud!


Congrats to Kasparek on striking out 10 and getting his first win of the season…great pitching all night from the LumberKings!

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