April 2010

April 24 Game Notes

100_1745.JPGWell, due to some technical difficulties that shortened yesterday’s LumberKings Pregame Show, my interview with Seattle Mariners’ Field Coordinator Andy Stankiewicz will be airing tonight instead.  You, the loyal LumberBlog visitors, have probably already listened to it.  My apologies on having nothing new today.

However, you do get a fresh set of LumberKings Game Notes, jam-packed with notes on yesterday’s rough 5-4 loss to Kane County, the Major League debut of former LumberKing Justin Smoak, the outstanding outing of left-hander Jimmy Gillheeney and more.

4.24.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Tonight, the LumberKings look to snap a two-game losing streak with left-hander Anthony Vasquez (0-2, 1.49) on the hill.  Game time is 6:30 PM.  I promise we’ll be on the air at 6:15 this time around.


Smoak Gets the Call

smoak.JPGFormer LumberKings first-baseman Justin Smoak (’08) will join the 200-plus other players that have passed through Riverview Stadium/Alliant Energy Field on their way to the big leagues.  Smoak was recalled from triple-A Oklahoma City today as Chris Davis was sent to the minors and will join the Texas Rangers to make his Major League debut.

Smoak, the Rangers’ first-round pick in ’08, is expected to be the club’s starting first baseman tonight against the Detroit Tigers.  He was hitting .300 with two HR and five RBI over 15 games with the RedHawks.

The switch-hitter started his career with the LumberKings in ’08, hitting .304 with three HR and six RBI for Mike Micucci’s club.

More on Smoak’s debut to follow here on the LumberBlog.


Cardiac Kings Win on Franklin Walk-Off Shot

Nick Franklin belts solo homer in 10th, LumberKings edge Burlington 4-3


Clinton, IA – The “Cardiac Kings” did it again on Tuesday night at Alliant Energy Field, rebounding from watching their three-run lead disappear in the ninth to win in walk-off fashion, 4-3 over the Burlington Bees in 10 innings.  Clinton’s third walk-off home run of the year was the difference, this time coming from the bat of Nick Franklin.




Leading off the bottom of the 10th with a 3-3 score, Franklin crushed a Brendan Lafferty pitch over the wood wall in left-center for his third clout with Clinton, his first walk-off.  Franklin (2-for-4, RBI) was mobbed by teammates at the plate as he became the second LumberKing to deliver a walk-off homer, joining Kalian Sams (twice, April 9 vs. Peoria and April 16 vs. Quad Cities).


The LumberKings built a 3-0 lead thanks in part to a Sams’ RBI double in the fourth, but could not hold it in the ninth.  Right-hander Daniel Cooper (H, 1) yielded back-to-back doubles for a Burlington run and left the bases loaded for closer Brandon Josselyn.  Josselyn couldn’t shut the door, issuing a bases-loaded walk and a game-tying single to Joey Lewis.


Right-hander John Housey worked out of a jam in the 10th to keep the game tied, leaving runners at second and third as he fanned Hilton Richardson.  Housey (W, 2-0) struck out three over his inning of work.


Clinton starter Tyler Blandford enjoyed his best professional start, striking out a career-high eight batters over 5.0 scoreless innings.  Righty Chris Kirkland (H, 1) also turned in 2.1 scoreless frames before Burlington was able to score a run.


Burlington starter Tyler Sample gave up three runs, two earned on six hits over 5.2 innings.  Lafferty (L, 1-1) allowed one run on two hits over the final 3.1 innings.


Dennis Raben went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored to lead all hitters.  Richardson (2-for-6) and Rene Oriental (2-for-5) led the attack for Burlington.


The LumberKings (6-7) continue the series against Burlington (3-10) tomorrow night, first pitch scheduled for 6:30 PM. Left-hander Jon Hesketh (0-1, 17.18) makes his third start of the season against the Bees.  Listen to the game on AM 1390 KCLN or online at www.lumberkings.com.



Pitcher of the Year Ramirez Heads to Clinton

Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, Mariners’ Pitcher of the Year in ’09, joins LumberKings


Beloit, WI – The Clinton LumberKings, in conjunction with the Seattle Mariners have announced that right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has joined the club’s 25-man roster from extended Spring Training.  Left-hander Nick Czyz has been promoted to high-A High Desert to make room for Ramirez.


The 19-year-old Ramirez was Seattle’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009, going 11-1 with a 0.51 ERA in 14 games, 13 starts with the Venezuelan Summer League Mariners.  The Nicaraguan walked only five batters over 88.0 innings and struck out 80 while allowing opponents to hit just .174.


Czyz heads to the Mavericks after going 0-0, 0.00 over three relief appearances.  The lefty walked three while striking out 10 over 7.2 innings and allowed only one hit.


With the moves, the LumberKings’ active roster stands at 25 players with none on the disabled list.  No number has been announced for Ramirez, who will join the club in Beloit tonight.


The LumberKings (5-4) open a road series with the Beloit Snappers tonight at Pohlman Field, first pitch scheduled for 4:00 PM.  Right-hander Taylor Stanton (1-0, 4.50) makes his second start of the season. Listen to the game on AM 1390 KCLN or www.lumberkings.com.



Off the Diamond: Jared Lueders

100_1744.JPGFollowing last night’s rough 16-6 loss to the Quad Cities River Bandits, I decided tonight was time for our first edition of “Off the Diamond”.  Throughout the year, I’ll be catching up with various members of the LumberKings staff.  They work hard to bring the best experience possible to you, the fans.

Tonight, we begin with LumberKings’ official scorer and media assistant, Jared Lueders.  He’s been working at Alliant Energy Field since 2003, climbing up from the program stand to the pressbox.  Jared has also spent time working in pro sports with the Quad City Steamwheelers (AF2), Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) and Ashford University here in town.

Listen Here: 
Jared Lueders Off the Diamond Interview 4.16.10.mp3

Tonight’s Notes: 
4.16.10 kingsnotes.pdf

The LumberKings look to salvage the three-game series with the Bandits tonight.  Left-hander Jon Hesketh (0-1, 9.64) starts for the second time this season against St. Louis Cardinals’ first-round pick Shelby Miller (0-0, 0.00).  First pitch is at 6:30 PM, listen in on 1390kcln.com.


Crossing Enemy Lines: Johnny Rodriguez

On tonight’s pregame interview, I venture into the visiting clubhouse to interview Quad Cities River Bandits’ manager Johnny Rodriguez.  Why?  Because the rival skipper was on the Clinton staff in 2001, the year that produced stars Jason Bay and Grady Sizemore.

Not enough for you?  Rodriguez has his Bandits at 6-1 after last night’s unfortunate 4-2 loss for the LumberKings (more about that in tonight’s notes:
4.15.10 kingsnotes.pdf).

One more reason to listen to the interview.
Rodriguez’s son Sean is a three-year Major League infielder, currently playing with the Tampa Bay Rays. 
We’ll talk about all of that on the interview with the former LumberKings coach this evening.

Listen Here: 
Johnny Rodriguez (QC Manager) Interview 4.15.10.mp3

The LumberKings will attempt to draw even in the series against Rodriguez’s Bandits behind right-hander Tyler Blandford (0-0, 4.15), making his second career start.  The broadcast begins at 6:15 PM on 1390kcln.com!


Views from Wisconsin

100_1734.JPGThings are looking a little different around Time Warner Cable Field this season.  The Timber Rattlers have constructed a new boardwalk area around the back of their ballpark, including an actual beach and Major League-like bullpens.  I took my first walk out there today:





Nice views from the boardwalk.  Although tonight doesn’t feel like beach weather.

Tonight’s Notes: 
4.13.10 kingsnotes.pdf

First pitch is at 6:35 PM tonight.  The Kings look to take the series behind left-hander Jimmy Gillheeney (0-1, 7.36), who is looking to bounce back from his Opening Night loss to Peoria.  Listen in on 1390kcln.com.


A Quick Note Before Day Baseball

It’s a 12:05 PM start for today’s game between the LumberKings and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, so I’ve been a bit strapped for time.

However, I did want to mention that the Latest Leaders for March 2010 are out at the MLBlogosphere, and the LumberBlog is ranked #46 out of 50 in the ProBlogs category.  Not too bad a start to the year!

To celebrate, here’s a Kalian Sams HR highlight from last night’s 8-2 loss to the Rattlers and today’s game notes:

Right-hander Taylor Stanton makes his first start of 2010, first pitch in just about 35 minutes.  Listen in on 1390kcln.com!


Franklin Homers Twice, Falls Short of Cycle

Shortstop Nick Franklin belts homers from both sides of the plate, goes 4-for-4 in 8-2 win


franklin 4.10.10.jpg

Clinton, IA – Shortstop Nick Franklin homered twice and fell a single short of the cycle, leading the Clinton LumberKings to an impressive 8-2 victory over the Peoria Chiefs Saturday night at Alliant Energy Field.  Seattle’s first-round pick in 2009 tripled and scored in his first at-bat, doubled and scored his second time around and then homered from the left and right sides in his final two at-bats to finish 4-for-4.


Highlights Here:


Franklin would have been the first Clinton player to hit for the cycle since Josh Spoerl did it against Kane County on July 19, 2000, however, his final at-bat produced an opposite-field clout just over the wood wall in right.


The first blast by Franklin came back-to-back with Daniel Carroll, who himself lifted his second two-run homer in as many nights to push the Kings’ lead to 5-2.


Vinnie Catricala also chipped in two RBI, finishing 1-for-4.  Mario Martinez added an RBI single and James Jones registered his first hit with Clinton, an RBI triple scoring Dennis Raben in the seventh.


The big story heading into the game was the professional debut of Mariners’ fifth-round pick, right-hander Tyler Blandford.  The Oklahoma State product stifled the Chiefs to just a hit over 4.1 innings, but also issued five walks.  Blandford exited after allowing two runs, both earned.


Right-hander John Housey (W, 1-0) worked the next 3.2 innings, keeping Peoria off the scoreboard despite three more walks.  Left-hander Jose Jimenez pitched a scoreless non-save ninth.


Peoria right-hander Jonathan Nagel (L, 0-1) gave up three of the Clinton runs on six hits over 3.0 innings.  Right-hander Tim Clubb surrendered the Carroll and Franklin back-to-back blasts and lefty Jeff Beliveau gave up the second Franklin homer.  Righty Andres Quezada did not allow a run over the final 1.2 innings.


The LumberKings (2-1) begin their first road trip of the season at Time Warner Cable Field in Wisconsin tomorrow night against the Timber Rattlers.  Left-hander Jon Hesketh (0-0, 0.00) is slated to make his first start of the year beginning at 5:05 PM. Listen to the game on AM 1390 KCLN or www.lumberkings.com.



Opening Day is Here

100_1730.JPGReady or not, here it is.  The LumberKings open the 2010 season against the Peoria Chiefs tonight at Alliant Energy Field, game time slated for 6:30 PM.  If you’re coming down, prepare for some chilly, windy weather.

To help get your baseball brain churning, here’s the first edition of LumberKings Game Notes: 
4.8.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Lefty Jimmy Gillheeney gets the starting nod against right-hander Robert Whitenack of the Chiefs.  You can listen online at 1390kcln.com starting with the Pregame Show at 6:15 PM.  I’ll have my interview (it’s probably going to be manager John Tamargo) posted on here in case you miss it!