April 2011

Today’s Interview: Jeff Hem

As you’ve probably gathered already, last night’s game between the LumberKings and the Kane County Cougars was postponed by rain.  We’ll play yet another doubleheader today (our fourth this season) starting at 2:30 PM.  Clinton will be looking to snap another five-game losing streak after falling 8-4 in the opener of the series on Thursday.

Today’s Game Notes:  4.23.11 kingsnotes

For today’s pregame interview, I decided to do my first “crossing enemy lines” segment of the 2011 season, although I’m not sure I like sticking with that name all the time.  I talked with my esteemed colleague in the Kane County broadcast booth, the seventh-year voice of the Cougars, Jeff Hem.  Much of our discussion revolves around their new affiliate, the Kansas City Royals, their first-time coaches (all MLB vets) Vance Wilson, Jim Brower and Damon Hollins, prospects like Alex Llanos and the injured Brett Eibner and more.

Listen Here:  Jeff Hem Interview 4.23.11

The Kings have swept Kane County in a doubleheader once this season, that back on April 16 at Alliant Energy Field.  They’ll attempt to sweep them again and win their second series of the season with right-hander Forrest Snow (0-1, 3.86) on the hill in game one and left-hander Anthony Fernandez (0-o, 5.40) starting in game two.  Matt Cerione is back in the lineup today after missing the last 10 games.

Today’s Game 1 Lineups:

LumberKings (4-11):  Matt Cerione/DH, Carlos Ramirez/2B, Julio Morban/CF, Mickey Wiswall/LF, Ramon Morla/3B, Tim Morris/1B, Marcus Littlewood/SS, Steven Baron/C, Kevin Rivers/RF, Forrest Snow/RHP

Kane County (6-9):  Alex Llanos/DH, Yowill Espinal/2B, Brian Fletcher/LF, Lane Adams/CF, Murray Watts/1B, Geulin Beltre/RF, Ryan Stovall/3B, Travis Jones/C, Gerard Hall/SS, Leonel Santiago/RHP

The pregame show starts at 2:15 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.


Thursday Notes (4/21)

The LumberKings started the homestand hot with a doubleheader sweep over the Kane County Cougars but ended cold, losing four-straight games including both ends of a twinbill to Cedar Rapids last night.  Clinton’s struggling offense put together 12 total hits over 14 innings but produced just one run in 3-1 and 3-0 losses.

Tonight, it’s back to the road to face a familiar opponent — the same Kane County club the Kings just faced at home.  The Cougars are struggling as well, having also lost both ends of a doubleheader last night in Burlington.  Their 5-9 record puts them just ahead of the 4-10 Kings at the bottom of the West Division.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  4.21.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:

LumberKings (4-10):  Kevin Rivers/RF, Stefen Romero/LF, Julio Morban/CF, Mickey Wiswall/1B, Ramon Morla/3B, Tim Morris/DH, Marcus Littlewood/SS, Steven Baron/C, Anthony Phillips/2B, Seon Gi Kim/RHP

Kane County (5-9):  Alex Llanos/CF, Yowill Espinal/2B, Brian Fletcher/LF, Lane Adams/RF, Murray Watts/1B, Geulin Beltre/DH, Ryan Jenkins/C, Ryan Stovall/3B, Gerard Hall/SS, Keaton Hayenga/RHP

I get the feeling that, though tremendously early in the season, this could prove to be a pivotal series for the 2011 Kings.  It’s time to see whether or not this team has what it takes to shake off a slow start and climb back up the standings.   We’ll find out if that journey starts tonight beginning with the first pitch at 6:00 PM.  Listen online at 1390kcln.com. 


Tonight’s Interview: Eddie Menchaca

The LumberKings and Cedar Rapids Kernels were washed out at Alliant Energy Field last night, meaning we’re set for doubleheader action for the third time already this season.  Games two and three of the series get started at 5:00 PM this evening.  Right-handers Brandon Maurer (1-0, 1.29) and George Mieses (0-0, 2.08) will make the starts for the Kings, who look to snap a two-game slide.

I caught up with LumberKings’ manager Eddie Menchaca yesterday, not knowing if the rain would push back his Midwest League managerial debut or not.  We talked about how he followed the team while still in Phoenix for the birth of his second son, his thoughts on the 4-8 start, the excruciating 4-3 loss to the Kernels that he witnessed from the seats the night prior, his managerial style, excitement over his first game as Clinton’s manager and more.

Listen Here:  Menchaca Interview 4.19.11

Today’s Game Notes:  4.20.11 kingsnotes

Tonight’s Game 1 Lineups:

 Cedar Rapids (6-5):  Drew Heid/LF, Travis Witherspoon/CF, Jeremy Cruz/1B, David Harris/DH, Wes Hatton/2B, Carlos Ramirez/C, Ryan Jones/RF, Jean Almanzar/SS, Jesus Campos/3B, Daniel Tillman/RHP

LumberKings (4-8):  Kevin Rivers/RF, Stefen Romero/LF, Julio Morban/CF, Mickey Wiswall/DH, Ramon Morla/3B, Tim Morris/1B, Marcus Littlewood/SS, Carlton Tanabe/C, Anthony Phillips/2B, Brandon Maurer/RHP

The pregame show gets started at 4:45 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.


Tonight’s Interview: Jesus Azuaje (Vol. 2)

Tonight is the last night in town for interim manager Jesus Azuaje as the regularly-scheduled skipper Eddie Menchaca arrives tonight and likely makes his LumberKings’ managerial debut tomorrow against the Cedar Rapids Kernels.  I decided to squeeze in one last interview with Azuaje before he heads back to far warmer temperatures in Peoria, AZ.  We talk about Clinton’s 4-7 start, the hot hitting of Julio Morban, the transition to Menchaca running the show, Azuaje’s aspirations for this season and beyond and more.

Listen Here:  Azuaje Interview 4.18.11.mp3

I’m admittedly still getting used to dealing with two tandem starting spots in our rotation, as again today I’ve incorrectly listed right-hander Stephen Kohlscheen as the starter.  Instead, it will be left-hander Anthony Fernandez (0-0, 6.48) making his third-straight start with Kohlscheen working in relief.  My game notes are fairly botched as a result of this switch, so I won’t be posting them tonight.  I’ll try and get better next time.

I do have lineups, though.

Cedar Rapids (5-5):  Drew Heid/LF, Wes Hatton/2B, Travis Witherspoon/CF, David Harris/DH, Carlos Ramirez/C, Ryan Jones/RF, Ricky Alvarez/1B, Jean Almanzar/SS, Jesus Campos/3B, Suammy Baez/RHP

LumberKings (4-7):  Marcus Littlewood/SS, Julio Morban/CF, Kevin Rivers/RF, Mickey Wiswall/DH, Steven Baron/C, Ramon Morla/3B, Tim Morris/1B, Stefen Romero/LF, Anthony Phillips/2B, Anthony Fernandez/LHP.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.


Sunday Notes (4/17)

The LumberKings swept last night’s doubleheader action with Kane County, coming back from a 4-0 deficit to win 6-4 in game one, then winning 2-1 in walk-off fashion in game two.  Julio Morban (left) was at the center of the offense in both games, driving in the tying runs on a double and scoring the game-winner on Kevin Rivers’ single in the first game, then lining the winning single to left to score Carlos Ramirez in game two.

Listen to Morban’s double:  Morban Game-Tying Double 4.16.11.mp3

Listen to Morban’s walk-off single:  Morban Game-Winning RBI Single 4.16.11.mp3

Morban went a combined 4-for-8 with a run scored and three RBI over the two games as the LumberKings moved up two spots to 6th place in the West.  They’ll go for the sweep of the Cougars today with right-hander Forrest Snow (0-0, 3.00) on the mound.  Snow is coming off his 6.0-inning no-hit effor at Beloit and will be looking for his first professional win this afternoon.

Today’s Game Notes:  4.17.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:

Kane County (3-7):  Alex Llanos/CF, Yowill Espinal/2B, Brian Fletcher/LF, Murray Watts/1B, Lane Adams/RF, Geulin Beltre/DH, Angel Franco/3B, Ryan Jenkins/C, Gerard Hall/SS, Leonel Santiago/RHP

LumberKings (4-6):  Marcus Littlewood/SS, Julio Morban/CF, Kevin Rivers/RF, Mickey Wiswall/1B, Ramon Morla/3B, Tim Morris/DH, Steven Baron/C, Stefen Romero/LF, Carlos Ramirez/2B, Forrest Snow/RHP

The pregame gets going at 1:45 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.


Saturday Notes (4/16)

Rain kept us off the diamond last night, but a rainy/snowy mix should subside today in time for twinbill action between the LumberKings and Kane County Cougars today at 4:00 PM.

I’ll be airing my interivew with Rich Dorman on the pregame show tonight, so nothing new to share in audio.  I am told, however, that the WordPress blogs will soon allow me to host my own audio again.  So good news for those of you who were tired of being redirected to ZShare.

I did update the notes today in order to get Seon Gi Kim’s pitcher page in there.  Right-hander Fray Martinez takes the ball in game one, while Kim will make his second start in game two. 

Today’s Game Notes:  4.16.11 kingsnotes

Listen online at 1390kcln.com!


Tonight’s Interview: Rich Dorman

As I said on air after the 13th inning last night, it wasn’t pretty, they’ll get no style points for it, but the LumberKings finally secured their second win of the season and snapped a five-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory in Beloit.  A one-out triple by Ramon Morla and RBI fielder’s choice by Tim Morris plated the only run Clinton would need, and Julio Morban (bases-loaded HBP) and Kevin Rivers (RBI groundout) added two insurance runs.  Meanwhile, on the mound, right-hander George Mieses (7.0 IP, 2 H, 3 K), left-hander Jason Markovitz (2.0 IP, 3 H) and right-handers Matt Bischoff (2.0 IP, 1 H, 4 K) and Tyler Burgoon (win, 2.0 IP, 2 K) combined on a six-hit shutout.

Following Clinton’s first shutout win, I figured it was prime time to talk with the new pitching coach of the LumberKings, Rich Dorman.  We discuss last night’s gritty effort from his staff, his observations of Mieses through two starts, Forrest Snow’s six-inning no-no three games prior, tonight’s first start from right-hander Fray Martinez and more.

Listen Here:  Dorman Interview 4.15.11.mp3

Tonight’s Game Notes:  4.15.11 kingsnotes

We’re getting a decent amount of rain currently in Clinton, but should that subside, here’s tonight’s lineups:

Kane County (3-5):  Alex Llanos/CF, Yowill Espinal/2B, Brian Fletcher/LF, Murray Watts/1B, Lance Adams/DH, Geulin Beltre/RF, Ryan Jenkins/C, Angel Franco/3B, Gerard Hall/SS, Keaton Hayenga/RHP

LumberKings (2-6):  Carlos Ramirez/2B, Julio Morban/CF, Kevin Rivers/RF, Mickey Wiswall/DH, Stefen Romero/LF, Steven Baron/C, Ramon Morla/3B, Tim Morris/1B, Anthony Phillips/SS, Fray Martinez/RHP

First pitch is still scheduled for 6:30 PM as of now, listen online at 1390kcln.com.


Thursday Notes (4/14)

Well, the 500th broadcast is over, and unfortunately it didn’t end with a positive result.  The LumberKings again took a 2-0 lead (the fourth-time they’ve scored first this year) in the first inning but scored just two more runs the rest of the way, dropping game three of the series at Beloit, 10-4.  It’s the fifth-straight loss for the reeling Kings, who are now the Midwest League’s only one-win team.

There’s been signs of life.  Steven Baron ripped a two-run single in the first with two outs.  Ramon Morla stroked a double to right-center as Clinton rallied to tie the game at 4-4 in the sixth.  Left-hander Anthony Fernandez had his ground-ball-inducing stuff working until his rough fifth frame.  However, it just didn’t add up to a win.

Last year’s experience should serve to teach us all that it’s not how you play in the first two weeks, two months or even first half that should determine the success of a season.  It’s best to take it all in stride right now.  With that being said, you can bet Jesus Azuaje and company are looking at tonight’s game as holding importance for confidence’s sake.  Right-hander George Mieses, who looked solid in a quality start/no-decision in his first start against Burlington will get the start tonight.  Beloit counters with left-hander Logan Darnell who is off to an 0-1, 15.00 ERA this season but was 2-3 with a 2.08 ERA in the Appy League last year. 

No interview tonight, only notes.  Still, enjoy them:  4.14.11 kingsnotes

Tonight’s Lineups:

Beloit (5-2):  Daniel Santana/SS, Gunner Glad/LF, Daniel Ortiz/RF, Oswaldo Arcia/DH, Michael Gonzales/1B, Derek McCallum/2B, Kyle Knudson/C, Reggie Williams/3B, Wang-Wei Lin/CF, Logan Darnell/LHP

LumberKings (1-6):  Marcus Littlewood/SS, Julio Morban/CF, Kevin Rivers/RF, Stefen Romero/LF, Mickey Wiswall/1B, Steven Baron/C, Ramon Morla/3B, Tim Morris/DH, Carlos Ramirez/2B, George Mieses/RHP

First pitch of broadcast #501 is scheduled for 6:30 PM on this bitter cold Wisconsin evening.  Listen online at 1390kcln.com!


Tonight’s Interview: Forrest Snow

How’s right-hander Forrest Snow’s transition from closer to frontline starter going?  Judging by last night’s start, just the second of his career, better than even he could have expected.  Snow struck out the first four Beloit Snappers in succession, retired the first 13 batters he faced and did not allow a single hit over 6.0 innings while striking out a career-high eight.  His only blemish was two walks as he and right-handers Matt Bischoff and Tyler Burgoon combined on a one-hitter.

Unfortunately, that one hit set up the game-winning run for the Snappers, who handed the LumberKings a most frustrating 1-0 loss.  Rather than focus in on the negative (15 strikeouts for the offense against the Beloit staff last night), today’s interview is all about Snow’s amazing peformance.

We talk about mixing speeds with catcher Carlton Tanabe and how important the changeup was last night, his transition from closer to starting pitcher, memories from the 2010 Playoffs including his West Division-clinching putout at first base, his goals for 2011 and more.

Listen Here:  Snow Interview 4.13.11.mp3 

Tonight’s Game Notes:  4.13.11 kingsnotes

Left-hander Anthony Fernandez (0-0, 4.50) was the starter for Clinton’s only win thus far this season, we’ll see if he’s up to the task of halting a four-game losing streak in his second start tonight.  Beloit counters with 2010 holdover B.J. Hermsen, who went 0-1 with an ERA of 6.00 in his one outing against the Kings last year.

Today’s Lineups:

Beloit (4-2):  Daniel Santana/SS, Gunner Glad/2B, Lance Ray/RF, Oswaldo Arcia/DH, Michael Gonzales/1B, Daniel Ortiz/CF, Josmil Pinto/C, Reggie Williams/LF, Andrew Leer/3B, B.J. Hermsen/RHP

LumberKings (1-5):  Marcus Littlewood/DH, Julio Morban/CF, Kevin Rivers/RF, Mickey Wiswall/LF, Steven Baron/C, Ramon Morla/3B, Tim Morris/1B, Carlos Ramirez/2B, Anthony Phillips/SS, Anthony Fernandez/LHP

On a programming note, tonight marks my 500th career solo broadcast of LumberKings Baseball.  I don’t have any special guests (Tom Hanks and musical guest the Wu Tang Clan cancelled), but it still should be a fun time.  Listen beginning at 6:15 PM on 1390kcln.com.


Tuesday Notes (4/12)

Usually when I don’t post an interview, that means the LumberKings played a rather uneventful game and probably lost.  By the very title of this post, you can already tell how last night’s game went without reading any further.

For the third time in three games, the LumberKings scored first, failed to widen the gap, let a costly error put the opponent back into the game and lost.  This time, it was a 7-2 decision at the hands of the Beloit Snappers in Clinton’s first road action of the season.  The Kings scored twice off left-hander Andrei Lobanov thanks to four-straight singles including an RBI single by Marcus Littlewood, but never scored again after the second inning.  Beloit scored on a pair of errors in the bottom of the second, then plated four runs over the 4th and 5th innings to send right-hander Seon Gi Kim to the loss in his LumberKings debut.

A 1-4 start isn’t exactly what we all envisioned, but it’s nowhere near time to be worried.  Especially since the top of the rotation comes around again tonight with right-hander Forrest Snow (0-0, 9.00) looking to bounce back from an abnormally-shaky Opening Night outing.  The offense, too, has not been as bad as it looks…the LumberKings pounded out 10 hits total last night — including 2-for-4 performances from Matt Cerione and Stefen Romero — but also left 10 on base.  They’ve been getting on, now it’s just time to get them in.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  4.12.11 kingsnotes

Manager Jesus Azuaje has shaken up the lineup today, we’ll see if that turns the tide of this three-game losing streak.


Beloit (3-2):  Daniel Santana/SS, Derek McCallum/2B, Lance Ray/RF, Oswaldo Arcia/DH, Michael Gonzales/1B, Daniel Ortiz/LF, Tobias Streich/C, Wang-Wei Lin/CF, Andrew Leer/3B, Manuel Soliman/RHP

LumberKings (1-4):  Julio Morban/CF, Marcus Littlewood/SS, Mickey Wiswall/DH, Stefen Romero/LF, Tim Morris/1B, Ramon Morla/3B, Kevin Rivers/RF, Carlton Tanabe/C, Anthony Phillips/2B, Forrest Snow/RHP

Hopefully the pregame interview will return for tomorrow.  Listen in tonight starting with the pregame show at 6:15 PM on 1390kcln.com.