May 2011

Tonight’s Interview: Tyler Burgoon

After all the close losses that have been accumulating for the LumberKings in this month of May, it was high time for the team to get a win in close fashion.  The time was right last night as the Kings snapped a 3-3 tie in the seventh on Mickey Wiswall’s sacrifice fly scoring Tim Morris and right-hander Tyler Burgoon navigated through jams in the eighth and ninth, leaving the bases loaded in the final frame for the save and the 4-3 win.

Jake Schlander belted a two-run homer and Kevin Rivers added an RBI double to give the Kings a 3-0 lead in the second, but left-hander Edlando Seco allowed two runs over 3.1 innings in his first start and lefty Nate Reed yielded the tying run in the sixth.  Right-hander Jandy Sena and Burgoon combined for 3.1 scoreless innings to finish out the game.

Tonight, I check in with Burgoon, Seattle’s 10th-round pick out of the University of Michigan a year ago.  After saving a school-record 10 games with the Wolverines in 2010 and going 1-1 with a 4.40 ERA in eight outings for Everett last year, Burgoon is now settling in as the man at the back end of the Clinton pen.  The Defiance, OH native is 1-1 with a pen-best 1.23 ERA and four saves in five chances.  He talks about last night’s outing, his approach to two-inning saves, being the holdover amongst a new group of relievers and the confidence of the new group and more.

Listen Here:  Burgoon Interview 5.19.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  5.19.11 kingsnotes

Starting lineups:

LumberKings (11-29):  Shaver Hansen/2B, Carlos Ramirez/3B, Stefen Romero/LF, Mickey Wiswall/1B, Matt Browning/DH, Jabari Blash/CF, Kalian Sams/RF, Jake Schlander/SS, Steven Baron/C, James Paxton/LHP

Burlington Bees (28-10):  Royce Consigli/RF, Nino Leyja/2B, Josh Whitaker/1B, Douglas Landaeta/LF, Jose Rivero/CF, AJ Kirby-Jones/D, Wade Kirkland/SS, John Nester/C, Ryan Pineda/3B, Jacob Brown/LHP

It’s the Paxton-Brown rematch as the two face off for the first time since dueling on May 8 at Alliant Energy Field.  Paxton yielded two runs, one earned over 5.0 innings in a no-decision while Brown ended up with the win, allowing two unearned runs over 6.0 innings in the Bees’ 5-2 victory.  Brown has the league’s second-best ERA of 1.06, hopefully the resurgent LumberKings’ bats can tack a few runs to that tonight.

First pitch is at 6:30 PM, listen online at


Wednesday Notes (5/18)

Despite another ninth-inning comeback attempt and home runs by both Jabari Blash and Mickey Wiswall, the LumberKings could not extend a winning streak to two games last night, falling 8-6 to the Burlington Bees in the opener of this 10-game road trip.  Wiswall belted a two-run shot in the ninth off right-hander Drew Tyson that brought the Kings to within two, but Tyson then retired Stefen Romero leaving the potential tying run — Carlos Ramirez — in the on-deck circle.

Listen to the blasts:  Blash Solo HR (#2) 5.17.11   |   Wiswall 2-R HR (#2) 5.17.11

Clinton is now 3-13 in the month of May, dropping their season record to a MWL-worst 10-29.  Not many ways to sugar-coat it, but chew on this statistic…of the 13 May losses, the Kings have had the tying or winning runs either at the plate or in the on-deck circle in their final at-bat nine times and have scored eight runs total in the ninth inning.  They’ve lost by three runs five times, two runs five times and one run four times in that 13-game span. 

More encouraging factoids just like like that one in tonight’s Game Notes:  5.18.11 kingsnotes

The “no starting lineups” thing didn’t work two games in a row, so here you go…

LumberKings (10-29):  Shaver Hansen/2B, Kevin Rivers/LF, Tim Morris/DH, Stefen Romero/3B, Mickey Wiswall/1B, Jabari Blash/CF, Kalian Sams/RF, Steven Baron/C, Jake Schlander/SS, Edlando Seco/LHP

Burlington Bees (28-9):  Royce Consigli/RF, Nino Leyja/2B, Tony Thompson/3B, Josh Whitaker/DH, Yordy Cabrera/SS, Douglas Landaeta/LF, AJ Kirby-Jones/1B, Tyreace House/CF, John Nester/C, Tyler Vail/RHP

Notice anything different about those lineups?  Kevin Rivers is starting for the first time since April 25 vs. Peoria and lefty Edlando Seco makes his first start since game one of the Northwest League Playoffs when he suited up for Everett against Oakland’s low-A affiliate (and many of the Bees hitters) in Vancouver.  Seco hasn’t allowed a run over his last 8.0 innings as a reliever and steps up to fill the vacated rotation spot left by right-hander Brandon Maurer.

Should be an interesting one tonight.  Listen online at  First pitch is at 6:30 PM.


Tonight’s Interview: Taijuan Walker

The LumberKings counted on 18-year-old right-hander Taijuan Walker, making just his third professional start, to take on the role as stopper Sunday afternoon against Wisconsin.  A stopper he was, twirling a no-hitter through the first five frames and finishing with a career-high 11 strikeouts over 6.1 innings of one-run, two-hit baseball.   Of course, nine runs of support didn’t hurt Walker either as the LumberKings destroyed the Rattlers, 11-1.

Listen to Walker’s 10th K here:   Walker 10th Strikeout 5.15.11

The Mariners’ first-round pick in 2010 (43rd overall) showed flashes of promise in his first two outings thanks to a mid-90’s fastball, but it wasn’t until Sunday that we saw the curveball really start to work for Walker.  Should that 12-6 hook continue to improve, Walker will have more than a few more days like Sunday during this 2011 season.  Still, as you can tell in my pregame interview with Walker today, he’s modest about the outing and his first full season of professional baseball.

Walker discusses the outing, getting the unexpected call to Clinton from extended Spring Training, turning into a starter in his final season at Yucaipa High School, cutting ties with basketball after a promising career on the hard-wood and more.

Listen Here:  Walker Interview 5.17.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  5.17.11 kingsnotes

The notes attached do not reflect the roster move made today by the LumberKings, but right-hander Brandon Maurer has been promoted to high-A High Desert.  The Kings have received right-hander Keli’i Zablan from extended Spring Training.  Left-hander Edlando Seco is expected to start in place of Maurer tomorrow night against the Burlington Bees.

No starting lineups for you tonight, not because there aren’t any, but because I didn’t post any on Sunday and we won, 11-1.  How’s that for superstition?

Right-hander George Mieses and company take on the Bees at Community Field tonight, first pitch scheduled for 6:30 PM.  Listen online at


Today’s Interview: Casey Brett

I pulled double duty and got two interviews yesterday afternoon, so I’m sharing the second one today.  I caught up with Casey Brett, the Assistant to Director of Minor League Operations Pedro Grifol.  The son of 14-year MLB vet Ken Brett and nephew of Hall-of-Famer George Brett, Casey attained his position with the Mariners prior to last year and is one of the bright new faces of Seattle’s player development department.

Casey talks about his path to the position, growing up in the baseball-rich Brett family, his thoughts on the 2011 LumberKings and more.

Listen Here:  Casey Brett Interview 5.14.11

Today’s Game Notes:  5.15.11 kingsnotes

The Kings close the series with Wisconsin at 2:00 PM today.  Listen online at


Special Guest: Dan Wilson

Tonight’s pregame interview features 12-year Seattle Mariners’ catcher Dan Wilson, who is currently in Clinton working with catchers Steven Baron and Carlton Tanabe and also aiding manager Eddie Menchaca and his staff.  Wilson, the 1996 A.L. All-Star, regular backstop for the likes of Randy Johnson and Jamie Moyer and permanent Mariners’ fan-favorite joins me to talk about his post-retirement role with the Mariners, the Clinton catching corps, his insights on catching and handling a pitching staff, the current-day Mariners, memories of the ’95 season and more on this nearly eight-minute conversation.

Listen Here:  Dan Wilson Interview 5.14.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  5.14.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (17-15):  Nick Shaw/2B, Greg Hopkins/3B, Cody Hawn/1B, Chris Dennis/LF, Mike Walker/DH, Reggie Keen/CF, TJ Mittlestaedt/RF, Tony Pechek/C, Yadiel Rivera/SS, Matt Miller/RHP

LumberKings (9-27):  Shaver Hansen/2B, Carlos Ramirez/SS, Tim Morris/1B, Mickey Wiswall/LF, Stefen Romero/3B, Matt Browning/DH, Kalian Sams/RF, Jabari Blash/CF, Steven Baron/C, Forrest Snow/RHP

First pitch for “75th Anniversary Night” featuring the LumberKings in old Clinton Pilots uniforms is scheduled for 6:00 PM.  Listen to the game on


Tonight’s Interview: Chris Mehring

Another game, another close loss last night as the LumberKings fell 4-1 in the Quad Cities.  For the third-straight night, the Kings had a chance in the ninth with the tying run at the plate.  Mickey Wiswall homered for the first time this season with two outs in the inning and singles by Matt Browning and Kalian Sams set the stage for Steven Baron.  Baron worked the count and was able to check up on a two-strike slider in the dirt once, but the next time he attempted to check on Boone Whiting’s slider, he was rung up for strike three by home plate umpire Mike Dorantes.

Highlights from last night:

The LumberKings open a three-game home series tonight against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.  Back on April 29 and 30, the Kings took two-straight games over the Rattlers and won their first (and only) road series of the season, two games to one.  Since then, Clinton is 2-10 while Wisconsin is 9-3.

Matt Erickson’s Rattlers have won five-straight games.  In the first two games of this series, Wisconsin will start right-hander Tyler Thornburg (2-0, 1.80), one of the Midwest League’s best in the early going of 2011 and Milwaukee Brewers’ left-hander Zach Braddock who is completing a rehab stint.  Given all of the positives for the Rattlers, I decided to interview their longtime radio voice, Chris Mehring.  We cover their recent winning trend, the fantastic starts of Thornburg and Austin Ross, Braddock’s start tomorrow, Erickson’s first year at the helm and more.

Listen Here:  Chris Mehring Interview 5.13.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  5.13.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (16-15):  Nick Shaw/2B, Greg Hopkins/3B, Cody Hawn/1B, Mike Walker/DH, Franklin Romero/RF, Robbie Garvey/LF, Reggie Keen/CF, Tyler Roberts/C, Yadiel Rivera/SS, Tyler Thornburg/RHP

LumberKings (9-26):  Robbie Anston/CF, Carlos Ramirez/2B, Tim Morris/DH, Stefen Romero/3B, Mickey Wiswall/1B, Kalian Sams/LF, Jabari Blash/RF, Steven Baron/C, Jake Schlander/SS, James Paxton/LHP

First pitch for Clinton Community College Night is scheduled for 6:30 PM, listen online at


Wednesday Notes (5/11)

 It’s a “show-and-go” day for the LumberKings here in Quad Cities, so I’m forced to keep it brief today.  Jake Schlander doubled home three runs and Tim Morris homered and doubled in a two-RBI night, but the Kings couldn’t come all the way back from a 6-1 deficit as they lost 8-7 to the River Bandits in the opener last night.  Read more about the game in the notes below.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  5.11.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:

LumberKings (9-24):  Shaver Hansen/2B, Robbie Anston/CF, Tim Morris/DH, Stefen Romero/3B, Mickey Wiswall/1B, Kalian Sams/LF, Jabari Blash/RF, Jake Schlander/SS, Carlton Tanabe/C, George Mieses/RHP

Quad Cities River Bandits (15-17):  Michael Swinson/RF, Nick Longmire/CF, Cody Stanley/DH, Jonathan Rodriguez/1B, Packy Elkins/3B, Starlin Rodriguez/2B, Robert Stock/C, Chris Edmondson/LF, Yunior Castillo/SS, Anthony Ferrara/LHP

First pitch is at 7:00 PM, listen online at


Tonight’s Interview: Rich Dorman (Vol. 2)

Yes, the LumberKings went 0-3 on the homestand against the West’s first-place team, the Burlington Bees (including a 4-2 loss last night), but there’s no doubt the Clinton pitching staff is coming around.  As you’ll read in tonight’s Game Notes (posted below), the rotation is 3-4 with a 2.67 ERA over the last 11 games and the bullpen is 1-2 with a 1.64 ERA over the last four games. 

Right-hander Forrest Snow fell to 1-4 despite allowing four runs (one earned) over 6.0 innings last night.  Right-hander Brandon Maurer has an ERA of 0.69 over his last two starts.  Left-hander James Paxton made strides in his second start two games ago.  Right-hander Jandy Sena (no runs in two games, 4.0 IP) and left-hander Edlando Seco (no runs in two games, 6.0 IP) are helping the bullpen turn it around.  There’s signs of life amongst the Clinton arms.

Thus, it’s time to talk to pitching coach Rich Dorman again.  In the full-cut interview (a shorter version will air on the broadcast), Dorman talks about Snow, Maurer, George Mieses, Paxton, tonight’s starter Taijuan Walker, Sena, Seco and others.  Definitelya worthy listen as Dorman elaborates with great detail over nearly nine minutes.

Listen Here:  Dorman Interview 5.10.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  5.10.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:

LumberKings (9-23):  Shaver Hansen/2B, Julio Morban/CF, Stefen Romero/3B, Mickey Wiswall/1B, Matt Browning/DH, Jake Schlander/SS, Jabari Blash/RF, Steven Baron/C, Robbie Anston/LF, Taijuan Walker/RHP

Quad Cities River Bandits (14-17):  Greg Garcia/SS, Starlin Rodriguez/2B, Oscar Taveras/RF, Cody Stanley/C, Jonathan Rodriguez/1B, Packy Elkins/3B, Chris Edmondson/LF, Romulo Ruiz/DH, Frederick Parejo/CF, Seth Blair/RHP

How will Walker and the rest of the staff fare in this three-game road series against 14-17 Quad Cities?  Hopefully it’s the continuation of the trend we’ve seen for the last 11 days.  First pitch is at 7:00 PM, listen online at


Tonight’s Interview: Mitch Butz

By special request, my interview with LumberKings’ Director of Operations Mitch Butz.  We talk about the Pink Cap auction, upcoming promotions like “75th Anniversary Night” and the first “Stay Late Saturday” and more.

Listen Here:  Butz Interview 5.9.11


Monday Notes (5/9)

With all the roster moves, cap auctions and everythinge else going on today, I’m short on energy for writing a detailed blog post.  The Kings lost 5-2 yesterday to Burlington, but now look a little different with the additions of Matt Browning, Robbie Anston, Jake Schlander, Kalian Sams and Nathan Reed.  Browning and Anston are in the lineup tonight as Clinton looks to avoid the sweep. 

Tonight’s Game Notes:  5.9.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:

Burlington Bees (22-7):  Tyreace House/CF, Royce Consigli/RF, Nino Leyja/2B, Josh Whitaker/1B, Yordy Cabrera/SS, Jose Rivero/LF, AJ Kirby-Jones/DH, Wade Kirkland/3B, John Nester/C, Blake Hassebrock/RHP

LumberKings (9-22):  Shaver Hansen/2B, Julio Morban/CF, Stefen Romero/3B, Mickey Wiswall/1B, Matt Browning/DH, Jabari Blash/RF, Steven Baron/C, Carlos Ramirez/SS, Robbie Anston/LF, Forrest Snow/RHP

First pitch is at 6:30 PM, listen online at