Tonight’s Interview: Keli’i Zablan
Not too much to write home about last night as the LumberKings opened a three-game series against the Quad Cities River Bandits with a 5-0 loss, their fourth-straight on the homestand. Bandits’ right-hander Carlos Martinez has been drawing comparisons to Pedro Martinez (no relation, as far as I know), at least if you believe this article on MidwestLeague.com, and while I still wouldn’t pencil him in as a future Cy Young award winner quite yet, I’d say he pitched impressively.
Martinez limited the Kings to three hits over 6.0 innings, hitting 99 mph on the in-house speed gun and displaying a sharp hook and nasty changeup to go with his heater. Then, relievers Ryan Copeland and Cale Johnson continued the trend for a combined 7-hit shutout for the Wild Card-hungry River Bandits.
Yes, this is still a post about the Clinton LumberKings, and that’s where I lead in to tonight’s interview guest. Right-hander Keli’i Zablan was yet again effective in relief last night, tossing 2.0 scoreless frames following up right-hander George Mieses. Though the Kings already trailed 5-0 at that point, it was still a fifth-straight scoreless outing for Zablan, lowering his ERA to 3.29. He’s becoming a go-to arm for Rich Dorman, though his path to this point has seen plenty of twists and turns.
After going undrafted out of Southern Utah University, Zablan caught on with River City of the Frontier League. He pitched and played second base for Rascals, helping them to the 2010 Frontier League Championship. After that, he tried out for the Seattle Mariners and waited nearly a month to hear back about his signing, ventured to Peoria, AZ to start his career in extended spring training and got the call to Clinton. We talk about his journey, being half of an all-Hawaiian battery alongside Carlton Tanabe, his goals for his first season in affiliated ball and more.
Listen Here: Zablan Interview 6.15.11
Tonight’s Game Notes: 6.15.11 kingsnotes
Today’s Roster Moves: It’s lengthy. Right-hander Forrest Snow was called up to high-A High Desert today and will make his Mavs debut at Stockton tonight. Catcher Steven Baron, who exited in the fifth inning last night after being struck on the right wrist by a foul tip, has been placed on the disabled list. Outfielder Jabari Blash has been sent to Everett. The Kings have received left-hander Anthony Fernandez back from High Desert, catcher Billy Marcoe from Everett and have activated Julio Morban from the disabled list. Oh yeah, and right-hander Tyler Blandford came off the DL today as Mieses went on. And that’s the short version.
Quad Cities River Bandits (36-28): Michael Swinson/LF, Ronny Gil/SS, Oscar Taveras/CF, Starlin Rodriguez/2B, Cody Stanley/C, Nick Longmire/RF, Colin Walsh/3B, Victor Sanchez/1B, Chris Edmondson/DH, Seth Blair/RHP
LumberKings (21-44): Julio Morban/DH, Mickey Wiswall/LF, Tim Morris/1B, Stefen Romero/3B, Kevin Rivers/RF, Jorge Agudelo/2B, Robbie Anston/CF, Anthony Phillips/SS, Carlton Tanabe/C, Edlando Seco/LHP
Rock Falls, IL native and St. Louis Cardinals’ first-round pick Seth Blair will be a local attraction tonight, but hopefully lefty Edlando Seco continues his uncanny ability to help the LumberKings win. Despite the fact that Seco is just 1-0 in five starts, the Kings are 4-1 in those games.
Join me for the broadcast starting at 6:45 PM on 1390kcln.com.