June 2011

Tonight’s Interview: Kevin Rivers

The LumberKings entered the sixth inning of last night’s game against Dayton having not scored in 20-straight innings against Dragons’ pitching.  Tim Morris and Kalian Sams reached on singles and Kevin Rivers approached the plate to face Dragons’ righty Daniel Corcino with Clinton still trailing, 3-0.  He delievered the game-changing hit, poking a two-run double down the left-field line to cut the deficit to 3-2 (listen: Rivers 2-R double 6.9.11).  The Kings would tie the score in the seventh as Matt Browning doubled and scored on a throwing error by pitcher Daniel Wolford, and Morris drove in the game-winning runs with a triple to right-center.  Later in the same inning, Rivers executed a safety squeeze bunt to get Morris home.  The five-run seventh turned the game completely around, giving the LumberKings a 7-4 win over the Dragons for their third-straight series victory.

Rivers finished 2-for-3 with a season-high-tying three RBI in the win and has a hit in six-straight games.  Tonight, I chat with Rivers, a man who went from 2009 non-drafted free agent out of Franklin Pierce University to the 2010 Offensive Player of the Year for Northwest League Champion Everett.  Rivers discuses the game last night, his uncommon path to the Mariners’ system, his successful 2010 season in Everett, his time with Clinton so far and more.

Listen Here:  Rivers Interview 6.10.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  6.10.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:

Bowling Green Hot Rods (33-28):  Cody Rogers/RF, Hector Guevara/2B, Phil Wunderlich/1B, Julio Cedeno/3B, Derek Dietrich/SS, Todd Glaesmann/DH, Nick Schwaner/LF, Alejandro Torres/C, Kevin Kiermaier/CF, George Jensen/RP

LumberKings (21-40):  Jorge Agudelo/2B, Mickey Wiswall/DH, Tim Morris/1B, Kalian Sams/RF, Kevin Rivers/LF, Jabari Blash/CF, Matt Browning/3B, Anthony Phillips/SS, Carlton Tanabe/C, James Paxton/LHP

The path to a fourth-straight series win starts tonight against the Hot Rods, first pitch scheduled for 7:00 PM.  All-Star lefty James Paxton looks to continue his trend of dominance…”K-Pax” is 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 48 strikeouts over his last six starts, 32.1 innings.  Join me for the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.


On the 2011 Draft

My apologies for not being more “with it” on the Mariners’ 2011 draft selections at this point in the year, but I usually don’t get overly excited until we start seeing signings and hearing of players heading our way.  You’re better off checking out the myriad of Mariners’ websites and blogs than looking here for info on players not yet with Clinton.

With that being said, this article from Mariners.com offers up pretty good insight into Jack Zduriencik and Tom McNamara’s 51 picks in this year’s draft.  Check it out:  http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110608&content_id=20224564&vkey=news_sea&c_id=sea.

A common question I get from fans after the draft is “when are we going to see (insert high-round pick name) here in Clinton?”  The answer to that has many dimensions.  First, they’ve got to sign.  Second, there’s got to be a spot open for them to fill (promotion, injury, etc.).  Third, I don’t usually hear about the roster move until just before you do.  The best way to find out if Danny Hultzen, Brad Miller or any of the other ’11 draftees are heading to Clinton is to keep checking LumberKings.com and this very blog.

Whether it’s this year or next year, many will be LumberKings, that’s a fact.  Of the 2010 draft class, 19 of Seattle’s 50 picks played in Clinton either this year or last year.  Of the 2009 draft class, 22 of the 52 picks wore black and green.  We’ll soon see how much of this new crop is headed our way.


Thursday Notes (6/9)

Right-hander George Mieses turned in his first quality start since April 14 as he limited Dayton to three runs (two earned) on five hits over 6.0 innings last night,  but he fell to 1-7 as the LumberKings’ offense ran into a wall named Josh Smith in a 5-0 loss to the Dragons last night.  Mickey Wiswall had two of Clinton’s three hits going 2-for-4, but neither Wiswall nor the rest of the offense could touch Smith over 6.0 innings and the bullpen the rest of the way.

The shutout loss, Clinton’s fifth this season, comes a night removed from their third shutout win.  It’s anybody’s guess what we’ll see in the rubber match tonight as left-hander Edlando Seco (1-0, 6.12 ERA) starts for the Kings against Dragons’ right-hander Daniel Corcino (7-3, 2.72).  While Seco has posted a 6.88 ERA as a starter, the LumberKings have won three of his four starts to date, including 9-8 at Fort Wayne his last time out.  Corcino, meanwhile, has gone 7-1 over his last nine starts after opening up the season 0-2.  It’s definitely a “show me something” start for Seco, while the offense must show up for the first time this series to beat the All-Star Corcino.

More on tonight’s matchup in the Game Notes:  6.9.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:

Dayton Dragons (29-30):  Billy Hamilton/SS, Devin Lohman/2B, Dominic D’Anna/1B, Yorman Rodriguez/RF, Frank Pfister/DH, David Vidal/3B, Juan Duran/LF, Chris Berset/C, Jefry Sierra/CF, Daniel Corcino/RHP

LumberKings (20-40):  Carlos Ramirez/2B, Mickey Wiswall/LF, Tim Morris/1B, Kalian Sams/RF, Kevin Rivers/DH, Steven Baron/C, Jabari Blash/CF, Matt Browning/3B, Anthony Phillips/SS, Edlando Seco/LHP

First pitch is at 7:00 PM, hopefully the rain stays away tonight.  Join me for the broadcast at 1390kcln.com.


Tonight’s Interview: Jandy Sena

The LumberKings carried over the road success in the opening game of a nine-game homestand last night, shutting out Dayton in a 1-0 win last night.  Right-hander Taijuan Walker lasted only 2.0 innings in his seventh start of the season as a result of a high early pitch count, but right-handers Jandy Sena and Jessie Nava picked him up, combining on 7.0 innings of one-hit baseball.  The lone run came in the second inning when Carlos Ramirez deliverd a two-out RBI single to left scoring Kevin Rivers (listen: Ramirez RBI single 6.7.11).

Tonight, I catch up with Sena, the Cuban-born and Miami-raised right-hander and former first-baseman at Marion Military Institute.  Sena was drafted by the Mariners in the 23rd round of last year’s draft and has already pitched as high as double-A Jackson this season.  He talks about last night’s outing in relief of Walker, his stint with the Generals, his pitches, going to MMI and more.

Listen Here:  Sena Interview 6.8.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  6.8.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:

Dayton Dragons (28-30):  Billy Hamilton/SS, Tucker Barnhart/C, Dominic D’Anna/D, Yorman Rodriguez/RF, Donald Lutz/1B, David Vidal/3B, Juan Duran/LF, Devin Lohman/2B, Jefry Sierra/CF, Josh Smith/RHP

LumberKings (20-39):  Robbie Anston/CF, Mickey Wiswall/DH, Tim Morris/1B, Kalian Sams/RF, Jabari Blash/LF, Steven Baron/C, Jorge Agudelo/2B, Carlos Ramirez/3B, Anthony Phillips/SS, George Mieses/RHP

19-year-old right-hander George Mieses looks to finally get on track after going 0-4 with an 8.69 ERA in his last six starts.  Join me for the broadcast beginning at 7:00 PM on 1390kcln.com.


Tonight’s Interview: Eddie Menchaca (Vol. 4)

After finishing up a 5-1 East Division trip with a 6-1 win at Lake County Sunday, driving nine hours home and enjoying their first off-day since May 16, the LumberKings are back at home to start a nine-game, 10-day homestand tonight.  They’ll take on the Dayton Dragons and Bowling Green Hot Rods of the East Division and then finish off the stand with a three-game set against Quad Cities.

Yesterday wasn’t an entirely quiet off-day around Alliant Energy Field as Kalian Sams was named the Midwest League’s Offensive Player of the Week.    And, of course, the process of drafting future LumberKings began for the Seattle Mariners.

My interview guest this evening is LumberKings’ manager Eddie Menchaca.  Chaca weighs in on the Sams award, the successful road trip, left-hander James Paxton’s Midwest League All-Star Game selection, the upcoming homestand and more.

Listen Here:  Menchaca Interview 6.7.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  6.7.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:

Dayton Dragons (28-29):  Billy Hamilton/SS, Devin Lohman/2B, Dominic D’Anna/1B, David Vidal/3B, Tucker Barnhart/C, Yorman Rodriguez/RF, Juan Duran/DH, Jefry Sierra/CF, Theo Bowe/LF, Daniel Renken/RHP

LumberKings (19-39):  Jorge Agudelo/2B, Mickey Wiswall/DH, Tim Morris/1B, Kalian Sams/RF, Kevin Rivers/LF, Steven Baron/C, Jabari Blash/CF, Carlos Ramirez/3B, Anthony Phillips/SS, Taijuan Walker/RHP

Join me for the broadcast at 7 PM on 1390kcln.com.


Today’s Interview: James Paxton (Vol. 2)

I’m forced to keep it brief today with a 1:00 PM eastern time start closing in fast as the LumberKings finish off the series and road trip today in Lake County.  The LumberKings beat the Captains 7-2 last night behind a two-homer night from Mickey Wiswall (listen: Wiswall 2-R HR to Center, 2nd of game (#5) 6.4.11), another homer from Kalian Sams (listen: Sams 2-R HR (#7) 6.4.11) and five scoreless innings from left-hander James Paxton (listen: Paxton Strikes Out Gallas 6.4.11).

Paxton, just announced two days ago as Clinton’s lone All-Star representative, is 2-1 with a 1.39 ERA and 48 strikeouts over his last six outings dating back to his debut loss vs. Peoria.  He’s most deserving of the All-Star nod as he’s now 2-2 with a 2.11 ERA over his first seven starts as a pro.  “K-Pax” weighs in on last night’s outing including his hammer curveball that was the key to nine strikeouts, his thoughts on the All-Star selection and more.

Listen Here:  Paxton Interview 6.5.11

Today’s Game Notes: 6.5.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:

LumberKings (18-39):  Jorge Agudelo/2B, Mickey Wiswall/LF, Tim Morris/1B, Kalian Sams/RF, Stefen Romero/3B, Steven Baron/C, Matt Browning/DH, Robbie Anston/CF, Anthony Phillips/SS, Forrest Snow/RHP

Lake County Captains (26-30):  LeVon Washington/CF, Carlos Moncrief/RF, Giovanny Urshela/3B, Anthony Gallas/LF, Alex Monsalve/DH, Jesus Aguilar/1B, Alex Lavisky/C, Argenis Martinez/2B, Ronny Rodriguez/SS, Cole Cook/RHP

Forrest Snow starts for the 12th time today in search of some elusive run support and his second win.  Last time the Snowman pitched at Classic Park, he was getting the win in relief of Game 4 of the MWLCS, sending us to a decisive Game 5.  Today, he’ll be looking to secure Clinton’s second-straight series victory and a 5-1 road trip.

First pitch is at 12:00 PM central time, join me for the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.


Cleto Back to Double-A

And just like that, former LumberKings’ right-hander Maikel Cleto is no longer a Major Leaguer.  From the St. Louis Cardinals’ own web story:

Cleto, 22, allowed five earned runs in two innings Thursday in his big league debut against the Giants after being promoted earlier in the day. Manager Tony La Russa praised Cleto, who retired the last five batters he faced after a rocky beginning to his debut.

“I told him that one way to look at it is there are a lot of pitchers in the organization and he was the one that was called up,” La Russa said. “So that’s a really good sign. And he did exactly what we needed him to do in that game. He pitched, saved our bullpen and now he can stay down there and keep learning and progressing.”

In non-Cleto news, The LumberBlog ranked #27 out of the top 50 on the ProBlogs side of MLBlogs.  However, I now trail my colleague in Wisconsin, Chris Mehring (and his Rattler Radio Blog) by five spots.  So…tell your friends.  LumberBlog.  Spread the word.


Saturday Notes (6/4)

Well, there wasn’t nearly as much on the line this time around, but the LumberKings and Lake County Captains played another epic game at Classic Park in Eastlake, Ohio last night with Clinton erasing a 4-0 lead with seven runs after the fifth inning onlyto fall 8-7 on a walk-off infield single by Alex Monsalve scoring LeVon Washington.

Kalian Sams belted his second two-run homer in as many games (listen: Sams 2-R HR (#6) 6.3.11), Carlton Tanabe doubled in two runs to tie the game (listen: Tanabe Game Tying 2-R Double 6.3.11) and Kevin Rivers added a solo home run in the eighth inning (listen: Rivers Game Tying Solo HR (#3) 6.3.11), re-tying the action at 8-8.

The LumberKings had a chance to take the lead in the top of the ninth as Washington dropped Mickey Wiswall’s routine fly ball to center with two on and nobody out, but pinch-runner Robbie Anston was thrown out at the plate by Washington attempting to score all the way from second base.  That kept things tied for the Captains in the bottom of the ninth, and aided by one of seven Clinton errors, Washington singled and took second base.  Another error on right-hander Tyler Burgoon put runners at the corners and Monsalve’s one-out grounder up the third-base line to Carlos Ramirez was enough to get Washington home.

Frustrating way to lose, especially since the LumberKings have had the breaks going their way on this road trip.  It’s still a 3-1 trip so far and the series looks very winnable with All-Star left-hander James Paxton starting tonight and right-hander Forrest Snow starting on Sunday.

Yes, I said “All-Star”.  In case you missed it, Paxton was named Clinton’s lone 2011 Midwest League All-Star yesterday by the league.  Read my story on it here:  http://clinton.lumberkings.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110604&content_id=20014772&vkey=news_t500&fext=.jsp&sid=t500.

More on K-Pax and the rest of the Cardiac Kings in today’s Game Notes:  6.4.11 kingsnotes

The Daily Roster Move:  None for three days in a row.  Maybe this is beginning to be a misnomer.

Starting Lineups:

LumberKings (17-39):  Jorge Agudelo/2B, Mickey Wiswall/DH, Tim Morris/1B, Kalian Sams/RF, Stefen Romero/3B, Steven Baron/C, Kevin Rivers/LF, Jabari Blash/CF, Anthony Phillips/SS, James Paxton/LHP

Lake County Captains (26-29):  LeVon Washington/CF, Carlos Moncrief/RF, Giovanny Urshela/3B, Anthony Gallas/LF, Alex Monsalve/C, Jesus Aguilar/1B, Alex Lavisky/DH, Argenis Martinez/2B, Nick Bartolone/SS, Jordan Cooper/RHP

First pitch is again at 6:00 PM central time, join me for the broadcast at 1390kcln.com.


Tonight’s Interview: Jabari Blash

It took four lead-changes and a season-high 16 hits to finally put away the Fort Wayne TinCaps for a long-overdue first series sweep of the year, but the LumberKings finally took a permanent lead with back-to-back doubles by Steven Baron and Jabari Blash (listen: Blash RBI double in 9th 6.2.11)  in the ninth and held onto it as right-hander Keli’i Zablan induced a 6-2-3 double play from Rymer Liriano with the bases loaded (listen: Zablan Induces 6-2-3 Game-Ending DP 6.2.11), giving Clinton the 9-8 win last night.

Blash finished 4-for-5 on the night with two doubles and two RBI, Baron went 2-for-4 with a double, home run and an RBI and Kalian Sams went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer (listen: Sams 2-R HR (#5) 6.2.11) and three RBI to give the LumberKings just their second three-game winning streak of the season.  Clinton outscored Fort Wayne 19-15 in the three games, winning 4-3 (10 innings), 6-4 and 9-8.

My interview guest tonight is Blash at long last, following a 6-for-11 series that included a home run and four RBI.

Listen Here:  Blash Interview 6.3.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  6.3.11 kingsnotes

The Daily Roster Move:  NONE!

Starting Lineups:

LumberKings (17-38):  Jorge Agudelo/2B, Mickey Wiswall/1B, Tim Morris/DH, Kalian Sams/RF, Kevin Rivers/LF, Jabari Blash/CF, Carlos Ramirez/3B, Anthony Phillips/SS, Carlton Tanabe/C, Jandy Sena/RHP

Lake County Captains (25-29):  LeVon Washington/CF, Carlos Moncrief/RF, Giovanny Urshela/3B, Anthony Gallas/LF, Alex Monsalve/C, Jesus Aguilar/1B, Ronny Rodriguez/SS, Alex Lavisky/DH, Nick Bartolone/2B, Kyle Blair/RHP

As you’ve already gathered, the LumberKings are back in Lake County for the first time since the 2010 Midwest League Championship Series last September, when the Captains took the deciding Game 5 by a 3-1 score despite a complete-game effort from right-hander Yoervis Medina.  I’d be lying if I said my heart didn’t hurt a little coming back to this place, but I’m one of the few…only hitting coach Terry Pollreisz, pitchers Jonathan Arias and Forrest Snow, catcher Steven Baron, infielders Tim Morris, Carlos Ramirez and Mickey Wiswall were here for the MWLCS.  

No rings on the line this time, but still plenty of reasons to join me for the broadcast at 6:00 PM central time on 1390kcln.com.


Tonight’s Interview: Mickey Wiswall

Two-out magic was the name of the game last night for the LumberKings as they plated all six of their runs with two away to beat the Fort Wayne TinCaps, 6-4 at Parkview Field.  Kalian Sams started the trend with a two-out double scoring Tim Morris in the first inning, then scoring on a base hit by Stefen RomeroMickey Wiswall belted an opposite-field two-run homer with two gone in the fifth for a 4-3 lead, and Romero snapped a 4-4 tie with a two-out double to left scoring Sams in the eighth (listen: Romero RBI double 6.1.11).  As a result of the clutch hits (Kings were 4-for-9 with RISP), Clinton has won back-to-back games for just the third time all season.

Wiswall’s blast didn’t win it (listen: Wiswall 2-R HR (#3) 6.1.11), but it shifted momentum back in the LumberKings’ favor.  You could say that momentum is back with Wiswall as well after a dismal April.  The Mariners’ 2010 seventh-round pick hit a solid .265 with 15 RBI in May and is 1-for-5 with a HR and two RBI so far in June. 

Today, I catch up with the 2010 playoff hero on the pregame interview.  We talk about his rare opposite-field homer from last night, working with hitting coach Terry Pollreisz after the slow start, baseball being “fun again” for these LumberKings lately, his newfound role as the #2 hitter in Eddie Menchaca’s lineup, teaming up with fellow Boston College alum Robbie Anston, his thoughts on a very successful 2010 season, his Stanley Cup Finals rivalry with Jon Hesketh and James Paxton (Mickey is a Boston Bruins fan) and more.

Listen Here:  Wiswall Interview 6.2.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  6.2.11 kingsnotes

Daily Roster Move:  NONE!

Starting Lineups:

LumberKings (16-38):  Jorge Agudelo/2B, Mickey Wiswall/DH, Tim Morris/1B, Kalian Sams/RF, Kevin Rivers/LF, Steven Baron/C, Jabari Blash/CF, Matt Browning/3B, Anthony Phillips/SS, Edlando Seco/LHP

Fort Wayne TinCaps (23-29):  Rico Noel/CF, Rymer Liriano/RF, Luis Domoromo/LF, Jake Blackwood/3B, Tommy Medica/1B, Jose Dore/DH, Cole Tyrell/C, Pat McKenna/2B, B.J. Guinn/SS, Matt Branham/RHP

The LumberKings have not swept a series of any kind this season, but they’re poised for a shot tonight in Fort Wayne.  Join me for the broadcast beginning at approximately 5:45 PM central time on 1390kcln.com.