July 2011

Sunday Notes (7/31)

The LumberKings saw their four-game winning streak snapped by Anthony Giansanti and the Peoria Chiefs last night as Giansanti’s ninth-inning triple scored Richard Jones for the winning run in a 3-1 final.  Right-hander Tyler Burgoon fell to 5-5 with the loss.  Right-hander Taijuan Walker struck out seven and limited the Chiefs to one hit over 5.0 scoreless innings and Stefen Romero belted his team-lead-tying 13th home run in the losing cause.

No pregame interview on this Sunday, but you’ll still get the Game Notes:  7.31.11 kingsnotes

The Kings’ 25-man roster did see a change today as infielder Jetsy Extrano was sent to short-A Everett and infielder Jake Schlander was received from high-A High Desert.  Schlander hit .147 with a home run and seven RBI earlier this season with Clinton.

Starting Lineup:  7.31.11 lineup

It’s an all-southpaw battle today as Tony Butler (1-1, 3.04) starts for the Kings against Peoria’s Austin Kirk (5-7, 3.54).  It’s high time for the offense to handle Kirk, who is 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in four starts against Clinton this year including his nine-inning no-hitter on July 4.  First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Kalian Sams (Vol. 2)

The Kings secured their first home series sweep and extended their winning streak to a season-best four games last night, defeating Wisconsin 5-3.  Mike McGee, Kevin Rivers and Matt Browning all walked with one out against left-hander Alan Williams in the seventh.  Timber Rattlers’ right-hander Casey Medlen worked 2-2 to Kalian Sams and fired a wild pitch scoring McGee for the tying run, and Sams followed up with a two-run single to left putting Clinton ahead for good (listen: Sams 2-R single 7.29.11).

Left-hander Anthony Fernandez turned in his sixth quality start in his last eight outings with three runs (one earned) over 7.0 innings to improve to 4-3.  Left-hander Ryan Kiel (H, 2) and right-hander Jonathan Arias (S, 4) closed down the final two innings.

Sams joins me on the pregame interview for the second time this year to talk about the game-winning hit and other topics.

Listen Here:  Sams Interview 7.30.11

Tonight’s Game Notes: 7.30.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  7.30.11 lineup

Right-hander Taijuan Walker looks for a bounce-back start in the opener of a three-game set against Peoria (10-23) tonight.  Walker is 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA (10 ER in 10.1 IP) in his last two outings and is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in two starts against the Chiefs, but will look to reverse both trends against Casey Kopitzke’s struggling club.  The Chiefs counter with right-hander Matt Loosen (2-1, 1.73).  First pitch is at 6:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Ed Randall

It’s officially a three-game winning streak for your LumberKings after an 8-4 win over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers last night at Alliant Energy Field.  The Kings erased a 3-0 deficit on an RBI double by Mickey Wiswall, two-run single by Julio Morban (who also helped out with an outfield assist, listen:  Morban To Tanabe Play at Plate 7.28.11) and RBI groundout by Kevin Rivers.  Wisconsin tied the score at 4-4 against right-hander Matt Bischoff in the top of the seventh, but Clinton rallied for four runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.  Rivers singled home Mike McGee (listen:  Rivers Go-Ahead RBI single 7.28.11), Stefen Romero added a two-run double (listen: Romero 2-R double 7.28.11) and Kalian Sams finished the job with an RBI single.  Bischoff (W, 2-2) ended up with the win despite a blown save, while right-handers Tyler Blandford and Tyler Burgoon closed things down in the eighth and ninth.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.29.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  7.29.11 lineup 

While there’s many suitable interview subjects from your LumberKings based on last night’s win, tonight’s interview is all about our Prostate Cancer Awareness night, taking place tonight.  Ed Randall, the founder of “Bat for the Cure”, joins me on tonight’s pregame interview via phone.  The host of Ed Randall’s Talking Baseball on Sirius/XM Radio’s MLB Home Plate channel, Randall talks about the importance of early detection in the fight against prostate cancer, his own personal experience with the disease, the 2011 Minor League Road Trip for “Bat for the Cure” and more.

Listen Here:  Ed Randall Interview 7.29.11

The LumberKings look for their first sweep since late May/early June at Fort Wayne tonight as they close the series with Wisconsin.  Left-hander Anthony Fernandez (3-3, 3.45) is 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA in his last seven games, he’ll start for Clinton tonight against Rattlers’ right-hander Brooks Hall (5-3, 4.19).  Listen to the 7 PM game on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Jon Hesketh

The LumberKings opened the six-game homestand with a wire-to-wire 5-3 win over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers last night.  Julio Morban, playing in his first game since June 26, connected on the first pitch he saw from right-hander Maverick Lasker in the first inning, belting a solo home run to the right-field Lumber Lounge (listen:  Morban Solo HR (#2) 7.27.11).  Two batters later, Stefen Romero dropped the back shoulder and lifted a two-run shot to left (listen:  Romero 2-R HR (#12) 7.27.11), putting the Kings ahead 3-0.

Winning left-hander Nate Reed held the Rattlers to a run over 5.0 innings and an RBI double by Kevin Rivers and solo homer by Kalian Sams raised the lead to 5-1.  Right-hander Jessie Nava yielded a run over 3.0 innings and left-hander Jon Hesketh worked past a run to lock down his first professional save, striking out T.J. Mittelstaedt as the potential tying run to end the game (listen: Hesketh Fans Mittelstaedt for First Pro Save 7.27.11).

My pregame interview tonight is with Hesketh, the veteran arm on the staff.  Seattle’s 20th round pick in 2009 out of the University of New Mexico, Hesketh has come back from a nearly two-month stint on the DL (was hit in the left thumb by a comebacker on May 22 at Peoria) and is back in the Clinton bullpen.  The Langley, BC, Canada native talks about his first pro save,

Listen Here:  Hesketh Interview 7.28.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.28.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  7.28.11 lineup

The series with Wisconsin continues tonight with right-hander George Mieses (4-10, 5.00) on the mound for his team-leading 20th start.  Despite the season numbers, Mieses is actually pitching strong in the second half.  “El Toro” is 3-2 with a 3.16 ERA so far in the second half.  He’ll go up against Milwaukee Brewers’ 2010 second-round pick, right-hander Jimmy Nelson (5-7, 4.19).  First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 PM, listen to the game online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: John Hicks

Following a 2-4 trip to the East Divison, the LumberKings are back at Alliant Energy to open a six-game homestand against Wisconsin and Peoria.  The Kings finished their schedule against the East with a win on Monday at West Michigan thanks to two more career firsts from catcher John Hicks.  A day removed from recording his first two extra-base hits (3-for-4 with two doubles, RBI), Hicks enjoyed his first multi-RBI game and plated his first game-winning run as he went 1-f0r-3 with two RBI.  His two-out bleeder to left-center in the eighth dropped in to score Mike McGee, giving the Kings the 4-3 lead and ultimately the win by that score.

Seattle’s fourth-round pick out of the University of Virginia last June, Hicks is just 10 games into his pro career with the LumberKings.  On his first pregame interview, the Sandy Hook, VA native weighs in on his big hit on Monday, adjusting to the pro game at the plate and behind it, working with hitting coach Terry Pollreisz and catching coordinator Roger Hansen, his time at Virginia alongside left-hander Danny Hultzen (Mariners’ 1st round, 2nd overall) and third-baseman Steve Proscia (Mariners’ 7th round) and more.

Listen Here:  Hicks Interview 7.27.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.27.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  7.27.11 lineup

Despite a 3-7 mark in their last 10 games, Eddie Menchaca’s club enters tonight alone in third place and just 3.0 games behind first-place Kane County.  Now facing only West Division opponents the rest of the year, it’s safe to say now is the time to make a playoff push.  The homestand begins with the Timber Rattlers, who after narrowly missing a playoff spot in the first half (what would have been their first since ’05 when they were the Seattle Mariners’ affiliate), are 13-17 in the second half.

Left-hander Nate Reed (2-3, 3.86) looks to snap a two-game losing streak as he takes the mound for his fourth start tonight.  He’ll be opposed by right-hander Maverick Lasker (1-3, 5.53) of the Rattlers.  First pitch is at 7:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Eddie Menchaca (Vol. 7)

The six-game East Division swing wraps up tonight in West Michigan, and your LumberKings are again looking to avert a sweep after a close loss.  The Whitecaps scored five runs over the first two innings against a struggling Taijuan Walker and the Kings never fully recovered, scoring four times to keep it close but ultimately falling, 6-4.  John Hicks had a breakout offensive game, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI (listen: Hicks RBI double 7.24.11) and Kevin Rivers sealed his Midwest League Offensive Player of the Week award with a solo home run (listen:  Rivers Solo HR (#8) 7.24.11). 

For tonight’s pregame interview, I check in with LumberKings’ manager Eddie Menchaca.  We talk about the tough trip so far, Rivers’ offensive breakout, Hicks’ season-best performance, Walker’s setback outing, the promotion of Tim Morris and addition of Julio Morban off the DL, tonight’s starter Tony Butler and more.

Listen Here:  Menchaca Interview 7.25.11

Tonight’s Game Notes: 7.25.11 kingsnotes

Butler (1-1, 2.61) starts against West Michigan for the second time in his career, first time since April 22, 2007 while he was with Wisconsin.  The Whitecaps counter with right-hander Kevin Eichhorn (7-3, 3.65).  First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 PM CT, listen to the broadcast online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Sunday Notes (7/24)

The LumberKings and Whitecaps dueled to a 1-1 tie over the first eight and a half innings at Fifth Third Ballpark last night, and it was the home team that earned the victory in the bottom of the ninth as Hernan Perez led off with a walk against left-hander Ryan Kiel (L, 0-1), took second on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Hamme and scored on a walk-off single to right by James Robbins.  The last-inning loss marrred what had been a tremendous pitching performance by the Kings, specifically left-hander Anthony Fernandez.  Fernandez limited the ‘Caps to a run on three hits over 7.2 innings and struck out six, but received only one run of support on a game-tying solo home run by Anthony Phillips (listen:  Phillips Solo HR (#3) 7.23.11).

Both clubs get set for game two action today at 12:00 PM CT as right-hander Taijuan Walker (4-4, 2.84) takes the mound for the Kings against Whitecaps’ right-hander Victor Larez (0-1, 13.50).  Walker is 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA, 30 strikeouts and an astounding .151 opponent average in his four July starts.  Clinton will be without first-baseman Tim Morris, who was promoted today to high-A High Desert.  Outfielder Julio Morban has returned from the disabled list to fill the open roster spot.

Today’s Game Notes:  7.24.11 kingsnotes

As always, tune in to the broadcast on 1390KCLN.com, beginning with the pregame show at 11:45 AM.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: George Mieses

The LumberKings salvaged the series with a 6-1 win over South Bend last night thanks to co-Espresso, Cigars & More Players of the Game, Kevin Rivers and George Mieses.  Rivers finished the three-game series 9-for-13 after going 3-for-4 with a two-run single (listen: Rivers 2-R single 7.22.11) and another solo home run (listen: Rivers Solo HR (#7) 7.22.11)…he even chipped in with his fourth outfield assist (Rivers Throws Out Inciarte 7.22.11).  Mieses allowed an unearned run in the first but nothing more on five hits over 7.0 innings, working his team-lead-tying seventh quality start while improving to 4-10.

After catching Rivers yesterday, it’s high time to get to Mieses for the first time today.  We talk about last night’s outing including his use of the curveball (his best bender all year), being more comfortable with run support, his nickname of “El Toro” and more.

Listen Here: 

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.23.11 kingsnotes

Left-hander Anthony Fernandez (3-3, 3.69) looks to rebound from his last start against Lansing in which he allowed a season-high five earned runs over 5.0 innings.  He’ll face a West Michigan Whitecaps’ offense that ranks third in the Midwest League in team batting average (.257).  The ‘Caps counter with former Wichita State lefty Brian Flynn (2-1, 3.90) in game one of the three-game series, first pitch scheduled for 6:00 PM CT.  Listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Kevin Rivers (Vol. 2)

Last night’s game in South Bend featured a season-high four home runs hit by LumberKings, but Clinton still fell 8-6 to the Silver Hawks as a result of Matt Helm’s four-RBI night.  Kevin Rivers homered twice, lifting a leadoff home run to right in the first inning (first King to do that since Daniel Carroll on July 28, 2010) and adding another in his second at-bat off right-hander Jeff Shields (listen: Rivers Solo HR (#6), 2nd of Game 7.21.11).  Mike McGee belted his first-career home run off Shields in the fifth inning (listen:  McGee Solo HR (First of Career) 7.21.11) and Stefen Romero tied the team lead with his 11th in the fifth as well to give Clinton a 5-4 lead.

Still, left-hander Nate Reed struggled through 5.0 innings as he allowed seven runs, four earned.  Helm’s three-run double in the bottom of the fifth put the Silver Hawks ahead 7-5.  Despite the sixth loss in the last seven games, the LumberKings are still 13-13 and just 3.0 games behind first place, 1.0 game out of the Wild Card. 

I catch up with Rivers for a quick chat about last night for tonight’s pregame interview.

Listen Here:  Rivers Interview 7.22.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.22.11 kingsnotes

Right-hander George Mieses (3-10, 5.36) looks to salvage the series with a win at The Cove tonight, first pitch scheduled for 6:30 PM CT.  Listen to the game online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Owen Serey

The LumberKings struggled offensively in their first-ever game on turf, falling 6-2 in South Bend last night.  A Kalian Sams solo home run underneath the gigantic Coveleski Stadium scoreboard in right-center field cut the deficit to 3-2 in the top of the eighth and Kevin Rivers doubled with one out, but a 1-for-9 trend with runners in scoring position continued as Rivers was left stranded.  Right-hander Tyler Burgoon allowed a season-high three earned runs in the bottom of the eighth as the Silver Hawks gained separation and won by four.  Left-hander Tony Butler took the loss with three runs over 4.0 innings. 

The focus of my interview tonight is on the newly-renovated “Cove” here in South Bend, and so I cover that topic with the voice of the Silver Hawks, Owen Serey.  He gives me the background of the ballpark improvements (which bare a not-so-coincidental likeness to Fort Wayne’s Parkview Field) and the Midwest League’s first-ever all-turf field, talks about the South Bend offense including league HR and RBI leader Yazy Arbelo, weighs in on former Hawks’ left-hander David Holmberg’s incredible 34-inning scoreless streak and more.  For more from Owen, check out his blog for the Silver Hawks.

Listen Here:  Serey Interview 7.21.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.21.11 kingsnotes

Lefty Nate Reed, 1-1 with a 5.00 ERA in his first two starts, takes the hill in game two of the series tonight.  The game begins at 6:00 PM CT, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

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