After yesterday’s off-day, the LumberKings return to action on a six-game East Division trip, starting with a three-game set at South Bend. It’ll be a historic night at newly renovated Coveleski Stadium (pictured left) as the Kings play on an artificial turf surface for the first time ever.
Clinton’s last game was equally historic as they closed out a three-game series with Lansing by overcoming a 5-2 deficit with a nine-run seventh inning. Bases-loaded walks to Anthony Phillips and Carlton Tanabe helped tie the game, and a two-run double by Robbie Anston (listen: Anston 2-R double 7.18.11), two-run single by Mike McGee (listen: McGee 2-R single 7.18.11) and two-run homer by Subway Slugger of the Game Mickey Wiswall (listen: Wiswall 2-R HR (#8) 7.18.11) gave the Kings an insurmountable six-run lead. Most astoundingly, all nine runs scored before Lansing right-handers Dayton Marze and Shawn Griffith could record a single out. It’s the only time in my six seasons the LumberKings have posted a nine-run frame, and might very well be the franchise’s record (I don’t have accurate records on such things prior to 2006).
LumberKings’ hitting coach Terry Pollreisz has been around the game for a long time, and he’s never seen anything like it either. Polls weighs in on the monster inning, the offense’s recent ability to score in bunches, the progression of the hitters from April until now, a philosophy change in batting practice, maintaining a positive attitude with his hitters and more.
Listen Here: Pollreisz Interview 7.20.11
Tonight’s Game Notes: 7.20.11 kingsnotes
Left-hander Tony Butler, coming off a 6.0-inning, nine-strikeout game against Great Lakes, makes his fourth start for the LumberKings in the opener of this three-game series against the Silver Hawks. Manager Mark Haley’s club is 9-15 this half and is hitting just .218 in the last 10 games, but does feature the Midwest League’s top home run hitter and RBI producer, Yazy Arbelo (23 HR, 74 RBI). First pitch of game one is set for 6:00 PM CT, listen online at 1390kcln.com.
If you’re wondering why I’m up so early, it’s because we have our 10 AM “Pack the Park with Kids Day” today. The LumberKings close out the three-game set with Lansing with right-hander Taijuan Walker (4-4, 2.66) looking to halt a four-game losing streak.
Today’s Game Notes: 7.18.11 kingsnotes
Starting Lineup: 7.18.11 lineup
Join me this morning for the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.
In the immortal words of Denny Green, “we had ’em, and we let ’em off the hook”. That rings true for last night’s 8-5 loss to the Lansing Lugnuts. The LumberKings held leads of 4-3 and 5-4, then had the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th but still fell in 11 innings.
Tim Morris tripled home three runs and scored on a Kalian Sams single in the fourth to give Clinton a 4-3 lead, but right-hander Jonathan Arias served up a game-tying home run to Marcus Knecht. Stefen Romero belted a thrilling solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but the Lugnuts capitalized on third-baseman Matt Browning’s throwing error to again tie the game. The Kings loaded the bases with two outs in the 10th and Kalian Sams fisted a 3-2 pitch towards second-baseman Matt Nuzzo, whose throw appeared to have been late. Rather than a game-ending infield single, Sams was punched out by base umpire Dustin Klinghagen, and the game went on.
In the 11th, left-hander Jon Hesketh came on for the first time since May 22 (had been activated from the DL a day prior). Hesketh struggled and allowed three runs, and the Kings couldn’t recover in the bottom of the inning.
Yet, Eddie Menchaca’s club is still 1.0 game out of first place, still tied with Beloit for what is now third in the West. Left-hander Anthony Fernandez (3-2, 3.32), fresh off a career-high 8.0-inning win at Beloit his last time out, starts for the LumberKings, while Lansing throws right-hander Casey Lawrence (6-8, 3.78). The first pitch is scheduled for 2:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.
Today’s Game Notes: 7.17.11 kingsnotes
Starting Lineup: 7.17.11 lineup
Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte
A triple by Jetsy Extrano and RBI double by Anthony Phillips was all the offense could muster last night against Great Lakes’ right-hander Zach Lee as the LumberKings fell 6-1 to the Loons, dropping just their second series of the second half. After a six-run third inning gave the Kings a 6-2 win in game one, the bats scored just two total runs over the final two games of the series.
Left-hander Nate Reed yielded five runs but only two earned over 4.0 innings and relievers Ryan Kiel, Tyler Blandford and Jonathan Arias combined for a run over the final 5.0 innings. Still, one run usually isn’t going to cut it. The Kings, fortunately still in second place and a game out of first, now take on the Lansing Lugnuts. The ‘Nuts have the East Division’s best record of 51-37, captured the first-half East Division Wild Card in a race with Great Lakes that went to the final day, and are now 13-8 and in second in the division in a meaningless half. First-year manager Mike Redmond’s club just swept Kane County, the first place team in the West. Yes, runs are going to be needed to compete with Lansing, who leads the MWL in runs scored (469).
Tonight’s Game Notes: 7.16.11 kingsnotes
To get a bit of a scouting report on yet another mysterious team from the East, I’ve caught up with Lugnuts’ third-year broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler.
Listen Here: Goldberg-Strassler Interview 7.16.11
Starting Lineups: 7.16.11 lineup
Right-hander George Mieses (3-10, 5.42) gets the game one start against Lansing tonight, first pitch scheduled for 6:00 PM on “Stay Late Saturday”. Mieses has been good when given run support to work with (2-0 in two starts prior to his last time out, 12 runs of support), but fell for the 10th time his last time out in a 5-0 loss at Beloit. He’ll go up against lefty Egan Smith (4-3, 3.48) of the Lugnuts. Listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.
Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte.
The LumberKings led 1-0 on a Carlos Ramirez solo home run heading into the seventh inning last night, but the bullpen combination of Edlando Seco, Tyler Burgoon and Jessie Nava surrendered three late runs as the Great Lakes Loons came back for a 3-1 win last night. Left-hander Tony Butler had his most impressive start to date, striking out a career-high-tying nine batters while limiting the Loons to four hits over 6.0 scoreless innings, but Seco tied the game on a bases-loaded walk in the seventh and Burgoon allowed the game-winning run on a walk and two singles in the eighth.
Read more in tonight’s Game Notes: 7.15.11 kingsnotes
Tonight is not only the rubber match as Eddie Menchaca’s Kings look for their sixth series win in seven tries this half, it’s also “Going Green Night” at the ballpark sponsored by the Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency and WQAD-TV. Thus, it’s time for my yearly chat with Brad Seward, the Director of Operations and Education for the CCASWA and the veteran Public Address voice for the LumberKings.
Brad and I talk about the annual “Going Green” event, the expanded efforts by the LumberKings to recycle at Alliant Energy Field, the Enviro-Kids program and baseball topics such as the memorable 2010 season and this year’s second-half turnaround.
Listen Here: Brad Seward Interview 7.15.11
Starting Lineup: 7.15.11 lineup
Left-hander Nate Reed, a winner in his first start of the year his last time out on July 9 at Beloit (5.0 IP, 3 ER), makes his second start and 16th appearance for the LumberKings in the series finale tonight against the Loons. He’ll have a tough challenge as he tries to outduel Los Angeles’ Dodgers’ first-round pick, right-hander Zach Lee (5-3, 3.32). First pitch is at 7:00 PM, listen to the broadcast at 1390kcln.com.
Right-hander Taijuan Walker’s nine-inning complete game effort might have stolen the show last night, but the LumberKings also put together their third six-run inning (tying a season-high for most runs in one frame) in the last week, scoring six times in the third inning to beat Great Lakes, 6-2. Mike McGee doubled home a run, Mickey Wiswall added an RBI double (listen: Wiswall RBI double 7.13.11) and Stefen Romero launched a two-run homer (listen: Romero 2-R HR (#9) 7.13.11), but it was Matt Browning’s clutch two-run single to center (listen: Browning 2-R single 7.13.11) that actually produced the tying and game-winning runs.
And so, it’s time to chat with Browning for the first time. Seattle’s 43rd round pick out of James Madison University enjoyed success in Pulaski last season (.330, 4 HR, 24 RBI in 34 games) and is making an impact both defensively and offensively as Clinton’s third baseman in 2011. Browning is 3-for-8 with three RBI over his last two games, just over 10 days removed from being struck in the helmet by a pitch from Quad Cities’ right-hander Trevor Rosenthal. He talks about last night’s performance, coming back quickly from the injury, his time at James Madison University, his hot start in Pulaski last season and more.
Listen Here: Browning Interview 7.14.11
Tonight’s Game Notes: 7.14.11 kingsnotes
Starting Lineup: 7.14.11 lineup
Left-hander Tony Butler, a career 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts against the Loons (both with Wisconsin in 2007), makes his third start for the LumberKings in game two tonight…he’s 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA over the first two outings. First pitch is at 7:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.
In case you missed it, 18-year-old right-hander Taijuan Walker authored another chapter in his amazing first full season in the Mariners’ system last night, tossing a nine-inning complete-game win over the Great Lakes Loons. After allowing a first-inning two-run homer to Blake Dean, Walker limited the Loons to just one more hit the rest of the way, struck out seven and retired the final 17-straight batters to end the game.
Here’s the final out, Jetsy Extrano to Tim Morris, securing Walker’s CG: Walker Finishes CG vs. Loons 7.13.11
It’s the first 9.0-inning CG thrown by a LumberKing since right-hander Kenn Kasparek tossed a three-hit shutout on August 3, 2009 against Burlington.
Game notes, additional highlights from last night and a new interview will be posted later today.
As promised, here’s my just-now recorded interview with Krista Voda of SPEED / FOX Sports. We talk about the upcoming Coca Cola 200 race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA, Krista’s Clinton upbringing including her days at then-Riverview Stadium, spending time on the sidelines for NFL and NCAA football games, throwing out tonight’s first pitch and more.
Listen Here: Krista Voda Interview 7.13.11
A reminder, the Coca Cola 200, Presented by Hy-Vee NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is this Saturday, July 16 at the Iowa Speedway. Watch Krista and the SPEED channel coverage with the race beginning at 7:00 PM CT.
I’ll have a special pregame interview tonight with Clinton, IA’s own Krista Voda, a host/reporter for NASCAR and other motorsports on the SPEED Network and also an NFL/BCS sideline reporter for FOX Sports. I will post the interview either later tonight or tomorrow.
As for your LumberKings content for tonight, the Kings open a six-game homestand against the East Division tonight starting with a three-game set against the Great Lakes Loons (10-8, T-2nd in East). Right-hander Taijuan Walker (3-4, 2.76) makes his 13 start tonight following an outing against Cedar Rapids on July 7 in which he allowed just one hit and struck out 11 over 6.0 innings. First pitch is at 7:00 PM, listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.
Tonight’s Game Notes: 7.13.11 kingsnotes
Starting Lineups: 7.13.11 lineup
The LumberKings lost 5-0 to Beloit yesterday afternoon despite 2-for-4 efforts from both Mickey Wiswall and Stefen Romero and a near-quality outing from right-hander George Mieses (6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 K). The Snappers scored four of their five runs in one quick burst in the fourth against Mieses, and the Kings couldn’t touch right-hander Manuel Soliman over 7.0 innings. As a result, both teams are now tied for second in the West with 10-7 records heading into tonight’s rubber match.
Also found in today’s notes, a brief recap of former LumberKings LHP James Paxton’s performance in yesterday’s Futures Game. Chances are you’ve seen this already, but K-Pax retired the U.S. side in order in the third inning, including getting Washington’s Bryce Harper to ground out to first . Unfortunately, he’s still going back to double-A Jackson, so I won’t be able to do the Futures follow-up interview as I had hoped.
Tonight’s Game Notes: 7.11.11 kingsnotes
LumberKings (10-7): Robbie Anston/LF, Carlos Ramirez/3B, Mickey Wiswall/DH, Stefen Romero/2B, Tim Morris/1B, Kalian Sams/RF, Mike McGee/CF, Anthony Phillips/SS, Carlton Tanabe/C, Anthony Fernandez/LHP
Beloit Snappers (10-7): Daniel Santana/SS, Wang-Wei Lin/CF, Jairo Perez/DH, Michael Gonzales/1B, Daniel Ortiz/RF, Adam Bryant/2B, Andrew Leer/3B, Tobias Streich/C, Derek McCallum/LF, A.J. Achter/RHP
Lefty Anthony Fernandez is 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA over his last four starts for the LumberKings, he’ll look for his third win in the finale of this three-game series in Beloit. First pitch is at 7:00 PM here at Pohlman Field, listen to the game on 1390kcln.com.