A tip of the cap is well deserved for Peoria left-hander Austin Kirk, who became the first pitcher to throw a nine-inning no-hitter against the LumberKings since Burlington’s Jason Grote did it on August 5, 2000. Kirk struck out 10 batters on the outing and allowed just two baserunners, both on walks. Those walks kept him from becoming the first Midwest League hurler to throw a perfect game since Clinton’s own Scott Dunn did it against Lansing on August 3, 2000 (yes, just two days prior to Grote’s no-no).
Yesterday’s 2-0 loss is historic, but it’s still just one loss. The LumberKings are still 3-2 on this six-game road trip and are primed to take this series from the Chiefs, who are just 1-4 at home this half and 4-7 on the season. They’ll move forward with right-hander George Mieses (2-9, 5.57) on the mound, looking to win for the second-straight outing. Last time out, El Toro utilized seven runs of support and kept Quad Cities to four runs as the Kings won, 8-5.
No pregame interview today, but check out the Game Notes: 7.5.11 kingsnotes
The series finale gets underway at 7:00 PM here at O’Brien Field, listen to the broadcast at 1390kcln.com.
I recorded this interview with LumberKings’ left-hander James Paxton two days ago, covering his stellar one-inning performance in this year’s Midwest League All-Star Game and his reaction to being named to the XM Satellite Radio 2011 All-Star Futures Game. I saved it for today as Sundays are usually tight on time to get interviews.
Enjoy my third interview installment with K-Pax: Paxton ASG, Futures Game Interview 6.24.11
As for last night’s game, the LumberKings dropped the middle game of the series with Burlington by a 5-1 score. Kevin Rivers singled home Julio Morban to cut the deficit to 2-1 in the sixth inning, but the Bees scored three times against the pen combo of Jonathan Arias and Keli’i Zablan to put the game out of reach. Right-hander George Mieses looked sharp, limiting the Bees to two runs — both unearned — on four hits over 5.1 innings, but he received no help from the offense while on the mound for the third-straight start (no runs for El Toro over his last 17.2 innings) and fell for the Midwest League-high tying ninth time.
More on Mieses and the rest of the Kings in today’s Game Notes: 6.26.11 kingsnotes
Here’s a different look at the Starting Lineups: 6.26.11 lineup
Ground ball artist, left-hander Anthony Fernandez looks to build upon his tremendous first-half finale (7.0 IP, 4 hits, no runs in 1-0 win at Kane County) in his first second-half start today. First pitch is at 2:00 PM, listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.
News from elsewhere in the Mariners’ system today that will likely have an impact on the Clinton roster in the near future…
The defending Northwest League Champion Everett AquaSox announced their 2011 Opening Night Roster today, and it features two former LumberKings on the roster and one on the bench. Manager Scott Steinmann’s (’09) crew includes infielders Jetsy Extrano (’09) and Marcus Littlewood (’11). No sign of Ramon Morla (’11).
Interestingly enough, former Wisconsin Timber Rattler and Oak Creek (WI) High School product, left-hander Tony Butler is back in the Seattle system and with the AquaSox. This is of course notable for Mariners fans that the 6’7″ Butler, a third-round pick in 2006 who was later dealt to Baltimore as part of the Erik Bedard deal, released by the Orioles, signed and released by the Milwaukee Brewers after a second brief stint with the Rattlers (he faced the LumberKings on 7/31/10 and gave up a three-run HR to Blake Ochoa) and signed again by the Mariners, has come full circle. It’s notable for me, because I too am a graduate of Oak Creek High (class of ’01). If only Butler and the West Allis, WI born right-hander Ben Versnik could make their way to the Clinton bullpen, it’d be a regular southeast Wisconsin reunion.
The Mariners also announced the signing of 21 picks from the recently-completed first-year player draft. From the official press release:
“The Seattle Mariners Director of Amateur Scouting Tom McNamara announced today that the club has signed 21 players from the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, including infielder Daniel Paolini (10th), left-handed pitcher Cameron Hobson (11th), catcher Michael Dowd (12th), outfielder Jamal Austin (13th), right-handed pitcher Cody Weiss (14th), outfielder Nate Melendres (17th), infielder Dillon Hazlett (20th), right-handed pitcher Joe DiRocco (21st), infielder Kenneth Straus (26th), right-handed pitcher David Colvin (34th), right-handed pitcher Brett Shankin (28th), left-handed pitcher Kyle Hunter (31st), right-handed pitcher Alex Sunderland (38th), infielders Chris Andreas (39th), right-handed pitcher Trevor Miller (40th), right-handed pitcher Robert Shore (41st) catcher David Villasuso (42nd), right-handed pitcher Marcos Reyna (43rd), infielder Josh Corrales (44th), outfielder Charles Jimenez (45th) and right-handed pitcher Max Krakowiak (48th).”
Pulaski’s roster should also be announced soon, as the Appy League season starts June 21st. I’ll post something about that as soon as I see it.
I recorded and aired this interview yesterday, but it was so close to game time I didn’t have time to put it online. I interviewed our new Official Scorer, Ben Schlesselman for another “Off the Diamond” segment. We talk a bit about his first year in the scoring hot seat but more about his passion for collecting baseball memorabilia and his day job as the Sports Information Director for Ashford University Athletics. It’s definitely a worthy listen.
Listen Here: Schlesselman OTD Interview 6.11.11
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.
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.
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 Romero. Mickey 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!
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.
It’s back to blogging today as the only action taking place at Alliant Energy Field yesterday was that of the front office staff (myself included) moving about an inch of water out of our office after a torrential downpour dropped several inches on us in roughly an hour. The warning track from left to right-center was also submerged, making it impossible to play the scheduled 2 PM game with the Snappers.
It’s a tired old phrase, but what a difference a day makes. No rain in the forecast, 90-degree temperatures and most importantly, a dry field and an office dry enough to work out of. We’ll play two today with the Snappers starting at 12 PM.
I had hoped to catch Jabari Blash for the pregame interview following his two-run triple that capped a five-run fifth inning in Clinton’s 6-4 comeback win against Beloit two nights ago. Time won’t allow me to do that today, so hopefully Blash has a huge twinbill so I can interview him tomorrow.
Today’s Game Notes: 5.30.11 kingsnotes
Left-hander James Paxton (1-1, 2.22), 1-0 with a 1.62 ERA and 29 strikeouts over his last four starts, gets the game-one nod today. Right-hander Forrest Snow (1-7, 4.45) will try and end his five-game losing streak in the second game, hoping to revisit his 6.0-inning no-hit effort against the Snappers back on April 12.
Listen to both seven-inning games on 1390kcln.com.
The LumberKings won just their third series all season and first in the month of May last night as right-hander Taijuan Walker and relievers Nate Reed and Jessie Nava combined for a six-hit shutout in a 2-0 win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels last night. Walker went 5.0 innings and allowed just two hits, improving to 2-2 on the season and 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his last three starts. Stefen Romero and Jabari Blash drove in Clinton’s runs with a single and double, respectively.
Tonight, it’s back home to start a four-game series against the slumping Beloit Snappers, losers of nine-straight. Right-hander George Mieses will hope to revisit his last start against the Snappers (a 7.0-inning, two-hit, scoreless effort) as he attempts to snap a three-game losing streak (0-3, 10.80 during that span).
Tonight’s Game Notes: 5.27.11 kingsnotes
Today’s Roster Move: NONE!
Beloit Snappers (21-26): Jamaal Hawkins/2B, Wang-Wei Lin/CF, Nate Roberts/DH, Michael Gonzales/1B, Daniel Ortiz/LF, Lance Ray/RF, Kyle Knudson/C, Andrew Leer/3B, Daniel Santana/SS, Manuel Soliman/RHP
LumberKings (13-35): Julio Morban/CF, Mickey Wiswall/1B, Stefen Romero/2B, Kevin Rivers/DH, Matt Browning/3B, Steven Baron/C, Jabari Blash/RF, Anthony Phillips/SS, Robbie Anston/LF, George Mieses/RHP
It’s a 6:30 start time tonight at Alliant Energy Field, listen online at 1390kcln.com.
My apologies for not posting yesterday, it’s a rarity. Myself and the rest of the LumberKings had a short night after waiting for an hour before starting up on Tuesday night, beating the Cedar Rapids Kernels 7-1 to halt a five-game losing streak, driving two hours back to Clinton, getting up the next morning and boarding the bus at 8:30 AM, making the two-hour drive back, playing baseball at roughly noon and losing the middle game, 2-1 to the Kernels.
There’s been plenty to talk about. As you’ve likely already seen, left-hander James Paxton struck out a career-high 12 batters on Tuesday night to win for the first time in affiliated pro baseball. Steven Baron homered and Stefen Romero doubled to give him a 2-1 lead, and the Kings scored five times in the ninth to put the game out of reach. Yesterday, right-hander Forrest Snow turned in his team-leading fifth quality start but still fell to 1-7 on the season as Kernels’ right-hander Heath Nichols outdueled him for the win. Kalian Sams homered for the third time in four games in the ninth to end the shutout, but neither pinch-hitter Jabari Blash nor Anthony Phillips could continue the comeback against closer Dakota Robinson.
Thus, today is the rubber match between the Kings and Kernels. Manager Eddie Menchaca is my pregame guest today as we talk about the trip so far (Clinton is 2-7 but has been close in all seven losses), the chance for a rare series win today behind 18-year-old right-hander Taijuan Walker (who is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his last two starts), the success of Sams in the lineup (he’s hit in 10-straight games), the club’s realistic goals for the remainder of this first half and more.
Listen Here: Menchaca interview 5.26.11
Tonight’s Game Notes: 5.26.11 kingsnotes
Your Daily Roster Move: Right-hander Jandy Sena has been promoted to double-A Jackson, effective today. No counter-move was made, leaving the LumberKings’ roster at 24 players out of a possible 25.
LumberKings (12-35): Julio Morban/CF, Mickey Wiswall/1B, Stefen Romero/3B, Matt Browning/DH, Kalian Sams/RF, Steven Baron/C, Jabari Blash/LF, Shaver Hansen/2B, Anthony Phillips/SS, Taijuan Walker/RHP
Cedar Rapids Kernels (23-23): Travis Witherspoon/CF, Wes Hatton/2B, David Harris/RF, Brandon Decker/1B, Jeremy Cruz/3B, Ricky Alvarez/DH, Marcus Nidiffer/C, Jerod Yakubik/LF, Jesus Campos/SS, Suammy Baez/RHP
First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM, hopefully the Kings can get some runs off slippy-slappy-swimmy-Suammy-Swanson-oh-yeah-Samsonite and take the series this evening. Listen online at 1390kcln.com.
A resounding theme both here at O’Brien Field in Peoria this season and in this month of May as well: the LumberKings held a slim lead last night, couldn’t avoid one bad inning and then couldn’t recover despite putting the tying run aboard in the ninth inning. Clinton’s 3-1 lead in the fifth inning turned into a 5-3 deficit after Elliot Soto’s two-run single and Greg Rohan’s RBI single powered the Chiefs’ three-run sixth inning.
Steven Baron homered last night, Kevin Rivers doubled and drove in a run as well but it wasn’t enough. Right-hander Taijuan Walker exited with a 3-2 lead which left-hander Nate Reed kept in-tact through the fifth, but Reed walked two and watched them both score in the sixth. Kalian Sams singled to lead off the ninth, but a double play quickly erased him and any chance for a comeback as Chiefs’ left-hander Eric Jokisch improved to 6-0 on the season, 4-0 against the LumberKings.
Here’s the one stat I dug up today that might be a potential bright spot for the Kings as they take on Peoria at 1:00 PM central time today…right-hander George Mieses, today’s starter, is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in day games on the road this season. Of course, that’s just one outing on 4/30 at Wisconsin, but it’s also the 19-year-old’s only win thus far. Am I reaching a bit? Probably, but we’d sure love to have that 5.0-inning, one-run effort again today.
Today’s Game Notes: 5.22.11 kingsnotes
LumberKings (11-32): Shaver Hansen/2B, Carlos Ramirez/SS, Stefen Romero/3B, Mickey Wiswall/D, Matt Browning/1B, Julio Morban/CF, Kalian Sams/RF, Jabari Blash/LF, Steven Baron/C, George Mieses/RHP
Peoria Chiefs (23-19): Matt Szczur/CF, Elliot Soto/2B, Greg Rohan/3B, Richard Jones/1B, Micah Gibbs/C, Ryan Cuneo/DH, Anthony Giansanti/RF, Kyung-Min Na/LF, Arismendy Alcantara/SS, Austin Kirk/LHP
First pitch is at 1:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.