Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Today’s Interview: Eddie Menchaca (Vol. 8)

Still working hard in August. Sunday road BP in Peoria.

Every game is a must-win when you’re only up 2.0 games for the Wild Card spot, and the LumberKings earned a hard-fought 3-1 victory over the Peoria Chiefs in 10 innings here at O’Brien Field last night to maintain that lead.  The Kings had just two hits over the first seven innings, but pinch-runner Julio Morban scored on a two-out double by Robbie Anston in the eighth and Carlos Ramirez snapped the 1-1 tie in the 10th, ripping a 3-2 pitch from Chiefs’ right-hander Luis Liria to the picnic tables in right for a two-run home run (listen:  Ramirez GW 2-R HR (#3) 8.13.11).  Right-hander Tyler Burgoon gave up a pair of singles to start the bottom of the 10th before slamming the door shut for his 13th save (listen:  Burgoon Strikes Out Klafczynski for 13th Save 8.13.11).  Left-hander Anthony Fernandez, behind 1-0 much of the night, earned his much-deserved fifth win with just a run on five hits over a career-high 9.0 innings.

LumberKings’ Manager Eddie Menchaca joins me for today’s pregame interview.  We discuss the clutch performance of Ramirez, Fernandez’s development into the staff ace, Burgoon’s tough save, the still-struggling offense and more.

Listen Here:  Menchaca Interview 8.14.11

Today’s Game Notes:  8.14.11 kingsnotes

Last night’s win means the Kings can secure a series victory today in Peoria.  Left-hander Roenis Elias (1-0, 3.00) makes his third start for Clinton today as he matches up against Chiefs’ right-hander Brett Wallach (0-2, 4.70 with Peoria, 3-5, 5.74 in high-A Daytona).  First pitch is at 1:00 PM, listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Saturday Notes (8/13)

It’s back to the road for your LumberKings tonight as they open a three-game series against the Peoria Chiefs at O’Brien Field.  Hitting the road might not be so bad after the Kings dropped two of three to the Cedar Rapids Kernels on a brief three-game homestand including an especially tough 2-1 loss last night.  It took the Clinton offense seven innings to get their first run on the board (by way of a Carlos Ramirez sacrifice fly), and the Kernels went right back ahead shortly after on a double by Rolando Gomez scoring Travis Witherspoon.  The Kings had a chance in the bottom of the ninth as pinch-runner Tim Morris took off from first base on a two-out 3-2 pitch that Matt Browning served into the right-center gap, but the Kernels held on for the win as Witherspoon fired in to first-baseman Ricky Alvarez, who then caught Morris at the plate.  The loss came despite 7.0 innings of one-run baseball from defending MWL Pitcher of the Week Stephen Kohlscheen.  Right-hander Matt Bischoff took the loss, his first since April 12.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.13.11 kingsnotes

Left-hander Anthony Fernandez, 3-1 with a 2.09 ERA and eight quality start in his last 10 outings, takes the hill for game one against the Chiefs.  It’s hard to believe, but in 17 outings this season, Fernandez has not once faced Peoria this year.  He’ll rely on experience against Chicago Cubs’ affiliate Boise (2-0, 2.84 in 2 starts with Everett last year) in his first match-up against the Chiefs tonight.  They’ll counter with lefty Frank Del Valle, a Havana, Cuba native that is 2-2 with a 4.02 ERA in seven outings.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

One other minor piece of news to pass  your way…right-hander Carter Capps, Seattle’s third-round pick in 2011 and the newest LumberKing as of yesterday will make his pro debut in the starting role on Monday in Peoria.  He’s on the roster as right-hander Taijuan Walker (who turns 19 today) heads to the Temporary Inactive List.  He’s likely done for 2011 after going 6-5, 2.89 over 18 starts, 96.2 innings in his first full season.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Tonight’s Interview: Nate Kreinbrink

It’s one of the biggest nights of the year at Alliant Energy Field tonight, the Casey’s General Stores and KWQC-TV Bobblehead Giveaway and also the 5th Annual Scout Sleepover.  This year’s bobblehead is 2008 LumberKings’ right-hander and 2010 A.L. Rookie of the Year, current Texas Rangers’ closer Neftali Feliz.  Joining me to talk about the busy evening is the man instrumental in both promotions, LumberKings’ Assistant General Manager, Nate Kreinbrink.

We talk about Nate’s opportunity to watch Feliz save Game 3 of the 2010 World Series in Arlington, TX, the success of “Stay Late Saturdays” this season, the upcoming appearance by the “Ghostriders” Monkeys on August 19, his memories of the 2010 MWLCS in his home state of Ohio, this year’s playoff push and more.

Listen Here:  Kreinbrink OTD Interview 8.12.11

The LumberKings nearly erased a five-run deficit last night over the final three innings, but the Cedar Rapids Kernels prevailed, 6-5.  Right-hander John Taylor allowed a three-run homer to Ricky Alvarez in the seventh that broke open a 6-1 lead for the Kernels, but Julio Morban tripled home two runs (listen:  Morban 2-R Triple 8.11.11) and scored on a sacrifice fly by Stefen Romero to make it a one-run game.  Unfortunately, the Kernels closed the door from there as right-hander Daniel Tillman earned save #11.  Lefty Tony Butler fell to 1-3 with the loss despite a quality start (6.0 IP, 3 ER) while Cedar Rapids’ right-hander A.J. Schugel improved to 4-3 with just a run on one hit over 6.0 innings.

Tonight’s Game Notes:   8.12.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  8.12.11 lineup

The Kings see their lead on Beloit for the Wild Card spot knocked back to 3.0 games as a result of last night’s loss.  They’ll try and capture the series with the Kernels in the rubber match tonight with defending MWL Pitcher of the Week, right-hander Stephen Kohlscheen (2-3, 5.52) makes his third start tonight.  He’s 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his two starts with Clinton this year and faces the Kernels for the second time.  Cedar Rapids counters with right-hander P.J. Jang (1-4, 4.38).  The game begins at 7:00 PM, listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Tonight’s Interview: Ryan Kiel

For the fourth time this season, LumberKings’ right-hander Taijuan Walker started a game that would end in a shutout victory.  For the third time amongst those four starts, he faced the Cedar Rapids Kernels.  Walker improved to 3-0, 0.00 (0 ER in 16.o IP) against Clinton’s rivals to the West with 5.0 scoreless, f0ur-hit innings last night to lead the Kings to a 2-0 win.  Three of those four hits occurred in the first inning, but Walker picked Travis Witherspoon off of first base and induced an inning-ending double play from Jeremy Cruz.  A two-out RBI single by Mickey Wiswall in the third inning and solo home run by Anthony Phillips in the fourth inning (listen: Phillips Solo HR (#4) 8.10.11) provided the offense.  Left-hander Ryan Kiel retired all nine batters he faced over 3.0 scoreless innings and right-hander Tyler Burgoon picked up save #12 with a perfect ninth inning.

August is usually time for me to get through the bullpen in regards to interviews, and tonight’s outing for Kiel provides perfect timing to catch up with him.  Seattle’s 37th round pick in 2010 out of Marshall University, Kiel has lowered his ERA from 4.63 to 3.24 over his last two outings totaling 5.0 scoreless innings.  The Los Gatos, CA native talks about his role as the bullpen’s lone lefty, his fastball/slider/change arsenal, his time with the Thundering Herd, his 2010 debut in Pulaski and more on tonight’s pregame interview.

Listen Here:  Kiel Interview 8.11.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.11.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  8.11.11 lineup

Game two with the Kernels is tonight at 7:00 PM.  Left-hander Tony Butler (1-2, 3.26) gets the start tonight looking to right the ship after his last outing (loss at Burlington, 5 ER in 5.0 IP).  He’ll be opposed by right-hander A.J. Schugel of the Kernels (3-3, 2.77).  Listen to the broadcast online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Wednesday Notes (8/10)

The LumberKings are back at home for a mini three-game series against Cedar Rapids starting tonight.  Clinton wrapped up the eight-game road trip at 4-4 after a difficult loss to the Burlington Bees in 10 innings.  John Hicks drove in a career-high three runs and Mickey Wiswall added an RBI double as the Kings took 3-0 and 4-3 leads, but the Bees tied the game on a solo home run from Josh Whitaker in the sixth inning and won it in the 10th on a walk-off single by Beau Taylor.  Lefty Roenis Elias yielded four runs over 5.2 innings in a no-decision, while right-hander Jonathan Arias took the loss, his first since May 7.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.10.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  8.10.11 lineup

The series begins tonight with right-hander Taijuan Walker (5-5, 3.04) on the hill for his 18th start.  Walker is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 18 strikeouts and a .088 opponent average in two starts against the Kernels this season.  Cedar Rapids counters with right-hander Justin La Tempa (2-6, 4.71).  Listen to the broadcast at 7:00 PM on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Tonight’s Interview: Matt Bischoff

The LumberKings improved to 4-3 on this eight-game road trip last night with a 5-2 win in Burlington.  Left-hander Anthony Fernandez pitched his fourth-straight quality start (2 R, 1 ER over 6.0 IP) and a solo homer by Stefen Romero (listen: Romero Solo HR (#15), 13 game hit streak 8.8.11) and two-out RBI single by Kalian Sams had the Kings tied with the Bees, 2-2 entering the seventh.  Right-hander Matt Bischoff came on for the top of the seventh and was immediately greeted by Nino Leyja’s line double into the left-field corner.  A passed ball later and Leyja stood at third base with nobody out.

Somehow, Bischoff got out of it unscathed.  He battled back to strike out Tyreace House and induced a chopper from Beau Taylor that reached drawn-in third-baseman Carlos Ramirez.  Ramirez started and finished one of the crazier plays on the basepaths this season, beginning a 5-2-6-2-5-1-5 rundown to get Leyja and then firing back to second-baseman Romero to catch Taylor over-rounding the bag.  The ripple effect of that momentum swing was a three-run eighth inning put together by the Kings to snap the 2-2 tie.  Mickey Wiswall’s liner to right-center scored Mike McGee for the winning run (listen: Wiswall RBI single 8.8.11), while Tim Morris and Sams added insurance RBI.  Bischoff secured his third win in relief by tossing 3.0 innings, striking out two (listen:  Bischoff Strikes Out Kirkland 8.8.11).

Today, I talk with Bischoff for the first time on the pregame interview.  The Decatur, Indiana native has already been well-traveled in the year since his 20th round selection out of the University of Purdue.  He started his pro career in Pulaski last season, but jumped to Clinton just in time to make a playoff debut for the Kings.  He turned in a memorable game three performance in the opening round at Cedar Rapids, tossing 2.0 scoreless innings and striking out four in relief of Erasmo Ramirez in Clinton’s series-clinching 6-2 win over the Kernels.  Bischoff endured a rocky start with the LumberKings this year and a minor arm injury, battling back to go 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and five saves in Everett before making his return to the Midwest League.  In his last seven outings, the 5’11″ hurler is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA.

Bischoff talks about the wild seventh inning, coming back strong from the injury, playing baseball at New Haven High School for his father (legendary head coach Dave Bischoff, who reached 500 wins this past season as he guided the Bulldogs to the 3A Semi-State finals), his Big Ten rivalry with Tyler Burgoon (who pitched at Michigan), his “into the fire” playoff debut last year and more.

Listen Here:  Bischoff Interview 8.9.11

Tonight’s Game Notes: 8.9.11 kingsnotes

The road trip comes to a close tonight in Burlington, and it’s left-hander Roenis Elias on the hill for the LumberKings looking to secure a series win.  We’ll see if the Cuban defector Elias can duplicate his debut outing, a 6.1-inning, one-run (unearned) effort at Wisconsin last Thursday.  He’ll be opposed by Bees’ right-hander Jose Macias (4-3, 5.01).  First pitch is at 6:30 PM, listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Tonight’s Interview: Stephen Kohlscheen

It’s been quite the two days for LumberKings’ right-hander Stephen Kohlscheen.  Yesterday, making his first appearance with Clinton since June 14 and just his second start in the black and green, he pitched 6.0 scoreless, three-hit innings to guide the Kings to a 4-1 win in Burlington.  Today, he was named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week on the strength of that outing.

After going 3-0 with a 2.51 ERA in seven games, five starts for Eddie Menchaca’s Pulaski Mariners in 2010, Kohlscheen took a decided step back with the LumberKings as a reliever in the first half this year.  He went 1-3 with a 7.39 ERA in 16 games, with his lone highlight being a win in a spot start on May 2 vs. Beloit in which he worked 5.0 scoreless innings in a 13-6 victory.  Kohlscheen was shipped down to short-A Everett just before the All-Star Break and the move, while difficult, just may have revitalized him.  The 6’6″ righty went 2-0 with a 3.03 ERA in nine games, seven starts with the AquaSox and earned the call to the Clinton rotation after right-hander George Mieses went on the DL.

Kohlscheen is my pregame interview guest tonight.  We talk about yesterday’s outing against the Bees, the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week award, his difficult first half, working with Everett pitching coach Andrew Lorraine, his experience in the 2009 Junior College World Series, his transfer to Auburn and more.

Listen Here:  Kohlscheen Interview 8.8.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.8.11 kingsnotes

Including Kohlscheen’s outing yesterday, the Clinton starting rotation is 6-3 with a 2.65 ERA (28 ER in 95.0 IP) and nine quality starts over the last 16 games.  Tonight’s starter, left-hander Anthony Fernandez, is 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA (3 ER in 22.0 IP) and three quality starts in that span.  He’ll face off against Bees’ right-hander Josh Bowman (7-4, 3.64 for the season, 0-0, 3.86 vs. Clinton).  First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM, listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Sunday Notes (8/7)

The Kings dropped the opener of the four-game set in Burlington last night, 8-4 to the Bees.  Left-hander Tony Butler gave up four runs in the first to make a 1-0 lead short-lived, and the Bees added two more runs over the next two innings including a solo home run from Nino Leyja to take a 6-2 lead.  Julio Morban went 3-for-4 with a solo home run and two runs scored to keep Clinton close, but Tyreace House added a two-run single off right-hander Ben Versnik in the bottom of the eighth to put the Bees back up by four.  Burlington right-hander Jonathan Joseph gave up three runs over 5.0 innings in the winning effort.

Beloit and Cedar Rapids both lost last night, so the LumberKings are still 3.0 games up on the Snappers, 4.0 games up on the Kernels for the second-half West Wild Card spot.  Kane County gained another game for the top playoff spot, meaning the Kings enter the day 4.0 games behind the Cougars.  T-minus 29 games remaining.

Today’s Game Notes:  8.7.11 kingsnotes

Right-hander Stephen Kohlscheen returns to the club to make his second start, 17th appearance.  Kohlscheen is 1-3 with a 6.39 ERA in the Midwest League, but was successful in nine game, seven starts at Everett, going 2-0 with a 3.03 ERA.  His only win with Clinton is ironically in his only start, a 5.0-inning scoreless effort against Beloit on May 2.  We’ll see how the Auburn product fares in his return to the rotation today.  Burlington counters with right-hander Nate Long, who is 6-5, 3.27 on the season including 3-0, 2.31 in four outings against the Kings.

First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Tonight’s Interview: Anthony Phillips (Vol. 2)

The LumberKings secured their first series split of the season last night in Wisconsin, scoring six runs over the first four innings and getting another impressive outing from right-hander Taijuan Walker in a 6-1 win over the Timber Rattlers.  John Hicks connected on his first-career home run in the second inning (listen: Hicks 2-R HR (First of Career) 8.5.11), Stefen Romero added his 14th blast in the fourth and Anthony Phillips provided a spark with a 3-for-4, tw0-run, three-steal game including a heist of home plate (listen:  Phillips Steals Home (3rd Steal of Inning) 8.5.11).  Walker allowed a run over 5.0 innings and struck out six for his fifth win, ending his night with an athletic play off the mound on an attempted squeeze bunt by T.J. Mittelstaedt (listen:  Walker Defends Squeeze Bunt 8.5.11).  Right-handers John Taylor and Jonathan Arias combined on eight strikeouts over the final 4.0 innings with Arias picking up his fifth save.

Tonight, I catch up with Phillips for the second time to talk about his career-high-tying three hits, three-steal second inning including the daring sprint to the dish, his defense behind Walker and more.

Listen Here:  Phillips Interview 8.6.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.6.11 kingsnotes

The eight-game road trip continues with the second leg beginning tonight as your LumberKings take on the Burlington Bees at Community Field.  Left-hander Tony Butler (1-1, 2.41), pushed back from the Wisconsin series, starts tonight.  Last time Butler pitched here on August 26, 2007, he shut down then-Kansas City-affiliated Burlington to four hits in his first (and only) career complete-game shutout.  Butler is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in three outings against Oakland affiliates.  The Bees throw right-hander Jonathan Joseph (2-4, 6.52) tonight, he’s a career 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in one start against Clinton.

Listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com beginning with the pregame show at 6:15 PM, first pitch at 6:30.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Tonight’s Interview: Roenis Elias

Just a year and two days ago, the 2010 LumberKings prepared for the debut of a recent call-up from short-A Everett as they played game two of a three-game series at Time Warner Cable Field in Wisconsin.  The Kings, 16-18 and fifth in the West Division in the second half under manager John Tamargo, were 6.5 games out of first place and were struggling to stay in the playoff picture.  The man making the debut that evening, right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen, would be the lift they’d need to get back into contention.  The 26-year-old former Milwaukee Brewers prospect dominated the low-A affiliate of his former club over 7.0 scoreless, two-hit innings as he walked one and struck out five in a 5-0 Kings’ victory.  Wilhelmsen, along with fellow AquaSox’ call-up Yoervis Medina (who would make his first start just four days later in the Quad Cities), combined to go 11-1 during the stretch drive, leading the LumberKings to the Wild Card spot.

Last night, the LumberKings entered play at 19-19 and held the West Division Wild Card spot over Beloit by 2.0 games despite three-straight losses.  23-year-old left-hander Roenis Elias, called up after just one outing in the AZL and three games with rookie Pulaski, made his Clinton debut on the very same diamond as Wilhelmsen.  He didn’t quite duplicate the performance, but he did fire 6.1 innings of five-hit ball, allowing one unearned run and fanning four in a 3-2 Kings’ win.  I couldn’t help but feel overwhelming déjà vu when comparing the debuts of both, especially given the timeframes in which they happened and the Kings’ record and relatively similar playoff standing.

While it’s still far too early to tell what the LumberKings will have in Elias, it’s certain that his path here is even more intriguing than Wilhelmsen’s.  Elias pitched for the National team out of Guantanamo, Cuba, defected to the United States last fall, pitched briefly in Mexico, signed with the Mariners in May, went 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in just three outings in Pulaski and is now 1-0 as a LumberKing.   

With the help of manager Eddie Menchaca as interpreter, I chat with Elias for the first time tonight.

Listen Here:  Elias Interview 8.5.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  8.5.11 kingsnotes   

Right-hander Taijuan Walker (4-5, 3.12) starts for the Kings tonight as they attempt to split the series with Wisconsin.  The Timber Rattlers counter with lefty Charly Bashara (4-4, 5.12).  Walker and Bashara squared off on May 15 with Walker fanning 11 over 6.1 innings for the win and Bashara serving up eight runs, five earned over 5.1 innings in the loss.  Listen to the game at 7:05 PM on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte and the LumberKings at @LumberKings.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.