Results tagged ‘ Highlights ’

Tonight’s Interview: Mike McGee

The LumberKings put the finishing touches on their fourth series win in five attempts this second half, scoring six times in the first inning and five more in the eighth to rout the Cedar Rapids Kernels, 11-3 at Alliant Energy Field last night.  An RBI single by Mike McGee (listen:  McGee RBI single 7.8.11) and two-run double by Kevin Rivers (listen: Rivers 2-R double 7.8.11 ) highlighted the opening frame against right-hander Brian Diemer, while a two-run single by Carlton Tanabe (listen: Tanabe 2-R single 7.8.11 ) put the icing on the cake in the final inning against Kernels’ right-handers Justin La Tempa and Donn Roach.  All that offense supported left-hander Tony Butler, who won with three runs over 5.1 innings and seven strikeouts in his second start with Clinton.  Left-hander Edlando Seco stranded two inherited runners and worked 1.2 scoreless frames and right-hander Tyler Burgoon earned his 10th save of the season as he struck out five of the seven batters he faced.

For today’s interview, I chose to catch up with center-fielder McGee for the first time.  Seattle’s 15th round pick out of Florida State University is hitting .306 with four extra-base hits and seven RBI over his first 10 games with Clinton.  He talks about being the first 2011 draft pick to reach the LumberKings (he’ll be joined by fourth-round catcher John Hicks today), his time at FSU including the 2010 College World Series, winning the inaugural John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year award in ’10 (Olerud himself called with congrats) and much more.

Listen Here:  McGee Interview 7.9.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.9.11 kingsnotes

The LumberKings open a three-game road series against the one team that they have not won a series against this half, the Beloit Snappers.  Both teams come into the action with 9-6 records, tied for second in the West behind Kane County (10-5).  We’ll see a new-look battery for the Kings tonight as Hicks starts behind the plate for left-hander Nate Reed, who moves to the rotation to replace right-hander Jandy Sena.  Reed went 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA as a reliever and started in both the AZL and High Desert last season.

LumberKings (9-6):  Kevin Rivers/LF, Mike McGee/CF, Mickey Wiswall/DH, Stefen Romero/2B, Tim Morris/1B, Kalian Sams/RF, John Hicks/C, Matt Browning/3B, Anthony Phillips/SS, Nate Reed/LHP

Beloit Snappers (9-6):  Wang-Wei Lin/CF, Adam Bryant/3B, Jairo Perez/DH, Michael Gonzales/1B, Daniel Ortiz/LF, Lance Ray/RF, Tyler Grimes/2B, Tobias Streich/C, Daniel Santana/SS, Blayne Weller/RHP

The game begins at 7:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Retro Interview: Kyle Seager

A disappointing 4-3 loss in the ninth inning to the Cedar Rapids Kernels combined with more exciting pre-game news coming from Seattle means another “retro interview” segment today.

Infielder Kyle Seager, a LumberKing just three seasons ago, is joining the Seattle Mariners today after hitting .455 in 12 games with triple-A Tacoma.  Once he debuts, he’ll be the sixth former Clinton player to make an MLB debut this season and the 230th in the history of the franchise dating back to 1937.  For the full press release on Seager, visit this link from LumberKings.com.

As I mentioned in my “Retro Interview” post on right-hander Blake Beavan (who debuted for the Mariners just last Sunday and won with a run over 7.0 innings against San Diego), my old audio links from the pre-WordPress days are inactive.  So, here’s a re-visit of my 2009 interviews with Seager and a couple of his LumberKings’ highlights:

Seager, wearing #15, will be available for Mariners’ manager Eric Wedge tonight as they take on the LA Angels.  Meanwhile, we here in Clinton prepare for game two of a three-game series against the Angels’ Midwest League affiliate, the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.7.11 kingsnotes

Tonight’s Starting Lineup:  7.7.11 lineup

Right-hander Taijuan Walker dominated the Kernels with five innings of scoreless, two-hit ball back on May 26.  That’s the last time the 18-year-old earned a win, as he’s gone 0-2 with four no-decisions since then.  He’ll take the baseball starting at 7:00 PM tonight, listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Eddie Menchaca (Vol. 6)

Following Monday’s no-hitter at the hands of Peoria, the LumberKings regrouped and found a way to win the series over the Chiefs with a 5-3 victory last night at O’Brien Field.  Stefen Romero ended right-hander Starling Peralta’s bid for another no-hitter with one out in the fourth, launching a solo home run to the berm in left (listen: Romero Solo HR (#7) 7.5.11).  He’d add a two-run triple (listen: Romero 2-R Triple 7.5.11) as part of a four-run sixth inning that gave the Kings a 5-0 lead.  Right-hander George Mieses pitched 7.0 scoreless innings but ran into trouble in the eighth, yielding three runs (two on Micah Gibbs’ single off Tyler Burgoon after his exit) to cut the lead to 5-3.  Burgoon retired the final four batters in a row, recording his ninth save as Mieses won back-to-back starts for the first time to improve to 3-9.

Clinton finished the trip 4-2 and are now 7-5 and in a three-way tie for second in the West Division.  Manager Eddie Menchaca is my interview guest tonight, and he weighs in on the rebound win after Austin Kirk’s no-no, the red-hot Romero (3 HR, 10 RBI on the trip), Mieses, catcher Carlton Tanabe (he calls him the team’s MVP right now) and more.

Listen Here:  Menchaca Interview 7.6.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.6.11 kingsnotes

Tonight’s Starting Lineup:  7.6.11 lineup

The LumberKings take on the Cedar Rapids Kernels for the first time since taking two of three on the road at the end of May.  Left-hander Anthony Fernandez (2-2, 3.81) makes the start for Clinton tonight looking for his third quality start in four outings since coming back from High Desert.  First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 PM, listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Tony Butler

Happy Independence Day!  The LumberKings freed themselves from a 2-2 tie in the top of the 10th last night in Peoria as Mike McGee ripped a one-out double into the left-field corner, moved to third on a single by Carlos Ramirez and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mickey Wiswall.  Right-hander Jonathan Arias struck out six over the last 3.0 innings including two in the bottom of the 10th, securing his third win and giving the Kings a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Chiefs.

The “Cardiac Kings” have won five of their six games this second half in the last at-bat, with Wiswall now providing the game-winning RBI in the last two of them.  Wiswall also drove in Kevin Rivers for the deciding run in Clinton’s 5-3 win at Quad Cities on Friday night.

In addition to the big nights for McGee (2-for-5, five-game hitting streak), Wiswall (1-for-4, 7-game hitting streak) and Arias (3-0, 2.16 ERA since May), the LumberKings also received a solid start from a familiar name to Mariners’ fans.  Left-hander Tony Butler, making his first Midwest League start since August 31, 2007, turned in 5.1 innings of two-run, four-hit baseball in a no-decision.  Despite walking five, Butler fanned three (listen:  Butler Strikes Out Rohan 7.3.11) and did not allow an extra-base hit.

Seattle’s third-round pick in 2006 out of Oak Creek High School (WI), Butler has taken quite a journey already through six seasons in Minor League Baseball.  As you’ve likely already read, he went from a top prospect in the Mariners’ system (#4 rated by Baseball America back in 2007) to injury-plagued in Baltimore following the Erik Bedard trade, then was released by the O’s, signed by Milwaukee and released again.  This past Super Bowl Sunday, Butler made the decision to stick with his dream of playing professional baseball, moved to Arizona, worked out to get back into baseball shape and secured a tryout with the Mariners.  Now at age 23, he’s using the lessons learned from the ups and downs to make his way back.

Butler talks about his return to the organization that drafted him, last night’s start against the Chiefs, pitching in short-A Everett for the first time since ’06, comparisons to right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen’s 2010 comeback  and plenty more.  It’s an all-OCHS interview that will likely make my old TV teacher Mr. Stock smile.

Listen Here:  Butler Interview 7.4.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.4.11 kingsnotes

An excerpt from tonight’s notes to keep in mind on this Independence Day:

The LumberKings are 4-0 on July 4th dating back to 2007, including 3-0 on the road.  Clinton erased a 3-1 deficit with a four-run ninth inning last year at O’Brien Field in Peoria as Mario Martinez laced a bases-loaded two-run double off Chiefs’ reliever Frank Batista and Brandon Bantz (sac fly) and Daniel Carroll (RBI single) added runs against Yohan Gonzalez…right-hander Daniel Cooper (W, 3-2) got the win and closer Brandon Josselyn (S, 10) the save.  In 2009, the Kings hosted Kane County at Alliant Energy Field and won 5-0 behind 6.0 scoreless, three-hit innings from right-hander Aaron Pribanic (W, 7-4)…Blake Ochoa had a three-run double, finishing 1-for-4.  Clinton won in 2008 at Beloit behind 7.0 scoreless, three-hit innings from right-hander Blake Beavan (W, 5-5) and RBI from Mitch Moreland (2-for-3, RBI #49) and Miguel Alfonzo (solo HR, his third of the season).  The 2007 season started the trend as right-hander Kasey Kiker (W, 3-2) handcuffed the Swing of the Quad Cities with 6.0 scoreless, three-hit innings and seven strikeouts.  Craig Gentry powered the road win, going 2-for-4 with a solo HR (his third of the season).  Chad Tracy, Marcus Lemon and Mauro Gomez each had an RBI.

Can right-hander Jandy Sena (4-4, 4.75) bounce back from his 10-run (6 ER) outing against Beloit and secure a fifth-straight July 4th victory for the Kings?  We’ll find out tonight starting with the first pitch at 6:00 PM, listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Retro Interview: Blake Beavan

The six-game road trip switches cities tonight as your LumberKings head to Peoria to take on the Chiefs.  Clinton went just 1-9 against the Chiefs in the first half, but are 5-4 and alone in third place so far this half while Peoria is 3-6 and stuck in a tie for last place. 

The Kings nearly pulled off a three-game sweep in the Quad Cities last night as Stefen Romero singlehandedly erased a 3-0 deficit with a 3-for-4 game including a two-run homer to right-center (listen: Romero 2-R HR (#6) 7.2.11) in the fourth inning and a game-tying two-out single scoring Robbie Anston in the sixth.  Right-hander Taijuan Walker settled in after a rough second inning that included back-to-back home runs by Jonathan Rodriguez and Nick Longmire, yielding three runs (two earned) over 6.0 innings and striking out eight.  Unfortunately, right-hander Jessie Nava loaded the bases in the eighth and issued four-straight pitches outside of the zone to walk Packy Elkins, giving the Bandits a 4-3 lead.  Romero doubled to start the ninth (falling a triple shy of the cycle), but Kalian Sams struck out with Romero at third and Kevin Rivers flied to right, ending the game and the chances for the sweep.

While we get ready to see left-hander Tony Butler, Seattle’s third-round pick in 2006, take another step in his comeback as he debuts for the LumberKings tonight, the spotlight shines bright on a former King making a much higher-profile debut.  As  you’ve already likely seen, 2008 right-hander Blake Beavan is making his Major League debut today for the Mariners as they host San Diego.

Ok, so, maybe this was already featured in “The Interview Vault” this offseason, but I thought it’d be a prime opportunity to post my May 1, 2008 interview with Beavan following his first professional start, a win over the Great Lakes Loons.  With the recent “great WordPress migration” of the MLBlogs, my old interview links no longer work, so here’s a re-post of Blake’s first Minor League interview…the topics covered ranged from the start in front of his parents and then-Rangers-pitching coordinator Rick Adair, his fastball/slider/change arsenal, getting drafted in the first round by his hometown team (the Rangers) and more.

Listen Here:  Blake Beavan Interview (after first pro start on 5.1.08)

The man Blake is starting in place of today, Mariners’ lefty Erik Bedard, is also the player acquired by Seattle in the deal that sent Butler to Baltimore (along with Adam Jones and others).  Butler, the top player ever drafted out of Oak Creek High School (my alma-mater)  is making his first Midwest League start since, ironically, defeating the LumberKings at Alliant Energy Field on August 31, 2007.  Hopefully his comeback path goes as successfully as Tom Wilhelmsen’s did in Clinton last year.

More on Butler, Romero and others in tonight’s Game Notes:  7.3.11 kingsnotes

The game begins at 6:30 PM, listen to the broadcast online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Rich Dorman (Vol. 3)

The LumberKings are 2-0 in the “show-and-go” after last night’s 5-3 win over the Quad Cities River Bandits at Modern Woodmen Park.  Clinton took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-out double by Tim Morris (listen: Morris 2-R double 7.1.11) and raised the lead back to two in the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Carlton Tanabe.  Left-hander Anthony Fernandez dealt over 7.0 innings, limiting the Bandits to a run on four hits and turning in a highlight-reel-worthy 1-6-3 double play on a line drive back to the mound in the sixth inning (listen: Fernandez 1-6-3 DP 7.1.11).  The 3-1 lead wouldn’t last in the eighth as right-hander Keli’i Zablan loaded the bases and yielded a run on a wild pitch, but right-hander Tyler Burgoon gave up just one run in a bases-loaded no-out situation, keeping the game tied at 3-3.  In the ninth, the Kings went right back ahead as Kevin Rivers was hit by a pitch and scored on a Mickey Wiswall single to center (listen: Wiswall Go-Ahead RBI single 7.1.11).  Stefen Romero executed a safety squeeze bunt scoring Matt Browning in the ninth as well, and Burgoon worked a perfect bottom of the ninth to improve to 5-3.

With the outstanding outing from Fernandez, a seven-game losing streak snapped by George Mieses, the double-A promotion of James Paxton, the addition of left-hander Tony Butler and the three-win run by Burgoon, it’s high time to catch up with pitching coach Rich Dorman again.  Dor talks about those pitchers plus tonight’s starter Taijuan Walker on tonight’s pregame interview.

Listen Here:  Dorman Interview 7.2.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.2.11 kingsnotes

Walker and the Kings go looking for the sweep of the Bandits tonight, first pitch scheduled for 7:00 PM.  Listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Friday Notes (7/1)

It’s a “show-and-go” day here in the Quad Cities for your LumberKings, so please excuse the lateness and briefness of this post.  The Kings earned their first win in the QC this season by scoring at least a run in six-straight innings and pitching well in relief last night, defeating the River Bandits 8-5.  Stefen Romero’s 2-for-3, three-RBI performance included a much-debated two-run homer down the left-field line in the third inning (from the press box angle it appeared to be foul, but home plate umpire Garrett Patterson indicated it had hooked fair) that gave the Kings a lead they would not relinquish.  Seven runs backed 5.0 decent innings from right-hander George Mieses (4 runs, 3 earned on 8  hits), who won for the first time since April 30 at Wisconsin.  Right-hander Tyler Blandford yielded a run over 2.0 innings, lefty Nate Reed turned in a scoreless eighth and righty Jonathan Arias worked out of a bases-loaded jam for his second save in the ninth.

Highlights:  Romero Debated 2-R HR (#5) 6.30.11  |  Arias Strikes Out Klein for 2nd Save 6.30.11

Obviously, the huge news today is the promotion of James Paxton to double-A Jackson.  I’ll likely be talking with pitching coach Rich Dorman on this subject and others in an upcoming interview segment, but as for tonight, no new interview for you. 

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.1.11 kingsnotes

Ground ball artist Anthony Fernandez (2-2, 4.22) starts against Rock Falls native Seth Blair (4-3, 4.65) in the middle game of this series tonight, first pitch scheduled for 7:00 PM at Modern Woodmen Park.  Listen to the broadcast online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Thursday Notes (6/30)

Eyeing a second-straight series win to start the second half, the LumberKings instead suffered one of their worst defeats of the season last night as the Beloit Snappers, led by Michael Gonzales’s 3-for-5, two-homer, five-RBI performance, routed the Kings 14-5 last night at Alliant Energy Field.  Jairo Perez also capped a monster series going 3-for-5 with a solo homer and three RBI for the Snappers.

There were bright spots in the form of the first back-to-back home runs hit by LumberKings this season, as Carlos Ramirez and Mickey Wiswall each lifted solo homers off Beloit left-hander Ryan O’Rourke in the fourth (listen: Ramirez and Wiswall Go Back-to-Back 6.29.11).  Wiswall added another RBI single in the eighth inning, while Matt Browning singled home a run and then scored on an RBI triple by Mike McGee to make the score more respectable.  Still, right-hander Jandy Sena suffered his worst performance of the year with 10 runs, six earned over just 2.2 innings and lefty Edlando Seco took another step backwards with three runs allowed on two homers.

It’s back to the road for the first time this half now for Eddie Menchaca’s Kings, but they’ll only have to travel to neighboring Quad Cities for the next three games.  The Bandits swept the series here at Modern Woodmen Park back in early May, but the LumberKings are 10-8 on the road since then. 

Right-hander George Mieses (1-9, 5.58) hasn’t won since April 30 but hasn’t been as bad as the numbers look over his last three starts…he’s gone at least five innings all three times with fewer than three earned runs, but the offense has not scored him a run of support that entire time (17.0 innings).  Quite simply, it’s time to start putting up some runs behind Mieses.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  6.30.11 kingsnotes

No pregame interview tonight as I will be airing the second part of my Tony Blengino conversation at long last.  The broadcast begins at 6:45 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Stefen Romero (Vol. 2)

As you’ll recall from yesterday’s post, I planned to air part two of my conversation with Mariners’ Special Assistant Tony Blengino on tonight’s pregame show, but I can’t pass up a chance to interview Stefen Romero following his 12th inning walk-off single last night against Beloit.

The LumberKings are 3-2 so far in the second half, and all three wins have come in the last at-bat.  Steven Baron’s two-run double highlighted a four-run eighth inning as the Kings won 5-4 over Burlington last Friday night, and Robbie Anston’s walk-off ninth-inning single scored Carlos Ramirez for a series-clinching 5-4 win over the Bees again on Sunday.  Romero was the hero last night, lining a no-out single to right-center scoring Jetsy Extrano, who had walked to lead off the inning and moved to third on a throwing error by Snappers’ left-hander Nelvin Fuentes.  That made a winner of right-hander Tyler Burgoon, who turned in a season-high 4.0 scoreless innings in relief to get his fourth victory of the season.  Lefty Nate Reed (2.0 scoreless innings) and catcher Carlton Tanabe (game-tying sac fly scoring Mike McGee in the bottom of the ninth) also deserve “unsung hero” mention.

Listen to Romero’s first-career walk-off winner:  Romero Walk-Off Single 6.28.11

Tonight, I chat with Romero for the second time this season.  We talk about his first-career walk-off hit, his red-hot .424 month of June, the task of working on multiple defensive positions, his focus for the second half and more.

Listen Here:  Romero Interview 6.29.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  6.29.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:  6.29.11 lineup

Right-hander Jandy Sena (4-3, 3.69) makes his 12th appearance, fourth start tonight looking to extend his quality-start streak to three-straight in his first-career match-up against Beloit.  The 6’6″ Sena takes the mound for the first pitch at 7:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Robbie Anston

The LumberKings recorded just their second “walk-off” win of the season yesterday afternoon, knocking off the Burlington Bees and winning the series with a 5-4 win at Alliant Energy Field.  Tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, Carlos Ramirez singled to center and advanced to third on an Anthony Phillips sacrifice bunt and subsequent throwing error by Bees’ catcher Juan Nunez in an attempt to force out Ramirez at second base.  After falling behind 0-2 to right-hander Zack Thonrton, Robbie Anston (who replaced injured Julio Morban midway through the game, more on that below) singled up the middle past the drawn-in infield to score Ramirez (listen: Anston Walk-Off Single 6.26.11).

Anston’s hit made him my Espresso, Cigars & More Player of the Game yesterday, but a huge honorable mention has to go to Kalian Sams.  The Swinging Dutchman went 2-for-4 with a game-changing three-run homer (surprisingly the first three-run blast by a LumberKing this season) in the fourth inning (listen: Sams 3-R HR (#8) 6.26.11) and drove in a season-high four runs.  On the mound, left-hander Anthony Fernandez looked less than sharp with solo homers allowed to Nino Leyja and Tony Thompson, but he kept the game tied and so too did the relief combo of right-handers Jessie Nava and Tyler Burgoon.  As a result, the Kings are now 2-1 and tied for third in the West Division this half.

My interview guest tonight is Anston, Seattle’s 26th round pick in 2010 out of Boston College.  We talk about yesterday’s walk-off hit, his time at BC along with Mickey Wiswall, staying ready in a crowded outfield, his 2010 season in Everett and more.

Listen Here:  Anston Interview 6.27.11

Roster Move:  Back to Morban…he’s headed to the disabled list for the third time this season after coming out of the game yesterday.  No official word on what the issue is or what the timetable is for his return, but we do have his roster replacement.  The Mariners’ 15th round pick in 2011, outfielder Mike McGee comes to the club after hitting .556 with three triples and four RBI in two AZL games.  McGee was a standout in both the outfield and on the mound at Florida State University.

Read more about Anston, Sams, McGee and others in today’s Game Notes:  6.27.11 kingsnotes

Today’s Starting Lineups:  6.27.11 lineup

Right-hander Taijuan Walker, 2-1 with a 1.16 ERA over his last seven starts, gets the call in game one against the Beloit Snappers tonight.  He’ll go up against Masonville, IA native, right-hander B.J. Hermsen of the Snappers.  The game begins at 7:00 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

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