Results tagged ‘ Keli’i Zablan ’

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


2011 First Half Highlight Reel

James Paxton's All-Star-worthy performance (3-3, 2.70 ERA, 73 K in 50.0 IP) was one of the bright spots for Clinton in the first half.

Sometimes, first halves go by in the blink of an eye.  Sometimes, they drag on.  The 2011 first half falls somewhere in the in-between for me.  I’ve seen some impressive things so far out of these LumberKings (a red-hot week by Kalian Sams, the dominant outings of James Paxton and Taijuan Walker, the resurgence of Mickey Wiswall in June, the impressive range at short for Anthony Phillips, the emergence of Keli’i Zablan and Jonathan Arias out of the pen, etc.), yet also a lot of struggles as evidenced by a current 23-46 record.

But, as hitting coach Terry Pollreisz reminded me on our way into Elfstrom Stadium today, anything can happen in the second half.  Polls cited his 2002 San Antonio club that finished 25-45 and 17 games out of first place in the Texas League West Division in the first half.  That club (including for just six games a 21-year-old Eddie Menchaca) rebounded to win the division with a 43-27 second-half record and went on to win the Texas League title in seven games over Tulsa.  Something to keep in mind as we head to the second half of 2011 on Friday.

While looking forward here on the half’s last day, it’s also time to look back at some of the high points of the season so far (unfortunately last night’s game-winning homer by Matt Browning just missed the cut).  With that, I present the third-annual “First Half Highlight Reel”.

Listen Here:  2011 First Half Highlight Reel

Today’s Game Notes:  6.19.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineups:

LumberKings (23-46):  Julio Morban/CF, Mickey Wiswall/DH, Matt Browning/1B, Kevin Rivers/LF, Kalian Sams/RF, Shaver Hansen/2B, Carlos Ramirez/3B, Anthony Phillips/SS, Carlton Tanabe/C, Anthony Fernandez/LHP.

Kane County Cougars (28-40):  Angel Franco/2B, Geulin Beltre/CF, Cheslor Cuthbert/3B, Brian Fletcher/LF, Brett Eibner/DH, Jake Kuebler/1B, Orlando Calixte/SS, Travis Jones/C, Julio Aparicio/RF, Jason Adam/RHP.

Happy Father’s Day as well to you regular readers.  After today’s 1 PM game at Kane County, I’ll be heading home to Oak Creek, Wisconsin to spend my All-Star Break with family.  I won’t be covering James Paxton’s All-Star appearance in the Quad Cities on Tuesday, but you can follow along at with the MiLB Gameday Feature on

I’ll be back on Friday to start with a clean slate.  Can’t wait.


Tonight’s Interview: Keli’i Zablan

Not too much to write home about last night as the LumberKings opened a three-game series against the Quad Cities River Bandits with a 5-0 loss, their fourth-straight on the homestand.  Bandits’ right-hander Carlos Martinez has been drawing comparisons to Pedro Martinez (no relation, as far as I know), at least if you believe this article on, and while I still wouldn’t pencil him in as a future Cy Young award winner quite yet, I’d say he pitched impressively.

Martinez limited the Kings to three hits over 6.0 innings, hitting 99 mph on the in-house speed gun and displaying a sharp hook and nasty changeup to go with his heater.  Then, relievers Ryan Copeland and Cale Johnson continued the trend for a combined 7-hit shutout for the Wild Card-hungry River Bandits.

Yes, this is still a post about the Clinton LumberKings, and that’s where I lead in to tonight’s interview guest.  Right-hander Keli’i Zablan was yet again effective in relief last night, tossing 2.0 scoreless frames following up right-hander George Mieses.  Though the Kings already trailed 5-0 at that point, it was still a fifth-straight scoreless outing for Zablan, lowering his ERA to 3.29.  He’s becoming a go-to arm for Rich Dorman, though his path to this point has seen plenty of twists and turns.

After going undrafted out of Southern Utah University, Zablan caught on with River City of the Frontier League.  He pitched and played second base for Rascals, helping them to the 2010 Frontier League Championship.  After that, he tried out for the Seattle Mariners and waited nearly a month to hear back about his signing, ventured to Peoria, AZ to start his career in extended spring training and got the call to Clinton.  We talk about his journey, being half of an all-Hawaiian battery alongside Carlton Tanabe, his goals for his first season in affiliated ball and more.

Listen Here:  Zablan Interview 6.15.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  6.15.11 kingsnotes

Today’s Roster Moves:  It’s lengthy.  Right-hander Forrest Snow was called up to high-A High Desert today and will make his Mavs debut at Stockton tonight.  Catcher Steven Baron, who exited in the fifth inning last night after being struck on the right wrist by a foul tip, has been placed on the disabled list.  Outfielder Jabari Blash has been sent to Everett.  The Kings have received left-hander Anthony Fernandez back from High Desert, catcher Billy Marcoe from Everett and have activated Julio Morban from the disabled list.  Oh yeah, and right-hander Tyler Blandford came off the DL today as Mieses went on.  And that’s the short version.

Starting Lineups: 

Quad Cities River Bandits (36-28):  Michael Swinson/LF, Ronny Gil/SS, Oscar Taveras/CF, Starlin Rodriguez/2B, Cody Stanley/C, Nick Longmire/RF, Colin Walsh/3B, Victor Sanchez/1B, Chris Edmondson/DH, Seth Blair/RHP

LumberKings (21-44):  Julio Morban/DH, Mickey Wiswall/LF, Tim Morris/1B, Stefen Romero/3B, Kevin Rivers/RF, Jorge Agudelo/2B, Robbie Anston/CF, Anthony Phillips/SS, Carlton Tanabe/C, Edlando Seco/LHP

Rock Falls, IL native and St. Louis Cardinals’ first-round pick Seth Blair will be a local attraction tonight, but hopefully lefty Edlando Seco continues his uncanny ability to help the LumberKings win.  Despite the fact that Seco is just 1-0 in five starts, the Kings are 4-1 in those games.

Join me for the broadcast starting at 6:45 PM on


Tonight’s Interview: Taijuan Walker

The LumberKings counted on 18-year-old right-hander Taijuan Walker, making just his third professional start, to take on the role as stopper Sunday afternoon against Wisconsin.  A stopper he was, twirling a no-hitter through the first five frames and finishing with a career-high 11 strikeouts over 6.1 innings of one-run, two-hit baseball.   Of course, nine runs of support didn’t hurt Walker either as the LumberKings destroyed the Rattlers, 11-1.

Listen to Walker’s 10th K here:   Walker 10th Strikeout 5.15.11

The Mariners’ first-round pick in 2010 (43rd overall) showed flashes of promise in his first two outings thanks to a mid-90’s fastball, but it wasn’t until Sunday that we saw the curveball really start to work for Walker.  Should that 12-6 hook continue to improve, Walker will have more than a few more days like Sunday during this 2011 season.  Still, as you can tell in my pregame interview with Walker today, he’s modest about the outing and his first full season of professional baseball.

Walker discusses the outing, getting the unexpected call to Clinton from extended Spring Training, turning into a starter in his final season at Yucaipa High School, cutting ties with basketball after a promising career on the hard-wood and more.

Listen Here:  Walker Interview 5.17.11

Tonight’s Game Notes:  5.17.11 kingsnotes

The notes attached do not reflect the roster move made today by the LumberKings, but right-hander Brandon Maurer has been promoted to high-A High Desert.  The Kings have received right-hander Keli’i Zablan from extended Spring Training.  Left-hander Edlando Seco is expected to start in place of Maurer tomorrow night against the Burlington Bees.

No starting lineups for you tonight, not because there aren’t any, but because I didn’t post any on Sunday and we won, 11-1.  How’s that for superstition?

Right-hander George Mieses and company take on the Bees at Community Field tonight, first pitch scheduled for 6:30 PM.  Listen online at