Results tagged ‘ Mario Martinez ’

Kings in Spring (March 28)

Well, as you can see, The LumberBlog looks slightly different with the recent conversion of all the Pro Blogs to WordPress.  I’m still getting used to the features, but it looks like there’s a lot more flexibility here.  Moving on to more important things.

Seattle Mariners’ camp is winding down out in Peoria, but there’s been a lot of noise made lately by former LumberKings.  On Sunday, it was Kyle Seager (not identified as Mario Martinez this time) making the most of a call-up to the Major League game as he launched a  solo home run in the eighth inning off Texas Rangers’ hopeful Dave Bush.  Ultimately, the Mariners still fell, 5-4.

Today, it’s Steven Baron (’10) re-appearing in the box score.  Recently sent back to Minor League camp, the Mariners brought him back up today to play against the Colorado Rockies in Seattle’s last home Cactus League game.  After a Justin Smoak single (’08) and RBI knock by Michael Saunders, Baron calmly stepped up and delivered a walk-off single to right.  Final score, Mariners 7, Rockies 6.  Baron, by the way, is now 7-for-13 (.538) with three RBI in big-league camp.

The Mariners selected the contracts of right-handers Jamey Wright and Chris Ray today, releasing infielder Josh Wilson to clear space.  What does that mean for right-handers Josh Lueke (’07-’08) and Tom Wilhelmsen (’10)?  We might know that soon, but both remain on the Spring Training roster with only a few days left.  One of those two — if not both — will be Mariners sooner than later.

The 2011 LumberKings Gameday Program is nearing completion and will feature some of the 75th anniverary content you’ve already been seeing on LumberKings.com.  Also, just completed today, a brief essay I did about Nick Franklin’s chase to break Dick Kenworthy’s franchise home run record last year.  I’m pretty proud of it.  I may post it here once the program is finished.

Less than 10 days remain until the opener against Burlington.

-DL

Kings in Spring (March 25)

Well, it was nice to finally catch the Mariners in Cactus League action, even though it was from the dusty office TV as they played the Chicago Cubs on WGN rather than from my favorite seat down the left-field line at the Peoria Sports Complex.  Still, it was nice to get a look at right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen (’10) in the #73 uni…aside for a minor hiccup in the way of a Blake DeWitt solo homer, he looked pretty comfortable in two innings of relief work.  Wilhelmsen and Justin Smoak (’08), who went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, look like locks to make the Opening Day roster to me.

Another funny note from the game, former LumberKings infielder Kyle Seager (’09) got into the action at third base, wearing #92 with no nameplate.  The 90′s numbers are normally given to the Minor League players called up to the big-league game for the day, but apparently that number was originally intended for Mario Martinez.  As a result, Cubs’ broadcaster Len Kasper referred to Seager as Martinez for a couple defensive plays and a full at-bat.  I doubt anyone aside from me, the Seager family and a few other Clintonites noticed or cared.

I didn’t catch the entire game, but Denny Almonte (’09) also made a cameo appearance, grounding out on one pitch in his lone at-bat.

In Texas Rangers news, and certainly a note not to be lost in the mix, it appears that former LumberKings’ third-baseman and one-time Futures Game hero John Whittleman (’06-’07) has been shipped to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for a player to be named later.  That’s according to multiple sources, cited in an email I received from The Newberg Report.  Whittleman, a second-round pick in ’05, struggled in ’06 but was an All-Star with the Kings in ’07.  He remains the only active LumberKing ever to participate in an MLB All-Star Futures Game, something I covered earlier this offseason in an edition of The Interview Vault.  If the reports are true, it’s a fresh start for Whit in the deepest Minor League system in baseball.  He’s always been a favorite of mine, I hope this works out well for him.

As you can tell, I’m working late on a Friday night yet again.  Such is life this close to the baseball season.  We’re about 13 days and 15 minutes away from the first pitch.

-DL

Kings in Spring (March 25)

Well, it was nice to finally catch the Mariners in Cactus League action, even though it was from the dusty office TV as they played the Chicago Cubs on WGN rather than from my favorite seat down the left-field line at the Peoria Sports Complex.  Still, it was nice to get a look at right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen (’10) in the #73 uni…aside for a minor hiccup in the way of a Blake DeWitt solo homer, he looked pretty comfortable in two innings of relief work.  Wilhelmsen and Justin Smoak (’08), who went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, look like locks to make the Opening Day roster to me.

Another funny note from the game, former LumberKings infielder Kyle Seager (’09) got into the action at third base, wearing #92 with no nameplate.  The 90′s numbers are normally given to the Minor League players called up to the big-league game for the day, but apparently that number was originally intended for Mario Martinez.  As a result, Cubs’ broadcaster Len Kasper referred to Seager as Martinez for a couple defensive plays and a full at-bat.  I doubt anyone aside from me, the Seager family and a few other Clintonites noticed or cared.

I didn’t catch the entire game, but Denny Almonte (’09) also made a cameo appearance, grounding out on one pitch in his lone at-bat.

In Texas Rangers news, and certainly a note not to be lost in the mix, it appears that former LumberKings’ third-baseman and one-time Futures Game hero John Whittleman (’06-’07) has been shipped to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for a player to be named later.  That’s according to multiple sources, cited in an email I received from The Newberg Report.  Whittleman, a second-round pick in ’05, struggled in ’06 but was an All-Star with the Kings in ’07.  He remains the only active LumberKing ever to participate in an MLB All-Star Futures Game, something I covered earlier this offseason in an edition of The Interview Vault.  If the reports are true, it’s a fresh start for Whit in the deepest Minor League system in baseball.  He’s always been a favorite of mine, I hope this works out well for him.

As you can tell, I’m working late on a Friday night yet again.  Such is life this close to the baseball season.  We’re about 13 days and 15 minutes away from the first pitch.

-DL

Predicting the 2011 Roster (Part 2)

Thumbnail image for 2011previewpart2.jpg

Left-handers Anthony Fernandez (left) and Edlando Seco (right) finished 2-3 in the Northwest League in ERA last season.

Part two of my third-annual educated guess at the upcoming LumberKings’ roster is today, with a look at players who I think will make their Clinton debuts at some point in 2011.  Again, my disclaimer…I have no advanced knowledge of the roster via the Seattle Mariners at this point in the year, thus this is just my opinion.  If anyone I’ve mentioned is no longer with the Mariners’ organization (trade, release, retirement, etc.), please feel free to update me in the “comments” section below.

It’s easy to get excited about the crop of talent coming up, given that four of the five teams below low-A advanced to the playoffs last year.  Everett, the team we’re likely to see the most players from, won the Northwest League title last season under the guidance of Jose Moreno and newly-named LumberKings’ pitching coach Rich Dorman.  Pulaski, the other top feeder team, advanced to the postseason under current manager Eddie Menchaca.  The players coming up from those two squads will already be well versed in what it takes to win, and they’ll be working with a staff that is more than familiar with their skillset.  That should be a solid recipe for success here in Clinton.  Now, let’s take a position-by-position look at some of the players who could be wearing black and green in 2011.

Catcher

As I said in part one of the preview, 2009 supplemental first-rounder Steven Baron, who split his first pro season between Clinton and Everett, should be the everyday catcher here.  He started 50 of the AquaSox’ 76 games behind the plate and was named the NWL’s top catcher. Cal State Fullerton product Billy Marcoe (.153, 0 HR, 3 RBI, .383 OPS) appeared in 11 games for Everett as Baron’s backup last year.  He could be filling that role again.  Pulaski’s catching corps included Venezuela native Larry Gonzalez (.267, 1 HR, 17 RBI, .700 OPS), Dominican native Hassiel Jimenez (.229, 0 HR, 8 RBI, .541 OPS) and Seattle’s 32nd round pick out of Vanderbilt, Andrew Giobbi (.291, 2 HR, 12 RBI, .764 OPS).  Seattle’s highest-drafted catcher in 2010 was sixth-round pick Christian Carmichael, who needs a season at short-A before he’s ready for the Midwest League.  Carmichael, drafted out of Mililani High School in Hawaii, hit .100 in just 11 games in the AZL.  It’s anyone’s guess at this point who the other catcher (or second and third catchers) will be, but I’d put my money on Gonzalez or Giobbi and bank on Carmichael in 2012.

First Base   

Evan Sharpley, the Mariners’ 50th-round and final selection of the 2009 June draft, was better known as the backup quarterback to Jimmy Clausen at Notre Dame when Seattle selected him.  After solid efforts in the AZL in ’09 (.333, 7 HR, 29 RBI) and Everett in ’10 (.231, 6 HR, 42 RBI, .706 OPS), Sharpley has proven he belongs in pro baseball.  Granted, .231 with a .318 OBP isn’t lighting up the Northwest League, but he still started 64 of Everett’s 76 games last year and can provide power from the left side of the plate.  Pulaski had a first-base platoon situation with Hofstra product and 35th round pick Ethan Paquette (.236, 3 HR, 19 RBI, .643 OPS) splitting time with Matt Browning (.330, 4 HR, 24 RBI, .947 OPS), the 43rd round pick out of James Madison.  Paquette is the only natural first-baseman of the group with Sharpley and Browning both moving over from third base, but I think this spot ultimately goes to Sharpley.  I projected in my previous post that Tim Morris should return, but we’ll see who emerges this Spring.

Second Base

LumberKings’ alums Hawkins Gebbers and Terry Serrano handled most of the second-base duties for Everett last year, and either one could be back on the Clinton infield.  Since this post is about new faces, I’ll focus elsewhere.  Menchaca’s Pulaski team featured an intriguing second-baseman named Jorge Agudelo, who ripped 16 doubles and legged out seven triples in just 59 games while hitting .287.  The Caracas, VZ native also exhibited a knack for baserunning, stealing an Appy League-high 24 bases in 31 attempts.  The Kings haven’t had a true speedster at the top of the lineup since Engel Beltre in ’08, so it’d be great to see Agudelo flying around the bases.  Unless Gabriel Noriega repeats the league and isn’t the starting shortstop (more on that later), I think Agudelo has the inside track on the second base spot.  Gebbers, Serrano and Carlos Ramirez are all solid utility choices, while 30th-round pick Derek Poppert (.242, 8 doubles, HR, 11 RBI) could be in the mix also.    

Third Base

When Menchaca was in for the Hot Stove Banquet in January, he raved about third-baseman Ramon Morla whenever he was asked about his players from Pulaski.  The 21-year-old San Pedro de Macoris product was a near Triple Crown winner in the Appy League, blasting a league-best 17 homers in 62 games while hitting .323 (2nd) and driving in 49 runs (2nd).  Only Elizabethton’s Oswaldo Arcia (who figures to be big in Beloit this year) led more offensive categories than Morla.  He won’t be Mario Martinez on defense, given that he committed a team-high 21 errors at the hot corner last year, but his offensive numbers are exciting enough to forgive that fact.  The Mariners’ used their 12th-round pick on Oregon State third-baseman Stefen Romero, but he was unable to play last season after fracturing his arm in late May.  Romero was hitting .326 with 13 homers and 41 RBI with the Beavers prior to the injury.  Director of Amateur Scouting Tom McNamara is high on Romero, but you can’t argue against Morla’s MVP-like season.  I say, let’s see them both.  Someone’s got to DH.

Shortstop 

No question, the shortstop position will be the biggest shoes to fill in the eyes of most LumberKings’ fans.  Nick Franklin enjoyed one of the best offensive seasons in club history last year and emerged as the #3 prospect in the entire Seattle system.  With respects to Pulaski’s Jake Schlander (the 31st-round pick out of Stanford, hit .259, one HR, 25 RBI, .671 OPS) and Everett’s Anthony Phillips (.204, 2 HR, 12 RBI, .627), 2010 second-round pick Marcus Littlewood should be a more-than-capable replacement to Franklin.  The 19-year-old Littlewood was drafted out of St. George High School in Utah and didn’t play for an affiliate last year, yet was ranked the #8 prospect in the system by Baseball America.  Like Franklin, Littlewood has Team USA experience, suiting up with the 16-and-under National Team at the 2008 Pan Am Youth Games (they won gold) and the 18-and-under squad last year.  BA projects him to hit for average and put up 10-15 home runs as Clinton’s everyday shortstop in 2011.  How can I disagree?

Outfield

Two of Everett’s top four hitters resided in the outfield, with left-handed hitting right-fielder Kevin Rivers leading the way.  Rivers, signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2009 out of the same school that produced Scott Savastano (Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire), shook off pedestrian numbers in the AZL and hit a team-best .332 (3rd in the NWL) with 11 blasts, 48 RBI, a league-best .466 on-base percentage and a 1.022 OPS for the AquaSox.  Centerfielder Robbie Anston also had a productive year for the AquaSox after a 26th-round selection out of Boston College, hitting .292 with 13 doubles, two homers, 24 RBI and 15 steals in 23 attempts.  Anston was one of Everett’s top playoff hitters, batting .333 with three doubles.

Menchaca’s Pulaski team was also anchored by powerful outfielders, most notably Venezuelans Jose Rivero (.295, 7 HR, 35 RBI, .817 OPS) and switch-hitting Mario Yepez (.231, 12 doubles, 6 HR, 27 RBI, .652 OPS).  Left-handed hitting James Wood, the 47th-round pick, hit .291 and had a .794 OPS in 28 games.  The one I’ve heard most about, however, is the eighth-round pick out of Miami Dade Community College, Jabari Blash.  Originally from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, Blash looks like the heir apparent to James Jones in right field.  The 6’4″ Blash is just about the same size as JJ, plus he hit at a similar clip (.266, 5 HR, 20 RBI, .839 OPS) over his 32 games in the Appy League.  BA rated Blash the fastest player of the Mariners’ 2010 draft class, and we’ll see if he can cover JJ-like ground when he patrols right-field.  I expect him to be joined by Rivers in left and Anston in center, with Rivero, Yepez, Kalian Sams and Ryan Royster fighting for the fourth spot or stepping in to the DH role.  In regards to Menchaca’s lineup, I’d like to see Anston and Rivers in the 2-3 spots with Blash protecting Morla around the five spot. 

Starting Rotation 

One thing the Mariners have always supplied the LumberKings since the affiliation began in 2009 is brilliant starting pitching.  The 2009 club led the Midwest League in ERA at 3.35 and featured league ERA champion Kenn Kasparek, while the 2010 team ranked second in ERA at 3.66 and sported the league’s top right-hander (Erasmo Ramirez) and second-best left-hander (Jimmy Gillheeney).  Will the rotation live up to the standards of the last two years?

Looking just at the top three starters in Dorman’s Everett rotation, it looks like the 2011 starters should be outstanding.  The AquaSox posted a Northwest League-best 3.22 ERA thanks largely to a pair of southpaws, Edlando Seco and Anthony Fernandez.  The duo finished 2-3 in the league in ERA, with the Calabozo, VZ native Seco going 3-3 with a 2.48 ERA in 14 starts while Fernandez, from Santiago, DR went 8-3 with a 2.59 ERA over 15 starts.  Fernandez finished atop the league in fewest baserunners per 9.0 IP (10.26), tied for first in wins (8), second in WHIP (1.12) and third in fewest walks per 9.0 IP (1.94) while Seco held opponents to a league-low .169 average, finished third in WHIP (1.20) and third as well in strikeouts per 9.0 IP (9.52).  Simply put, the lefties put on a show for the eventual champs.

Yet, they weren’t the only stellar starters for Everett.  Right-hander Chris Sorce, Seattle’s 26th-round pick out of Troy in 2009, made the move from the bullpen to the rotation this season and was fantastic in 15 starts, going 8-2 with a 3.64 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.  I had him projected to be in Clinton’s pen last year, but there’s no doubt in my mind he should be in the Kings’ rotation this season.

Pulaski has an ace of their own to offer up.  Right-hander Tim Boyce, the 44th-round pick out of the University of Rhode Island, won an Appalachian League-best nine games (9-3) and had the league’s 10th-best ERA of 2.98 over 13 games, eight starts.  In the mold of Ramirez, Boyce is a control artist — he walked seven while striking out 42 over 47.1 innings as a starter and had a paltry 1.03 WHIP, fourth-best in the Appy League.

Continuing with Pulaski…right-hander Jessie Nava (4-3, 4.36 ERA, 1.56 WHIP) was a reliable starter aside from his propensity to give up home runs (a league-high 8 in 13 starts).  Righty George Mieses went 4-4 with a 3.45 ERA and the league’s third-lowest walks per 9.0 IP average (1.19) over his 13 starts.  Right-hander Stephen Kohlscheen went 3-0 with a 2.51 ERA in seven games, five starts after his 45th-round selection.

All of those pitchers could quickly be overshadowed if Seattle’s supplemental first-round pick, 18-year-old right-hander Taijuan Walker, comes to town.  Walker was the 43rd player drafted last year despite having more experience as a high school basketball player than as a pitcher.  That’s because of a large frame (he’s 6’4″ according to most reports) and a live arm (his fastball has touched 95 mph, and he backs it up with a decent slider and change).  Walker went 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA and a stingy .087 opponent average over his four appearances in the AZL last year, a very encouraging start to a career that might take a few seasons to develop.  The Mariners are in no need to rush Walker here to Clinton, but I think he’ll factor into the rotation once the weather gets warmer (much like Kasey Kiker and Blake Beavan did in ’07 and ’08).

Even if Walker doesn’t arrive this year, the Kings could be in for some other surprises from the Dominican Summer League and the Venezuela Summer League much like Ramirez was in 2010.  Left-hander Henry Perez went 7-1 with a 0.86 ERA in 11 starts in the DSL, striking out 76 while walking only 10 (can someone say Erasmo-like?) and limiting opponents to a .187 average over 73.0 innings.  He’s not particularly young (he’ll turn 22 after the season), meaning he likely can handle the jump to the United States.  Left-hander Brandol Perez might be more likely to stay in the DSL despite going 7-0 with a 0.19 ERA (yes, you read that right) over 11 games, six starts last year…he’ll be 18 in August.  Right-hander Vicente Campos was the DSL Mariners’ top starter, going 8-2 with a 3.16 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and .231 opponent average in 12 starts.  Campos will turn 19 in July, leading me to believe we’ll probably see him in 2012.

If the Clinton rotation features any combination of Walker, Seco, Fernandez, Boyce, Sorce and Perez this year, we could witness the most dominant LumberKings’ staff in recent history.  Given all that we’ve seen as a Seattle affiliate, that’s saying a lot.

Bullpen

Things certainly look promising for the first six-to-seven innings, but will the Kings’ bullpen be able to finish things off?  A lot of Everett’s bullpen made their way to Clinton and were sent back down, but there’s a few arms out there we haven’t seen.  Right-hander Willy Kesler, the 18th-round pick out of the University of New Mexico, went 3-2 with a 1.47 ERA in 19 relief outings and held NWL opponents to a .213 average.  Kesler led the team in holds (5) and was tied with Jason Markovitz and Stephen Pryor for the saves lead (4-for-4).  Right-hander Austin Hudson, the 27th-round pick in ’09, went 4-2 with a 2.92 ERA over 20 games (including seven starts) but was just 3-for-6 in save attempts.  New York, NY native Eric Valdez was also impressive in seven relief outings for the AquaSox, going 0-0 with a 0.64 ERA and a .192 opponent average.  Right-hander Tyler Burgoon, the 10th-round pick out of Michigan, had decent numbers outside of a 4.40 ERA…his 0.98 WHIP ranked third on the team amongst pitchers with eight-plus outings.

Back over to Pulaski, right-hander Bryan Leigh (2-0, 1.71 ERA, 3-of-3 in saves, 1.05 WHIP, .203 opponent average) was their most reliable reliever.  Right-handers Lance Abbott (0-0, 2.25 ERA) and Preston Vancil (2-1, 2.84 ERA) also checked in under the 3.00 ERA mark, although they had just one hold and one save combined.  I’m pulling for right-hander Ben Versnik, the 38th-round pick out of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, to make the roster.  Versnik, born in West Allis, Wisconsin (my birthplace as well) went 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA in six outings. 

The AZL offers up a few names as well, including left-handers Kody Kurowski (1-3, 4.30, 5-for-7 in saves) and Scott Ronnenbergh (0-1, 2.13, 1-for-1 in saves) and right-handers Danny Cruz-Ayala (1-0, 4.05, 3-for-4 in saves) and Jandy Sena (4-2, 4.01, 1-for-2 in saves).

As you can see, there’s no clear-cut closer amongst the players I’ve named, but we might not know who fits into that role until well into the season.  It will be fun to see how it all pieces together, especially with a lot of returnees to the pen from last year’s playoff club.

Whew, that was a long one.  If you’re still reading by this point, congrats…you’ve stuck with me until the end of this preview and you’re truly a diehard LumberKings’ fan.  Feel free to share your own thoughts in the “comments” section below, I’d be interested in hearing what others think.  Of course, we won’t know for sure until just prior to April 7 when the team arrives from Peoria, AZ.  Check out this blog and LumberKings.com around that time to find out the official word on the Opening Night roster.

-DL

18-Inning Classic up for a MiLBY

Martinez Game of the Year.jpgThe MiLBY yearly awards are still going on over at MiLB.com, and they’ve moved on to the two final categories: “Best Game” and “Best Team”.

I’m happy to announce that Clinton’s 18-inning walk-off win in Game 2 of the Midwest League Championship Series is one of the six games up for fan vote in the Low A classification.  For those of you who missed it back on September 16 (many saw the beginning, far fewer saw th end), the LumberKings won a war of attrition over the Lake County Captains in the longest Championship Series game in league history when Mario Martinez (pictured) sent a hot shot through the legs of third-baseman Adam Abraham, scoring Blake Ochoa.

Listen to Ochoa’s game-winning run: 
Abraham’s Error Scores Ochoa in 18th 9.16.10.mp3

Abraham’s glove would end up on the roof of the clubhouse, but the Captains would go on to take the series in the decisive Game 5.  It’s the longest game I’ve ever broadcasted as far as innings are concerned, and it’s one the folks who stuck around won’t soon forget. 

Whether you were there or not, help us out by voting at this link:  http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/awards/y2010/game.jsp

In other MiLBY news, Nick Franklin finished second in “Best Hitter” voting for class A, trailing only Lexington’s J.D. Martinez.  Martinez received 29% of the vote, while Franklin earned 22%.

For some reason, the five-team field for “Best Team” did not include your West Division Champion LumberKings.  Instead, Lake County, Great Lakes and Quad Cities are the entrants from the Midwest League.  Augusta and Lakewood of the South Atlantic League round out the selections.

I’ll give you Lake County based on their Midwest League championship and Great Lakes based on their fantastic 90-win regular season, but I struggle with Quad Cities.  A first-half Wild Card entrant into the playoffs, the Bandits did go on to finish one game better than Cedar Rapids for overall record in the West Division.  However, they bowed out in the first round to Kane County.

Meanwhile, a Clinton club that went 5-1 in playoff elimination games, slugged a league-high 134 home runs and featured the league’s second-best pitching staff gets no love.

I’d tell you to cast anti-votes, but that’s not possible and it’s not very nice either.  Instead, vote for Lake County in this category…they deserve it:  http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/awards/y2010/team.jsp

A new edition of “The Interview Vault” is coming tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

-DL

WDCS Game Three: Notes and Lineups

The biggest game in Clinton baseball history since 1993 (the last time a Clinton team reached the Midwest League Championship Series) is tonight at Alliant Energy Field as the LumberKings take on Kane County for the right to face either Great Lakes or Lake County for the 2010 title.

The Kings forced this decisive game three with a 6-2 win last night.  Mario Martinez keyed the offense with a 4-for-4, two-RBI game and left-hander Nick Czyz limited the Cougars to two runs over 5.2 innings. 

Highlights:

Right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen (0-0, 1.59 during postseason) makes the most important start of his career tonight in his second appearance of these playoffs.  The Cougars counter with right-hander Murphy Smith (0-1, 1.50 during postseason).

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
9.13.10 kingsnotes _westfinals.gamethree_.pdf

Lineups:

LumberKings:

  1. James Jones (RF)
  2. Kevin Mailloux (2B)
  3. Vinnie Catricala (LF)
  4. Mickey Wiswall (DH)
  5. Blake Ochoa (C)
  6. Tim Morris (1B)
  7. Mario Martinez (3B)
  8. Matt Cerione (CF)
  9. Gabriel Noriega (SS)

RHP Tom Wilhelmsen

Kane County:

  1. Conner Crumbliss (2B)
  2. Jose Crisotomo (CF)
  3. Michael Choice (RF)
  4. Rashun Dixon (LF)
  5. Myrio Richard (DH)
  6. Anthony Aliotti (1B)
  7. Leonardo Gil (3B)
  8. Jason Christian (SS)
  9. Ryan Lipkin (C)

RHP Murphy Smith

The game begins at 6:30 PM, you can listen online at 1390kcln.com! 

 
-DL

Game Three in Cedar Rapids

Momentum is on Clinton’s side after the LumberKings evened the best-of-three first-round playoff series with an 8-2 win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Perfect Game Field last night.  Right-hander Yoervis Medina played the role of stopper with two runs over 6.0 innings in the victory and received support from James Jones (3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI), Vinnie Catricala (1-for-5, HR, RBI), Mario Martinez (3-for-5, RBI), Henry Contreras (1-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI) amongst others.

Highlights:

One of these two teams begins their offseason tonight.  The LumberKings have kept Midwest League post-season All-Star Erasmo Ramirez (10-4, 2.97) waiting in the wings for this pivotal start, he will take the hill for the second time against the Kernels.  Cedar Rapids originally planned to start left-hander Stephen Locke tonight, but have now opted to go with left-hander Tyler Kehrer (6-5, 4.56) instead.  We’ll see if that move works or backfires for them.

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
9.10.10 kingsnotes _quarterfinals.gamethree_.pdf

Game three lineups:

LumberKings:

  1. James Jones (RF)
  2. Kevin Mailloux (2B)
  3. Vinnie Catricala (LF)
  4. Mickey Wiswall (DH)
  5. Henry Contreras (C)
  6. Tim Morris (1B)
  7. Mario Martinez (3B)
  8. Matt Cerione (CF)
  9. Gabriel Noriega (SS)

RHP Erasmo Ramirez

Kernels:

  1. Jean Segura (2B)
  2. Matt Long (CF)
  3. Michael Wing (3B)
  4. Casey Haerther (DH)
  5. Jeremy Cruz (RF)
  6. Jose Jimenez (1B)
  7. Jon Karcich (SS)
  8. Justin Bass (LF)
  9. Carlos Ramirez (C)

LHP Tyler Kehrer

The first pitch is scheduled for around 6:35 PM, tune in for the broadcast on 1390kcln.com at about 6:20 PM for the LumberKings’ Pregame Show.

-DL

Game Two in Cedar Rapids

The West Division Quarterfinals shift to Perfect Game Field in Cedar Rapids with the Kernels leading the best-of-three series, 1-0.  Despite an RBI double by Vinnie Catricala (listen: 
Catricala Game Tying RBI double 9.8.10.mp3) and a solo homer by Mario Martinez (listen: 
Martinez Solo HR 9.8.10.mp3), the LumberKings fell, 3-2 last night and now officially have their backs against the wall.

It’s the simplest of baseball math all season long:  win and we play tomorrow, lose and that’s all.  With that being said, I think this is the night we make our statement.  Hopefully I’m right.

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
9.9.10 kingsnotes _quarterfinals.gametwo_.pdf

Tonight’s lineups:

LumberKings:

  1. James Jones (RF)
  2. Kevin Mailloux (2B)
  3. Vinnie Catricala (LF)
  4. Mickey Wiswall (DH)
  5. Henry Contreras (C)
  6. Tim Morris (1B)
  7. Mario Martinez (3B)
  8. Matt Cerione (CF)
  9. Gabriel Noriega (SS)

RHP Yoervis Medina (5-0, 2.50)

Kernels:

  1. Jean Segura (2B)
  2. Matt Long (CF)
  3. Michael Wing (3B)
  4. Casey Haerther (1B)
  5. Jeremy Cruz (RF)
  6. Jose Jimenez (C)
  7. Jon Karcich (SS)
  8. Justin Bass (LF)
  9. Mitch Blackburn (DH)

LHP Buddy Boshers (3-0, 4.31)

First pitch is at 6:35 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.  Let’s get this one and force game three.

-DL

8/28 Game Notes

With no pregame interview lined up yet again today (yeah I know, you’re disappointed), I’m going to keep things brief.

Right-hander Yoervis Medina improved to 5-0 and didn’t allow a run on two hits while striking out nine against Quad Cities last night.  The surprising part about the outing was not Medina’s dominance (we’ve seen it now for five-straight outings), but the fact that he survived six walks, a season-high for himself and by a LumberKings’ pitcher this season.  In all, Medina stranded 11 men on base over his 6.0 innings.

Mario Martinez homered for the first time since August 7 (listen: 
Martinez 2-R HR (#11) 8.27.10.mp3) to help the Kings open up a 4-0 lead over the Bandits and Vinnie Catricala tallied the final run on an RBI double (listen:
Catricala RBI double 8.27.10.mp3) as part of a 2-for-4 game (extending his hitting streak to 16 games).

Left-hander Jose Jimenez contributed two scoreless innings on zero day’s rest and right-hander Brandon Josselyn pitched a perfect non-save ninth, also on no rest whatsoever.

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
8.28.10 kingsnotes.pdf

The Kings are 2.0 games up on Kane County for the top playoff spot in the West with 11 games to go, 4.0 games up on Beloit for a postseason berth as well.  Left-hander Nick Czyz (4-4, 4.71) gets the game-one start against the Peoria Chiefs tonight as a pivotal five-game, four-day series starts up at O’Brien Field, first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM.  Listen to the game online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

A Crazy Night in the QC

In case you missed it last night, the LumberKings rallied from 6-0, 7-5 and 10-9 deficits to beat the rival Quad Cities River Bandits 12-11 in 11 innings last night at Modern Woodmen Park. 

Everybody played a role last night, but Henry Contreras was especially clutch with a game-tying RBI single in the fifth and game-tying sacrifice fly with one out in the ninth.  Vinnie Catricala got the game-winning RBI with his second hit of the game, an infield single off the mound that scored Nick FranklinMario Martinez ended up with the RBI single that provided the all-important insurance, driving home Catricala with a grounder to left.

The Kings also played amazing defense.  I counted at least five highlight-reel plays, from Matt Cerione’s leaping catch at the wall to rob Devin Goodwin of a homer in the first to his sliding grab in the sixth to take the bat out of the hands of Matt Adams, to Martinez’s lunging stab to take away a two-run single from Edgar Lara in the fourth to a James Jones-Franklin-Martinez relay to get greedy Luis Mateo at third base in the 10th.  Without those key outs, the LumberKings do not win last night’s game.

Highlights from a night’s worth of clutch:

A fun night in the QC, let’s do it again tonight.

-DL

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