Results tagged ‘ Mauricio Robles ’

Former Kings in the Cal League Playoffs

While I’ve obviously been following the Midwest League Playoffs in depth (Fort Wayne is currently up 2-0 on Burlington in the best-of-five Championship Series), I haven’t given any coverage so far to what has been a thrilling Cal League Playoffs.

That changes today.  Mention needs to be made of what several former LumberKings have done out West.

Thumbnail image for Gomez Gac.JPG

Mauro Gomez (left) and Ian Gac drove in 16 runs combined for the Blaze in eight playoff games.

Ian Gac (’06-’08), Mauro Gomez (’07), Matt Lawson (’08), Kennil Gomez (’08) and others helped power Bakersfield to the post season, and the Blaze didn’t settle with a first-round letdown.  They came back from a 1-0 deficit to oust Modesto with 13-6 and 6-1 wins. 

In the second round, they fell behind 2-0 to Cal League powerhouse San Jose (league-best 93-47 during the regular season) as Ryan Tatusko (’08) yielded just a run and lost to Clayton Tanner in game one and the bullpen failed for a disastrous eight-run eighth inning in an 8-3 loss in game two.  Tim Murphy (’08) turned in 7.0 scoreless innings, but Justin Miller and Glenn Swanson (’06-’07) were beat up in relief. 

That’s when the Blaze turned it on.  The Gomez’s teamed up for a 7-3 win in Bakersfield as Kennil Gomez stifled the Giants to a run over 6.2 innings while Mauro Gomez homered and drove in three.  They evened the series with an 11-4 win in game four thanks to Gac’s season-best six-RBI night, including a three-run blast that cleared the famed Sam Lynn Ballpark batter’s eye.  Michael Main (’08) tossed 2.0 scoreless relief innings to help Tanner Roark get the win.

Unfortunately, that’s where the dream ended.  San Jose erased an early 2-0 Blaze lead and won going away, 12-3.  The Gomez/Gac combo went 0-for-7 with three strikeouts combined as Bakersfield fell short of meeting High Desert in the Cal Leage Championship Series.

As you well know, Bakersfield was our old High A affiliate and High Desert is our new High A affiliate.  It would have been great to see the two match up in the finals, but it’s still exciting to see the Mavericks enjoy continued success.

Seager Hensley.JPG

Kyle Seager (left) and Steven Hensley will attempt to lead the Mavs to the title.

Three former LumberKings are with the Mavs, including Steven Hensley (’09), Travis Howell (’09), Kyle Seager (’09) and Stephen Penney (’09).

The Mavs had a first round bye thanks to a South Division-best 83-57 record.  Their second-round matchup pitted them against the Angels-affiliated Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.  That means a ton of former Cedar Rapids Kernels.

High Desert took game one behind Hensley’s outstanding complete-game, three hitter.  He struck out 10 Quakes and Jamie McOwen continued his dream season with a two-run blast to finish off a 5-0 victory.

The Mavs still wouldn’t let the Quakes on the board in game two as their second ace, former West Michigan Whitecap Mauricio Robles did his best to match Hensley with 7.0 scoreless frames in a 4-0 win.  Carlos Peguero was the man with the two-run clout this time around.

Rancho outlasted High Desert and staved off elimination with a 7-6 walk-off win in the 10th in game three.  Joe Dunigan was the offensive highlight thanks to yet another two-run homer in a 3-for-4, three RBI game.  The Quakes forced the deciding game five with an uneventful 2-1 win behind former Kernel Ryan Brasier’s 8.0 scoreless innings.

The series returned to Adelanto for the deciding game, and a 3-2 pitcher’s duel favored the Mavs through the first four innings.  Then, the bats took over.  Juan Diaz, Dunigan and Peguero all homered after the fifth and the bullpen was stellar in an 11-6 lashing to end the series.  The stiff-armed Penney was the man on the mound in a non-save ninth, and he turned in a scoreless frame to send the Mavs onward.

That sets up the best-of-five Cal League Championship Series, your High Desert Mavericks against the San Jose Giants.  The two best teams from their respective divisions rightfully meet up.  The series begins tonight in Adelanto with Hensley on the mound.

If you’re looking for more baseball to listen to, check out the Mavs tonight at 9:05 central time.  The link to the audio is here:


Conflicts of Interest

Holland 7.30.09.jpg

Photo courtesy of the Texas Rangers, Tony Gutierrez/AP.

Admittedly, I was excited to see former LumberKings left-hander Derek Holland (’08) take a perfect game two outs deep into the fifth and finish with a win over a career-high 8.2 innings.  Unfortunately, it comes at the expense of the team whose minor league system I now cover, the Seattle Mariners.

I had Holland on the blog a while back for a phone interview when he was still just starting his Major League career.  It looks like he’s starting to settle in.  After struggling through June weith an 0-3 record, 6.46 ERA, Holland has solidified himself in the rotation with three-straight starts and a 3-1, 4.45 month of July.  Welcome to the show, permanently.

I wonder what he’d have to say if we did that interview again today.  The first year through the Majors has got to be a bit like your first year of school.  So much to learn, so many new experiences everyday.  Can I bother him for a phone interview every time he accomplishes something?  Probably not, but maybe I can catch him again following the season.

I did some digging and found my game notes from July 9, 2008…Holland’s last start in a LumberKings uniform at West Michigan.  I recall him getting the call up to Bakersfield following that start, a scoreless 6.0 innings of three-hit baseball along with seven strikeouts.  We all knew following that start that he had out-grown the Midwest League, we didn’t figure to this extent.  Check out my rather crude ’08 notes:  7.9.08 kingsnotes (Holland’s last start).pdf

Enough about Holland, on to the wheeling-and-dealing Mariners.  GM Jack Zduriencik traded young arms away in Nathan Adcock, Brett Lorin and Aaron Pribanic two days ago, but this morning he restocked.  Gone is Jarrod Washburn (a favorite of mine because he went to my college, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh), here are pitchers Luke French and Mauricio Robles.

I’ve seen both French and Robles pitch in this league, and both have shown shades of dominance.  French went 11-8 with a 3.72 ERA and 94 strikeouts over 157 innings with the 2006 Midwest League Champion Whitecaps.  Robles was here to start the season with the ‘Caps, going 4-4 with a 4.63 ERA and 71 strikeouts over 56.1 innings.  He left the league with the strikeouts lead.

Unfortunately, neither will be LumberKings.  French was bouncing between the Tigers and triple-A, while Robles was in the Florida State League, qualifying him for High Desert or higher.