Results tagged ‘ Tyler Blandford ’

Tonight’s Interview: Ed Randall

It’s officially a three-game winning streak for your LumberKings after an 8-4 win over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers last night at Alliant Energy Field.  The Kings erased a 3-0 deficit on an RBI double by Mickey Wiswall, two-run single by Julio Morban (who also helped out with an outfield assist, listen:  Morban To Tanabe Play at Plate 7.28.11) and RBI groundout by Kevin Rivers.  Wisconsin tied the score at 4-4 against right-hander Matt Bischoff in the top of the seventh, but Clinton rallied for four runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.  Rivers singled home Mike McGee (listen:  Rivers Go-Ahead RBI single 7.28.11), Stefen Romero added a two-run double (listen: Romero 2-R double 7.28.11) and Kalian Sams finished the job with an RBI single.  Bischoff (W, 2-2) ended up with the win despite a blown save, while right-handers Tyler Blandford and Tyler Burgoon closed things down in the eighth and ninth.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.29.11 kingsnotes

Starting Lineup:  7.29.11 lineup 

While there’s many suitable interview subjects from your LumberKings based on last night’s win, tonight’s interview is all about our Prostate Cancer Awareness night, taking place tonight.  Ed Randall, the founder of “Bat for the Cure”, joins me on tonight’s pregame interview via phone.  The host of Ed Randall’s Talking Baseball on Sirius/XM Radio’s MLB Home Plate channel, Randall talks about the importance of early detection in the fight against prostate cancer, his own personal experience with the disease, the 2011 Minor League Road Trip for “Bat for the Cure” and more.

Listen Here:  Ed Randall Interview 7.29.11

The LumberKings look for their first sweep since late May/early June at Fort Wayne tonight as they close the series with Wisconsin.  Left-hander Anthony Fernandez (3-3, 3.45) is 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA in his last seven games, he’ll start for Clinton tonight against Rattlers’ right-hander Brooks Hall (5-3, 4.19).  Listen to the 7 PM game on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Tonight’s Interview: Jesse Goldberg-Strassler

A triple by Jetsy Extrano and RBI double by Anthony Phillips was all the offense could muster last night against Great Lakes’ right-hander Zach Lee as the LumberKings fell 6-1 to the Loons, dropping just their second series of the second half.  After a six-run third inning gave the Kings a 6-2 win in game one, the bats scored just two total runs over the final two games of the series.

Left-hander Nate Reed yielded five runs but only two earned over 4.0 innings and relievers Ryan Kiel, Tyler Blandford and Jonathan Arias combined for a run over the final 5.0 innings.  Still, one run usually isn’t going to cut it.  The Kings, fortunately still in second place and a game out of first, now take on the Lansing Lugnuts.  The ‘Nuts have the East Division’s best record of 51-37, captured the first-half East Division Wild Card in a race with Great Lakes that went to the final day, and are now 13-8 and in second in the division in a meaningless half.  First-year manager Mike Redmond’s club just swept Kane County, the first place team in the West.  Yes, runs are going to be needed to compete with Lansing, who leads the MWL in runs scored (469).

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.16.11 kingsnotes

To get a bit of a scouting report on yet another mysterious team from the East, I’ve caught up with Lugnuts’ third-year broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler

Listen Here:   Goldberg-Strassler Interview 7.16.11

Starting Lineups:  7.16.11 lineup

Right-hander George Mieses (3-10, 5.42) gets the game one start against Lansing tonight, first pitch scheduled for 6:00 PM on “Stay Late Saturday”.  Mieses has been good when given run support to work with (2-0 in two starts prior to his last time out, 12 runs of support), but fell for the 10th time his last time out in a 5-0 loss at Beloit.  He’ll go up against lefty Egan Smith (4-3, 3.48) of the Lugnuts.  Listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Follow me on Twitter at @davelezotte.

Kings Add First-Rounder Taijuan Walker

18-year-old right-hander joinsClintonfrom extended Spring Training, joined by right-hander Jandy Sena

Clinton, IA– The Clinton LumberKings, in conjunction with the Seattle Mariners have announced the following transactions for the Clinton25-man roster today: right-handers Taijuan Walker and Jandy Sena have been added to the 25-man roster via extended Spring Training.  Right-hander Seon Gi Kim has been transferred to extended Spring Training, while right-handers Tyler Blandford and Matt Bischoff have been placed on the 7-day disabled list.

Walker, 18, was Seattle’s first-round selection (43rd overall) in the 2010 draft out of Yucaipa (CA) High School.  He began his pro career with the Peoria Mariners of the Arizona League last year, going 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA (1 ER in 7.0 IP) in four appearances.  The 6’4” Walker was named as the Mariners’ fourth-best prospect by Baseball America entering this season.

Sena, 21, was the 23rd round pick by the Mariners in 2010 out of Marion Military Institute.  He went 4-3 with a 3.78 ERA in 14 appearances, four starts between the AZL and short-A Everett last season.

Kim, 19, went 0-2 with a 4.74 ERA across four starts this year.  The South Korean-born right-hander allowed 10 runs over 19.0 innings, walked five and struck out 13.

Blandford, 23, went 0-1 with a 17.61 ERA in six relief appearances with the LumberKings this season.  Bischoff, 23, went 0-2 with one save and a 5.56 ERA over seven relief outings with Clinton.

Walker and Sena are expected to be in uniform for tonight’s game against the Beloit Snappers.  Neither have yet chosen uniform numbers. Walkeris slated to join the rotation and will pitch Thursday night at O’Brien Field inPeoria.  The moves give the LumberKings an active 24 players on the roster with four listed on the disabled list.

-DL

Predicting the 2011 Roster (Part 1)

2011previewpt1.jpg
My third-annual educated guess at the next season’s LumberKings’ roster begins today with part one, looking at potential players from the 2010 West Division Champs that could be back for the pennant defense. 

A warning first…these are my own thoughts and predictions and are based on no official reports from the Seattle Mariners.  Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong.  Last year, I correctly named nine players from the 2009 roster that returned in ’10, although not all in the exact roles or timeframes I expected.  Also, in the event I’ve named someone who has been released, signed elsewhere or retired, feel free to correct me in the comments section below.  It’s happened before.

With that out of the way, here we go.

After a season as successful as last year, it’s safe to assume that most of the impact players will not return.  If you enjoyed watching Nick Franklin, James Jones, Vinnie Catricala, Mickey Wiswall, Mario MartinezErasmo Ramirez, Tom Wilhelmsen and Yoervis Medina at Alliant Energy Field last season, you’ll be more likely to see them all out in Adelanto, CA or Jackson, TN this year.  In the case of Wilhelmsen and Medina, you might sooner see them at Safeco Field.  Both are on the 40-man roster.

That’s not to say that there won’t be some experienced players back from last year’s team.  The one that I expect to return with the highest prospect pedigree will be catcher Steven Baron (pictured above).  Seattle’s supplemental first-round pick (after Dustin Ackley and Franklin) in 2009, Baron was in over his head a bit with his Opening Day assignment to the LumberKings’ roster, but as expected, you could never tell by his raw defensive ability.

The Mariners lured Baron away from Duke University because of his surprising skills behind the plate, some of which we saw last season out of the 19-year-old.  Baron nailed 27 of 64 attempting basestealers, a 42% rate.  While his passed balls total was a little concerning (a team-high 11 in 45 games), it was his bat that truly needed work.  Baron hit just .182 as a LumberKing, with just four of his 28 hits going for extra bases.  He struck out over 30% of the time, looking overmatched against older Midwest League pitchers.  At the All-Star Break, Baron was shipped down to short-A Everett to gain offensive confidence and did just that under hitting coach Scott Steinmann, hitting .253 with 12 doubles, three homers and 22 RBI in 53 games.  After earning the Northwest League’s Post-Season All-Star award and a NWL Championship ring with the AquaSox, Baron returned to the LumberKings during the playoffs and looked like a far more confident player.  I believe we’ll see him back as Clinton’s starting catcher in 2011 as he continues to grow as both a hitter and a backstop.


Continuing around the diamond to first base, it’s not likely we’ll see Wiswall back after his strong performance down the stretch (.301, 4 HR, 18 RBI in 33 regular-season games, .273, 2 HR, 5 RBI in 11 playoff games).  Again, citing the logjam situation at that same position, it might be possible that Tim Morris returns to Clinton.  Seattle’s 11th-round pick in 2009 out of St. John’s University, Morris hit .250 with 14 doubles, three triples, five homers and 46 RBI in 83 games last season.  Depending on how he performs during the spring, the Mariners could elect to send him back to Clinton.

Shortstop Gabriel Noriega could headline the up-the-middle defense for the LumberKings in 2011 now that he won’t have to shift to second base for Franklin.  Noriega was a sure-handed and strong-armed defender at both middle infield spots, but lacked poise at the plate until a hot month of August.  Even with that surge (.281, 10 RBI in 96 at-bats), the 19-year-old Venezuelan hit .227, scored 47 runs and drove in 28 in 112 games.  If Mariners’ 2010 second-round pick Marcus Littlewood doesn’t take over the position (Baseball America expects him to), Noriega might be sent back.

Versatile infielders Hawkins Gebbers and Carlos Ramirez also look like possible returnees.  Gebbers hit .255 with a pair of homers and five RBI during a 19-game stint with the Kings, but spent most of the year with Everett.  He hit .240 with 16 doubles, three homers and 22 RBI in 49 games.  Ramirez is most famous for his two-out, two-strike, game-tying RBI single in the 12th inning of Game 2 of the MWLCS.  Aside from that, he barely played at all in a Clinton cup-of-coffee.  Ramirez was the VSL Mariners’ MVP in 2009 after hitting .336, but struggled offensively in the AZL last year (.234, 12 RBI in 40 games).  I think we’ll see Gebbers and Ramirez both at some point in the year.

As for the outfield, I’ll mention only two names here from last year’s talented crop.  Kalian Sams had arguably THE hottest start in the Midwest League last year with 12 home runs in his first 44 games, but fell off completely when pitchers stopped throwing him fastballs.  Many folks in the Mariners’ system have called Sams the top power prospect in the organization (a definite honor considering Franklin, Greg Halman, Rich Poythress and Joherymn Chavez), but his .180 average and 132 strikeouts in 266 at-bats in his third Midwest League stint are more than a concern.  We know he can hit the ball a long way, but unless Sams can consistently put the ball in play this Spring, we might see him back in Clinton again.

Ryan Royster, the 13th round pick in the ’08 draft, might also finally settle in with the Kings with Daniel Carroll, Matt Cerione, Jones and Catricala all gone.  Royster was a huge boost to the offense two seasons ago when he hit .333 with two homers and seven RBI in eight games, leading me to bank on him becoming a regular in 2010.  That didn’t happen, as he played in just 10 games (.238, HR, 3 RBI) and was primarily with Everett yet again.  The Mariners have plenty in the outfield pipeline coming up, so we’ll see if that affects Royster again this year.

On the mound, there’s no surefire experienced starter set to come back the way Anthony
Blandford10.jpg
Vasquez
did last year.  Sixth-round pick Tyler Blandford (pictured right) has a live fastball and plenty of promise, but the right-hander went 1-2 with a 3.67 ERA in seven erratic starts with Clinton last year before missing the bulk of the season with arm issues.  With all of the fantastic pitching that stepped forward throughout the system in 2010, Blandford now must improve his control (he walked 25 in 27 innings last year) and stay on the mound for a full year just to stay on the radar.  If healthy, I think he’ll get that opportunity in Clinton.

Another starter looking to get back on track from injury will be right-hander Nolan Gallagher.  A fourth-round selection in 2007, Gallagher missed all of 2009 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and was forced to shut it down in 2010 after experiencing soreness again.  His 0-4, 6.32 marks didn’t tell the full story…Gallagher logged five-plus innings in four of his five starts before going on the disabled list in late July and then got hit hard late in the year when he returned.  Maybe he’ll be back, rested and healthy as a veteran contributor in 2011. 

I liked what I saw out of right-hander Jonathan Arias in his two spot-starts (0-1, 2.25 in 8.0 IP) and gutsy relief performance in the MWLCS Game 2 marathon.  Does that prove he’s worthy of joining the rotation on a full-time basis this year?  The 2011 season will be only his third as a pitcher after he started his career behind the plate.  Either in the rotation or in the pen, I believe he’ll be a LumberKing again.

While the rotation is sure to look much different compared to last year, the bullpen should actually seem familiar.  Right-hander John Housey went 5-4 with a 4.35 ERA in 25 games, including three spot-starts with the Kings until a late-July demotion to Everett.  Aside from the occasional blow-up outing (he allowed four-plus earned runs in four appearances), Housey was a go-to reliever for a decent stretch of the season.  Right-hander Jorden Merry (0-0, 4.91, SV in 13 games) and left-hander Jason Markovitz (0-0, 4.50 in 9 games) both had similar stats in brief stints with Clinton, leaving plenty of room for growth if they’re back.


The star of the pen could very well be Mariners’ 2010 fifth-round pick, right-hander Stephen Pryor. His 97 mph fastball proved effective against Midwest League hitters as he struck out 29 in just 17 innings, but Pryor’s control became a problem come playoff time as he walked five batters in just 1.1 innings.  Baseball America 
has projected him as the 21st-best prospect in the entire system and a candidate for a big-league bullpen spot as soon as 2012, but it’s possible that he returns to hone his curveball.  Maybe that’s wishful thinking on my part, but I’d love to see Pryor saving games in Clinton.

If he’s not, the Kings might still have high-octane heat in right-hander Fray Martinez, who also has an overpowering fastball but struggled through control issues.  Martinez went 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in 12 appearances, walked 11 batters, hit one and issued four wild pitches.  The Santiago, Dominican Republic native was left off the playoff roster, but I think he’ll be back in the bullpen this year.  Right-hander Matt Bischoff could join him for his first full season after coming to Clinton for the playoffs.  Bischoff was dominant in his outings against Cedar Rapids and Kane County, but suffered through two tough relief performances against Lake County in the Championship Series, including a game one blown save and loss.  The Purdue product will get a chance to redeem himself as a go-to arm this year.


In addition to the 2010 returnees, we could also see several players from the ’09 season come back.  All-Star shortstop Terry Serrano (pictured left) hit .307 as a versatile everyday infielder for the AquaSox last year and could give Clinton a lift the same way Luis Nunez did last year.  Infielder-turned-pitcher Ogui Diaz has apparently dropped his arm angle down and went 4-3 with a 5.12 ERA in his first full season on the mound with Everett last year.  Names like Dwight Britton (.216 in 42 games with Everett) and Jetsy Extrano (.230 in 49 games with Pulaski) might pop up from time to time also.

Part two of my predictions on the 2011 roster will be posted next Tuesday.  Then, I’ll be going over some of the players you might expect to see donning the black and green for the first time.

-DL

Morris Joins Clinton as Raben Advances

Dennis Raben gets the call to High Desert, Tim Morris replaces him on 25-man roster

                                                         

Clinton, IA – The Clinton LumberKings, in conjunction with the Seattle Mariners have
announced three player moves affecting the 25-man roster.  First-baseman Dennis Raben has been called up to high-A High Desert.  Replacing him is first-baseman Tim Morris, joining the club from extended Spring Training.

 

Also announced today, right-hander Tyler Blandford has been reinstated from the disabled list in order to start game two of today’s doubleheader.  Right-hander Jorden Merry has been moved to the Pulaski roster to make room for Blandford.

 

Raben, 22, hit .221 with eight doubles, eight home runs and 23 RBI over 42 games with Clinton, his first professional action since 2008.  Seattle’s 2008 second-round pick out of the University of Miami had missed all of 2009 following knee surgery.

 

Morris, 22, was the 11th round selection by the Mariners last year out of St. John’s University.  In his first pro campaign at Pulaski, he hit .214 with four doubles, four home runs and 24 RBI in 50 games.

 

Blandford has been out of action since May 7.  He’s 1-2 with a 3.96 ERA over six starts so far this season, his first as a pro after being drafted in the fifth round out of Oklahoma State last year.

 

Merry pitched in one game for Clinton, yielding three runs over 1.0 inning and striking out one.

 

With the additions of Morris (no number yet chosen) and Blandford, the active Clinton roster stands at 25 players with none on the disabled list.

 

The LumberKings (24-20) take on the Burlington Bees (15-28) for doubleheader action at Alliant Energy Field tonight, first pitch of game one scheduled for 6:30 PM.  Listen to both games live on AM 1390 KCLN in Clinton or online at 1390kcln.com.

 

There’s no new interview this evening.  Yesterday’s unaired Daniel Carroll interview will be played for tonigh’ts pregame show.

 

Still, enjoy the Game Notes: 
5.26.10 kingsnotes.pdf

 

-DL

Cardiac Kings Win on Franklin Walk-Off Shot

Nick Franklin belts solo homer in 10th, LumberKings edge Burlington 4-3

                       

Clinton, IA – The “Cardiac Kings” did it again on Tuesday night at Alliant Energy Field, rebounding from watching their three-run lead disappear in the ninth to win in walk-off fashion, 4-3 over the Burlington Bees in 10 innings.  Clinton’s third walk-off home run of the year was the difference, this time coming from the bat of Nick Franklin.

 

HIGHLIGHTS:

 

Leading off the bottom of the 10th with a 3-3 score, Franklin crushed a Brendan Lafferty pitch over the wood wall in left-center for his third clout with Clinton, his first walk-off.  Franklin (2-for-4, RBI) was mobbed by teammates at the plate as he became the second LumberKing to deliver a walk-off homer, joining Kalian Sams (twice, April 9 vs. Peoria and April 16 vs. Quad Cities).

 

The LumberKings built a 3-0 lead thanks in part to a Sams’ RBI double in the fourth, but could not hold it in the ninth.  Right-hander Daniel Cooper (H, 1) yielded back-to-back doubles for a Burlington run and left the bases loaded for closer Brandon Josselyn.  Josselyn couldn’t shut the door, issuing a bases-loaded walk and a game-tying single to Joey Lewis.

 

Right-hander John Housey worked out of a jam in the 10th to keep the game tied, leaving runners at second and third as he fanned Hilton Richardson.  Housey (W, 2-0) struck out three over his inning of work.

 

Clinton starter Tyler Blandford enjoyed his best professional start, striking out a career-high eight batters over 5.0 scoreless innings.  Righty Chris Kirkland (H, 1) also turned in 2.1 scoreless frames before Burlington was able to score a run.

 

Burlington starter Tyler Sample gave up three runs, two earned on six hits over 5.2 innings.  Lafferty (L, 1-1) allowed one run on two hits over the final 3.1 innings.

 

Dennis Raben went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored to lead all hitters.  Richardson (2-for-6) and Rene Oriental (2-for-5) led the attack for Burlington.

 

The LumberKings (6-7) continue the series against Burlington (3-10) tomorrow night, first pitch scheduled for 6:30 PM. Left-hander Jon Hesketh (0-1, 17.18) makes his third start of the season against the Bees.  Listen to the game on AM 1390 KCLN or online at www.lumberkings.com.

 

-DL

Crossing Enemy Lines: Johnny Rodriguez

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On tonight’s pregame interview, I venture into the visiting clubhouse to interview Quad Cities River Bandits’ manager Johnny Rodriguez.  Why?  Because the rival skipper was on the Clinton staff in 2001, the year that produced stars Jason Bay and Grady Sizemore.

Not enough for you?  Rodriguez has his Bandits at 6-1 after last night’s unfortunate 4-2 loss for the LumberKings (more about that in tonight’s notes:
4.15.10 kingsnotes.pdf).

One more reason to listen to the interview.
Rodriguez’s son Sean is a three-year Major League infielder, currently playing with the Tampa Bay Rays. 
We’ll talk about all of that on the interview with the former LumberKings coach this evening.

Listen Here: 
Johnny Rodriguez (QC Manager) Interview 4.15.10.mp3

The LumberKings will attempt to draw even in the series against Rodriguez’s Bandits behind right-hander Tyler Blandford (0-0, 4.15), making his second career start.  The broadcast begins at 6:15 PM on 1390kcln.com!

-DL

Franklin Homers Twice, Falls Short of Cycle

Shortstop Nick Franklin belts homers from both sides of the plate, goes 4-for-4 in 8-2 win

   


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Clinton, IA – Shortstop Nick Franklin homered twice and fell a single short of the cycle, leading the Clinton LumberKings to an impressive 8-2 victory over the Peoria Chiefs Saturday night at Alliant Energy Field.  Seattle’s first-round pick in 2009 tripled and scored in his first at-bat, doubled and scored his second time around and then homered from the left and right sides in his final two at-bats to finish 4-for-4.

 

Highlights Here:

 

Franklin would have been the first Clinton player to hit for the cycle since Josh Spoerl did it against Kane County on July 19, 2000, however, his final at-bat produced an opposite-field clout just over the wood wall in right.

 

The first blast by Franklin came back-to-back with Daniel Carroll, who himself lifted his second two-run homer in as many nights to push the Kings’ lead to 5-2.

 

Vinnie Catricala also chipped in two RBI, finishing 1-for-4.  Mario Martinez added an RBI single and James Jones registered his first hit with Clinton, an RBI triple scoring Dennis Raben in the seventh.

 

The big story heading into the game was the professional debut of Mariners’ fifth-round pick, right-hander Tyler Blandford.  The Oklahoma State product stifled the Chiefs to just a hit over 4.1 innings, but also issued five walks.  Blandford exited after allowing two runs, both earned.

 

Right-hander John Housey (W, 1-0) worked the next 3.2 innings, keeping Peoria off the scoreboard despite three more walks.  Left-hander Jose Jimenez pitched a scoreless non-save ninth.

 

Peoria right-hander Jonathan Nagel (L, 0-1) gave up three of the Clinton runs on six hits over 3.0 innings.  Right-hander Tim Clubb surrendered the Carroll and Franklin back-to-back blasts and lefty Jeff Beliveau gave up the second Franklin homer.  Righty Andres Quezada did not allow a run over the final 1.2 innings.

 

The LumberKings (2-1) begin their first road trip of the season at Time Warner Cable Field in Wisconsin tomorrow night against the Timber Rattlers.  Left-hander Jon Hesketh (0-0, 0.00) is slated to make his first start of the year beginning at 5:05 PM. Listen to the game on AM 1390 KCLN or www.lumberkings.com.

 

-DL

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