Game Notes 4/13; Its a Sweep! Brito’s big night, Probables, & Early offense
Today’s Preview: The Clinton LumberKings (A, Mariners) open up a three-game series and road trip with the Burlington Bee (A, Angels). The LumberKings trail the all-time series 405–422, dating back to 1962, against Burlington and are also behind 68–72 since the LumberKings became a Seattle Mariners affiliate in 2009. Last year, Clinton won the season series 10–9 against the Bees going 4–4 at Community Field.
LumberKing Starter: Brandon Miller, 21, makes his second start of the season for Clinton. The righty pitched well in his season debut, the home opener, against the Kane County Cougars. He did not allow a run during his first four innings at one pint striking out the side in order in the second inning on just 10 pitches. Miller finally ran into trouble in his final inning, the fifth. The Cougars put up three runs in the inning and he was hung with the loss. Some have descrbed Miller as a diamond in the rough after he was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 6th round out of the small Division II school Millersville University. The Mariners had previously scouted another player at the school and thus had Miller on their radar. His success from college carried over into the pros where he went 4–2 with a 2.72 ERA for the Everett Aquasox.
Bees Starter: Sam Pastrone, 19, makes his second start of the season for the Bees. The young righty is in his third season of professional baseball after being drafted out of high school in Las Vegas in 2015 and signed instead of going to UNLV. The Angels took him in the 17th round and since then Pastrone has made stops with the AZL Angels and at Advanced Rookie ball in the Pioneer League with the Orem Owlz. In his full-season A debut he took the loss against the Peoria Chiefs going 0–1 with a 9.00 ERA in 4 innings of work while allowing seven hits, walking two and striking out four. The scouting report on Pastrone is a hard throwing righty with a 97 mph fastball but ranging between 89–94 that has late cut on it. He throws curveball and changeup off of the fastball. When Pastrone does miss, he over throws and can lead to some wildness.
About last night: The Clinton LumberKings completed the sweep against the Beloit Snappers on Wednesday night at Ashford University Field with a 4–2 win. For the second consecutive night, the LumberKings (3–4) put two runs on the board in the first inning and rode strong pitching the rest of the way for the win. The three-game series sweep of Beloit is the first for the LumberKings, in Clinton, since June 8–10, 2003. Clinton pushed two runs across in the first against Snappers (2–5) starter Dakota Chalmers. Bryson Brigman started the rally with a one out single and the LumberKings got the next three men to reach. Following a Luis Liberato walk, Kristian Brito singled to deep right field to drive home the first run of the game. Brito went 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk and a run scored. The LumberKings tacked on one more run in the inning when Dimas Ojeda sliced a soft liner to right to bring home Liberato.
We’re going streaking: Just seven games into the season and the LumberKings have put together some modest streaks. Outfielder Anthony Jimenez currently owns the longest hitting streak on the team a 5 game stretch that started back on April 7 during the streak he is 6-for-18. Luis Liberato has reached base safely in all 6 of his games this season giving him the longest on-base streak on the team. Going back to August 1 of last season he has now reached base safely in 21 straight games.
Steady offense: The LumberKings failed to put runs on the board in the first four games of the season against Kane County. Since sweeping the Beloit Snappers in three games the offense has come alive, but has yet to break out. The most runs the LumberKings have scored this year is five runs and they’re “biggest inning” was in the season opener when Luis Liberato hit a three0run homer for a three run inning. Liberato’s homer is also the only Clinton long fly at this point in the season.
It’s a sweep: After being swept in four games at the hands of the Kane County Cougars to open the season, the LumberKings got in on the sweeping action by taking the next three from Beloit. Sweeps were something of a hallmark in the 2016 season. The LumberKings racked up seven series sweeps and were swept just once.
Brito breaks out: Cleanup man Kristian Brito has struggled early on in the four spot of the lineup for Clinton, but in Wednesday night’s game he broke out. A returner from the 2015 team, Brito went 2-for-3 with a run scored, and an RBI. His RBI came in the first inning of the game to drive home the first run. A long single to right that hit off the right fielders glove and then wall. Brito added another single in the fifth when he leadoff the inning with a single up the middle and eventually came around to score.
Early does it: The LumberKings rode early offense to their series sweep over Beloit. Clinton has stared their last two games the same way. Two runs in the first, and a run in the second.
This date in baseball history: On this date in 1954, Willie Mays, who missed nearly two seasons due to military service, homers in his first game back, a sixth-inning blast off Carl Eskine that will prove to be the difference in the Giants’ 4–3 Opening Day victory over Brooklyn. The 22 year-old center fielder’s prodigious poke may have traveled over 600 feet if it had not been impeded by the upper left-field stands at the Polo Grounds.
Broadcast Information: All games will be broadcast live on 100.3 FM WCCI and online at LumberKings.com via TuneIn Radio App with the Erik Oas, in his first season as the “Voice of the LumberKings.”