Game Notes 6/22; Jersey mix up, Managerial shake up, & Joe Rizzo’s walk to the top
Today’s Preview: The Clinton LumberKings (A, Mariners) meet the Beloit Snappers (A, Athletics) for the fifth time this season. The LumberKings trail the all-time series 215–252, dating back to 1982, and trail against Beloit, 72–75, since the LumberKings became a Seattle Mariners affiliate in 2009. The LumbrKings have won all six of the contests with Beloit at home this year sweeping the Snappers in three games April 10–12 and again June 13–15, they are Clinton’s only sweeps thus far this season. Beloit has defened their home turf as well and are 5–1 against Clinton at Harry C. Pohlman Filed this season.
LumberKings Starter: Nick Wells, 21, makes his 14 appearance and start of the season for the Clinton LumberKings. The lefty was took a no decision his last time out limiting the Kernels three first inning runs before settling down and pitching to work 5.2 innings while walking four and striking out six. This will be Wells third start of the season against Beloit, he is 0–0 with a 4.30 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched with 18 strikeouts and has walked just two batters. Wells has allowed 12 home runs this season, second most in the league. In his three outings against Beloit, Wells has allowed just one home run. A Miguel Mercedes home run in Beloit on April 26.
Snappers Starter: Kyle Twomey, 23, makes his second appearance and first start of the season for the Beloit Snappers. A California native, he began his professional career in the Chicago Cubs organization after being drafted in the 13th round of the 2015 draft out of University of Southern California (USC). This is his second stint in the Midwest as he spent all of his 2016 season with the South Bend Cubs appearing in 19 games and making 10 starts, during his time in the league he never faced the LumberKings. He was released by the Cubs on March 23 of this year and signed seven days later to a minor league contract by the Oakland A’s. His only appearance of the year came in AA where he took the loss in a two-inning outing in which he allowed seven runs. The lefty was originally signed by the A’s out of high school in the third round but elected to attend in USC, but makes his was to the A’s organization following his release. In his first season of professional baseball he combined with four pitchers to throw the first no-hitter in Eugene Emeralds franchise history. He is a three pitch pitcher throwing a fastball, curveball, and change-up.
Last Time Out: The Clinton LumberKings and Cedar Rapids Kernels have been playing each other since 1962, but Sunday afternoon’s 16–3 loss by the LumberKings at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Perfect Game Field was the worst loss in their nearly 900 meetings. Danny Garcia turned in the shortest outing by a LumberKings (31–36) this season. The lefty failed to record an out in a 9-run bottom of the first inning. Garcia (5–5) faced seven batters who all reached against him and was then relieved by Tim Viehoff. Viehoff struggled as well, and allowed a Travis Blankenhorn two-run homer off the foul pole in right that capped the rally at nine runs. In the bottom of the second inning, the Kernels (39–31) added to their lead with a three-run rally. Aaron Whitefield slugged his seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot into right field that gave Cedar Rapids a 12–0 lead.
A King for a Day?: The Clinton LumberKings were a well-represented bunch at this year’s Midwest League All-Star game and became even better represented when the ASG MVP Monte Harrison, of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers hit his second home run of the game wearing Video Coordinator Tyler Collins number 3 LumberKings jersey. The number is used by shortstop Jhombeyker Morales but borrowed by Collins who served as the Western Division’s first base coach and then borrowed again by Monte Harrison.
Walk to the Top: Joe Rizzo has not been with the LumberKings all season, being assigned to Clinton in the final week of April. In his time with the LumberKings, Rizzo has been one of the most patient hitters in the Midwest League drawing a team-high 35 walks, third most in the league.
Surprising Shake Up: Following Sunday’s 16–3 loss, the worst loss in franchise history to Cedar Rapids. The Seattle Mariners announced that they had relieved manager Pat Shine of his managerial duties. The move marked just the fourth time in the club’s history that a manager had been replaced midway through the season. The last time it had happened was when Tommy Giordano replaced Sibby Sisti half way through the 1969 season.
A Franchise Worse: The Clinton baseball franchise and the Cedar Rapids franchise have been playing each other since 1962, but in the finale of the first half the LumberKings allowed the most runs and suffered their worst loss to Cedar Rapids in nearly 900 meetings, losing 16–3. The big rally by the Kernels was a nine-run first inning making it 68 runs now that the LumberKings have allowed in the first inning.
Leaders at the Break: As the second half of the season begins the LumberKings have several players that are at or are the Midwest League leaders in many different major statistical categories. Anthony Jimenez leads the league in stolen bases with 22 and is leading teammate Luis Rengifo who ranks third with 20 steals. Brandon Miller and his eight wins currently rank tied for the second most wins in the league. Luis Liberato leads the league in triples with nine. Nick Wells has allowed 12 home runs, second most allowed in the league.
This date in baseball history: On this date in 1926, the Cardinals pick up future Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander, who was placed on waivers by the Cubs. The acquisition of ‘Old Pete’ will prove to be pivotal to the Redbirds’ World Series triumph over the Yankees when the 39 year-old right-hander wins Games 2 and 6 and saves Game 7 of the Fall Classic.
Broadcast Information: All games will be broadcast live on 100.3 FM WCCI and online at LumberKings.com via the TuneIn Radio App with the Erik Oas, in his first season as the “Voice of the LumberKings.”