07/05/2012 5:05 PM -
On reliever turned starter Luke Irvine:
“This’ll be his third start total, so far. I think he’s gotten better each time. He’s stayed pretty consistent. I know in Lincoln he was touching 93, 94 in the sixth inning. I look for him to have somewhat of a similar start if not more effective earlier in games this time. It’s taken him a couple innings to find his command. I would look for his start to be a little better than his first two. He’s a guy who’s going to strike out seven to 10 guys each time, I think. That’s the type of stuff he has. They have a lot of right-handed hitters in their lineup, so I look for him to have a pretty solid start tonight.”
On Brandon Jones’ status after a recent hand injury:
“We had him in the lineup yesterday, and then he just didn’t feel 100 percent during batting practice, so we took him out of the lineup just to give him one more day of rest. He wants to be back in the lineup. We’re just kind of holding him off for precautionary reasons, just to kind of give it a little more rest. It’s a situation where we don’t think he can hurt it any worse, but we want him to be comfortable. It’s nothing serious. It’s been getting better every day. He’s definitely not full 100 percent, but I think he’s pretty close.”
On how Enrique Cruz is doing since joining the team before the last road trip:
“I’ve been extremely pleased. He’s a true third baseman, and he offers us some stability in our lineup from the right side, a little power and a veteran presence, so I’ve been more than happy. I think it was a great move for us. Being able to get a guy that’s an everyday third baseman allows us to get everybody in their natural position, including moving Goodwin to second base. It’s been a great move, I think.”
On the playoff implications of this series against Sioux Falls:
“It’s huge. We do not play them again, so one of the things you have to consider is when you play a team that’s you’re battling for the wild card, you never know how it’s going come down at the end. Obviously the first tiebreaker is always head-to-head, so if you can win the series against them, then if you come down to the end where you have the similar record or are tied, you have the tiebreaker over them. It’d be nice to get three out of four, but I think realistically we’ve just got to look at this game tonight and put ourselves in a position where we’re a game ahead of them going into tomorrow and then try to get three out of four. It’s probably the biggest game to this point in the year for us.”
Irvine gets his first start at home
Tonight former Kansas City reliever Luke Irvine gets his first start at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
“It’s taken him a couple innings to find his command, so I would look for his start to maybe be a little better than his first two,” said T-Bones manager Kenny Hook. “He’s a guy who’s going to strike out seven to 10 guys each time, I think. That’s the type of stuff he has. They have a lot of right-handed hitters in their lineup, so I look for him to have a pretty solid start tonight.”
He made his debut as a starter for the T-Bones during the recent road series against Gary SouthShore on June 26. In his first start, Irvine gave up six runs on nine hits to the RailCats.
He also started on June 30 at Lincoln. In that contest, Irvine went six innings, gave up two runs on six hits and struck out eight. Going into this week’s home stand, Irvine remains 0-0 with a 3.70 ERA.
After making 16 appearances out of the bullpen this season, Irvine took the place of former starter Nick Singleton, whom the team traded to El Paso before leaving for Gary SouthShore.
Kickham works four scoreless innings
Kansas City reliever Dan Kickham came in after the home plate umpire ejected starter Josh Rainwater for arguing balls and strikes going into the fifth inning. The Pheasants had scored five runs against Rainwater, but they managed only one hit – a single – against Kickham, who struck out five.
“It was huge,” said T-Bones manager Kenny Hook. “That’s the first time we had seen him come out being able to throw the sinker and the slider. When he keeps the ball down, he can be really effective.”
T-Bones, Pheasants Eye Wild Card
Even though the season hasn’t reached its midway point, this series could have implications later in the year. If the season ended this week, the American Association’s Wild Card would go to either Kansas City or Sioux Falls.
The T-Bones, playing in the Central Division, trail the hot Wichita Wingnuts (an opponent for four games next week – two in Wichita and two at CommunityAmerica Ballpark), while the Pheasants, out of the North Division, are just a couple of games behind Winnipeg.
W L Pct.
Sioux Falls 24 20 .568
Kansas City 25 21 .543
Kansas City Playoff History
Kansas City finished the regular season with a 48-48 record. Schaumburg eliminated the T-Bones in the first round, taking the best-of-five series 3-2. Eddie Pearson paced the T-Bones on the season, capturing the league’s MVP award.
The T-Bones celebrated a Northern League championship after defeating Gary SouthShore three games to one in the championship series. Kansas City (46-50) pulled the upset of playoffs in the semifinals, when it swept one-seed Fargo-Moorhead after sneaking in the playoffs with a 46-50 record and being the last team to make the playoffs.
Gary SouthShore bounced the defending league champ Kansas City in the first round. The T-Bones qualified as the four seed, posting an identical regular season record as the previous year, 46-50.
Despite leading the Northern League throughout the 2010 season, a late-season fade found the T-Bones as the second seed in the playoffs. After Kansas City dispatched the Joliet Jackhammers in the semifinals, Fargo-Moorhead swept the T-Bones in the championship series.
Sizing up Sioux Falls
The Sioux Falls Pheasants are currently in second place in the North Division with a record of 25-19. Following a four-game series sweep of the Gary SouthShore RailCats, the Pheasants entered this week’s series in Kansas City on a five-game winning streak.
Cristian Guerrero, the cousin of Major League outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, provides a huge boost to the Sioux Falls offense, as his 12 home runs this season are the second most in the league. Jared Bolden leads the Pheasants with a .346 average. Sioux Falls has five players who have accumulated a .300 or better average in at least 135 official at-bats.
On the mound, today’s scheduled starter Mark Michael leads the team with five wins. In his last four starts, Michael is 4-0 and has allowed only three earned runs over 27 innings. Kyle Mertins has performed well out of the bullpen, leading Sioux Falls with a team-low 1.01 ERA. Used primarily as a setup man, Mertins has struck out 32 batters while only walking seven in 26 2/3 innings of work.
Last Time against the Pheasants
This week is the first series between the T-Bones and the Pheasants since last season, when the teams split a four-game series in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Sioux Falls jumped out to an early lead on its way to a 9-5 victory in the first game of a four-game series against the T-Bones last year. The Pheasants scored four runs on four hits in the first inning against Kansas City pitcher Matt Mitchell, who is still part of the rotation.
One of the home runs hit against Mitchell came off the bat of Gus Milner, then with the Pheasants, who is now a regular in Kansas City’s lineup.
Ray Sadler, who returned to the T-Bones in 2012 after playing abroad earlier in the year, blasted a two-run homer in the game. Kala Ka’aihue, who just recently retired from baseball after beginning the season with the T-Bones, also hit a two-run homer that night.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Kansas City exacted some revenge in game two of the series, dominating Sioux Falls 16-3. Ka’aihue hit two home runs in the game, and Sadler went two-for-six with six RBIs.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Sioux Falls regained its advantage in the series with a 6-3 win in game three. The Pheasants took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning, and the T-Bones could not come back.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
The T-Bones overcame a 5-0 deficit with nine straight runs, salvaging the series split with a 9-5 victory. The Pheasants took an early lead against Kansas City pitcher Devin Anderson, who is still part of the T-Bones rotation, by scoring three in the first inning and two in the second.
The T-Bones’ comeback began when the team scored six runs in the top of the sixth inning and took a 6-5 lead. They scored two more in the eighth and one in the ninth.
Kansas City pitcher Andy Shipman, now the T-Bones’ pitching coach, struck out two of three batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth, sealing the win.
Last Night’s Game
Bolden and strong pitching lead Sioux Falls past T-Bones
A fourth of July crowd of 6,817 saw the Sioux Falls Pheasants tally 13 hits, including a four-hit game from Jared Bolden, and beat the T-Bones, 7-2.
Bolden collected a single, two doubles and a triple, just falling short of the cycle by a home run. He got his fourth hit of the night, a double, in the ninth.
Bolden’s four hits were just two fewer than the T-Bones’ final tally of six for the game. Sioux Falls starter Pete Gehle (4-3) kept the Kansas City batters on their heels during most of his seven innings, giving up only five hits and two runs (one earned).
“I don’t know that it was so much what he did as much as we just couldn’t get things going offensively,” said T-Bones manager Kenny Hook. “He was doing a good job of locating the ball, especially on the outside of the plate to right-handed hitters, but our guys got anxious and tried to pull everything. As a result, they grounded out several times.”
Kansas City took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Hunter Mense launched a sacrifice fly to dead center with the bases loaded, and scored Trevor Coleman. Sioux Falls, however, added five runs during the third and fourth innings. Two of their three runs in the fourth came from a throwing error by T-Bones third baseman Enrique Cruz. Then, Bolden socked an RBI triple deep to the gap in left-center field.
After Kansas City starter Josh Rainwater (3-4) was ejected after the fourth for arguing balls and strikes, reliever Dan Kickham provided a boost out of the bullpen. Kickham logged four innings of work, only allowing one hit while striking out five.
TUESDAY, JULY 3
FINAL: T-Bones 6, Pheasants 4
T-Bones: RHP Shaun Garceau (W, 5-0)
Pheasants: RHP Rod Scurry (L, 3-2)
WEDNESDAY, JULY 4
FINAL: Pheasants 7, T-Bones 2
T-Bones: RHP Josh Rainwater (L, 3-4)
Pheasants: LHP Pete Gehle (W, 4-3)
THURSDAY, JULY 5, 7:05
T-Bones: RHP Lucas Irvine (0-0, 3.70)
Pheasants: RHP Mark Michael (5-2, 3.75)
FRIDAY, JULY 6, 7:05
T-Bones: LHP Devin Anderson (2-4, 4.15)
Pheasants: RHP Alan DeRatt (2-2, 4.41)
- $1 12 oz beers all night.
- Turn Back the Clock Night: T-Bones Salute KC Royals All-Stars of the Past, presented by COUNTRY Financial. Meet John Mayberry, Amos Otis, Fred Patek, Hal McRae, Willie Wilson and Frank White.
- Salute to America Theme Night. Wear Red, White & Blue and receive buy-one-get-one-free GA/Berm tickets.
- Appearance by the Falcon Skydiving Team.