It has been a rough start for the Quad Cities River Bandits in the second half of the season. Through games on July 4, the team is 4-7 against teams that they should be beating.
The roster moves continue, as is normal in Class-A ball. Congratulations to Starlin Rodriguez, Justin Wright, and Carlos Martinez who earned their promotions to Palm Beach right after the break. Iden Nazario and Justin Edwards joined the bullpen as lefties to try to bolster the relief efforts. Packy Elkins returned to the team from Palm Beach. Kolten Wong created the most buzz as the Cardinals' first-round pick in this year's amateur draft.
I was able to see a couple of Wong's appearances. He has good control at the plate and should prove to have a powerful bat. His contact with the ball has all been solid. I was most impressed with his defense, though. He is willing to use his body to stop a ball if that's what it takes. On one of his first defensive plays, he used his chest to stop a ball on a bad hop from the infield, recovered, and tossed the ball to second for the first part of a double play. Wong is going to be fun to watch.
Here is a recap of the eleven second half games that have been played:
June 24 - QC 3, Wisconsin 4
The team seemed a little rusty after the break. Jonathan Rodriguez is the only player to get more than one hit - one of them was a two-RBI double. Michael Swinson also had a double. The team left four men in scoring position. Carlos Martinez made his last appearance as a River Bandit with six innings, three hits, one earned run, and seven K's. Ryan Copeland and Aidan Lucas combined to allow the last three runs, all earned, in this losing effort.
June 25 – QC 3, Wisconsin 2
Seth Blair got a much needed win as the Bandits' bats came to life with nine hits. He threw five innings and gave up only one run (earned) while logging eight strike outs. He did walk seven, but overcame that challenge as well. Offensively, Geoff Klein came up big with three hits (two doubles) on four at bats. Cody Stanley and Starlin Rodriguez each added a double.
June 26 – QC 8, Wisconsin 3
Once again, the bats were alive for the River Bandits as they garnered ten hits on the ten inning night. Chris Edmondson and Colin Walsh led the attack with two hits each. Victor Sanchez was the only one who came up short without a hit. Trevor Rosenthal got a no-decision but he contributed six good innings with only four hits and one run. Hector Corpas benefited from a five run tenth inning to get his first win.
June 27 – QC 8, Cedar Rapids 3
In their first home series of the second half, the Bandits had a good start. Nick Longmire and Oscar Taveras each collected two hits. Kolten Wong went two for two and was hit by a pitch in his debut in the Midwest League. Zack Russell threw 6 1/3 innings and allowed only one run on six strikeouts. Cale Johnson and Justin Edwards each allowed one more run in the winning effort.
June 28 – QC 1, CR 3
Boone Whiting took his first loss in spite of the fact that he recorded eleven K's and allowed only three hits in his eight innings. He was charged with three earned runs and that's all the Kernels needed. Three of the five hits the Bandits recorded were doubles (Longmire, Stanley, and Ronny Gil) but it wasn't enough.
June 29 – QC 1, CR 7
Anthony Ferrara took the hard-luck loss in this one, even though he allowed only two runs on two hits while striking out six. Angel DeJesus and Iden Nazario had rough outings. Dean Kiekhefer only got in for one out, but it was a strikeout. There just wasn't any offensive support as all five of the team's hits came from the bottom third of the lineup. The Bandits drew only two walks on the night - perhaps a sign that they need a little more patience at the plate.
June 30 – QC 5, Clinton 8
The slide continued as Ryan Copeland made his first start as he moved from the bullpen. He was roughed up pretty seriously as he allowed six runs, all earned, and one homer in only four innings. The Bandits combined for ten hits but allowed 13 in this loss. Chris Edmondson receives "batter of the night" recognition for going 3-for-3.
July 1 – QC 3, Clinton 5
Seth Blair continues to under perform at home as he went 5 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on six hits. Dean Kiekhefer took his first loss of the season as he allowed the last two runs to cross the plate in his two innings. Ronny Gil went three for three but it wasn't enough to bolster the team.
July 2 – QC 4, Clinton 3
Rosenthal had another good outing as he struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings of work. Nazario and Lucas combined to hold the Lumberkings scoreless in the last 3 1/3 innings. Hitting was a fairly balanced effort on the night. J Rodriguez and Longmire each had homers, Taveras tripled. Packy Elkins returned to spark the team with a stolen base.
July 3 – QC 1, Kane County 2
In spite of the fact that the Bandits had nine hits, they were only able to score one run as Wong had the only RBI of the game. Russell took the loss even though he had seven solid innings from the mound. He struck out six and allowed only three hits. He threw two wild pitches, though, which cost the game.
July 4 - QC 2, KC 3 in 11 innings
Once again, a strong start from Boone Whiting wasn't enough to guarantee a win as Hector Corpas allowed two late runs to tie the game and Cale Johnson took the loss in the eleventh inning. Wong scored both of the Bandits' runs, one on a homer. The team needs to concentrate on good hits and smart base running to stay in these games when the bullpen doesn't perform up to par.
I was unable to get an interview this week. The team comes home this weekend so I'll do my best to catch a player for a chat for next week.
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