Chris Edmondson is the name that stands out for the week as he had back to back homers in one of the wins against Beloit but every member of the team has contributed greatly. The starters are in playoff form and the bullpen has fewer glaring weaknesses than I have mentioned in past weeks.
Overall, aside from some of the players admitting that they are tired and homesick, I have more hope for this team going deep into the playoffs than any team that has played here in years. Most of that hope comes from the fact that many of the guys on this team were part of the Johnson City championship team last year - they are talking about back to back wins.
Instead of writing a game by game recap this week I am just going to address a few things that have been on a lot of fans' minds this week. As the end of the season approaches all too quickly, I thought that a slight change of pace and of format might be good.
Kolten Wong told me this week that he will be back in the game this coming weekend. He is healing on schedule and feeling strong. It never hurts to be rested as you make your first professional run at the post-season.
Although the end result may be a "correct" rotation for the starters as the playoffs approach, this week's change in the rotation with Drew Benes and Trevor Rosenthal was really precipitated by the return of Seth Blair. Seth will start Wednesday night in Peoria and the rotation alteration was to accommodate that return. Seth told me that he is "ready" to get back on the mound; he's too humble to make any guarantees.
Victor Sanchez, Michael Swinson and Luis Mateo have season-ending injuries and will probably be going home soon to start physical rehab. Sanchez has a slight tear in his elbow. Swinson has a broken hamate bone in his hand. Mateo has a wrist injury. As I understand how these guys think as a team, I'm sure they all want to stay with their teammates and be part of the last few weeks of the season but it's not meant to be for these three.
I have to keep reminding myself that Oscar Taveras is the youngest player on the team. I see a youthfulness in him that some interpret as inappropriate frivolity. He's excited to be here playing a game that he loves and, like Brett Favre, he loves what he does. I don't fault him at all for looking like he's having fun. In fact, I envy him.
The Bandits will finish the four-game series with Beloit Tuesday night before the first of two more commuter series in Peoria that are wrapped around their last two home series with Burlington and Clinton.
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