Quad Cities Bandits Notebook: 2012 Week 8

An inconsistent bullpen is slowing the first-half playoff push by the Cardinals' Midwest League club.

Again, with the Quad Cities River Bandits having only a three-game series against Wisconsin at home, this has been a short week for first-hand game reporting. The River Bandits remain 5.0 games out of second place with just under 20 games left to play in this half. They will need to be in top form as the last three games will be against Wisconsin again.

This report is going to be fairly short. The series against Wisconsin was very disappointing. The starting pitchers had solid outings but when each game went to the bullpen, it crumbled. Until the staff of relief pitchers is solidified, I don't hold out a lot of hope for a playoff run.

Kyle Hald struggled some this week but went 6.0 innings in his start. This game stayed close but in the end, the offense fell short and the Bandits lost by one run. There were plenty of hits but they couldn't produce the runs. Only two hits were for extra innings that night.

In the second Wisconsin game, Quad Cities was keeping pace with the Timber Rattlers on runs until Sam Gaviglio ran out of gas. The game was tied 5-5 in the fourth when the Bandits had a long half inning and scored three runs. Sam turned cold and was replaced by Willy Paulino, who quickly gave up four runs on three hits. It's hard to recover after an inning like that.

Friday night was the highlight of the week. After an hour-long rain delay, the Bandits came out to win. They were wearing special camouflage jerseys that were auctioned to support the local American Legion.

The game wasn't pretty, but it was exciting. Dail Villanueva allowed three runs in the top of the first inning, then his teammates scored two in the bottom of the inning. It remained very close. Villanueva left when it was 4-4 and Ethan Cole had a good single inning. It was up to Danny Miranda to keep his team in the game and he got the job done.

The game went into the bottom of the ninth, tied 4-4. The bullpen was warming up as Casey Rasmus hit a solid single to right field. Neal Pritchard laid down what should have been a sacrifice bunt. The throw went to second instead of first. Rasmus' speed beat the throw - he and Pritchard were both safe. Next, Roberto Reyes was up. He put down a near-perfect bunt again. Wisconsin's catcher again tried to pick off the lead runner but Rasmus was again too fast. The throw to third was off the mark and went into left field. Casey didn't hesitate, turned the corner and raced for home. In Major League style, he slid face first, reaching around the catcher to tag the plate just inches before the ball reached home! It was the most exciting finish to a game we've seen all year.

The team carried that excitement to Cedar Rapids to win the first game in that series. Sunday they split the double-header. It looks like the skid is over.

Through Sunday, the Bandits had played 50 games. That is probably insignificant to everyone except catcher Cody Stanley. He has now officially served his suspension and should be able to return to play soon.

If you have questions or comments, please send them to me on the forum - I have a thread on the insider's board just for you! I look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for reading!

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