Quad Cities Bandits Notebook: 2012 Week 14

St. Louis' Midwest League affiliate is preparing for an important road trip through Michigan as a tight second-half race continues.

It was another roller coaster week for the Quad Cities River Bandits as they went 4-3 during the period. They still share first place in the division with Burlington (11-7) but Clinton is coming on strong in the second half of the season. There are four teams within a game of first place and none of them have already qualified in the first half, so this is going to be an interesting race.

The Bandits have missed the power of Colin Walsh's bat. He was hit by a fastball last week and has been out with a bruised wrist for about 10 days. He is healing well and should return to play on Wednesday when the team is in Lansing. Luis Mateo had been drilled in the lower back with a pitch and was also sidelined for a week but he returned to play on Monday.

Willy Paulino has taken a regular spot in the starting rotation. He replaces Jonathan Cornelius who has moved to the bullpen. I'm not convinced that this is a good move but I'm willing to give him another start or two before I finalize my opinion. Right now, I'm looking at Sunday's game in which he gave up five runs in the first few innings and the team didn't recover. I want to see a start that doesn't involve giving up any home runs and shows control from the mound. I don't always get what I want.

Tyrell Jenkins had a very shaky start on Monday. He gave up five runs in the first inning and was chased from the game after less than four innings. He assured me early in the season that he's a hot weather pitcher; well, it's been as hot as it's going to be so we should be seeing his best stuff. He was throwing his fastball in the low nineties and his off-speed pitches were in the low/mid seventies. Despite that, Clinton had his number and they weren't being fooled, especially by his secondary pitches.

Robert Stock has truly improved his pitching and looks a lot more comfortable on the mound now. I didn't catch his pitch speeds, but on Monday he threw 2.1 innings with one walk, one K, and no hits. He pitched to five ground outs to one fly ball in his last outing.

The team has the day off on Tuesday for the MLB All-Star Game and then leaves for a week in Michigan. This is one of their "long" road trips so it will be interesting to see how they gel as a team on the road. They show flashes of brilliance but they really need a fire burning constantly if they want to make a real run at the post-season.

This is a short report this week but I missed a couple of the home games with some family things going on. Since the team is on the road all of this coming week, I really welcome your questions if you have any. I'm going to need something to write next week!

Thanks for reading!

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