Quad Cities River Bandits Report: 07/25/08

This week, our St. Louis Cardinals Midwest League club report features an interview with pitcher Matt Spade.

The Quad Cities River Bandits (17-16 in the second half) are currently 4 ½ games out of first place in the Western Division of the Midwest League. The Peoria Chiefs are the team to beat, and the team to catch in the race for the playoffs.


The Bandits have had a season that is best described as inconsistent. Josh Wilson, for example, pitched a game two weeks ago against Peoria. In seven innings of work he threw only 62 pitches; 55 of those were strikes. In Thursday night's game against Lansing he used 19 pitches in the first inning and 27 in the second. That's part of the reason I like this game—it's a long season.


Other noteworthy news this week includes the return of Father Paul Vazquez to the roster. Congratulations to Paul and his wife on the birth of their daughter and welcome back! The Bandits will benefit from his batting strength and his leadership from behind the plate.


Brett Wallace is hitting .333 but he only has 63 plate appearances. Vazquez is right behind at .328 with more than double the at-bats. Pete Kozma has 342 at bats and is hitting .275. Five of the seven hits that Aaron Luna has were for extra bases.


Nick Additon and Brian Broderick lead the pitching staff on the number of innings pitched. Pete Parise and Matt Spade have the best ERA's among the pitchers who are currently on the roster.


I was able to chat with Matt Spade this week about a few of the things that set him apart from the rest of the team.


Matt, thanks for taking time to talk. Let's start simple; what's your favorite color?


I like blue.


In your game this year, what aspect are you working most to improve?


I'm working on throwing more strikes and maintaining control of the ball. I think I'm making good progress this year.


What has been your best moment in baseball so far?


It was my first professional win. I was in the GCL. I don't remember who we were playing but I'll never forget how it felt to win the first one.


If you were a car, what kind of car would you be?


That's easy! I'd be a Ferrari!


Do you have any tattoos?




What other player on the team do you think of as being similar to you in playing style?


I think it's Nick Additon. We throw a lot of the same pitches. He has taught me a lot this year. It's good to learn from him.


Whether in the game or in your life outside of baseball, who inspires you? And why?


My Dad. I've been through a lot in my life and no matter what, he has always been there for me. He keeps me motivated to do well.


When you get to the Majors, what number do you want to wear?




Who was your baseball idol when you were growing up?


Ken Griffey, Jr.


What is your favorite food?


Shrimp—in everything!


And your favorite beverage?


Dr. Pepper.


Where did you go to school?


Richland Junior College in Dallas.


Did you play any other sports in high school?


I wrestled and played football but then I decided to concentrate on baseball.


If you weren't a pitcher, what position would you want to play?


I'd be an outfielder.


Matt, you need to get out there and stretch with the team. Thanks again for your time.



Deal this week


Pete Parise has 10 saves to lead the team. He has had some great outings lately. Nick Additon has recorded 91 Ks in 99 innings pitched. Pete Kozma has played in 89 games this year; Adron Chambers comes in second with 65. Jared Bradford has not allowed an earned run in his 13.2 innings of work.


No Deal this week


I'm just going to say that this week, the bats deserve the raspberries.


On the radar


I'm watching D'Marcus Ingram and Oliver Marmol; both of them are starting to pick up the game and are providing a great spark to the team. Tommy Pham is returning to his glory at times; I expect a breakout soon. I'll want to see what fatherhood does to Paul Vazquez's game.


Next week, outfielder Adron Chambers is our interview subject.



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