Quad Cities River Bandits Notebook: Week 5

This week's update from the St. Louis Cardinals Class A Midwest League home.

This week, the River Bandits looked a little better but they are still struggling from the mound and at the plate. The highlight of the week was Sunday afternoon when Deryk Hooker (1.50 ERA) had a very good start against the Clinton Lumberkings. He pitched five innings, allowed only one hit and no runs. He didn't get credited for the win but he deserves a high five for the day.

 

The Bandits are back into a tie for first place in the Western Division at 19-12. The Lake County Captains are the only team ahead in the league. The downside of this news is that Quad Cities is only 5-5 in their last 10 games.

 

Other individual highlights through 31 games

 

Jason Stidham has a .308 batting average to lead the team. Ryan Jackson is right behind at .293. Matt Adams has the most hits at 31 and the most runs scored (20). D'Marcus Ingram leads with three triples. Niko Vasquez has drawn an amazing 34 walks in 31 games and has an OPS of .891; unfortunately he also leads with 27 Ks. Edgar Lara has the highest slugging percentage at .518.

 

Hooker's ERA is the best on the pitching staff so far, followed by Dan Calhoun (2.19) and Jorge Rondon (2.31). Jesse Simpson and Aaron Terry have the most appearances on the mound at 11 and 10 respectively; those two switch positions for saves. Eric Fornataro and Scott Schneider have pitched the most innings at 32 and 29 2/3. Shelby Miller leads the staff with 41 Ks. No one has given up more than two home runs.

 

Opportunities

 

In sales, we don't talk about problems, we discuss opportunities. I have identified several opportunities on the team. Among current pitchers who have been here for more than a couple of games, Chris Notti and Aaron Terry have the highest ERA at 7.45. As I have made known in the discussion forum, I think that Shelby should be going deeper into the games by using fewer pitches to get the job done.

 

Among the position players, Robert Stock is struggling at the plate, amassing only a .169 average and missing too many throws to second on defense. Luis Mateo is barely hitting better than Stock (.185) and is the only current player under the Mendoza line. Stock and Ivan Castro are the only two active players who have not homered yet. None of these players has shown us their full potential yet, but I believe they will do so soon.

 

Transitions

 

Frederick Parejo recently went to Jupiter, Florida to rehab a hand injury. Devin Shepherd remains in the Quad Cities on the DL. Michael Swinson, Jason Novak, and Justin Smith have been promoted from Extended Spring Training with the hopes of providing a needed spark to the team.

 

Because of the rainout on Monday evening, I was unable to get a player interview this week. The team's travel schedule will make it difficult at best to get an interview for next week's reports but I will do my best.

 

Instead of an interview, I want to highlight the grounds crew at Modern Woodmen Park this week. Headed by Ben Kratz, they are made up mostly of volunteers who are on the baseball team at St. Ambrose University. The University uses the park in exchange for providing interns for the grounds crew. On one rainy evening last week I arrived at the park at 5:30 pm for a 7:00 game. The field tarp was under about 2" of rain, the warning track had about 4" of rain around the entire perimeter of the field. My fist thought was, "They will never get this in shape for a game tonight!"

 

Well, they pulled the tarp, dumping several hundred gallons of extra water into right field. The new drainage system that the city of Davenport installed during the off season did exactly what it was supposed to do and within minutes the water was drained.

 

The real problem remained, though—the warning track was dangerously soaked. The crew went to work with squeegees, push brooms, and a lot of heart. By 6:30, I started to have hope but still thought there would be a lengthy delay to the game. Amazingly enough, Kratz and his staff had the field and the track ready for a 7:15 pm first pitch. Congratulations, Ben, you done good!

 

Tasty Tidbits

 

As readers of the discussion forum already know, I have been adjusting my eating habits to get into better physical health. That's not an easy task when your menu choices are stadium food. However, the Food and Beverage department has really offered some positive choices this year. One of the unlikeliest spots for a healthy choice is at the Rudy's Taco stand!

 

Rudy's is a standard in the Quad Cities for authentic Mexican food. At the ball park, I enjoy the chicken tacos. They serve 3 big tacos filled with shredded chicken, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and jalapeños. For those who are a little less calorie conscious, you can add your own sour cream. Three tacos in a serving is almost more than I can eat for only $6.50. Other choices at the Rudy's stand include beef tacos, super nachos, and chips and cheese.

 

Rudy's is just about straight up from third base. Don't miss them when you are hungry at the stadium.

 

That's the week that was. Thanks for reading!

 

 

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