Friday, August 22, 2014
THURSDAY'S SCOREBOARD - MWL: Kernels 6, Burlington 5
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Cedar Rapids Kernels Baseball

Hinojosa, bullpen lift Kernels by Bees

BURLINGTON - The Cedar Rapids Kernels chanted "M-V-P!, M-V-P!" and slapped Jonatan Hinojosa on the back after they rallied to trim Burlington, 6-5, Thursday night before 1,119 fans at Community Field in Burlington.

Hinojosa lined a three-run triple into the right-field corner in the seventh inning to tie the game, 5-5, and then scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball.

"I like to hit when I've got men on base," said Hinojosa. "I got a chance to get an RBI for the team. I don't worry with men on base. "I was waiting for the fastball and I hit it."

The victory moved Cedar Rapids a step closer to clinching a spot in the Midwest League playoffs with 11 games left in the regular season. The Kernels have won 9 of their last 10 games, in no small part to Hinojosa's arrival from Elizabethton in the Appalachian League last week.

"He's brought some energy, there's no doubt about it," said Manager Jake Mauer. "That was huge. Bases loaded triple. How cow. Brought us back."



Kernels fall in sleeper to Bandits

The Cedar Rapids Kernels have won 30 of their last 40 games and are undoubtedly headed to the Midwest League playoffs, but Manager Jake Mauer does not want to see his club develop any bad habits coming down the stretch.

The Kernels saw their eight-game winning streak come to end Wednesday night in a 5-2 snoozer to the Quad Cities River Bandits before 1,673 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The Kernels hold a commanding lead over their competitors for a playoff spot with 12 games left in the regular season, so Mauer did not need to hold any closed-door meetings or chew anybody out after his guys committed three errors and a few other mistakes.

Cedar Rapids opens a three-game commuter series at Burlington Thursday night, followed by another three-game commuter series at the Quad Cities. That means six straight days of getting on the bus, playing games, coming right home and doing it again the next day without spending any nights in hotel rooms.

Mauer will be curious to see how his team plays at Burlington Wednesday night before making any judgments.



Kernels win again, but Stewart hurt

The Cedar Rapids Kernels won their eighth straight game Tuesday night, but they may have paid a severe price as they chase the Midwest League pennant.

Kohl Stewart, their $4.5 million bonus baby, had to leave the game in the top of the second inning with what could be a recurrence of the shoulder ailment that landed him on the Disabled List for 19 days recently.

The Kernels rallied for a 5-3 victory over Quad Cities before 1,678 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium, but Stewart looked dejected as he left the mound after conferring with Cedar Rapids Manager Jake Mauer, pitching coach Ivan Arteaga and the Kernels trainer.

"It's frustrating," Stewart said in the locker room. "It didn't feel right the first inning, but I tried to get through it. We'll see what happens."

Stewart was placed on the DL from July 25 through Aug. 13 with an "impingement" in his right shoulder. He pitched four strong innings against Beloit Aug. 13 and looked good, according to Mauer, but Stewart struggled from the outset Tuesday.



Twins shut Buxton down for the season

The Minnesota Twins decided Monday to shut top prospect Byron Buxton down for the rest of the season after the outfielder was hospitalized in his Double-A debut last week.

The center fielder was injured in Wednesday's New Britain game after he collided with right fielder Mike Kvasnicka when they both dove for a ball in the gap in the fifth inning.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan told on Monday they plan to be cautious with Buxton's recovery over the final two weeks of the Minor League season. He also refused to commit to baseball's top overall prospect playing in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League in October, saying it will depend on the progress he makes over the next six weeks.

"I would doubt it," Ryan said of Buxton returning to live game action before the season ends on Sept. 1. "They're on the road for 11 days and he's going to be in Florida and we still have to go through the protocol to get him cleared. So I don't think we're going to mess with it."



Hu-dini helps Kernels win 7th straight

The Cedar Rapids Kernels stretched their winning streak to a season-high seven games Monday night, defeating Quad Cities in the first game of a three-game series, 4-2.

The Kernels are proving they can beat you with the bats, as they did in Beloit a week ago when they  scored 28 runs in their three-game series sweep of the Snappers. And they can beat you in an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel, as they did to the River Bandits Monday in front of 1,394 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Kernels starting pitcher Chih-Wei Hu (6-1) struck out eight River Bandits in six innings while giving up just one unearned run on three hits.

The win was Hu’s sixth in eight appearances for the Kernels. His lone loss came in his last start Aug. 6 against Wisconsin. That loss didn’t sit well with the right-hander from Taiwan.

After that game, Hu said he asked pitching coach Ivan Arteaga, “Why was I so bad?”



There's magic in the air for Kernels

It’s the time of year when baseball teams in the playoff hunt start talking of “magic numbers” – the number of combined wins for your team and losses by your closest competitor that a team needs to clinch a postseason berth.

Before the game on Sunday, the Kernels’ magic number was 11.

After the Kernels generated a bit of ninth-inning magic Sunday, that number is now in single digits at nine with 15 games remaining in the regular season.

The Kernels completed their sweep of the Peoria Chiefs with a walk-off 5-4 win in front of 4,050 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium that featured the winning run scoring on a wild pitch during an attempted intentional walk.

With Logan Wade on third base and Chad Christensen at first, the Chiefs decided to intentionally walk Cedar Rapids cleanup hitter Mitch Garver with the score tied at 4-4.



Hinojosa sparks Kernels to clutch win

Jonatan Hinojosa had to sit on the sidelines for 50 games this season after failing the Minor League drug-testing program, but the infielder from the Dominican Republic is making up for lost time now with the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Hinojosa lined a two-run triple over the center fielder's head in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Kernels the go-ahead runs in a clutch 4-2 victory over Peoria before 4,922 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The victory gave Cedar Rapids a 33-21 record in the Western Division of the Midwest League, just a half-game behind Kane County for first place in the second half of the season.

Hinojosa, 21, tested positive for metabolites of Nandrolone and had to serve a mandatory 50-game suspension.

"That was tough," said Hinojosa. "When I was in offseason, I took some product. And that's bad. When they told me that you (are) suspended 50 games, I was feeling bad."



Hot Kernels clicking at right time

The Cedar Rapids Kernels have used 51 different players this season, which is more than enough for two full teams.

There's been a lot of shuffling, but Manager Jake Mauer likes the 25 guys he has on the club right now as the Kernels make a strong push for the Midwest League playoffs.

The Kernels spanked Peoria, 11-0, Friday before 3,886 fans on Hawkeye Sports Night at Veterans Memorial Stadium for their fourth straight victory.

The Kernels have used a steady flow of players due to injuries, promotions, demotions and guys being outright released, but they've managed to piece it together and are playing some of their best baseball of the season right now.



Kernels taking ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Cedar Rapids Kernels players and members of the front office staff have accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS Awareness and will do so Monday, Aug. 18 at noon on the main concourse at Perfect Game Field right inside the main gates.

The Kernels host Quad Cities Monday night at 6:35.

A donation to ALS will be made by the Kernels staff and players as a group. The Kernels accepted the challenge put forth by the ALS Association Iowa Chapter and the New Britain Rock Cats, the Twins' Double-A affiliate.

Donations can be made by visiting the ALS website at



Kernels roll past Beloit, 10-3

BELOIT, Wis. - The Minnesota Twins keep making changes to the Cedar Rapids Kernels roster, but it doesn't seem to matter.

The Kernels keep winning.

Mitch Garver led a 14-hit attack Thursday night as the Kernels dumped Beloit, 10-3, in a Midwest League game before 1,034 fans at Pohlman Field.

The Kernels swept the three-game series from Beloit and remained one game behind Kane County in the Western Division standings for the second half of the season.

Cedar Rapids is 62-60 overall and 31-21 for the second half, despite a series of roster moves in the past few weeks.

Jonatan Hinojosa, the new third baseman and leadoff hitter, went 2-for-5 and scored twice. Max Murphy, the new center fielder, belted his second home run two days and was 2-fo-5. Alex Swim, another recent addition in right field, was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Garver, who has been with the club all season, went 3-for-5 and collected three RBIs as the designated hitter. Chad Christensen went 2-for-5 and had two RBIs and Engelb Vielma was 2-for-5.

Matt Batts, who also joined the club recently, pitched six strong innings for his first victory with Cedar Rapids. Brian Gilbert, another new addition who was with the club last year, pitched two innings and Brandon Bixler tossed the final frame.


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Kernels Calendar

April 3
2014 season opener

Midwest League Standings

Western Div.
xz-KERNELS (Twins) 48
Championship (Best-of-5)
x-Quad Cities (Astros) 43
.623 4.5
Wednesday, Sept. 11
xy-Beloit (A's) 34
35 .493 13.5
Quad Cities 3, South Bend 2
x-Clinton (Mariners)
.486 14.0
Thursday, Sept. 12
Burlington (Angels) 30
Quad Cities 5, South Bend 0
Peoria (Cardinals)
Saturday, Sept. 14
Wisconsin (Brewers) 30
Quad Cities 4, South Bend 2
Kane County (Cubs) 25
(Quad Cities wins series, 3-0)
Eastern Div.
xz-Bowling Green (Rays)
.629 --
x-Great Lakes (Dodgers)
.580 3.5
Dayton (Reds)
.529 7.0
xy-South Bend (D-Backs) 37
.529 7.0
West Michigan (Tigers)
.522 7.5
Lake County (Indians)

x-Fort Wayne (Padres) 29
Lansing (Blue Jays)

FINAL (2nd Half)
x-Clinched playoff; y-won 1st half; z-won 2nd half

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