Friday, September 22, 2017
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Cedar Rapids Kernels Baseball

Mauer mulls pitchers for MWL playoffs

Cedar Rapids Kernels Manager Jake Mauer is starting to think about his pitching rotation for the Midwest League playoffs and who will get the ball in the opener against Quad Cities on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

And the winner is ... He's not sure yet.

"There's been talk," Mauer said Tuesday night. "Probably next week we'll start lining them up. We're not really set. We've got some options."

Mauer mentioned Felix Jorge, Keaton Steele, Sam Gibbons and Randy Rosario as possibilities, but was not ready to tip his hand.

Jorge pitched six innings Tuesday night as the Kernels lost to Peoria, 7-4, before 1,401 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium and has been the team's most consistent hurler all season.

Jorge allowed nine hits and three earned runs in six innings Tuesday. He has tailed off a little the past two weeks after dominating the league for most of the year, but he's still a strong possibility for the playoff opener.

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Kernels enjoy 23-3 romp over Peoria

Every minor leaguer's goal entering the season is to develop his game to the point where he earns a promotion to the next level in the system.

Sometimes, that call comes when a player has dominated play within his current league. Other times, circumstances align to create an opportunity for a player to move up the organizational ladder, at least temporarily.

Such circumstances allowed Cedar Rapids Kernels third baseman T.J. White to get a promotion to Fort Myers July 10, despite carrying just a .230 batting average at the time. But as the Miracle began to rack up injuries among their early-season regulars at the corner infield positions, White and catcher/first baseman Brett Doe both got the call to move up. By Aug. 4, White was back in a Kernels uniform for Manager Jake Mauer.

"Yeah, Jake pretty much let us know,” White recalled. “He said it could be four to five days, it could be two weeks or it could be the whole season. So we were looking to just go play and have fun with it.”

White is still having fun and has turned his season around. Through the weekend, he was carrying a .317 batting average since his return to the Kernels and had reached base in 20 straight games.

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Gibbons named MWL Pitcher of Week

The Midwest League and MiLB.com announced Monday that Kernels pitcher Sam Gibbons has been named the MWL Pitcher of the Week for the period ending Aug. 23.

Gibbons struck out 12 batters and allowed just one hit in eight innings in a 2-0 win at Clinton Saturday. This is the second time this season that Gibbons has been named Pitcher of the Week.

The Minnesota Twins signed Gibbons as an international free agent on July 2, 2011 and this is his fourth season in professional baseball.

Tanner English, Felix Jorge, Stephen Gonsalves, Trey Vavra, Max Murphy and Keaton Steele of the Kernels also have received one of the weekly honors from the Midwest League this season.

   

No Kernels picked for all-star team

No players from the Cedar Rapids Kernels have been named to the Midwest League Postseason All-Star Team.

First Baseman/DH Ryan McBroom of Lansing was named the MWL Most Valuable Player and shortstop Gleyber Torres of South Bend was named the MWL Prospect of the Year. Quad Cities Manager Josh Bonifay was named the MWL Manager of the Year.

Peoria had three players on the squad while Lansing and Quad Cities each had two. The team was selected by the 16 Midwest League managers.

Here is the team:

First Base - Ryan McBroom (Lansing)
Second Base - Darren Seferina (Peoria)
Third Base - Nick Tanielu (Quad Cities)
Shortstop - Gleyber Torres (South Bend)
Outfield - Mike Gerber (West Michigan)
Outfield - Nick Torres (Fort Wayne)
Outfield - Alex Verdugo (Great Lakes)
Catcher - Jacob Nottingham (Quad Cities)
Designated Hitter - Ryan McBroom (Lansing)
RH Pitcher - Tyler Mahle (Dayton)
LH Pitcher - Austin Gomber (Peoria)
RH Reliever - Kyle Grana (Peoria)
LH Reliever - Zac Curtis (Kane County)

 

LumberKings dump Kernels, 11-7

CLINTON - The Clinton LumberKings erupted for eight runs in the fifth inning Sunday afternoon and defeated the Cedar Rapids Kernels, 11-7, in a Midwest League game at Ashford University Field.

The game was tied, 3-3, when Clinton took control of the ballgame in the fifth inning against Kernels starter Randy LeBlanc and relief pitcher Jared Wilson. LeBlanc was charged with seven run in four innings and Wilson allowed four runs in one inning.

LeBlanc (8-5) gave up two home runs. He faced four batters in the fifth inning and all four reached base.

T.J. White went 3-for-5 with three RBIs for Cedar Rapids. Alex Real was 2-for-4.

The Kernels (71-54) begin a three-game series against Peoria at Veterans Memorial Stadium Monday night at 6:35.

KERNELS (7): Valera, 2b, 5 0 0 0, Gordon, ss, 4 3 1 0, White, 3b, 5 1 3 3, Doe, c, 5 0 0 0, Murphy, rf, 3 1 1 1, Real, dh, 4 1 2 1, Larson, lf, 2 0 1 1, Kelly, 1b, 4 1 1 0, Diemer, cf, 4 0 1 1. Totals 36 7 10 7.

CLINTON (11): Fields, lf, 3 1 0 0, Cousino, cf, 5 2 2 2, Wawoe, ss, 5 2 3 4, Reynolds, dh, 5 0 0 0, Morales, rf, 3 0 1 0, DeCarlo, 3b, 3 1 0 0, Leyland, 1b, 2 2 1 0, Martin, c, 4 2 3 4, Mariscal, 2b, 4 1 2 1. Totals 34 11 12 11.

Kernels    002 010 031 - 7 10 0
Clinton    001 280 00x - 11 12 1

LeBlanc, Wilson (5), Landa (6), Curtiss (8) and Doe. Herb, Morales (6), Dominguez (9) and Martin. W - Herb (5-8). L - LeBlanc (8-5). 2B - Diemer (4), Larson (20), Gordon (20), White (17), Mariscal (13), Cousino (10), Martin (2). HR - Martin (3), Wawoe (8). SB - Gordon (24), Wawoe (10). E - Wawoe (14). T - 2:43.

   

Gibbons tosses gem for Kernels

CLINTON - Sam Gibbons pitched a spectacular game for the Cedar Rapids Kernels Saturday night in their 2-0 victory over Clinton at Ashford University Field.

Gibbons allowed only one hit in eight innings and struck out a career-best 12 batters. He had a perfect game for 5 2/3 innings before Arby Fields reached first base on an infield single.

Gibbons, a 6-foot-4 right-hander from Australia, did not walk anyone and faced 25 batters in eight innings, just one over the minimum. He raised his record to 7-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.72.

The Minnesota Twins signed Gibbons as an international free agent in 2011.

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Kernels fall at Clinton in 9th

CLINTON - The Clinton LumberKings scored with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday night and nipped the Cedar Rapids Kernels, 2-1, in a Midwest League game before 1,117 fans at Ashford University Field.

Wayne Taylor led off the bottom of the ninth inning for Clinton with a triple. Kernels relief pitcher Luke Bard struck out the next two batters, but Austin Cousino hit a single to drive in Taylor with the winning run.

Bard suffered his first loss of the season and fell to 7-1.

Randy Rosario pitched seven strong innings for Cedar Rapids. He surrendered one run on two hits, with eight strikeouts and one walk.

Sean Miller led the Kernels with two hits.

Cedar Rapids (70-53) and Clinton (39-83) meet again at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

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Kernels make 3 roster moves

The Cedar Rapids Kernels and Minnesota Twins announced Friday that outfielder Max Murphy has been activated from the 7-day disabled list, outfielder Chris Paul has been placed on the 7-day DL with a right shoulder impingement and infielder Blake Schmit has been activated from the 7-day DL and promoted to Fort Myers.

Murphy went on the DL July 19 with a left oblique strain. He has played in 77 games this season, batting .227 with four home runs and 30 RBIs.

Schmit went on the DL June 11 with a left facial fracture after being hit by a pitch against Great Lakes June 10. He played in 18 games for the Kernels and was batting .226 with a home run and 12 RBIs.

Paul joined the Kernels Aug. 9 from Elizabethton and is batting .167.

 

Pitchers shine for Kernels again

In a series dominated by pitching, the Cedar Rapids Kernels took the rubber game of their three-game showdown with the Kane County Cougars 2-1 Thursday night before 3,135 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The Kernels outscored the Cougars, 6-4, in the low-scoring series. Manager Jake Mauer acknowledged the lack of production by his team, but was not complaining about the end result.

"If you’re an offensive lover, there wasn’t very much of that, that’s for sure,” he said. “But we played pretty good defense, especially in the infield.”

Once again, it was the Kernels' pitching that gets primary credit for the win as the Cedar Rapids lineup managed just four hits.

"It was really good to see how our pitching responded. We gave up a lot of home runs, a bunch of runs, on that road trip,” Mauer said. “Coming back home here, obviously, they (Kane County) are one of the better hitting teams in the league.”

Ethan Mildren, reinserted this week into the Cedar Rapids rotation after spending most of the past month in the bullpen, worked the first four innings, giving up just three hits, including a second-inning home run by Monty Herum that accounted for the sole Kane County run.

“Mildren was good, what we hoped,” Mauer said of his starter. “He didn’t back off, kind of used his movement. He’s a guy that’s kind of an innings guy, eat up innings and give you a chance to give the bullpen a rest.”

Kane County is going to be joining the Kernels in the Midwest League playoffs, though the two teams would not meet until the second round. Still, Mauer and his team believe these games against potential playoff opponents are important.

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Jorge helps Kernels bite Cougars

With both starting pitchers perched among the top-10 Midwest League hurlers in earned run average, Wednesday night’s contest between the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Kane County Cougars had the makings for a pitchers’ duel.

Kernels starter Felix Jorge (6-5) held up his end of the deal, limiting the Cougars to just two runs in seven innings while scattering seven hits, but Cedar Rapids chased Kane County starter Ethan Elias before the end of the third inning.

Cedar Rapids ended a four-game losing streak with a 4-2 win before 1,904 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Through mid-July, Jorge was about as dominant as a 21-year-old pitcher can expect to be in the Midwest League, sitting at or near the top of the league in ERA, but the right-hander had looked uncharacteristically human recently, giving up 14 earned runs in his last three starts.

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