Cedar Rapids Kernels on wrong end of 1-0 game this time

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CEDAR RAPIDS — The roster has been stable for two days, which might be a record for the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

That’s said in jest, of course, but there has been an inordinate amount of player movement this Midwest League season for the club, especially the past three or four weeks. It’s just part of the deal in the minor leagues.

“We all sort of know each other through spring training and everything,” Kernels infielder Sean Miller said, after his team was shutout Friday night by Kane County, 1-0, at Veterans Memorial Stadium. “Other than a couple of guys who came in, it’s not like we are unfamiliar with each other. We’ve had a chance to play together in spring training, so it’s not really too difficult. And I think we’re kind of used to it by now, with all the guys coming in and out the past couple of months.”

If you think about it, Miller is sort of the poster boy for this Kernels club. He began the season here, moved to high-Class A Fort Myers and was eventually shuttled back to Cedar Rapids.

Injuries at other levels have caused some of this movement. So has the parent Minnesota Twins not being very good.

Forty-nine different guys have played this season for the Kernels, almost two full teams. Of the 25 on the opening-day roster, only eight were active for Friday’s game.

That included Miller and pitcher Kuo Hua Lo, who technically was sent to extended spring training in April, though he never left. Outfielder Christian Cavaness was just re-added Thursday, coming in with three other guys from Rookie-level Elizabethton.

“It’s more unusual probably than it has been in years past, as far as the frequency of it,” said Kernels Manager Jake Mauer. “But with that being said, it creates opportunities for a lot of guys ... We need the guys who have been here to carry us until the new guys get their feet wet and acclimated.”

The Kernels (44-41, 8-8) didn’t hit anything hard offensively, sans for Miller’s drive to the left-center gap leading off the bottom of the ninth that was run down by Kane County center fielder Colin Bray. Even their four hits weren’t much to shout at: a grounder through the right side by Luis Arraez, a well-placed grounder up the middle by Cavaness, an infield single up the middle by Zander Wiel and a flyball single to left by Miller that the Kane County left fielder pulled up on instead of making the catch.

This was the second consecutive 1-0 game for the Kernels, who beat Wisconsin by that score Thursday night.

“Last night, I thought we at least hit a few balls hard,” Mauer said. “Tonight, I thought we only hit one, and that was in the ninth inning and caught. We didn’t walk when I thought we had opportunities to. We didn’t really have a very good plan, for whatever reason. Didn’t give their guys an opportunity to walk us.”

Starting pitcher Lachlan Wells (1-1) took the tough loss, allowing only four hits and a run in five innings. Bray accounted for the only run with a homer to left leading off the third.

The teams play again Saturday night at 6:35.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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