116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Kernels have been partnered with the Minnesota Twins for nine years, eight seasons.
In each of those seasons, the Kernels have been good enough to qualify for the postseason. That’s seven times in the Midwest League and this season with the whittled-down version of the MWL known as the High-A Central League.
That’s really good.
The only thing that’s missing is a championship. Maybe this is the year.
The Kernels and Quad Cities River Bandits begin their best-of-5 league title series Tuesday night at 6:35 at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Game 2 is Wednesday night in Cedar Rapids, with the series shifting to Davenport after an off day Thursday.
Quad Cities has been the best team in the league all summer, racking up a gaudy record of 77-41. The Kernels finished the regular season at 67-53, not clinching the second of two available playoff spots until their finale Sunday.
The top two teams in the league winning percentage-wise qualified for the championship series. Both just happen to be in the Western Division.
QC won 17 of the 24 regular-season games between the teams. The final of four series between them was in Cedar Rapids in late August/early September, and it was a 3-3 split.
“That’s what we said when we played them that last series. It finished 3-3, but all six games were close,” said Kernels Manager Brian Dinkelman. “They were like playoff-type games. This is a chance again to see how we do against them. See if we can come out on top this time.”
The Kernels finished with the best earned run average in the league (3.88). Kernels pitchers led the league in strikeouts and lowest opponent batting average.
Quad Cities led the league in most offensive categories, including batting average, on-base percentage and runs. Infielders Nick Loftin and Michael Massey tied for the league batting title (.289 each).
Massey finished second in OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging).
If you are looking for a Kernels position player MVP, it might just be Michael Helman. He led the team in doubles, home runs (19), RBIs (57) and stolen bases (21), playing mostly outfield after being a career infielder prior to this season.
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