116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Thank goodness it has been written down in pencil, because it's changed a few times over the past month.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels know their starting pitching rotation for next week's Midwest League playoffs. For now.
Tyler Wells will get the baseball in Game 1 of a best-of-3 Western Division semifinal against Kane County. Tyler Watson will be your starter for Game 2, and Charlie Barnes is next for Game 3 or perhaps the first game of the division finals.
Watson looked ready for the postseason Wednesday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium, allowing just a run on three hits over five innings as the Kernels swatted the Burlington Bees, 11-1, before 2,816 fans.
'That's what we've got so far,' Kernels pitching coach J.P. Martinez said with a wry smile. 'It's kind of a good problem to have.'
The Kernels (73-62, 34-31) have seen a few roster adjustments down the stretch here, with another one coming Tuesday. That's when starting pitcher Anthony Marzi was promoted to high-Class A Fort Myers and replaced by right-hander Randy Dobrak, who comes in from Rookie-level Elizabethton.
Marzi originally would have started Game 2 next week, Martinez confirmed, but that's been scrapped. Sean Poppen and Clark Beeker also would have been playoff starters, but they've been moved up in the past month as well.
So it's back to the drawing board — again.
'It is tough, but it's minor league baseball,' said Kernels Manager Tommy Watkins. 'You deal with it all the time. September 1 is coming up, so you know some guys are going to be going up to the big leagues (from Triple-A). That domino effect might get us again. You just never know what's going to happen. But we're here to get people better and move them up. So it kind of sucks, but, at the same time, we're doing our jobs. It's good to see those guys go up.'
It was good to see Cedar Rapids swing it offensively like it did here, as it knocked out Burlington starting pitcher Andrew Vinson with a seven-run first inning. The Kernels finished with 17 hits, at least one from each starter.
Ben Rortvedt and Royce Lewis had three hits apiece. Travis Blankenhorn homered and drove in five.
The teams play again Thursday night at 6:35.
'That was awesome to see,' Watkins said. 'Everybody swung the bats well.'
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