CEDAR RAPIDS — Embrace the grind. If you don’t, it’ll eat you up.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels played just one game Thursday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium, which must have seemed a breeze to them and the Beloit Snappers after back-to-back double-headers the previous two days. Wednesday’s was of the day-night variety.
This was the 29th game in 23 days for the Kernels, which goes back to the grind thing. That’s a LOT of baseball, precipitated by a bunch of April weather outs.
Cedar Rapids went a full week that month without playing a game. Boy, are the Kernels paying for it right now.
“We’ve played a lot,” said Kernels Manager Toby Gardenhire, after his team’s 8-0 victory. “We played 29 games in 23 days? That’s a lot. It feels like a lot of games. It makes sense.”
Starting pitcher Bailey Ober threw seven shutout innings, and every guy in the lineup had at least one hit as the Kernels (28-31) ended this three-day, five-game series on a positive note. Ober (2-1) allowed just six hits, didn’t walk anyone and struck out six in his strongest outing since joining the team from Minnesota Twins extended spring training.
“He attacked with all of his pitches,” Gardenhire said.”He had a nice changeup. Every time he got into a jam, it seemed he threw a very good changeup. Got guys to swing through it or hit it on the ground. He just attacked.”
Cedar Rapids blew open a tight, 1-0 game with three runs in the seventh and four in the eighth. Akil Baddoo hit a three-run home run, and catcher David Banuelos had a very nice overall game by going 2-for-4 and throwing out a pair of would-be basestealers.
The Kernels hit the road for a week, playing four games at Wisconsin and three at Kane County. They finish off the first half with a three-game home series against Peoria that begins Friday, June 15.
Busy, busy, busy.
“It wears on you a bit,” Gardenhire said. “We looked at the schedule, and we don’t have any double-headers left. And that’s a really nice feeling.”
Prior to Thursday’s game, the Kernels and parent Minnesota Twins announced a pair of roster moves. Pitcher Blayne Enlow was placed on the disabled list with a left ankle sprain and pitcher Nick Brown was activated from the DL and given his outright release.
This is the second DL stint this season for starter Enlow, a third-round pick of the Twins last year. He is 0-2 in eight starts with a 4.46 earned run average.
Brown was 1-2 with a save and 8.42 ERA in nine appearances this season, including a pair of starts. He was a 32nd-round draft pick last year out of William & Mary.
Catcher Ben Rortvedt was told after the game he has been promoted to high-Class A Fort Myers. In his second go-around in the Midwest League, Rortvedt hit .276 in 39 games.
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