CEDAR RAPIDS — Those $*@+! new extra-inning rules. To heck with ‘em.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels haven’t figured out a way to master them, yet, that’s for certain. A 4-3, 11-inning loss Wednesday afternoon to Beloit at Veterans Memorial Stadium stopped their six-game win streak to begin the Midwest League’s second half.
Cedar Rapids has dropped three straight extra-inning affairs and is now 2-7 in them overall. Jeez.
“With the guys already in scoring position, it comes down to execution in extra innings,” said acting Manager Brian Dinkelman. “You find that one hit to score the run, you’re good. We had a chance in the 10th, and it just didn’t happen today. It’s something they can grow from, to experience those at-bats in extra-inning games. Hopefully, moving forward, we can start winning some of those.”
If you weren’t aware, Minor League Baseball has adopted a different way to go about things when a game doesn’t end in regulation. It’s done in an attempt to end them quicker and save pitching staffs from getting overworked.
Teams begin each extra inning with a runner on second base. It’s the guy who made the last out of the previous inning, or a pinch runner, if available.
The Kernels (38-38 overall) had a glorious chance to win in the bottom of the 10th here after holding Beloit off the scoreboard in the top half.
Jose Miranda began at second base and moved to third on a Robby Rinn groundout to the right side. Jean Carlos Arias was intentionally walked to set up a possible double play, with Andrew Bechtold unintentionally walked to load the bases.
But winning reliever Jean Ruiz (1-6) got Ben Rodriguez to bounce into a short-to-first double play to end the threat. Beloit got a sacrifice fly in the 11th from Jordan Devencenzi, and Cedar Rapids never moved Rodriguez off second base in the bottom of the inning.
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“I don’t mind it, to be honest with you,” Rodriguez said, when asked his opinion on the new rules. “To be honest, I’m not the kind of person that really has a heavy opinion on anything. It speeds up the game, it puts in play a bunt situation. Makes you execute. This might sound counter-intuitive, but I think it kind of takes the pitcher out of it ... It kind of takes away having a true, positive pitching performance.”
Rodriguez’s point there is a pitcher doesn’t have to allow a baserunner to be charged with a loss. Calvin Faucher (2-3) took the ‘L’ here. All three of his defeats have come in extra innings.
“I understand the rule,” Dinkelman said. “Baseball was intended that way when they made the rules years ago, but, with extra-innings games taking so long, and you having to burn through your bullpen ... I understand the new rules. Once you get used to, we have played a few now, you know what you want to do. It provides some good teaching points.”
After the game, pitcher Brusdar Graterol was told he is being promoted to high-Class A Fort Myers. The 19-year-old Venezuelan showed off a 100-mile-per-hour fastball in his eight starts here, going 3-2 with a 2.18 earned run average.
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