CEDAR RAPIDS — A batter hit a foul ball late in Tuesday night’s game that ricocheted off the sheet-metal interior of Veterans Memorial Stadium and back onto the playing field.
Beloved longtime batboy Jon Teig sprung from the dugout, as he is wont to do, to make a play on the baseball. Poised for the catch and inevitable, ensuing batting helmet tip to the crowd, Jon-Jon reached out for the ball wearing his customary batting gloves and had it fall right into his hands.
Then right back out of them. That’s how things are going right now for the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
“We might be pressing,” said Kernels first baseman-outfielder Trey Cabbage, after his club was shut out yet again, 5-0, by Quad Cities.
That would be only natural at this point. Cedar Rapids has been blanked in three straight games and four of its last five.
Its scoreless streak has reached an unsightly 30 consecutive innings. The Kernels couldn’t even get a guy to reach third base in this one.
“You have a streak where you lose some games in a row, and guys are going to press because they want to win,” said Kernels Manager Toby Gardenhire. “You have a streak where you don’t score runs, guys are going to press because they want to score runs. Everybody wants to be the guy who helps the team get going again, so they start to press a little bit. That’s part of it. We just try to keep it light and pull them through.”
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The good news is the Kernels still are looking solid for a Midwest League playoff spot. They remain in a tie for first place in the Western Division’s second half with Peoria, though the Chiefs clinched a postseason berth in the first half, thus the Kernels don’t have to worry about them.
Cedar Rapids (63-57, 31-20) is 2 1/2 games ahead of Beloit and four up on Wisconsin in the race for two playoff spots. There are 19 games left in the regular season.
“We’re still in a good position to make the playoffs,” Cabbage said. “We’ve just got to keep playing hard and not press. Have good intent and be intense with our work ethic ... Try and compete on every pitch.”
Quad Cities starter Bryan Abreu (4-0, 0.34 earned run average) would have beat most teams Tuesday night with the electrifying stuff he had. A mid to upper-90s fastball and devastating slider allowed him to strike out 10 in six innings.
He gave up four hits. QC got a two-run double from Logan Mattix in the second inning and two-run homer from Miguelangel Sierra in the fourth against Kernels starter Tyler Watson (4-6).
Peoria comes to town now for a three-game series that begins Wednesday night at 6:35.
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