Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Article: NYY 5, MIN 2: Tough Night for Berrios, Twins

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:34 PM
The Twins led early but surrendered four unanswered runs and Jose Berrios lasted just 3.1 innings. Outside of Joe Mauer, this is an entir...

Article: 2017 Twins Minor League All Star Team

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 10:30 PM
The Minnesota Twins minor league season came to about ten days ago, but it was a successful season all around.The Rochester Red Wings won...

Article: Gleeman & The Geek, Ep 334: Escape From New...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:20 PM
Aaron and John talk about the Twins' crucial series against the Yankees, the remaining schedules for the Twins and Angels, firing Doug Mi...

Game Thread: TWINS at Yankees -- September 19, 2017 7pm...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:56 PM
Minnesota Twins (78-72) at New York Yankees (83-67) -- Yankee Stadium   Season Series -- Tied at 2   Last time out -- Yankees 2...

Article: Twins Playoff Push A Truly Cohesive Effort

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:34 PM
On Sunday, when the Twins stormed back after falling behind early against the Blue Jays, it was fittingly a collective effort. The offens...


Kernels Hitting a Stride

Posted by SD Buhr , 23 April 2017 · 802 views

Heading into their four-game series with Midwest League Western Division leaders Kane County on Thursday, the Cedar Rapids Kernels were one game under .500, trailed the Cougars by two games in the standings and were tied for second place in their division.

(This article was originally posted at Knuckleballsblog.com)

After trouncing Kane County 11-2 in the series finale on Sunday to earn a split of the four-game series, Cedar Rapids was one game over .500 (at 9-8), trail the Cougars by two games in the standings and are tied for second place in their division.

That sounds more mediocre than it was, in reality.

Kane County, the MWL affiliate of the Diamondbacks, have some game and the rest of the division will be challenged to keep up with the Cougars if they continue playing at early-season levels, so getting that split was hard work.

Still, it could have been better.

The Kernels had a 3-2 lead heading to the ninth inning on Thursday, but gave up three runs to the Cougars in the ninth and fell 5-3. On Saturday, The teams were tied 3-3 headed to the final stanza, where Kane County scored the winning run.

In fact, in five of their eight losses this season, Cedar Rapids has surrendered the winning run in their opponent's final inning at the plate.

All those close losses don't have manager Tommy Watkins concerned, however.

"The good thing is, after all those games, we responded afterwards," Watkins said on Saturday. "We’ve lost a couple of games in the ninth inning, but it happens. We’ve got a young team. We’re going to take some bumps and bruises, but I think things have been pretty good to start the season."

In fact, Watkins said his team has pretty much performed at expected levels.

"I didn’t have any concerns with either side of the ball. Pitching or hitting. Like I said at the beginning of the season, this is a fun team to watch up and down the lineup – pitching, defense, offense, running the bases. We’ve got some guys that can steal some bases. I really enjoy having these guys here."

One player that's certainly been as much fun to watch as any position player in the league has been Jermaine Palacios.

"Palacios has been swinging a hot bat and giving us a real boost at the leadoff spot," Watkins said, of his shortstop. "He’s being aggressive to balls in a zone."

Indeed he is.

The 20-year-old native of Venezuela is hitting .406 through Sunday and he hasn't been just slapping the ball, either. Palacios has three doubles, two triples and added his first home run of the season in Sunday's win over the Cougars.

He's leading the MWL in batting average and his 1.012 OPS is ninth best in the league, but not good enough to lead his own team.

That honor goes to Mitchell Kranson. His six doubles, one triple and two dingers have propelled him to a 1.045 OPS.

By and large, the pitching staff has been solid, as well. There have been a couple of games where, as one Kernels pitcher told me, "none of us could miss a barrel." But those instances have been rare.

Cedar Rapids continues their current homestand with a three game series against the Burlington Bees (Angels) before traveling to Peoria (Cardinals) for four games with the Chiefs beginning Thursday.

I'll wrap up with a couple dozen pictures from the games on Saturday and Sunday at Veterans Memorial Stadium, as well as the traditional Sunday post-game autograph session.

(It appears I've exceeded Twins Daily's limit on photos below, so if you want to see them all, you may just need to pay Knuckleballsblog.com a visit.)
  • Posted Image
  • Kernels manager Tommy Watkins hitting infield practice
  • Posted Image
  • Hitting coach Brian Dinkelman tossing batting practice
  • Posted Image
  • Domenick Carlini warms up under the watchful eyes of Kernels pitching coach JP Martinez
  • Posted Image
  • Lewin Diaz (48) and Ariel Montesino (21)
  • Posted Image
  • Domenick Carlini
  • Posted Image
  • Andrew Vasquez
  • Posted Image
  • Mitchell Kranson playing first base on Saturday
  • Posted Image
  • Mitchell Kranson took his turn behind the plate on Sunday
  • Posted Image
  • Aaron Whitefield coming in low, and safely, to 3B
  • Posted Image
  • Andrew Vasquez, Max Cordy and Colton Davis (L to R)
  • Posted Image
  • Ben Rortvedt
  • Posted Image
  • Ariel Montesino (21) takes a toss from Jermaine Palacios (4) to turn a double play on Sunday
  • Posted Image
  • Aaron Whitefield
  • Posted Image
  • Lewin Diaz signing an autograph on Sunday.
  • Posted Image
  • Jermaine Palacios got this ball out of the park on Sunday.
  • Posted Image
  • Clark Beeker
  • Posted Image
  • Shane Carrier
  • Posted Image
  • Christian Cavaness signing an autograph after Sunday's game.
  • Posted Image
  • Lewin Diaz
  • Posted Image
  • Hector Lujan

  • Tom Froemming likes this