Quad Cities River Bandits Week Recap
We have reached the first week of the long Minor League Baseball season, and the Quad Cities River Bandits finally look to thaw out literally and figuratively. When they opened season in Cedar Rapids it was 40 degrees opening night and snowing the next night. The opening day starter Rogelio Armenteros (originally from Cuba) was in obvious discomfort on the mound that night stepping off the mound blowing on his hands and having a couple errant throws making pickoff throws. He was not the only one however the infield averaged 3 errors in the first five games because they couldn’t handle the ball in the weather. River Bandits were seen with head sleeves and long sleeves players were unrecognizable. As the weather has started to warm up though, the River Bandits look to heat up.
After getting swept by the Cedar Rapids and battling the elements of 40 degree weather in a two city series (QC,CR) they headed to Peoria winless in a little bearable weather (upper 50s). Even after dropping the opening game with Chiefs 8-4 they still looked sharp scoring four runs in the first five runs, Pitcher Kevin McCanna had a great showing going 5 innings giving up three hits and zero runs. That’s when it went south with Sebastian Kessay coming in and giving up 5 runs in a 0.1 inning outing, Pitcher Zac Person who just joined the team that day from extended training came in and gave up 3 runs in a 1.2 IP.
The Quad Cities pitching staff came out the next day with determination after the previous nights debacle. Pitcher Alex Winkleman led the way going 5 five innings allowing two hits two walks and three strikeouts, surrendering zero runs. Next up was Ryan Deemes taking the mound giving the Bandits three solid innings allowing three hits and punching out five Chief batters holding the game to 2-0 Bandits going into the ninth. That score would not change as Adam Whitt would come in and get the save, Bandits get their first win of the season. Along with the phenomenal pitching performance from those three guys OF Kyle Tucker led the offense with a breakout game of his own. Tucker getting his first HR as a Bandit, a couple more hits finishing 3-3 with a walk, stolen base, and two defensive gems.
After getting off the schnide, Bandits looked to move forward and gain momentum going into their four game home stand with the Kane County Cougars this weekend. Rogelio Armenteros took the mound hoping that the warmer weather will help him unlike last week. Right out of the gate, I knew the warmer weather was helping him, his velocity was better, his location was good, and although it was still a little cold he looked a lot more comfortable out there. After going 5 innings giving up one run in the first and giving up a double in the sixth his night was done going five innings of giving up two hits, two runs, and fanning six. Ralph Garza came in for 1.2 IP giving up the tie but ultimately settling down and getting the win, with Andrew Thome coming in for the save. The biggest play came in the eighth inning with the Bandits trailing 3-2 after both Tucker, and Anthony Hermelyn getting singles. Right Fielder Pat Porter drilled a ball of the right field fence scoring two and landing a triple, then advancing home with a throwing error from the RF, giving the Bandits a two game win streak, a series win, and huge momentum heading home this weekend.
With Bandits winning and trying to look back and to move forward, hopefully the weather will use that trend and continue to get warmer and not colder. I look for this team to warm up and when they finally thaw out, then watch out!
**Photo Credit: Richard Guill**