April 17 thru 20
- Kernels 3 games, Lugnuts 1
- Lugnuts are 8-8 (.500)
- Third place, 2 games behind the Whitecaps and 1 behind the Battle Cats. The Nuts are virtually tied with South Bend. This division is really quite tight; 2 1/2 games separate top from bottom.
Jose Cepeda’s hit in every game, and has a sixteen-game hitting streak. The team’s playing better at home than on the road, but that’s expected. Our team continues to lead the league in most team hitting categories, but the pitching….
My roster preview said we needed [Pat] Hallmark on the team. That was based on his stats last season, not any inside information. Pat’s mostly been playing outfield, due partly to injuries (Schafer, Quinn, and Beltran) and partly just to keep his bat in the lineup. He’s near the top of the league’s leader list in nearly every hitting category including .323 BA, 13 Runs, 11 RBIs, and 8 Steals. A really nice start for the season.
[Matt] Treanor’s the reason Pat’s playing out of position, though; Matt’s start has been really spectacular (.289-3-12) and you can’t play two catchers. Here’s another early lesson in Midwest League baseball: Matt had a poor season in Springfield last season, and is the only Royals position player repeating in this league. [Note added 4 August 96: Not true. Juan Rocha is also a repeater. Sorry.] (Several Lugnuts pitchers spend last season in Springfield.) It looks like Matt’s second chance is paying off. I’m sure there are other explanations, but an important one is youth; Matt’s turned twenty in March. This improvement is good, and not unusual. (Now don’t give up on Beltran.)
I’m starting to get concerned about this team’s defense. I hope it’s mainly the weather. We’ll keep an eye open.